Getting tired of the sappy, sweet nothings which permeate our culture in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day? If so, check out the following statements made by famous historical Americans. They’re guaranteed to shock and provoke thought on the true value, meaning, and purpose of love and marriage.

“It has ever been a maxim with me through life, neither to promote nor to prevent a matrimonial connection, unless there should be something indispensably requiring interference in the latter. I have always considered marriage as the most interesting event of one’s life, the foundation of happiness or misery.” – George Washington, 1785

“Consensus non concubitus facit matrimonium,” [A meeting of the minds, and not cohabitation, constitutes a marriage] is a maxim of our law….” – James Wilson, 1791

“I know of no Medicine fit to diminish the violent natural Inclinations you mention; and if I did, I think I should not communicate it to you. Marriage is the proper Remedy. It is the most natural State of Man, and therefore the State in which you are most likely to find solid Happiness. Your Reasons against entering into it at present, appear to me not well-founded. The circumstantial Advantages you have in View by postponing it, are not only uncertain, but they are small in comparison with that of the Thing itself, the being married and settled. It is the Man and Woman united that make the complete human Being. Separate, she wants his Force of Body and Strength of Reason; he, her Softness, Sensibility and acute Discernment. Together they are more likely to succeed in the World. A single Man has not nearly the Value he would have in that State of Union. He is an incomplete Animal. He resembles the odd Half of a Pair of Scissors. If you get a prudent healthy Wife, your Industry in your Profession, with her good economy, will be a Fortune sufficient.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1745

“Whilst thus nature and the hints we draw from man suggest a true and lofty life, a household equal to the beauty and grandeur of this world, especially we learn the same lesson from those best relations to individual men which the heart is always prompting us to form. Happy will that house be in which the relations are formed from character; after the highest, and not after the lowest order; the house in which character marries, and not confusion and a miscellany of unavowable motives. Then shall marriage be a covenant to secure to either party the sweetness and honor of being a calm, continuing, inevitable benefactor to the other.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1870

“Oh my dear Girl, I thank Heaven that another Fortnight will restore you to me — after so long a separation. …

But you who have always softened and warmed my Heart, shall restore my Benevolence as well as my Health and Tranquility of mind. You shall polish and refine my sentiments of Life and Manners, banish all the unsocial and ill natured Particles in my Composition, and form me to that happy Temper, that can reconcile a quick Discernment with a perfect Candour.” – John Adams to Abigail, 1764

“Altho I wrote you a very long Letter no longer ago than this day week; which went under convoy of the French Fleet, I cannot omit any opportunity which presents of telling you what I know always makes you happy — that I am well that our children are so, and the rest of our Friends. Uninteresting as this is to the rest of the World; it is sweet music to those who Love and are beloved. I know nothing which could make me happier than such an assurance from you; which I daily hope and pray for.” – Abigail Adams to John, 1782