the responses of the many hundreds of students and present below
those qualifications mentioned by at least fifty per cent of the
QUALIFICATIONS FOR MARRIAGE VOTING FOR THEM
Freedom from venereal disease 100%
Freedom from feeble-mindedness 99%
(If sterilized, 24% would permit marriage)
Freedom from insanity 97%
Freedom from criminality 94%
Freedom from dipsomania 91%
Freedom from drug addiction 85%
Freedom from neuroticism 76%
Proof by groom that he can support bride 69%
(This includes evidence of occupational proficiency and
at least $150 in savings)
Record of no more than one divorce, if any 50%
Other qualifications suggested but receiving less than forty-five
per cent of the votes were freedom from tuberculosis, cancer,
epilepsy and fatal heart disease, freedom from sterility and from
People Who Should Not Marry at All
inherited physical defects. About ninety-seven per cent of the stu-
dents thought that both men and women should have premarital
physical exams that would determine freedom from venereal
We feel that there is a great deal of merit to the qualifications
raised by the students. With those as a starting point we have pre-
pared nine questions which you should ask yourself and be able
to answer yes. They are minimum qualifications for marriage. We
feel you should have serious doubts about the advisability of marry-
ing another person if you answer no to even one of the questions.
Here they are:
Is YOUR MATE SANE AND FROM A FAMILY IN WHICH No INSANITY is
PRESENT? Except in pronounced forms, psychoses are not easily
diagnosed. The borderline between sanity and insanity is no more
distinct than is the line between black and white. All shades of
gray exist. Many paranoidal persons roam the streets of our country
and in many cases are able to carry the responsibilities of normal
life, at least until they encounter continued frustration which will
bring the insanity into an easily recognizable form. Insanity is not
easily detected unless there is uncontrolled behavior or pronounced
incompetence in obeying normal standards of behavior. In a recent
book issued through the National Committee for Mental Hygiene
there is a statement that one out of twenty-five persons reaching
adulthood should be confined. Another four out of twenty-five are
severely neurotic and another eight are handicapped by milder
neurotic disturbances. On the basis of these findings at least one
person in four is severely maladjusted and at least one in two is
maladjusted to some extent.
If you are concerned about the mental balance of any possible
mate, you might ask yourself these questions:
Has he been confined at some time in a mental institution?
Has he been rejected or released from military service because of out-
right mental disturbances ?
Does his family have a history of insanity?
Is he free from syphilis?
How to Pic\ a Mate
Has he ever suffered from severe injury damaging the brain?
Do you know if he has shown extreme aberrations on any psychological
tests to measure abnormalities of mental funtion?
Has he failed to discharge the responsibilities of life in a legal, com-
petent, conventional manner?
Has he any record of uncontrollable rages resulting in injuries to
Does his family physician question his sanity?
While it is possible that he might be sane though you answered
yes to some of these questions, the odds are against it. You should
keep in mind however that many boys discharged from this past
war as neuropsychiatric cases are not insane and most of them will
be able to settle down within a few months after their discharge
and earn a livelihood and live a normal life.
Is YOUR MATE LAW-ABIDING, DOES HE HAVE A RECORD FREE OF
CRIMINAL OFFENSES AND ARE His PARENTS LIKEWISE LAW-ABIDING?
Many employers, including the federal and state governments, hesi-
tate to employ a person with a criminal record. The habitual crim-
inal is not easily cured. Certainly three or more convictions for
criminal offenses should indicate a personality pattern adverse to
marriage happiness. In New York State, four convictions for
criminal offenses automatically result in life imprisonment.
Is YOUR MATE IN FAIRLY GOOD PHYSICAL HEALTH GENERALLY AND
FREE FROM VENEREAL DISEASE? Most of the states have passed
laws providing statutory protection against syphilis. These states
contain about three-fourths of the total population of the country.
It is interesting that about one person in a hundred taking pre-
marriage blood tests is found infected with syphilis. In these days
of the miracle sulfa drugs and penicillin, cures of venereal disease
can be effected in a matter of weeks. Syphilis is a blighting disease
which, if uncured, will wreck any marriage sooner or later. Any-
one who is in chronic bad health due to other ailments adds a
severe burden to any marriage.
