With that thought in mind let's take up the seven big trouble-
THE MAN WHO TRAVELS A LOT. This includes not only the traveling
salesman, whose reputation for waywardness has a great deal of
basis in fact, but also traveling entertainers, truck drivers, profes-
sional soldiers, casual laborers, railroad workers, air pilots. There
are also multitudes of others whose work requires stopovers or
prolonged stays away from home. It is the mobility of the job
rather than the fact that unreliable characters work in them that
produces the trouble. Lonesome and dissatisfied, the mobile person
seeks substitutes which create strife at home when they are learned
of, and feelings of guilt with the man even when they aren't. Such
a mobile person is more likely to come in contact with other women
who may seem very attractive to him since he is denied the com-
panionship and daily affection of his family. There seems to be
absolutely no doubt that those occupations which are somewhat
fixed, that is, which require little or no traveling, provide happier
marriages, other things being equal.
Wives can counteract the danger by frequently arranging to
accompany the husbands on trips they may make. Even though the
wife may have children, there are many trips on which she can
accompany her husband. In most cases the husband, far from resent-
ing her presence, welcomes it because he does get lonely and bored
traveling in strange towns.
Even though the wife is busy she should take time out to accom-
pany her husband over his entire territory so that she sees some
of the problems he faces and meets some of the people he has to
work with. In doing this she serves two purposes : she is better able
to talk to her husband intelligently about his work if she knows
How to Pic\ a Mate
the operation and the people involved. This will encourage him
to unburden his occupational problems to her rather than think
she is just a dumb housewife and take them elsewhere or brood
over them. The second purpose is that by letting his associates on
the route see her she makes them more aware of the fact that
he is a happily married man and they will thus be less likely to
put temptations in his way.
In taking normalizing actions such as these, a girl can more
safely choose a mate whose work keeps him mobile and with less
fear that the marriage will be hazardous.
THE MAN NOBODY KNOWS. If the groom earns his income outside
the community where you will live and is seen very little there,
he will feel less desire for social approval of his conduct. To put
it in sociological terms, he will not be under close "community
scrutiny." Thus he is more susceptible to the temptation of heavy
drinking, gambling, or other women than the man whose job
does come under community scrutiny. Examples of the latter are
teachers, ministers, storekeepers, and town officials. These men all
come into a great deal of daily contact with the members of the
community and thus are more concerned about "keeping up appear-
ances." Other things being equal, the greater the degree of social
control exerted, the greater the happiness of the marriage.
If a girl does marry a man who doesn't come under this scrutiny,
she can to some extent bring him under it by being seen with her
husband at many public places, encouraging him to join with her
in participating in many community activities, by introducing her
husband to many different people and letting them know the kind
of work he does.
THE MAN WHO WORKS AT ABNORMAL HOURS. During the war we
came to hear a lot about the swing shifters. But in war or peace
there are millions of men who keep unusual hours policemen,
newspapermen working on morning newspapers, bartenders, night
watchmen, etc. They can -make it difficult for a wife, particularly
if she is a mother, to adapt her daily routine of living to the shifting
hours of work. This is destructive to happiness because husband
Will a Job Undermine the Marriage?
and wife have too little opportunity to be with each other. Further-
more not many men can change their hours of sleep from week
to week without becoming irritable. If he has children he is denied
the normal opportunities to play with them. All the evidence we
have indicates that occupations which require working late are not
as likely to be associated with marital happiness as those occupations
which permit working during the daylight hours.
In one case a couple married seven years were on the verge of
divorce within four months after the husband took a night job.
He had become lonely because he missed all his normal associations
and finally had fallen in love with a waitress at an all-night lunch-
room where he ate. Happily the wife kept her senses and instead
of agreeing to the divorce merely asked for a postponement of the
decision for a few months. Meanwhile she got busy and made
a greater effort to make home a more appealing place to him.
