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Bed And Board: Plain Talk About Marriage
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Bed And Board: Plain Talk About Marriage

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  75 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Published (first published January 1st 1970)
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There is a sadness in reading this fantastic treatise on marriage and home- a few years after this was published Robert Farrar Capon left his marriage of twenty-seven years to the woman who gave him six children. It's sad because he writes with such wisdom and truth:

"Our lust is to be healed by being brought down to one bed, our savagery tamed by the exchanges around a lifelong table."

And regarding lies about marriage:
"One of them I've already mentioned. It's the 'You are my destiny bit. Only go
Purva Brown
One of the best books I've ever read, written in plain language with warm humor and loads of humility. This book will challenge me to re-think ways of doing things constantly. finished it in two days because it was that good!
I love Robert Capon in much the same way and for the same reasons I love G.K. Chesterton: writing style, forever unique perspective (but somehow always the most sensible one?), zest for life. Parts of his reasoning are rather... fanciful? and I don't always agree with him 100% or even 80%, but this was a refreshing read. Lots to comment on but one standout part: his discussion about how a love for life and a sincere, joyous interest in things will be passed on to those around us, even if their s ...more
Eric Chappell
An absurdly delightful book. You won't walk away unchanged.

This is Capon's first published work(!), and it is The Best Book I have read on marriage and family life. It begins in Absurdity and ends in the Divine Coinherent Dance of the Trinity. In between are the comical and heart-wrenching, the simple and the profound, the serious and the silly, the logical and the absurd. I read this book and thought, laughed, cried, shouted, underlined, and worshipped. I learned about care, hobbies, sex, dinn
Courtney Joshua
I've been wanting to read RFC for some time, and this was the only book of his currently in at the library. I sat down in the library aisle to read the first few pages to decide if I wanted to check it out and ended up reading half the book. It's certainly not systematic - it's more a pastoral rambling, but it's engaging, and in the midst of the intriguing rambles are some real insights. I was sorry to learn, later, that his life didn't exemplify his teachings.
I was very sad to find this book so disappointing. After loving "Between Noon and Three", I expected this book about marriage to be equally thought-provoking and insightful.

Instead, I found it full of overworn anti-woman prejudice and stereotypes. According to the author, sex is something that a man does to a woman, women are subordinate to men in relationships, the weaker sex, blah blab blah shit fucking fuck!

I have had this problem before when reading his other books. He's a brilliant man who
Gregory Soderberg
While parts of this book seem a bit dated (Fr. Capon tried a little too hard to hip and relevant to the hippie generation), there are parts that are pure gold. Capon has a the Solomonic perspective of Ecclesiastes, as he celebrates the absurdity of love, marriage, sex, and raising children. The whole thing is quite preposterous, really. He also revels in the deep mysteries of the Christian tradition, and shows how ancient dogmas like the Trinity really explain everything, especially that crazy l ...more
Derek Hale
What a book. Speaking as a Christian, if you read this book alongside Douglas Wilson's "Reforming Marriage" you would have a full plate of marriage wisdom that might take years to devour. As with any book by the later Father Capon, there is rhetorical gold on nearly every page--often several nuggets per page. This is my current favorite, "A man and a woman schooled in pride cannot simply sit down together and start caring. It takes humility to look wide-eyed at somebody else, to praise, to cheri ...more
Absurdity rightly considered. Marriage and children and food defended as sacramental; delighted in for themselves because they are means of grace and glory and coinherence. Because we come from a body, meant for the Body. The most absurd reality of all imaged in our small absurdities. Fr. Capon cares publicly for his city and the City.
Becky Pliego

Some of my favorite quotes from chapters 1-4 are here:

And my favorite quotes from the main chapters are here:
Sarah Joy
I did enjoy reading this book - the last chapter's description of children at dinner and post dinner chore argeuments depicted our family perfectly! - but the book as a whole was not as vivid as his Supper of the Lamb.

A similar book is Douglas Wilson's ,"My Life for Yours: A Walk Through the Christian Home."
Capon is just so much fun to read. That is, if you have a sense of humor about life. I'm sure he just wouldn't come off so well if you weren't ready to laugh and see how ridiculous things are sometimes. I loved this and would recommend it to anyone... maybe because I'm ridiculous.
Steven Wedgeworth
Amazing little book. It was assigned to me as a pre-marital counseling book, and I'll be sure to pass it along for generations. A few chapters towards the end fall flat, but the earlier ones are so good that it more than makes up for it.
I'll be succinct. It made Brendan cry laughing. Capon actually tells you how to be human. And he uses a train as a metaphor for sex. Does it get stranger than that?
We need to get someone to reprint this book.
A little rambling, a little rambunctious. Great encouragement all around and really makes me want to begin investing in a wine cellar.