Is YOUR MATE FREE FROM USING DRUGS SUCH AS MORPHINE OR
HEROIN OR MARIJUANA? Addiction to the traditional drugs is not
People Who Should Not Marry at All
a serious problem in this country but a great many young people
have been taking to marijuana for quick "jags" under the impres-
sion that such jags are not dangerous. Musicians particularly often
use this drug. But it is a dope just as surely as opium is, its effect
can be just as vicious, and it is used only by persons who are unstable
emotionally and thus poor marriage risks to start with.
IF YOUR MATE DRINKS, is HE TEMPERATE IN THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC
BEVERAGES? The dipsomaniac is an alcohol addict just as the opium
smoker is a dope addict. He is characterized by an uncontrollable
craving for alcohol. In some people alcohol produces a temporary
feeling of well-being and elation, sometimes called euphoria. Be-
cause it does, people sometimes turn to drinking as an escape from
their unsolved problems. Bit by bit the habit of drinking is built
up. The person who marries a mate who is an excessive or habitual
drinker in the expectation of reforming him is due for a bitter
awakening. Marriage rarely cures drinking or any other abnormal
condition. Expert treatment is needed. In skilled hands the drunk-
ard is sometimes cured if he really convinces himself that he wants
tc be cured. But the cure is long and arduous and the proportion
of relapses is still great.
Is YOUR MATE INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO EARN A LIVING AND DIS-
CHARGE THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF LIFE COMPETENTLY? There is no
doubt that feeble-mindedness is inherited. Individual intelligence
tests usually indicate that any person is feeble-minded who scores
an IQ of seventy or less. (One hundred is average.) Even when
sterilization of a feeble-minded person is performed it still does
not seem reasonable to permit that person to marry since he can
rarely contribute to the success of a marriage and often cannot
earn a living.
Is YOUR MATE FAIRLY STABLE, WELL-ADJUSTED AND ABLE TO GET
ALONG WITH PEOPLE? There are many shades of nervous disorders
ranging from neurosis through psychoneurosis. The neurotic has a
minor nervous disorder. The psychoneurotic has some ailment
without organic basis which may involve hysteria, a paralysis or
How to PicJ^ a Mate
cramps. Many so-called miracle cures take place with persons who
actually have no physical disabilities but have the disability in their
In July 1945 such a "miracle" cure occurred at a military canteen.
A 20-year-old soldier was walking painfully around on crutches.
One of the junior hostesses asked him half -seriously if he would
like to dance. He stated that he would but that he couldn't even walk.
She replied that she was a big strong girl who could hold him up.
The soldier laughed, pushed his crutches under the table, stood
up shakily, clung to a chair, then to the hostess. Getting started
was difficult and he stumbled a time or two. Slowly they began
to dance. Amazingly the soldier began having less and less trouble
with his legs. They danced all through the evening and when the
soldier left to take her home he was walking perfectly and left
his crutches as a memento of his cure. As a result of a shrapnel
wound he had become convinced he would never walk again.
Under the stimulation of music, and the eagerness of a young girl
to dance, the soldier forgot his crutches. So it goes with psycho-
neurotics. They are convinced that their neck is paralyzed, that they
cannot hear or cannot see. Many such cases show immediate im-
provement once the war is over and the frustrations and fears of
war lift from them. But others retain their bodily symptoms of
psychological disturbance throughout their lives.
In this postwar world, marriageable girls will have to be con-
cerned about the mental disturbances of some ex-service males.
They should be sensible about these defects and realize they are
merely a product of war-imposed frustrations. But they should
be sure that they recognize the defects and are prepared to live
with them. About twenty per cent of all war casualties returned
to this country have been mental cases, and the fighting was so
grueling in some theaters of war, such as the Solomons, that the
percentages of psychological casualties have been known to rise
at times to as high as forty per cent of all casualties.
