Media Mondays: A modern marriage

“How valid is marriage, in our times?” asks the narrator.

“The dream of a home of your own when you go looking forward can turn into a nightmare. An economic deadlock called housing – this is what often shelters young family life in our time. It’s not surprising that young people are given pause by the fears of our age. It’s an age of unrest and change, both individual and social. An age of confused personal values, of widespread domestic difficulties culminating in a fabulous number of broken homes. Where can the young men and women of today find the courage and hope of take on the responsibility of making what should be the most secure of all worlds, a home, in the atmosphere of competition and chaos that seems to be the world around us?”

Surprisingly, this sound bite is not from a recent NBC special on the state of the marital union. It comes from a 60-year-old educational film called “Marriage for Moderns.”

Marriage in the 1950s brings to mind rigid gender roles, suppressed emotions and chaste marital interactions. It may be tempting to look back on this decade as a simpler time of domestic ideal. As with all ideals, the reality was far more complicated. As this instructional film shows, married people in the 1950s faced all the same worries, challenges, and complications that couples do in modern marriage. Social critics then were also worried about the high divorce rate, the poverty that faced many young couples, and relaxed morals.

The highly dramatized pro-marriage film has much surprisingly useful modern marriage advice on relationships and portrays complex and sweet fictitious couples. Some of the best quotes on modern marriage:

“Moderns enter the most traditional of all human relationships marriage with the knowledge that nothing can make a marriage work except for the people who are living in it.”

“In a modern partnership the rights and privileges, like the duties and responsibilities, are better balanced when they’re equal.”

“People have to go on liking each other in order to live together.”

The gal at home is the gal I go for, and not just as wife, or companion, or mother of my children, I mean gal. And after five years I want to touch her and kiss her. The guy that prefers a pretty [girl] to a beautiful woman has a lot to learn.”

“A child is weak and helpless, and has to receive love and food and shelter in order to feel strong and secure.  But grown ups’ strength and security is increased by the knowledge that he can give these things to someone else without a sense of sacrifice or loss. ”

Enjoy this fun and retro film. Happy media Monday!