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Would You Have Had A Good Marriage In The Victorian Era?

Let's see if you know how to treat a bride.

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In 1897, Sylvanus Stall published a book called What A Young Husband Ought To Know. It was a guidebook for young men on how they should approach their marital duties, including sex, procreation, fidelity, "care of the bride," and "questions concerning offspring."

So, answer these questions about women, men, wives, and husbands, and find out if you would've made the kind of husband Stall approved of, or if you would've known how to spot one for yourself!

  1. 1.

    Her dull intellect
    That she is given to hysteria and flights of fancy
    The articulation of her bones and the size of her muscles
    The softness of her skin
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The articulation of her bones and the size of her muscles.

    Stall wrote that "the form of her body, the articulation of her bones and the size of her muscles" all indicate her sense of dependance upon man (which is why man's divine purpose is to protect and defend women).

  2. 2.

    Woman provides wit and whimsy, man provides seriousness
    Woman keeps life stable, man keeps it from stagnation
    Woman is naturally temperate, man is attracted to alcoholic drink
    Woman is defiant, man is naturally law-abiding
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Woman keeps life stable, man keeps it from stagnation.

    The author says that one of the reasons men and women complement each other so well is that man's nature is one of impetuosity and velocity while woman's is one of stability and permanency. WHO'S HYSTERICAL NOW, GENTS?

  3. 3.

    True
    False
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    False.

    Stall writes that this theory is contrary to the laws of God and nature and is not even worthy of consideration by "fair-minded and decent people." This checks out even by 21st century standards tbh.

  4. 4.

    Having sex with their husbands
    Working outside the home
    Allowing their husbands equal responsibility in child-rearing
    Corporal punishment of children (spanking, the belt, etc.)
    Drinking alcohol
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Women are generally indifferent — and often absolutely averse — to having sex with their husbands.

    According to the author, "In married life, all the sexual aggressiveness is with the male." So while the husband always wants to have sex, the wife could take it or leave it (but would strongly prefer to leave it entirely). :(

  5. 5.

    Sacrifice personal luxuries such as the saloon, lodge, and club so that he might enjoy home and hearth with his wife and family
    Partake occasionally on the delights of the saloon, lodge, and club, so that he might afford a much-needed release from the responsibilities of his occupation and his familial duties
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    To ensure a happy marriage, a husband must sacrifice personal luxuries.

    A husband must sacrifice luxuries and self-indulgences so that he might share with his wife and family "the comforts and blessings of their home." Sorry, fellas.

  6. 6.

    Sexual relations outside the marriage
    When a man is denied sex
    Excessive sexual indulgence between husbands and wives
    All of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Excessive sexual indulgence drains physical powers and weakens the intellect.

    It is for this reason that Stall recommends that married couples "restrain the consummation of the reproductive act."

  7. 7.

    To share a bed only large enough for both persons; overlarge beds are thought to encourage non-procreative sex
    Depending on how well the husband can control his sexual urges, to sleep in separate beds or rooms
    Both are recommended
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Couples should sleep in either separate beds or rooms, depending on whether the husband can control himself.

    In fact, if the husband is unable to control his "amorous propensities," the couple should sleep in separate rooms with an adjoining door that only the wife has a key to. Extreme or just right?

  8. 8.

    Desire to refrain from sexual overindulgence
    Headache, exhaustion, or dizziness
    Chronic constipation
    Hysteria
    Any of the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Chronic constipation causes women to eschew sex with their husbands.

    "There can be but little doubt that much marital indifference upon the part of wives is due to chronic constipation, which is so prevalent among women." There you have it. Hey, I mean, chronic constipation isn't exactly an aphrodisiac...

  9. 9.

    Waiting three days after the wedding to consummate the marriage
    Passing time unchaperoned before the wedding day
    Refraining from all sexual contact (including kissing and petting) before marriage
    Seeking both a father's and a mother's permission to ask a woman for her hand in marriage
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Waiting three days after the wedding to consummate the marriage.