A neurotic or psychoneurotic needs skillful treatment from a
psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. A girl should hesitate to marry
such a person at least until a medical authority has pronounced
People Who Should Not Marry at All
that he is competent to make the adjustments that a marriage entails
and to fill the role, of a mate successfully.
Is YOUR MATE A PERSON WHO HAS NOT BEEN DIVORCED FROM Two
PREVIOUS MARRIAGES? Even a person with one divorce to his credit
is a hazard when he remarries. A person with two divorces should
definitely be shunned, if you hope to achieve a lasting and happy
Divorce is not inherited, but it does run in families. It is known
that persons whose own parents are divorced are much more likely to
seek divorce than those whose parents were not divorced. Divorce
is marriage bankruptcy, and any person who has failed twice in
marriage is unlikely to succeed in a third. A person with a record
of two divorces should have his right to marry anyone seriously
questioned. A bank would certainly hesitate to lend a man money
who had failed to pay a previous loan, and certainly would refuse
a loan to a person who had gone bankrupt twice before.
The couple that marries in haste frequently divorces in haste.
Thus one reason for many of our wartime divorces. Likewise the
couple that takes plenty of time before marriage rarely has to seek
a divorce, especially if that marriage results in children.
WILL You AND YOUR MATE BE ABLE TO SUPPORT YOURSELVES ? This
presumably will mean that before undertaking marriage one of
the mates preferably the man should demonstrate through a
work record that he is capable of earning a living. Under normal
circumstances, about one wife in six or seven works to supple-
ment the earnings of her husband. It is probable that not less than
one wife in fifty is the sole support of the family. The best way
to demonstrate ability to earn a living is for one of the mates
(again preferably the man) to demonstrate occupational proficiency
by at least one year of gainful employment.
It is also important that no couple should marry without a cash
reserve after the costs of the wedding. Sickness, possible pregnancy,
the furnishing of an apartment and other factors make some emer-
gency fund advisable. The Penn State students thought this saving
How to Pic^ a Mate
should amount at least to ten per cent of the estimated expenses
for the first year.
In making sure you are both physically fit for a happy marriage
we recommend that you submit to a premarital physical examina-
tion. In fact some couples like to have two premarital exams, one
just before they become formally engaged, and the second just
before they marry. It seems to us that if physical factors are found
which might seem undesirable to either member of the couple, or
to their families, it would be best that such conditions be discovered
before the formal engagement, to avoid embarrassment. The sec-
ond exam would be taken just before the marriage because the
laws of many states require that the physical exam be taken within
thirty days of the marriage date.
Whether you plan one or two exams, there should be one
thorough one, far more comprehensive than that required by law.
The typical physician, in order to keep the exam reasonable in price,
usually examines only far enough to find if the couple meet the
legal requirements, which are primarily concerned with freedom
from venereal disease. Here are some things that a comprehensive
exam should cover:
1. Physical defects that may be crippling or later impair the
ability of the individual to earn a living or make a home.
2. The hereditary history of each family should be checked for
the possibility of insanity or feeble-mindedness or other inherited
defects that might be transmitted to offspring even though not too
apparent in the person being examined.
3. Because most couples will want children, the reproductive
apparatus should be examined to see if reproduction is possible
and that the individual is free from defects that would make con-
ception impossible or childbirth hazardous. (This would mean
pelvic measurements for the female.) The possibility of sterility or
impotence should be checked and any physical factor that might
impair or prevent normal sexual relations should be treated.
4. There should be an investigation of the integrity and normal
functioning of the heart, respiratory apparatus and the central
People Who Should Not Marry at All
5. Freedom from venereal disease, both gonorrhea and syphilis,
should be ascertained.
The physical exam gives the physician an unusually good oppor-
tunity to allay any fears regarding sexual adjustment that either
person may have. At the examination just prior to the wedding,
the physician can give the girl instructions in the role of the female
in physical intimacy. There should be an explanation of orgasm,
and if desired, there can be instructions about birth spacing.
Even though some factors may be adverse that does not mean
you should refrain from marrying. It simply means that both of
you go into marriage with your eyes open. Furthermore, most
physical defects can be corrected, often even sterility. Much of the
impotence among young men is caused by psychological rather than
IS THE MATE A NEUROTIC?
