Weird History
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Take This 1930s "Marriage Test" To Determine How Healthy Your Relationship Is

Updated September 3, 2019 70k views10 items

Let's face it - 1939 was a different time. People were only just starting to figure out how much of a jerk Hitler was and the popular thoughts around marriage in the 1930s would be shocking to most of us today. Thankfully, there was the George W. Crane marital test, a quiz designed especially for husbands and wives to help them find out just how terrible or awesome they were for their partner. Of course, any 1930s marriage test is going to be a little bit different than one you would take today. Just like beauty standards have changed over time, so too have perspectives surrounding how you should act in a marriage. Read on to learn the shocking truth about how your great-grandparents were expected to behave toward their spouses. 

  • Photo: AMC

    Other Bedroom Antics Were Just As Vital

    Not everything that goes on in the bedroom involves sexy-time, and even modern couples would probably admit that how your partner acts in between is just as important. Dr. Crane thought so, too.

    Women often suffer from cold extremities and it is a burden that many men will never understand. Until, that is, women stick their icy feet on them in the middle of the night. And according to Dr. Crane this is not okay.

    Men on the other hand, need to stop leaving dresser drawers open in the bedroom after they get what they want out of them. And the snoring. Oh God, the snoring. That is rightly given demerits on Dr. Cranes list. Of course, no woman would ever be caught snoring because they're dainty and polite.

  • Photo: Focus Features

    Women Had To Be Multi-Talented

    Women also had to be extremely versatile. Not only did they have to prepare meals on time, but they also had to be the perfect hostesses (even if men brought home unexpected guests at the last minute, although he got demerits for that). Women also needed to exhibit at least basic sewing skills, replacing buttons and darning socks like it was no big deal. Plus, they had to keep the house clean at all times, all while maintaining a great sense of humor.

    Those requirements might not seem too weird, even in this day and age, but still more was expected of women, according to Dr. Crane. They also needed to be able to play a musical instrument, preferably the piano or violin. Maybe they needed to have this skill on hand to provide entertainment while the friends or co-workers of their husbands ate the perfectly on-time meal the women didn’t know they would have to provide.

  • Photo: AMC

    Fashion Was Everything

    You think you can just lounge around all day in your yoga pants, ladies? Think again. If you were a woman in the 1930s, you had better look like a fashion model at all times.

    According to Dr. Crane, your fashion show started first thing in the morning when you “dress[ed] for breakfast.” And it had better be something nice, because “soiled or ragged dresses and aprons” were not acceptable. And don’t ever let that seam in your pantyhose be crooked (hose used to have visible seams up the backs of the legs and apparently having it crooked gave people a reason to be disgusted).

    But don’t try to be too fancy. Wearing red nail polish was worthy of a demerit according to Dr. Crane. 

  • Photo: National Archives and Records Administration / Wikipedia

    Sundays Were For Double Standards

    Ah, Sundays. For most of you, probably a day of rest. And it certainly was for husbands in the 1930s. But forget about rest for women and children, they had better be at church being holy.

    According to Dr. Crane, women got a whopping 10 merit points if they made sure that their children got to Sunday school and that they themselves made it to church every Sunday. On the other hand, they also got merit points if they let their husbands sleep in late on Sundays. Obviously, it’s more important for the hard-working career man to sleep in on one of his days off, while the stay-at-home-mom gets up with the kids and herds them off to church, because, really, what has she been doing all week?