Real Life is Marriage and Kids

Personal Adjustment Marriage and FamilyPersonal Adjustment
Marriage and Family Living
3rd Edition

This gem turned up in a donation pile at our library and of course I had to wade through it. The photos were just perfect!

WorldCat doesn’t show any public or school libraries with this outdated book, but a handful of universities do have a copy. Given the number of editions published, this was evidently a popular choice for home ec or health curricula for high schools and possibly college.

Although clearly outdated, these authors do present equality-driven arguments such as the home is both the husband and wife’s responsibility and money should be managed together.  There is even a discussion of children of unwed mothers and children and legal standing that is quite enlightened for the time. This wasn’t as bad as I had thought, given the age of this edition.


Part 3 Looking Toward Marriage

Part 4 When You Marry

What is a good date?

Mixed Marriages

Causes of Divorce

Marital grievances according to seriousness


  1. Interesting in that they refer to the married couple as two people – rather than a man and his wife, or a man and a woman. Interesting choice of wording in 1960…

    1. Sadly I suspect that is because there was the assumption of two people of opposite sex, not just two people of any combination. Sort of like some old laws where women weren’t barred specifically because nobody thought about it as them participating was obviously unthinkable.

  2. The chart leaves out incompatibility and no-fault divorce. Surely they existed. I’m too lazy to go look up divorce laws. They are probably big slices of the pie these days.

    100,000 WWII war brides, now of course very old or dead. I had no idea of the number.

    “War bride” sounds so quaint though I remember it being in common use in the sixties.

    1. No–no-contest no-fault divorces came about during the 70’s. Think Kramer vs. Kramer.

    2. I would assume “incompatibility” would be the “other” segment which was the smallest slice. I gather it wasn’t really considered an adequate reason in those days…which might, perhaps, be part of the reason why things apparently often progressed to violence as the leading cause of divorces in those days. ( As a matter of fact, my grandmother scandalized her family by divorcing her socially well-connected husband due to physical abuse, which was considered almost normal and much less shocking than a divorce at the time, in 1959)

  3. Oooh, is it good or bad when your date “insists on ‘twosomes’ only”? How enlightened! (I’m kidding. I assume they mean double dates vs. just the two people on a date, not threesomes.)

    1. I think it actually means eschewing group activities and only doing things as a pair. From the rest of the text that’s shown, I’m assuming that would probably be frowned upon.

  4. Hard to judge since it comes right after the instantly infamous Ba—or P—d Economics.

  5. You know, I bet that’s a set text for at least some college-level social science courses; I can certainly see my highschool sociology teacher making us read it as proof that yes, the Fifties really did happen.

  6. It’s interesting how pretty much every ad and these kinds of books from the 50s and 60s show families with two children, and the son is always depicted as the older child. I’d love to get my hands on a copy of this book because it must be a very interesting read.

  7. I love how item #4 on the list for both spouses is that the other spouse complains too much!

    The illustrations make me think this could be of interest to people who like retro books.

  8. This is a fascinating glimpse of the past, and as you say, good for it’s day. The “mixed marriages” chapter makes for sad reading by our standards, but it was really important people consider those factors before getting married. I like the “What is a Good Date?” list too. These old books usually make out it’s the men who should talk and the women who should listen, but that list implies both men and women should take an interest in the other person, and listen to what they say.

  9. As a partner in a mixed marriage / interracial marriage / international marriage (with children), I’m awfully glad that attitudes have changed so much since the 1950s. I have never had to deal with any flak about my choice of spouse. Some people are curious about how our differences affect us as a couple, but it’s just curiosity and the disapproval isn’t there. Having dated American guys before marriage, I have to say that we had bigger differences than my husband and I do, and that’s likely why those relationships didn’t work out.

  10. Obviously it’s dated, especially the “mixed marriages” bit, but overall, it’s reasonable advice if taken with the proverbial grain of salt. It looks at both parties as equals with equal responsibility in the relationship. The “mixed marriages” bit was an interesting, if sad, read, as it did make me realize that people maybe did, and likely still do, forego what would have otherwise been great relationships due to societal pressures. It’s a shame.

    But I suppose after that horrific “finance” book that shall not be named, anything would be a breath of fresh air, even something from 60-odd years ago.

    1. My great-uncle spent most of his life as a hermit in the desert due to having fallen in love with a( IIRC) Marshall Islander during WWII. Can’t for the life of me make out why he didn’t just stay in the islands after the war if he thought she wouldn’t be accepted here and was going to ditch normal society anyway.

  11. I think overall the book appears to be pretty good, at least fair for its day, but the lists of marital grievances from husbands and wives was kind of disturbing, particularly the men’s list. Nagging, slovenly appearance, and feelings too easily hurt rank as more serious issues than neglecting the children? O_o

  12. I can’t believe that he is proud to show to his future wife pictures of himself as a crying baby or a teen with braces and acne pimples.

  13. I actually wonder if there is a place in education today for this sort of text — updated, of course! Many school “Family and Consumer Science” programs have been eliminated because of budget cuts, and unfortunately many families do not provide their children with information about the many facets of becoming an adult: higher education (now wrought with a high incidence of suicide), moving out (postponed to 25 years old for many), marriage and partnerships with people of all genders and sexual orientations, mental health and stress, money management, caring for children, and even extending to issues of caring for aging parents (far away from most high school students’ minds, but still something to consider in one’s life plan). Does anyone know of any good textbooks or trade books that help young adults with these important issues?

  14. In the 60’s did “slovenly appearance” for a wife mean “not dressed in high heels and pearls after having spent the whole day scrubbing the floors on her hands and knees”?

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