She rearranged the schedule of the children so they could be with
their father an hour every day, she began paying more attention to
her own grooming and arranged her own schedule so that she
could sleep at the same time her husband did two days a week.
Soon the husband lost interest in the other woman.
THE MAN WHOSE INCOME Is IRREGULAR. This includes all salesmen
working on commission, free-lance writers, small business owners,
seasonal workers, lawyers, physicians, brokers, plumbers, architects,
etc. One fact that has been noticed repeatedly in marriage studies
is that regularity of income has a considerable influence upon mar-
riage happiness. Apparently couples having regular incomes are
better able to plan their expenditures and savings, to be neither
flush at one time nor impoverished at another, and are better able
to work out long-term financial plans. At any rate there seems to
be a good deal less bickering where the income is regular. To live
happily with a man with a fluctuating income the mates need to
show the wisdom of the Biblical Joseph, by saving during fat
months for lean months, and by keeping an unusually rigorous eye
on the accounts. If they can save up a real backlog, and can take
a philosophical attitude toward the whimsies of his income, they
How to PicJ^ a Mate
should have no more trouble than the average couple. The savings
will provide a psychological cushion as well as a real one.
THE MAN WHOSE WORK Is DIRTY OR NERVE-RACKING. We know a
farmer who says his wife is so annoyed by his dirty clothes that she
won't touch them and won't let him inside her house until he
puts on dress shoes. Such wives should remember that dirt is an
honorable mark of a farmer's, a mechanic's, or a coal miner's occu-
pation. And perhaps if approached good-naturedly, he can be per-
suaded to change to clean clothes before leaving the site of his
Other husbands have jobs whose work is noisy, tense, or exact-
ing. This includes steeplejacks, tunnel builders, foundry workers,
pilots, etc. The jobs leave the husband emotionally exhausted and
highly irritable. The wife of such a man will find herself involved
in repeated quarreling and sniping unless she realizes the husband's
state of mind when he comes home and sees to it that he has a warm
bath and an hour of rest and relaxation before she disturbs him
or approaches him with any family problems.
THE MAN WHO FEELS INSECURE IN His JOB. Job security, like regu-
larity of income, is an important factor in marriage happiness. A
number of studies have shown that the most contented and satis-
fied men are those who feel secure in their job. The assurance of
permanence enables the man to be serene. When a man feels in-
secure in his job he is more likely to change jobs frequently, hoping
to improve his tenure. This constant changing of not only jobs but
the accompanying new neighborhoods and school systems for the
family produce frayed nerves and many annoying problems. Loss
of work, even tfhough it is temporary, brings worry over where
the next meal is coming from, brings in the possibility of public
relief, lowers the man's self-respect and may decrease his wife's
confidence in him as a worth-while husband and provider. Un-
doubtedly one of the reasons for the rise of the divorce rate after
the great depression was the tension engendered by threat of un-
employment which placed great strains upon family living.
If a girl marries a man in such a status she should be prepared
Will a Job Undermine the Marriage?
to help her husband by not being critical of his work and by not
throwing it up to him that he is unable to get a permanent job.
She can even encourage, and sympathetically help him get some
specialized training that may prepare him for a better job which
offers greater security. Perhaps he can do it at night or by corre-
spondence courses. Far more men than do would seek to improve
their vocational skills if their wives would encourage and inspire
them to become more competent.
THE MAN WHO is NOT PROUD OF His JOB. Social prestige of an
occupation is an intangible factor that nevertheless has a great deal
to do with marital happiness. A man is more likely to work out
a happy marriage when he is engaged in work that is approved
and respected by the community. If the man is a gravedigger or
bill collector or dogcatcher the wife, and particularly the children,
may be sensitive about the lack of prestige involved. If such a mar-
riage is to succeed, the wife must realize that her man is perform-
ing an essential function in the community. Further, she should
realize that if such a family seems to live happily together, if they
are active in church and community affairs and lead respected
lives, they will be accepted for what they are and not for what
the man's occupation happens to be. One of the happiest, most
respected men we know is the garbage collector in a New England
We repeat, the seven types of men we have just discussed are not
necessarily to be shunned as mates. But girls marrying them should
realize the problems that may be involved.
