What to look for in a husband in 1939!



I bought a great book a few months ago and it contacts some very old fashion advice to women, including advice on finding one's husband. I would love to share some of this advice and ponder how much has changed in 77 years:

1939 Ladies Handbook for home treatments . . . 

In choosing a partner for life there are many things to be considered. The young woman should choose a man of high ideals, noble character, and a pure life; a man of sound constitution and good heredity. He could be of suitable age, of pleasing disposition, and her equal, though not her superior, in social position. 

He should be a young man of proven worth, not flitting from one position to another and making a success of none. He should have demonstrated his ability to earn a reasonable living and to provide for the necessities and comforts of a family. We do not suggest that an accumulated fortune is essential to the happiness of the wedded fait, though a few pounds in the bank do not come amiss in case of accident, sickness, or other emergency. But though a man possess all these and other virtues, if she loves him not, she can have no assurances of happiness if wedded to him

I doubt most modern women think about these things when they go out on their first date with their potential future husband. In fact do modern girls look across the table at the man they are eating dinner with and think "is this my future husband" or are they thinking "lets have a fun night and perhaps some sex thrown in"? I think the later. 

In 1939 things were very different. Girls (nice girls) didn't have causal dates, each man was their potential further husband as getting married was serious business.  And  part of their search for a future husbands, they were also encourage to think about the following:  does he have a stable job, earning enough to keep a future wife comfortably, has any money in the bank.  Sadly, not long after this book was published war broke out and the world was turn up-side-down and many girls did marriage with a lot of uncertainty, including whether or not their brand-new husbands would ever return alive. 

Today things are very different — student debt and the difficulty of finding a substantial job is much harder to meet this critical in 2016.  Even with a university degree, there is no guarantee of a permanent work (with a good income) and for those who choose to work in hospitality or retail — many jobs are casual and its easy to be sacked and almost impossible to build up a saving nest egg. Sadly — for many men and women, it can take a number of years to pay off debts accumulated as a result of higher education and which sadly delays many young people from getting married.  

I found a perfect example of this in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 16th March: 

"A science graduate from Melbourne's La Trobe University, the 27-year-old has worked casually as a labourer since completing his honours degree in 2015 and is now cramming for the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test. A couple of years of full-time work and a stretch playing college basketball in the US made him a late starter at university. If offered a place in 2017, he faces four more years on the books and a student debt he estimates will hit $80,000."

Another differences between 1939 and 2016 — young people (girls and boys alike) want to have fun before they settle down, this includes traveling the world and gap years. People are no longer in a hurry to marry and start families and want to live a little before settling down.  During this time they tend to spend money and not save, so even when they get married, they still don't have much saved for the future. 

However — even with these modern handicaps, one can still marry but need to be willing to lower their standards — i.e. rent a home instead of buy. Buy second-hand furniture instead of new, cut back on eating out, eat simply, reduce overseas travel etc... My son married young and he and his wife had a very small income for a few years, but surprisingly, they have managed to save and live well but frugally. Over time, my son's income has increased and they have been able to spend a little more.  As they married young they haven't seen the world but one day they will and they will do it together. 

PS I am bound to share more of this great book with you over the coming months! :)





Comments

  1. I enjoyed this post greatly. I wish I had prepared for marriage better. It would have made life much easier from the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also wish I had done things differently - but we can't go back and fix things and hindsight is such a great thing!!

      Delete
  2. I would like to think that I had most of those criteria, when I met my husband,42 years ago. One thing for sure, we love each other!
    It's fun to look back at history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The book is full of gems which I plan to share :)

      Delete
  3. It sounds like a very interesting book, although there are so many books in the world that I'm not sure I'd ever get around to reading it, so I'm glad you're sharing some of the best parts with us!! It is very intriguing to see the huge differences in society, people and traditions even over such a relatively short period of time... The world has changed very rapidly since the early 1900s. I sometimes wonder how much more change will happen, or whether the changes are starting to slow down now.
    It's very hard to start marriage financially "secure" these days, unless you're willing to get married when you're older. But who wants to wait that long if you already know who you want to marry when you're young??! Might as well experience life together, married, than to wait until you have all your ducks in a row!! It might be tough, but you learn and grow through it together and come out stronger as a couple and stronger as individuals as a result, I think. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it is more fun to grow together and work hard for what you have than have the money in the bank when you marry. Who cares if the furniture is second-hand , it really does matter or that things are tight in the beginning - it's meant to be a journey !!

      Delete
  4. This sounds like a neat book.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a different world it would be if people really did approach dating with this attitude. Not that I can say I did it myself either, but now I have a grown daughter and the only good thing one can say about her boyfriend of 7 years is "he's cute." Meanwhile she is wasting her youth supporting him since he can never seem to find or keep a job. As women we ought to all think a lot less about "cute" and a lot more about what kind of partner a man will be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you think young people in 1939 were just much more mature and wiser than the modern young adult? I think so - perhaps because we have babied them far too long, where as only a couple of generations ago people grew up much faster and had to be more responsible. You didn't see young people taking time off to travel, they went out and earned because money wasn't as easy to get. Its very much a different time.

      Delete
  6. Great post! My Mother offered similar advice! : )

    It is very destructive when parents advise their children that "having a little fun before settling down" is the wise course of action. It would be so much better for the children if their parents advised them to think of living serious & virtuous lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My son wasn't interested in getting married so I was amazed and very thankful that he decided to at 24. Whilst most people thought he was too young - he has had just as much fun - but with his wife and not alone. Sadly we live in a society that think that you can't have fun once married :(

      Delete
  7. It is interesting how our focus has changed even since I was a girl. While I believe love and attraction certainly play a big part in choosing a partner, young adults could be a lot wiser in their choices of who they get involved with in the first place. So much pain and heartache could be avoided. BTW I'm your neighbor at Titus 2 Tuesdays. Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am almost 50 and times have really changed just in my life time when it come to dating and marriage. I read an article today about young people no longer see marriage for life, but a time and then they move on to someone else. Sad :(

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Art Wednesday: Thomas Kinkade

Art Wednesday: Books and reading

New Years Resolutions

K is for kitchens

Art Wednesday: Changing seasons

L is for like