“Blueprint for Happiness”
And you thought The Donkey was bad. Remember the Wife Performance Appraisal and the Housewife Job Description he published? Well, that was nothing compared to the Marital Rating Scale circulating around the internet during the last few days. Back in the 1930s, Dr. George W. Crane interviewed 600 husbands and wives about the merits and demerits of their spouse. He then “summarized the most frequently voiced flaws and virtues” in his pamphlet, “Tests for Husbands and Wives” Here is an excerpt:
Of course, we just had to take the test ourselves–because we are most definitely a couple who could use a “blueprint for happiness.” Here are a few of our findings (don’t worry, we won’t share any details about our “marital congress”):
These ratings seem just right to me.
My rating for Myself: Very Superior (103 merits – 26 demerits = 77 total)
Fortunately I got points for remembering birthdays and anniversaries, because it didn’t say you had to do anything about them–just remember them. I lost points for not liking to shave and wear a suit (even though I don’t refuse to do it). I also lost points for answering no to “often tells wife that he loves her,” but I could argue that I have written my feelings down in a letter that she can read anytime.
My rating for The Wife: Average (80 merits – 36 demerits = 44 total)
Some of you may think I was too hard on her, but listen–can I help it if I had to subtract points for anything to do with making and serving meals, being in her pajamas for breakfast, and refusing to brush her teeth on nights when she is tired? One of the questions even confirmed what I have always said–that I should be able to expect my wife to be dainty. She should consider herself lucky that “cries, sulks, or pouts too much” only required a 1-point deduction, and that the Wife’s Chart didn’t have a demerit for snoring. She did get points for being thrifty, loving the kids, and being “willing to help husband at office or shop.” And most notably, even though she is married to me, she “praises marriage before young women contemplating it.”
As you can see, I was a bit more fair and judicious in my scoring.
My rating for Myself: Average (93 merits – 47 demerits = 46 total)
Admittedly, my lack of passion for cooking hurt me a bit here. I did get points for “writes often and lovingly when away from husband” –even though this week during his trip The Donkey complained to me about an annoying, sappy email that I wrote him (2 sentences quickly apologizing for being cranky the day before he left). But I lost points because I sometimes “slow up card games with chatter” (aren’t you supposed to be enjoying people’s company while playing games?) and yes, I’ll admit it, I “fail to wash the top of the milk bottle before opening it.” I must try to correct that.
My rating for The Donkey: Average (101 merits – 47 demerits = 54 total)
I had to admit to a lot of great things about The Donkey. He very often “helps wife with dishes, caring for children, scrubbing.” (Did you know he does all the family grocery shopping–with all three kids in tow?) He’s a steady worker, and takes me on dates (too bad I didn’t get points for always being the one to find the babysitter). He did lose a few points for deferring to his mother too much; he’s not really a Mama’s boy, but he is known for embarrassing me by calling his mom and asking her how to boil water or bake a potato (as if I don’t know). Not surprisingly, most of his points were lost for things like, “teases wife re fatness, slowness” (only 1 demerit?!), or “criticizes wife in public” (welcome to the blog). My favorite point that he got was for being “an interesting entertainer.” My favorite one that he didn’t get was due to his failure to “give his wife ‘movie kisses’ not dutiful peck on cheek.” –I got a kick out of this one, since I actually use the term “movie kiss” regularly to explain my wishes to The Donkey.
Although it started out as a silly activity, this was pretty enlightening. The questions may seem irrelevant or outdated, but it was a fun way to spark discussion about what we expect from and value in each other.