The Veteran as a Mate
MOST of the marriages from now until 1955 will involve veterans
of World War II. It is probable that at least eight million veterans
will marry by then. During these years our marriage rate is ex-
pected to be the highest in our history.
For this reason, if for no other, it is pointless to make any special
problem of the veteran, as so many people are trying to do. It is
true that war changes men, but it also changes the girls who stayed
at home and for that matter the men who happened to stay at
home. There is no need to discuss the question, "Should a girl
marry a veteran?" because most girls will marry veterans anyhow,
and there is no reason why they should hesitate.
But what we will do now is point out some of the changes that
occurred while the man was away so that the veteran and the girl
can understand each other better.
In many ways the veteran is a better prospective mate than when
he went away. He may have acquired some good habits in the
Army: getting up on time, taking care of personal belongings,
orderliness. His horizon may have broadened and he may have
learned to. be more tolerant. He probably has matured beyond his
chronological age. He has learned a great deal about loyalty to a
cause, perseverence and patience, all of which will help make him
a better mate. Often he has achieved a needed emotional inde-
pendence from home and mother. He has become practical and
Most important of all, perhaps, he learned while away to appre-
ciate the value of marriage and the home. He yearns more than
The Veteran as a Mate
anything to settle down in some quiet place with a nice girl and
raise a family. He has had enough running around and being at
The veteran, of course, has lost and gained certain skills, he may
seem crude and he may appear to have lower ideals and standards.
He worries a great deal about the future, is somewhat unsure of
himself in some civilian situations. Ernie Pyle the late, famed war
correspondent pointed out some of these changes when he wrote:
Our men can't make the change from normal civilians into warriors
and remain the same people. Even if they were away from you under
normal circumstances . . . they would not come home just as you knew
them. . . . They are bound to be different people from those you sent
away. . . . They are rougher. . . . Killing is a rough business. . . . Lan-
guage has changed from mere profanity to obscenity. . . . They miss
women. . . . They expressed longings. . . . Their whole conduct show
their need for female companionship. . . . Money value means nothing
to them. ... A man learns to get what he needs by "requisitioning."
It isn't stealing, it's the only way to acquire certain things. . . . War
puts old virtues in a changed light. We shall have to relearn a simple
fundamental or two when things get back to normal.
The standards of fighting men are those of men living without
women, of men who have lost many of the moral values of our
normal living. If they hadn't lost them they wouldn't have been
good killers. Some of them have feelings of guilt and remorse from
cheap women they have known. Others are shy and withdrawn
because they have had long periods of isolation away from women.
As a result of the war many veterans have open or subconscious
conflicts involving weakened morals, shattered values, duties to
others, "debt" the government owes them, opportunities they have
missed, war injuries or handicaps they incurred. They are bothered
about whether to return to school . . . whether to go back to the
"old" sweetheart . . . whether to remain in the Army. Some have
feelings of inferiority as they try to make their way into a strange
world or return to an almost forgotten world. In the Army or
Navy they learned to let others take the responsibilities and the
initiative. They made fun of the "eager beavers" and learned to
How to Pic\ a Mate
regard "goldbricking" (evading hard work) as a virtue. But in
civilian life, ambition and hard work are two of the great virtues.
In addition to all these issues to worry them, they face the job of
deciding what to do. In one survey of soldiers, about seven per cent
said they would return to school on a full-time schedule with or
without government aid. Another twenty-eight per cent said they
would go back to school if government aid was provided. That
makes thirty-five per cent who hope to go to school. (But many of
them probably won't.) Most of these hoping- to return were under
twenty-five. About half of all the men hoped to return to their old
job or to a new job in their same community.