Full review and quotations to come.
This book is wonderful. Capon is masterful in his parallels between the stuff of life and the meaning that propels it. This should be required reading for every household.
Donald Linnemeyer
Very pastoral. Capon's an excellent writer.

**edit** I went back and re-read his chapter on children. Reminded me again how much I like this book.
Moses Operandi
A strange and wonderful little book about marriage and being human. Plato would hate it, and I read it for that reason.
I wish every couple read this before getting married. If you want to hear more, my wife wrote a great little review.
The best book on marriage and family I've read. Fr. Capon's words should be savored like a fine wine.
I love Capon's writing on food, and his wit and wisdom on marriage was icing on the cake.
SO insightful. Absolutely love his take on Beatrice....worth the price of admission.
Insightful and wonderfully quotable in places, rubbish in others.
Micah Lewis
Capon rambles, but when he gets it right, it's very very good.
"For marriage is a paradox second only to life itself."
Ryan Handermann
Fun like Capon. Helpful, but peculiar.
Katie marked it as to-read
Sep 29, 2015
Jonathan Turtle
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Robert Farrar Capon was a lifelong New Yorker and served for almost 30 years as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church. His first book, Bed and Board, was published in 1965 and by 1977 left full-time ministry to devote more time to writing books, though he continued to serve the church in various capacities such as assisting priest and Canon Theologian. He has written twenty books on theology, co ...more
More about Robert Farrar Capon...
The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection Kingdom, Grace, Judgment: Paradox, Outrage, and Vindication in the Parables of Jesus Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace The Mystery of Christ & and Why We Don't Get It Parables of Grace

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“The Christian religion is not about the soul; it is about man, body and all, and about the world of things -with- which he was created, and -in- which he is redeemed. Don't knock materiality. God invented it.” 3 likes
“If marriage is the great mystery of the City, the image of the Coinherence - if we do indeed become members one of another in it - then there is obviously going to be a fundamental need in marriage for two people to be able to get along with each other and with themselves. And that is precisely what the rules of human behavior are about. They are concerned with the mortaring of the joints of the City, with the strengthening of the ligatures of the Body. The moral laws are not just a collection of arbitrary parking regulations invented by God to make life complicated; they are the only way for human nature to be natural.

For example, I am told not to lie because in the long run lying destroys my own, and my neighbor's nature. And the same goes for murder and envy, obviously; for gluttony and sloth, not quite so obviously; and for lust and pride not very obviously at all, but just as truly. Marriage is natural, and it demands the fullness of nature if it is to be itself. But human nature. And human nature in one piece, not in twenty-three self-frustrating fragments. A man and a woman schooled in pride cannot simply sit down together and start caring. It takes humility to look wide-eyed at somebody else, to praise, to cherish, to honor. They will have to acquire some before they can succeed. For as long as it lasts, of course, the first throes of romantic love will usually exhort it from them, but when the initial wonder fades and familiarity begins to hobble biology, it's going to take virtue to bring it off.

Again, a husband and a wife cannot long exist as one flesh, if they are habitually unkind, rude, or untruthful. Every sin breaks down the body of the Mystery, puts asunder what God and nature have joined. The marriage rite is aware of this; it binds us to loving, to honoring, to cherishing, for just that reason. This is all obvious in the extreme, but it needs saying loudly and often. The only available candidates for matrimony are, every last one of them, sinners. As sinners, they are in a fair way to wreck themselves and anyone else who gets within arm's length of them. Without virtue, therefore, no marriage will make it. The first of all vocations, the ground line of the walls of the New Jerusalem is made of stuff like truthfulness, patience, love and liberality; of prudence, justice, temperance and courage; and of all their adjuncts and circumstances: manners, consideration, fair speech and the ability to keep one's mouth shut and one's heart open, as needed.

And since this is all so utterly necessary and so highly likely to be in short supply at the crucial moments, it isn't going to be enough to deliver earnest exhortations to uprightness and stalwartness. The parties to matrimony should be prepared for its being, on numerous occasions, no party at all; they should be instructed that they will need both forgiveness and forgivingness if they are to survive the festivities. Neither virtue, nor the ability to forgive the absence of virtue are about to force their presence on us, and therefore we ought to be loudly and frequently forewarned that only the grace of God is sufficient to keep nature from coming unstuck. Fallen man does not rise by his own efforts; there is no balm in Gilead. Our domestic ills demand an imported remedy.”
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