Q Dear Miss Abigail:
Will Brandon Boston and Brittney Chisolm get married and live happily ever after?
A Dear Brittney:
Oh wait, I changed my mind. No!
Ah, shucks, I don’t know.
Maybe you can decide for yourself, with a little help from Sex Behavior in Marriage, published by Charles A. Clinton in 1940. He’s an M.D., so we can trust him.
1940: Things to Know About One’s Sweetheart
Most young couples contemplating marriage have been acquainted with each other for some little time, though of course this is not always the case. But being acquainted with each other does not necessarily, and in fact does not usually mean, that they actually ‘know’ much about each other. The young man calls upon his sweetheart and is entertained by her in her home. He in turn entertains her by taking her out to dinner, to the theatre, to dances or to other social functions. Both are naturally on their good behavior ~ they put their best foot forward ~ they want to impress each other. They are particularly careful of their personal appearance, of their dress, of their manners. So it is frequently very hard to form any opinion of their real nature, tastes or character in all of this association. If they are thrown together a good deal in a perfectly informal way of course somewhat more can be learned. But in choosing a mate we have to go much deeper into the subject. One must, in order to be assured of future happiness, be sure that one’s life partner is entirely suitable in every way ~ physically, mentally, and morally; that his or her traits or characteristics will fit in with those of the one whom he or she is to marry. And there are many things to consider.
In the first place there is the question of physical fitness. This is of paramount importance and it means not only the present physical condition of the person but also his or her previous state of health. And of equal importance is the family history as regards disease. Is there any existing hereditary taint such as insanity or epilepsy? Even though there may be it does not mean that the person in question must necessarily become afflicted, but it so often happens that this is a matter which must be seriously considered. . . .
The matter of longevity is also important. Does one’s prospective mate comes from a long or a short lived family? If from a short lived family it is possible that the prospective mate may follow in the footsteps of his or her ancestors and die comparatively young. This of course does not always happen, especially if the cause for the short life of the parent or ancestor is know and can be prevented in the offspring. But, it is still an important factor and especially so to the young woman. Marrying a man who may be taken away in the prime of life or even earlier, perhaps before he has accumulated a sufficient fortune to take care of his family should he die, or where he perhaps cannot on account of a bad family history get an adequate amount of life insurance, is a serious matter to consider. Again he may leave a wife with a family of children which have to be reared and cared for which may prevent her from, if necessary, earning her own living.
Source: Clinton, Charles A. Sex Behavior in Marriage. New York: Pioneer Publications, 1940.
~ pp. 76-78 ~