The average veteran has four alternatives of action: He can go
back to school; he can go back to his old or a similar job; he can
go into a job for the first time; he can select a new field of work.
Most of them want a vacation, a wife, and a job, though not neces-
sarily in that order.
Some of the men will have feelings of insecurity. Some of them
have never worked before. They are asking themselves: Can I get
a job? Will my old job be waiting for me? (This particularly dis-
turbs men who are being released relatively late.) Is my girl going
to marry me? Was she loyal to me while I was gone?
If you are a girl considering the possibility of marrying a veteran,
here are thoughts you might keep in mind.
You must assume he is a normal person and treat him like one.
Even if he doesn't seem to be he should make the adjustment to civilian
life within a few months.
Don't confess any "misdeeds" of your own they .will only upset
him and add nothing either to the present adjustment or future hap-
Talk out your problem, your futures, carefully and in detail. This
will help both of you be sure of the responsibilities you face in marriage
and will cause both of you to plan systematically and not haphazardly
about the future.
If you agree to marry, go ahead and be married in church with a
conventional ceremony with all the trimmings. Unless he is terribly
The Veteran as a Mate
opposed, don't be contented with less than a church or home wedding
with the friends and families of both present. Studies have shown that
marriages that took place within the sanctity of the church tend to be
happier than those that do not.
In dealing with him during the first few weeks don't tell him what to
do or where to go. Make him feel relaxed, encourage him to wait on
you, make him feel useful.
If you are a returning veteran you should accept the fact that you
are going to find your girls different from when you left. And it
won't be all aging. They have been working in greater numbers
than ever before and on the surface are more independent. In spite
of this, remember that girls want to be treated gently and consider-
ately. They still love soft lights and sweet music, they want to hear
your compliments, they want that tender good-night kiss if they
like you, and that romantic conversational interplay.
You must not forget that you have been away a long time. You
may find your feminine psychology rusty. Girls are still soft and
sentimental, still wanting to be made love to, still wanting to marry
and make homes and have your children. Don't let the inhumanity
of war make you cynical. Such an attitude would keep you from
finding the mate with whom you can be happy.
Will you pick your mate or will she pick you? Because of the
surplus of women over men now you can do the picking. You don't
have as much ground for wondering whether you will marry as the
girls do. But will you pick your own mate? Probably not. It has
been said : "A man rushes after a woman until she catches him."
Actually, picking a mate nowadays is a mutual process; both of
you pick each other. It is a complicated process and probably neither
of you knows quite what is going on. Part of the time one of you
may be more aware of what is going on than the other; part of the
time neither of you is sure.
What kind of a mate should you look for ? These things have been
covered in detail in previous chapters. However here are a few
thoughts that take on particular pertinence when applied to veterans.
How to Pic\ a Mate
Will she make me a good wife ? Can she cook, sew, run a home ?
Is she the sort of girl I would like to have as a mother of my chil-
dren? Will she wear well? Don't pick her just because she is glam-
orous because glamor and good looks are largely cosmetic processes
anyway. Is she selfish or is she considerate of me and my well-being ?
What are her good traits ? What are her poor traits ?
Don't marry a girl who has traits that are opposite of your own
unless she is opposite only in good traits which you lack. For ex-
ample, if your own parents were unhappily married, pick a girl
whose parents were happily married. If you feel unsure of yourself,
pick a reliant, confident girl. If you are quite irritable, be sure to
get a mate who is definitely tranquil.
What about the men who have been physically or mentally hurt
by the war? Should a girl shun a man who has a war injury?
In World War II, which lasted some forty-four months, casualties
of one sort or another exceeded one million men, with nearly three
hundred thousand lives lost and with fifteen thousand veterans los-
ing an arm or leg or more members of his body.
