SHE Magazine, "An Authority on Family Life Says: Save War Marriages,"
Published Article. Source:
SHE Magazine: Page Extra Clip Sheet, April
, Margaret Sanger Microfilm S72:0499
The following summarizes Sanger's article "War
Marriages Are Worth Saving" that appeared in SHE
Magazine April/May 1945 issue. No published or unpublished copy of the
article has been found. For similar articles see "Lasting Peace for the War Marriage", July 1944 and
"How to Avoid Post War
Divorces", July 19, 1944.
An Authority on Family Life Says: Save War Marriages
Advice available to those who find their post war problems are leading to
War marriages made headlines right after Pearl
Harbor, when the marriage rate took a sharp up-swing. They are still
making headlines, but they are no longer such cheerful ones. Two-thirds of the
wartime marriages are doomed to end in the divorce courts, according to one
prediction. Another more conservative estimate is that thirty-eight out of every one
hundred will fail.
How many of these marriages can really be salvaged? Margaret Sanger, whose courageous fight for birth control has made her
name famous throughout the world, has some ideas on the subject which she sets forth
in an article in SHE Magazine’s current issue.
Mrs. Sanger has no magic words of advice which can save the marriage born solely of
war emotion and found in the sober light of afterthought to be completely wrong. But
she does believe that with the proper effort and cooperation a great many war
marriages otherwise destined to go on the rocks, can be saved.
Women should realize that their soldier husbands have become distinct individuals,
men who are tired of all restraints, apron strings, commands. The don’t want to be
bossed, or even advised in many cases. Old occupations seem unbelievably dull and
Take the case of Mrs. Bill who became a successful business woman while her husband
was fighting. She liked it. She didn’t dream Bill would be anything but proud and
delighted. He wasn’t at all. He wanted her to quit, and was horrified and hurt at
her earning more than he had at his pre-war job.
Fortunately, both of them were willing to take advice and consulted Dr. Emily T. Burr, Director of the Vocational Adjustment
Bureau of New York City. Dr. Burr
suggested that Mrs. Bill continue on at her job but that Bill’s salary take care of
all routine household expenses. Mrs. Bill could save for that baby they were
planning to have as soon as they could afford it. This made sense to Bill and a
quarrel that threatened to break Bill’s spirit and a splendid marriage was
On a train recently Mrs. Sanger talked with a young girl who carried a fretful baby.
Her husband will return at the war’s end, but not to the appreciation he no doubt
feels he deserves. She wants that appreciation for herself. She wants to be told how
noble she has been to bear his child in that overcrowded hospital during his
absence, to stay home with the baby night after night, scrimping on her allotment
pay. After all, she argued, Phil was having plenty of excitement mixed in with the
danger. Unless both give a little, and the girl-wife stops nursing her growing
resentment, this particular marriage will be among the doomed.
Frequently couples who have been married only a few weeks before they are separated
tend to idealize each other during the period of separation, and are both completely
disillusioned when faced with an average human being. When once they are made to
realize this they are usually willing to let the other step down from the pedestal.
Marriage is both a concession and a demand; a living thing that is never static, even
during long absences. If one partner has had a chance to develop and grow, it is up
to him or her to wait for the other to catch up.
There are numerous organizations ready to serve the serviceman and to give expert
advice. He should seek them out when problems seem too great to cope with. They may
save a marriage!
Copyright 2003. Margaret Sanger Project