And while you are at it you might ask yourself whether you are too.
Answer yes or no.
1. Is he or she easily fatigued?
2. Does he or she have many headaches?
3. Does the mate often feel blue?
4. Does he feel unhappy much of the time?
5. Does he frequently seem to feel lonely?
6. Does he often complain that he feels nervous and shaky inside?
7. Does he often seem to feel miserable?
8. Does he seem to find it hard to trust people?
9. Does it bother him to talk to strangers?
10. Are his feelings easily hurt?
11. Does he often have the feeling that the whole world is against him?
12. Is it apparently difficult for him to keep his mind on what he is
13. Is he troubled frequently with indigestion or heartburn?
How to Pic\ a Mate
14. Does he say that he sometimes gets so discouraged he feels like giv-
ing up ?
15. Docs he often feel weak or as though he were going to faint?
16. Does he often have pains in his hip or back?
17. Does he think that people talk about him behind his back?
18. Does he think he has had a great deal of hard luck in his life?
19. Does he say that people frequently play mean tricks on him?
20. Does he worry about many things?
21. Does he have trouble getting along with people?
22. Does he complain of being frequendy troubled with long periods of
insomnia or restless sleep?
23. Does he often appear lisdess, indifferent or uninterested in life
24. Is he suspicious of some of his acquaintances or friends ?
25. Are his habits of eating or sleeping irregular and peculiar?
An affirmative answer to any one of these questions does not mean
the person is a neurotic by any means. But a pattern of neuroticism is
apparently present in the person if he answered ten or more with yes.
He appears to be maladjusted to life. Ideally every question should be
answered no. If you feel you don't know the person well enough to
answer some of the questions, score only those you are sure of. Then, if
two out of five of your answers are yes, it would appear that the person
may be maladjusted. And incidentally, how did you make out yourself?
Will a Job Undermine the Marriage?
THE ONLY thought couples usually give to their respective careers
at the time they decide to marry is whether there will be enough
income to support them. Actually, the type of work the groom
does may produce irritations that may ruin the union. Or i the
bride wants to continue her career after marriage, that may cause
trouble if not handled care.fully.
Let's take the problem of the bride first. Should she continue her
career or devote all her energy to managing a home? There is,
of course, no final answer. We know of many married couples who
have worked out excellent relationships while the wife continues
her career. But we also know that such an arrangement is not
normal and that it often produces difficulties because of psycho-
logical factors. It is apt to be a blow to the husband's sense of
mastery of his own home if the bride decides that he can't support
her properly on his salary. It deprives the wife of the opportunity
to win the husband's affection and appreciation for her home-
making skill. Believe it or not, one very important appeal of mar-
riage to a man is to have his favorite dishes home-cooked and
waiting for him when he comes home from work. If the wife
has a career, the couple usually ends up eating out or eating
warmed-up delicatessen specials. Finally a career makes it difficult
for a wife to bear and rear children, and children are another of
the big values of marriage that hold couples together.
Homemaking is a definite career, and if there are children, a full-
time career. There is far more to making a home than the house-
keeping end of it. A homemaker is a physician when the husband
How to Pic\ a Mate
or child is sick; she is an interior decorator; she must be a good
cook and dietitian ; she must be an expert on clothing repair ; she
must be a good teacher and an expert on the psychology of handling
children; she must often be a judge in settling arguments; she
must be an expert purchasing agent because she will spend at least
eighty per cent of the family's income; she must be some sort of
bookkeeper if she keeps the budget and pays the bills; she must
be a repair man who can replace a fuse, repair an electric light
cord, put oil on a squeaking hinge.
If the average husband gave as mediocre a performance on his
job as many wives do as homemakers he would be fired. Un-
questionably one of the reasons why divorce is on the increase
is that careers and other diversions prevent wives from giving as
much attention and care to the art of homemaking as they once did.
Why do married women work? Here are the main reasons:
To enable themselves to have more luxurious and extra comforts
than the husband's income alone could afford.
