One of the sites that I peruse from time to time is Modern Mechanix. If you've never been there you should visit sometime. Its a cool blog-like showcase of vintage magazine articles from publications like Popular Mechanics, Modern Mechanics, Popular Science, and others no longer in print. I'm the most interested in articles from the 1920's through the 1940's. Its a really interesting place to get your "vintage technology geek" on.
They also have articles from less techno-centric magazines. One of those often featured is a magazine called Physical Culture.
Modern Mechanix recently reprinted an article from the Physical Culture edition that came out back in October of 1930. The article was one woman's advice to married couples regarding the secret to success in married life. I found the article itself pretty fascinating. If you're married, or considering taking the plunge, you might be well served to read it.
Now... before you go off and read it, you'll have to remember that this was written 80 years ago. The terminology and phrasing and general outlook were obviously somewhat different back then. Its easy to read the first few paragraphs and think that its nothing more than an outdated, male-centered piece. I think many modern folk may just glaze the surface of the piece and then ricochet off into a tizzy of gender equality furor... You can see some of that taking place in the comments for the article on the Modern Mechanix site.
Here's a little snippet of what I'm talking about from the article:
If the woman in the next block would remember that she married her husband because he was her superior, and content herself with her pride in him and her delight in serving him, as she did during the first year of their marriage, all might be well with them. But no! Having married him, she suddenly decides that he should become commonplace like herself. She has carved deep lines in her face and pinched in her mouth during the years she has spent railing because he appears to her “queer and highbrow.” While he withdraws into himself, except at such times as he vents his wrath upon her “stupidity,” and dreams of the woman he might have married. He paid for a cook in a gingham wrapper, and he wants—and grumbles because he did not get—a houri in a trailing robe with star-dust in her hair.
Somewhere... Gloria Steinem's head just exploded.
See what I mean? The way that's pitched above makes me cringe a little bit. When you read words like "superior" and "delight in serving him", its easy to dismiss the rest of the piece out of hand as totally irrelevant to us today.
You have to keep going, though, before you realize the underlying point that the author is trying to make. You have to read the piece through the lenses of 80 years of changing perceptions, while still seeing the commonality of the problems she is describing. She cuts both ways with her analysis. Neither men nor women escape her attention.
What she suggests is pretty damned simple. You really should read the whole article, but I'll summarize:
Understand exactly who it is that you are marrying. See them, honestly, for who they are. Once you make the committment to get married, treat it as exactly that - a committment. And once you've done that, here's what she suggests:
I am convinced of this: unless there is actual dislike or antagonism from the beginning (and there seldom is), marriage can, nine times out of ten, be made successful, if you go at it rightly. You need three things to start with: a “till death us do part” attitude, a determination on both sides to make the best of it, and a similar sense of humor!
And that advice applies to both sexes. Its not a matter of one person "settling". Its a matter of both parties being adult enough to put the necessary effort into the marriage, while being realistic and grounded in what exactly it is they are dealing with. Its largely a matter of maturity.
Again, neither the author nor myself proposes that such an approach is applicable for everyone. As well, if both parties aren't willing to commit their time and effort into the solution it probably won't work. But if both parties walk into the marriage with their eyes open - its stunningly simple and good advice.