    According to Stall: "It would allow the exhausted, nervous, timid bride to bring to the consummation of the marriage relation renewed vigor and mental composure. It would prepare the mind of the young husband for such self-possession and restraint as would be becoming in this new relation..." Three days, folks. Mark your calendars.

  10. 10.

    Glowing / even more handsome than before they were with child
    A terror / sexually repellant
    Tiresome / tedious
    Highly emotional / Exhausting
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    When pregnant, some women become a terror to their husbands, as well as sexually repellant.

    The author explains: "During gestation some women are a terror to their husbands, and render themselves miserable, and all about them uncomfortable and unhappy. During this period the wife ceases to be physically attractive, and for her own protection and the protection of the embryo, nature makes the wife sexually repellant." No, YOU'RE SEXUALLY REPELLANT.

  11. 11.

    True
    False
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It is a father's duty to look after his own children.

    In fact, "It is not only the father's duty, but it ought also to be his pleasure, to look after his own children." Stall drives his point home further with this zinger at uninvolved fathers: "Some husbands speak of 'the baby' as though it belonged wholly to the wife, and not to them. The thought of caring for or tending the child seems to be as foreign to their minds as though it were a child adopted by their wives from a foundling asylum."

  12. 12.

    A fortnight
    If the child was born in an even month, six weeks; if it was born in an odd month, seven weeks
    Six weeks after the birth of a male child and three months after the birth of a female child
    Until his wife declares herself ready to resume
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Sex should resume six weeks after the birth of a male child and three months after the birth of a female child.

    This rule, Stall points out, comes from the Old Testament and even though no one is sure of its origins or meaning, "we can rest assured that there are good and sufficient reasons, whether they be physical, social, sanitary, or political" for the guidelines to exist, and therefore, to be followed.

  13. 13.

    "while a new body is being developed." (i.e. Don't have sex with your wife while she is pregnant.)
    "while your wife be experiencing her monthly expulsions." (i.e. Don't have sex with your wife while she has her period.)
    "by engaging in sexual intercourse without the intention of planting your seed." (i.e. Don't have non-procreative sex.)
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    "while a new body is being developed."

    The quote comes from a paragraph in which Stall explains that it goes against the law of nature and God for a man to have sex with his pregnant wife. He says: "Do not, I pray you, oh, parents, do this unclean thing. Do not taint your clean bodies, do not foul your pure souls with the lustful of your natures, while a new body is being developed, a new soul being organized." Noted.

  14. 14.

    Overindulgence in alcohol
    Excessive masturbation and sex
    Going to the movies
    Reading erotic fiction
    Excessive communication via the tele-phone
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Excessive masturbation and sex can cause impotence.

    Or, as Stall refers to it, "excessive solitary and social vice," which can weaken and debilitate the "masculine function." Big, if true.

  15. 15.

    Nightly Bible readings
    Refraining from indulging in alcoholic beverages and spicy food.
    Exercise followed by a bath and vigorous rubbing of the skin
    Vigorous swimming
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Exercise followed by a bath and vigorous rubbing of the skin.

    Thinking too much about sex diverts blood flow from the brain and muscles and causes depletion and drain in the husband. On the other hand, exercising will "send the blood into all parts of the body, and let the vigorous rubbing after the bath produce a healthy glow, and contribute to good health and to the attainment and maintenance of a well-rounded manhood." Got that? Post-shower rubbing will dampen sexual desire.

Would You Have Had A Good Marriage In The Victorian Era?

You don't know a ton about being a Victorian-era husband.

Which is not the end of the world considering it's 2017. But maybe you learned a thing or two!

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You know your way around a Victorian marriage.

You have a pretty alright grasp on being a husband ~120 years ago~. You either have great Victorian instincts or you've read/watched a lot of Jane Austen.

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Wow, what are you, some kind of Victorian husband?

You really know what's up when it comes to expectations for husbands in the Victorian era. VERY impressive.

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