Need For Satisfactory Love Life

( Originally Published 1950 )

SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE MAY be attained by a man or woman and still leave the individual with an insatiable hunger for a satisfactory love life, a fundamental craving to be indispensable to one man or one woman. Without the positive satisfaction of that want, a man or woman is lost in a half life of futility. Just as with social acceptance, the attainment of a satisfactory love life is largely dependent on positive attitudes and positive approaches to the desired prize.

Engagement and marriage are positive matters.

"Will you marry me?" There is a direct, positive request.

"I will" is a positive answer. ( If negative, there's no engagement. )

"Do you take this man (woman) . . . to love .. . honor?" There is the direct, positive query before the altar or the justice of the peace.

"I do" is a positive commitment. ( If negative, there's no marriage. )

All too often the positive questions get positive answers and then the man or woman or both revert to negative attitudes and wonder why their marriage is a failure. There would never be an engagement or a marriage if at least one party to the event wasn't, momentarily at least, of the positive type.

Take that shy young fellow named John Alden for an example of negative boy meets positive girl. His eyes had long been shadowing a desirable lass named Priscilla Mullens. He liked the way the wind molded her figure on the deck of the "Mayflower." He liked the vagrant tossing of her hair, the sparkle of her eyes, the way she could lug a bucket of water along First Street in Plymouth Colony. He had that fundamental yearning we are considering, but his negative attitude was cheating him. Instead of making his positive decision and simply asking for what he wanted, John Alden found himself presenting the proposal of his friend, Shorty Standish, the fellow in the uniform.

Now besides a gleam in the eye Priscilla had the positive attitude. She wanted someone who was taller than she was, and that someone was negative young Alden. She followed the simple process of making her positive decision and asking for what she wanted: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" He did. Positive licked Negative in the first thirty seconds of the first round!

It was as simple as that. And it is because it is so simple many a negative man finds himself enmeshed by an undesirable woman if she happens to be the positive type. It is the same simplicity that often links a fine young woman to a regular heel. Then sometimes negative boy meets negative girl. What happens? Just nothing at all.

A priceless illustration of negative meets negative—result: nothing but a tug at the heart strings—is given by Dr. Donald A. Laird in his Technique of Handling People. Today, Dr. Laird is one of the world's wisest in matters of human relations, a prominently known psychologist and author, but he wasn't always that way.

"A roly-poly Colorado girl made a fool out of me in my third year of high school," he recalls. "She made no effort to do this, so far as I could notice. Come to think of it now, she didn't make a fool out of me— I did it myself without any help from her.

"It may have been her broad smile, her girlish giggle, her curls with the glint of red in them. Whatever it was it made me daffy. Apparently she didn't know I existed. Yet, in my boyish way I was determined to have some influence on her.

"First I tried dressing up for her special benefit. One Sunday afternoon I borrowed a pair of white trousers. The waistband fitted perfectly, but I had to turn the cuffs down to get the right length. I traded two somber neckties to another student for a brilliant yellow and red striped tie. Most of the afternoon I lounged in this attention-getting outfit across from the girls' dormitory, hoping she would notice me. On Monday I learned she had spent the week end in Des Moines.

"Then I tried music to win her favor. I sent to a Chicago mail order house for their cheapest instrument, and a book of teach-yourself-at-home lessons. She had to pass my window on her way to and from the gymnasium three times a week. On these occasions I would hopefully stand in my wide-open window, regardless of the weather, and blow my loudest and sweetest when she passed. Apparently she was hard of hearing.

"That winter she was interested in our basketball star. So when spring came I decided to give him competition, and perhaps at last get some notice from Florence. I quit my surreptitious smoking and went into training for cross-county running. I ran to and from meals, to and from classes, to and from church. If motion won attention I should have had it. But the nearest I came to getting notice from her was one sunny afternoon when her botany class was meeting outdoors.

"I hastily put on my running togs and ran around the class group until the unappreciative instructor asked me to please go somewhere else to pack down the grass.

"It was not entirely accidental that twenty years later I saw Florence in Nebraska. I was disappointed to see that the once roly-poly girl now had middle-aged spread, but she had the same smile, the same giggle, the same red-tinted curls.