Because marriage is not too satisfying to them and they are bored.
Because they do not want children.
Because they want to be independent financially.
Because they would rather hire somebody to do the housework than
to do it themselves.
Because they want an independent career.
Virtually all studies made show that the happiest married women
are those who do not work after marriage. In the study by Dr.
G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage, only forty-five per cent
of the women working after marriage had a "satisfactory" to "very
satisfactory" marriage compared to some fifty-five per cent of the
women not working after marriage who were happy in marriage.
Once a wife starts working, she may resolve to stop at the end
of a specific period, but by the time the deadline arrives she usually
finds a reason why she should continue a little longer. Frequently
she and her husband have bought things like an automobile that
prevent them from attaining enough stability financially to permit
Will a Job Undermine the Marriage?
her to stop working. She continues to work, thereby putting off
having children and perhaps never has them.
But now let's take up the greater and less understood dangers
involved in the types of work the groom does. Many wives today
think they are dissatisfied with their husbands when actually they
are dissatisfied with his working habits or his job.
For example, some jobs carry more social prestige than others.
Here are some twenty-four occupations rated by college students
(1940) on their prestige, with those with the highest prestige at the
top and those with the least prestige at the bottom:
1. Physician 13. Farmer (owner)
2. Clergyman 14. Insurance agent
3. Lawyer 15. Salesman
4. College professor 16. Bookkeeper
5. Manufacturer 17. Machinist
6. Banker 18. Carpenter
7. Artist or author 19. Barber
8. Man of leisure 20. Factory operative
9. Engineer (college trained) 21. Blacksmith
10. Factory superintendent 22. Soldier
11. School teacher 23. Truck driver
12. Storekeeper 24. Ditch digger
Richard O. Lang, as a graduate student at the University of
Chicago, made a study of marriage happiness based upon ratings
made by acquaintances of more than seventeen thousand married
couples. On the basis of his findings here is how fifty different
occupations rated on the descending scale of marital happiness. The
happiest are at the top and the least happy are at the bottom. Here
is the approximate order:
1. Chemical engineers 8. Accountants
2. Ministers 9. Civil engineers
3. College professors 10. Office workers
4. Teachers 11. Physicians
5. Engineers 12. Bankers
6. Wholesale salesmen 13. Newspaper workers
7. Chemists 14. Government workers
15. Cooperative officials
17. Large business owners
19. Store salesmen
24. Bank employees
25. Small store owners
26. Factory foremen
27. Garage owners
28. Mail clerks
29. Insurance salesmen
34. Salesmen, auto, etc.
35. Railroad office workers
36. Railroad workers
38. Bond salesmen
39. Skilled workers
41. Gas station employees
42. Truck drivers
44. Real estate salesmen
46. Auto mechanics
48. General mechanics
49. Traveling salesmen
One interesting statistic is that while eighty per cent of the clergy
had happy or very happy marriages (as assessed by their friends)
only forty per cent of salesmen had marriages at least as happy
or very happy, again as assessed by friends. Only eleven per cent of
the clergy seemed to be really unhappy in marriage while thirty-
six of the salesmen were.
Obviously education is not the determining factor in an occupa-
tion's happiness quota because physicians, lawyers and dentists,
who require more schooling than almost any other group, are defi-
nitely less happy in marriage than engineers, teachers and ministers.
Musicians rate very low, coming between truck drivers and real
estate salesmen, apparently because of the mobility and imperma-
nence of their jobs.
There are seven types of work that seem to be the major voca-
tional troublemakers. They don't need to produce trouble. In fact
if both the man and wife are aware of the potential dangers involved
and act accordingly trouble rarely occurs. But if they don't possess
such awareness, they may find it increasingly difficult to find happi-
ness through marriage. Both will be resentful without knowing
Will a Job Undermine the Marriage?
why. We don't advise girls to avoid marrying men in these types
of work. That would be ridiculous. But we do suggest that they
take the job into consideration. Then, if they go ahead and marry
the man, they will do it with their eyes wide open and with a plan
to remove the danger by normalizing their married life as much
as possible despite the job.