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: Focus Features
Never Think About What Could Have Been
Sometimes you might have a thought or two about how life could have been different if you had never married your spouse. Well, Dr. Crane wants to squash those thoughts, and probably for good reason as divorce was far less common in the 1930s. Basically, never think about what might have been.
Women got five demerit points if they didn't like children, assumedly even the ones they gave birth to. They also lost five points if they flirted with other men at parties.
Men, on the other hand, got in trouble for criticizing their wives in public, or comparing them unfavorably with the wives of others, or even with their own mothers. They also lost points for “publicly” praising how awesome it was to be single or openly regretting getting married. Forget points, that deserves a kick to the groin.
Men were also not supposed to flirt with other women at parties, but even if they did, women then lost points for being suspicious or jealous, so that’s really just a no-win situation for the wife.
- Photo: Library of Congress / Wikipedia
It All Came Down To Being Polite, Really
A few of the items on Dr. Crane's list still make sense today. Women were asked not to be backseat drivers (obviously it was just the men driving, because this wasn’t some sort of Mad Max apocalypse or anything).
Men were expected to give their wives frequent compliments, as well as help with the dishes and the children. They were expected to be polite even when they were alone with their spouse. Date nights were recommended at least once a week, but you got five points for every extra one you went on. And remembering important dates like birthdays and anniversaries were worth five points as well. When it came to negative things, men were expected to phone if they would be late for dinner and never burp or blow their noses at the table, and if they did they needed to apologize for it to prove they weren’t animals.