Enemies of Marriage

Stop Laughing!
Friday Fiction: The Major and the Librarian

Marriage Insurance coverMarriage Insurance
Ward
1955

Submitter: I work in the library of a small religious college.  Before about 5 years ago, no real weeding had taken place since the library opened.  It is taking time, but we are making our way through the collection and finding some crazy stuff.  In today’s edition of Crazy Old Books that for Some Reason Were Still in Our Collection we have a real winner.  According to this book, “Death stalks your marriage from the moment the preacher says, ‘I now pronounce you man and wife.’”  Here is a brief list of some of the enemies of marriage (the capital letters and italics are the author’s emphasis, not mine):

1.       “THE NEW STYLE OF AN AMERICAN LIVING ROOM – CENTERED AROUND A BAR AND TELEVISION SET.  This turns the family living room into a replication of the commercial cocktail lounge.”

2.       Liquor

3.       “The screens of the nation, whether in the home or the picture show carry a lot of smut.”

4.       “Then there is the problem of the sexy song.  Lewd songs that formerly were confined to the barracks or the gutter are becoming top favorites on the Hit Parade.”

5.       “EASY DIVORCE LAWS AND THE NEW ATTITUDE TOWARD PROMISCUITY AND SEX.”

6.       “THE MENTAL CRACK UP AND SUICIDE”

7.       Red China – “Fifty factories throughout the Red-ruled mainland are turning out narcotics for use in Peiping’s “dope war” against the West.”  “Communism is an enemy to your marriage.”

8.       “DESERTION – FOLK JUST WALK OUT ON ONE ANOTHER AND ABANDON THEIR CHILDREN.”

Luckily, there is a solution to all of this mayhem: “The unqualified answer is THE SUNDAY SCHOOL HABIT…THE ANSWER TO BROKEN HOMES…JUVENILE DELINQUENCY…AND LOW LEVEL OF MORALITY.”

And then they close with a story about a junior delinquent named Arnold who stole barrels to have a bonfire with his gang, threatened to fight the constable when they were caught, and was dragged home to his mother.  The story ends with this note: “(Young Arnold’s first name was Benedict.)”

The moral of this story is that if you have a television in your living room you will have children who fight constables and betray the county, probably to Red China.

Holly: Wow, my hubs and I are pretty much screwed.  We brew beer at home, watch a LOT of tv, and crank up the heavy metal music! And here I thought we had 16 years of wedded bliss…

enemies to marriage

18 comments

  1. If sexy songs proliferate in “the barracks,” evidently a haven of sin, wouldn’t the logical conclusion be to avoid marrying servicemembers or veterans? *looks sadly at guitar-playing Navy-veteran fiancé*

  2. You could make a case that this was prophetic. Marriages fail at a much higher rate now than they did then. At least some of it could be from the reasons listed.

  3. from the excerpt: “Of the 65,000,000 Americans who drink, 4,000,000 are alcoholics and one out of every six of these is a woman!”

    So what are the other 5 out of six? Flamingos? Because men never cause marital problems…

  4. Oh no – don’t get rid of this book! Just checked OCLC and there are only 7 libraries with holdings. I agree with the idea of keeping these relics for posterity. Someday someone will want to know about mid-20th century fringe attitudes toward marriage. I’m bummed that I can’t find a copy to read!

  5. Okay this is a bit before my time, but I don’t remember anyone having a bar in their living room. The bars were in the basements.

  6. Abigail, do be careful. Change one little letter and you’ve got yourself a sexophone.

    You’re doooooomed!

  7. Oh no Cheryl, when I was growing up, we had a neighbor a few doors down who did in fact have a bar AND
    a pool table in his living room. He was in fact divorced. Now that I think of it, the TV was in that room too!
    Maybe this book needs to be kept! : )

  8. My bar is in my dining room and we just bought a 42 inch tv and hooked it up to surround sound for all the moviewatching we do. I guess my husband and I are screwed.

  9. #7 “Red China” must have been written after interviewing Frank from M*A*S*H, right after he walked out of Hot Lips’ tent.

  10. I find that having a glass of wine soothes me when I want to walk out on my husband and abandon my children. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

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