Published Date

November 1, 1944

Resource Type

GI Roundtable Series, Primary Source

From GI Roundtable 30: Can War Marriages Be Made to Work? (1944)

Perhaps this parting shot of Pvt. Wait comes nearer the truth of the matter than he himself realizes.

Given the right couple, a war marriage or almost any other kind of marriage can be made to work. Investigators have questioned thousands of Americans about their happiness in marriage or have obtained ratings from close friends of the couples. Their findings agree pretty closely. About three-fourths of the couples report themselves happy or act in such manner that they convince their friends that they are happy. Were they just lucky or is it possible that judgment is involved? And can that judgment be improved by knowing about the experiences of others, and making use of that knowledge? It is a good guess that the happily married are more successful in their marriages than if their mates had been selected by drawing names out of a hat.

There is no absolute science of mate selection. Nevertheless, some people who are modest enough about their ability to pick an automobile or a washing machine are sure that they know all about picking a good wife or a good husband. When they make recommendations to others, they do so in terms of their own personal taste and experience. Someone has said that a man tells all he knows in two hours and then starts talking about women. Women are probably not much better informed about the other half of the human race than men are. A human being is infinitely more complicated than a washing machine. Two human beings in relation to each other make a metropolitan telephone system seem as simple as a spool of thread.

Next session: What Do the Best Advisers Say?