"We talked about our families, laughed about the old prep school days. She remembered how I ran in circles around her botany class, and said she had been furious at the instructor for reprimanding me. The mention of this brought a blush of sedate middle-aged embarrassment to my face, which at that time didn't have whiskers to hide a blush.

"She actually had noticed my adolescent antics! But still I did not seem to make any impression on her in those days. She never seemed to notice me. Why? I. could safely ask now, and it was her turn to blush when I did.

"She said I never seemed to notice her, so there! Never noticed her! Why, I noticed her so much I made myself ridiculous. But I had made the blunder of trying to attract notice instead of noticing her. When I said 'Hello' to her, I had talked right past her head. When she looked at me, I had shyly looked to one side. I had been so self-conscious I didn't appear to be half-conscious. And she thought I didn't notice her then!"

The young Laird had gone through some somewhat positive antics, but his more negative shyness canceled' them, and he had neglected the simple positive procedure of asking for what he wanted.

Lack of appreciation of the vital power of the positive and negative attitudes we acquire is responsible for a great deal of the confusion and tragedy underlying the groping and experimenting, the engaging and the marrying involved in the fundamental search for a satisfactory love life.

Analysis of studies of courtship, marriage, and divorce records reveals clearly that the negative attitude of mind is the dynamite that blasts the one best chance of happiness in love. Research involving interviews with sweethearts, married folk, marriage counselors, and divorce-court lawyers makes it equally clear that the men and women who instinctively or deliberately possess the positive approach are the ones most likely to attain a satisfactory experience of love.

The catch-as-catch-can courtships and marriages are the ones that clutter the nation's divorce courts.

Fundamentally, lovely though she may be, the negative-minded girl who sits in her mental bower waiting for a knight in shining armor to find her accidentally may eventually discover herself without a mate or walking slowly down the aisle with what has been left over from the pickings of the positive-minded lasses. The man by her side is in all probability a negative male whose decision has gone by default.

The positive girl is the one who smoothly goes about hunting pheasants where the pheasants abound; She has deliberately kept herself in the field searching, quietly, unostentatiously, objectively, with a glow in the eyes ready to turn into a gleam at the proper time. Her negative sister sits at the edge of the field and finally settles for an old crow instead of the flashy game bird.

There has been a lot of talk and more of writing about the predatory male animal, but all too often he is an aimless, sheeplike, straying beast willing enough to show that he loves a girl but never more inarticulate than when it comes to really putting the matrimonial question. Ask the married women you know how their husbands proposed to them. Watch them stall, evade, or remain silent. They won't give you much help. They know that in most instances they had to be artfully positive to get action.

The positive man is the one who makes an objective search and selection before that chemical-emotionalspiritual explosion called love occurs. The negative man frequently makes out better than he deserves, but he is the one most likely to wake up with a headache in the divorce courts or entangled for life in an unhappy situation.

We prate about the age of science and its wonders. We snatch at deep-freeze units, motor travel, toenail enamel, automatic toasters, and television but go right on ignoring the positive, objective, intelligent, scientific approach to successful marriage.

Some day there may well be national laws that will avert the mental torture of countless married millions and the accompanying emotional crippling of millions of children, the innocent victims of negative-minded stupidity.

Why wait until it is a Federal offence to be a matrimonial moron?

Almost any positive-minded couple with a small amount of positive effort can avoid entering into matrimonial bankruptcy and can have highly foolproof assurance of successful marriage.

The proof?

Out in Los Angeles there dwells an erudite doctor of science named Paul Popenoe. In years gone by he was editor of the Journal of Heredity, executive secretary of the American Social Hygiene Association, secretary of the Human Betterment Foundation and served the government in various important capacities. For many years he has been the director of the American Institute of Family Relations. By thousands, young people have gone to this institute in a positive and intelligent approach to marriage. By thousands, older people whose marriages have become private hells on earth have gone to him seeking solution to their dilemmas.

Watch a young couple making a positive approach to happy marriage. They are ushered into a reception room. The young woman is assigned to a woman counselor, the man to a male adviser. They may have been trying to show their best colors to each other in courtship, and the counselors want to question them in private, where their answers to searching interrogation will not be unduly influenced.