To learn how girls would feel toward marrying injured men, the
senior author asked five hundred girls whether they would marry
veterans with any of thirty-three different types of war injuries. The
injuries included such things as loss of speech, loss of two eyes,
complete deafness, recurrent malaria, loss of hair and eyebrows due
to burns, several fingers missing, injuries to head including replaced
nose, ear, teeth and jaw. Many of the girls queried were engaged
It was interesting to note that older girls showed a greater will-
ingness to marry injured men than the younger girls. This may be
due to the fact that the older girls are more concerned about their
chances of marrying. Also, engaged girls showed a greater willing-
ness than unengaged girls. The reason for this may be that engaged
girls know the capabilities of their fiances and can see how their
men could be successful at a job and marriage in spite of an injury.
Of the thirty-three injuries, only four were checked by the major-
ity of engaged girls as serious enough to impel them to withdraw
from their engagements. Those four, in order were:
The Veteran as a Mate
Loss of both arms in such a way that they can't be
replaced with artificial arms
Mental unbalance requiring institutional confinement
for several months or longer
Loss of both legs so that they are not replaceable.
While, as you notice, these fiancees felt extremely reluctant to
marry a man who had lost his sexual potency, only a small propor-
tion (16%) would refuse to marry an ex-soldier who had become
sterile. Inasmuch as most of the engaged girls would not marry a
man who had become sexually impotent it is clearly evident that
sexual activity is regarded in a far different light than having chil-
dren. Most of the girls would marry if they could have sex even
though there were no possibility of conceiving children.
When the unengaged girls were queried, eight injuries were listed
by the majority, including the four mentioned by the engaged girls.
The additional four were:
Loss of speech
Loss of one leg and one arm, when neither is replace-
General permanent bad health
Mental instability that requires no institutionalizing.
It was interesting to note that neither group showed a majority
opposing blindness. Also, note that these girls listed loss of limbs
only where they were not replaceable. Most girls professed willing-
ness to marry men if their lost limbs could be replaced by artificial
ones. All of the girls seem to have been deeply impressed by the
progress made in rehabilitating the injured. Many had seen the
amazing results with their own eyes and so had lost their fears about
marrying men with such injuries.
Probably seventy-five thousand returning veterans may have hear-
ing impairments. But with hearing aids or lip-reading, most of
these men can be fairly normal within a few months.
Even though a girl hesitates about marrying an impotent man,
much of impotence is psychologically caused and if so is curable.
How to Pic^ a
Furthermore the newer sex hormones science has discovered are
Here are a couple of precautions that should be observed in mar-
riages involving injured men:
No girl should marry a veteran because of pity. It should be for love.
No veteran should hesitate to marry just because he has a defect,
providing the two love each other, one of them (preferably he) can
make a living, and providing they have discussed the handicap and both
understand its nature and limitations.
They should give themselves a waiting period, just as any other two
people who have been separated should do, for say six months before
Remember that few people are one hundred per cent perfect phys-
ically. Under usual conditions, eighteen per cent of our working popu-
lation has a definite physical defect or chronic disease. Of our war
handicapped, it is believed that some eighty per cent can be placed, by
careful selection of jobs, in work where they can be happy and just as
productive in that particular job as they would be without the handicap.
Another twelve or thirteen per cent will need rehabilitation before such
placement can be made. Another five per cent will need extensive reha-
bilitation and even then will have to be placed in "sheltered" work.
What about the psychological casualties of war? Here we do have
a real problem. Before the end of the war a third of the Army's
discharges were psychoneurotic cases of one form or another. But
you should also remember that about one-sixth of the men rejected
by the draft, the 4-F's, were rejected for neuropsychiatric reasons. The
fact is that close to one-fourth of all the single men in this country
are maladjusted to some extent. This helps explain the terrific rise
in the rate of divorce.
Psychoneurosis is a broad term covering "combat fatigue," "war
nerves,'' ulcers and other psychosomatic disturbances. In World
War I it was misleadingly referred to as "shell shock." Don't feel
there is something lacking in a veteran who suffered a psychological
breakdown because the facts show that unskilled "bad eggs" are