American psychologists have unearthed a “marital rating scale” used by marriage counsellors in 1939 to assess the performance of wives – and the categories make interesting reading for modern couples brought up to believe in the equality of the sexes.
Women are awarded marks if they dress for breakfast, ask their husband’s opinions on important decisions and let their partners sleep late on Sundays and holidays.
They are also credited if they “react with pleasure and delight to marital congress”.
But they are deducted points if they are “slow in coming to bed”, “fail to sew on buttons or darn socks regularly” and flirt with other men at parties.
A wife also loses marks if she “puts her cold feet on husband at night to warm them”. More bizarrely, wearing red nail polish and going to bed while wearing curlers are also considered marital vices.
The scores are tallied up and the final score determines whether the woman is “very poor” or “very superior” at her matrimonial duties.
The questionnaire was devised by George W Crane, a marriage counsellor, columnist and matchmaker from Northwestern University in Chicago.
The test was designed to be answered either by husbands or their wives themselves, and was meant to provide couples with feedback on the quality of their marriage, and point out where they might be going wrong.
Many of the qualities defined as “merits” and “demerits” in the survey seem out of date or even chauvinistic in the 21st Century, but many remain just as applicable.
Dr Crane deducts points from wives who are back seat drivers and women who squeeze toothpaste from the top of the tube – two habits that continue to undermine relationships today.