Marriage appeared as a major issue about which girls had to be enlightened. Even when, like Lambert and Epinay, they did not deal extensively with this topic, they nonetheless infused their texts with comments that pointed to the centrality of marriage in a woman's life. Conduct books, therefore, displayed the same hopelessness about marriage as about the other major topoi they addressed but did not renounce the paradoxical belief that reason and virtue would be able to win and create a new conjugality. The grim reality of marriage that Reyre, Puisieux, Graillard, and Cerfvol painted added another dark shade to the tableau that conduct books gradually unveiled to their adolescent readers. Love was characterized as a source of disorder, a poisonous emotion synonymous with loss of self-control. The consensus about the means to save the conjugal relationship from its destructive course pointed to the disavowal of love and the embracing of friendship with the esteem and respect that it supposed.