The young woman gives her personal and family history. There is discussion of a variety of questions that arise. She takes a personality test to determine her emotional maturity and various other factors that would have a direct bearing on the prospective marriage. An appointment is made for a physical examination, and the first conference is concluded. The same procedure is followed by the young man. It has taken about an hour —no longer than the selection of a dog or a washing machine or an automobile or some other expendable item.

A few days later they return to the institute, probably separately, to consider the results of the physical examinations and for further discussion of questions that may have arisen in their minds. The results of their tests are discussed. They receive pamphlets on sexual adjustments and discuss with the counselors questions that may arise in this connection. Problems of budgeting and financing based on the prospective income of the couple are considered. The trained counselors on Dr. Popenoe's staff are simply searching, discussing, helping the young people to face facts in the light of the findings of broad scientific researches. It all sounds rather dull? Where is the magic in all this?

There is no magic. This is simply the positive approach to marriage. The negative approach would be to skip all this. The amazing fact about this counseling is that it is almost impossible for such a positively planned marriage to go on the rocks.

The American Institute of Family Relations is situated in Los Angeles County, where the divorce rate is approximately 50 per cent, and yet in the first eight years of such counseling there was not one single case of divorce among the couples examined. As the years went on, there were a few cases of divorce—but extremely few. The percentage of success is remarkably high.

This process of narrowing down the chances of failure to near a vanishing point is followed by positive young folk who don't want to gamble fine years of their lives and perhaps be trapped for life in marital blind alleys with suffering children as the innocent bystanders.

There are similar organizations scattered throughout the country. The processes are available to all. More and more ministers are establishing somewhat similar protection for their parishes. In recent years hundreds of schools, largely through the demand of positive young people, have set up lecture courses dealing with per-. sonality and marriage problems. Obviously the one best approach to solution of the divorce problem lies in the direct advance on the problem.

Despite the importance of a satisfactory love life it was little more than twenty-five years ago that the pioneer studies of marital unhappiness were published. Genuine scientific research by professional men has been making marked progress in the last decade, and through all these studies the importance of positive and negative attitudes is obvious.

Dr. Lewis M. Terman of Stanford University and his associates have made a voluminous and remarkably outstanding contribution in their study of 1,500 married persons. Looming large among the faults of poor wives and poor husbands are traits characteristic of negative attitudes. The most grievous faults are listed first in this sketchy summary. Each following fault is a little less serious in disrupting marital bliss.

The following tests are designed to aid wives and husbands in scanning their negative and positive attitudes in relation to their married state. Do not be lenient in patting yourself on the back with favorable answers. Keep in mind that perfection is often marred by many little things that can do more to disrupt harmony of a home than some one major fault.


Yes No

1. Do you consistently say and do things that build up your husband's ego and make him feel that you rate him as a highly successful man that you would be overjoyed to marry again?

2. Do you have an intelligent understanding of your family finances so that you handle household expenditures and savings in a truly businesslike way?

3. Are you a good home companion, cheerful, punctual, nonnagging, noncomplaining about negligible matters you can control and dismiss without bothering your husband?

4. Do you never—or very rarely—criticize your husband?

5. Do you keep all your relatives out of his hair and refuse to let them intrude unduly in your home and other affairs, and do you treat his relatives with courtesy and consideration?

6. Do you encourage him to frequent his club and "stag" activities and, even if he doesn't leave you alone very often, make him feel free to join his male friends whenever he wants to?

7. Do you realize that a multitude of husbands lead lives of "quiet desperation" in their own particular job jungles and so do everything you can to make your home an interesting, attractive, cheerful, comforting haven for rest and relaxation?

8. Do you keep yourself both at home and on parade as well groomed, immaculate, and attractive as possible so that your husband may be proud to have you identified as his wife?

9. Do you maintain an intelligent interest in his business affairs so you can serve as an intelligent sounding board and pressure escape valve, without offering gratuitous emotional and incompetent advice or criticism of associates?

10. Have you cultivated an interest in his friends and recreations so you are a satisfactory companion in his leisure hours?

11. Do you take part in church work, clubs, parent-teacher associations, in garden or other hobby organizations, or groups that give you a place in community life without neglecting home, children, or husband?

12. Do you unselfishly cooperate in every possible way to further the best interests of the family as a group?

13. Are you to the very best of your ability a competent mother?

14. Are you instinctively or through discussions with a physician and reading of authoritative books an understanding and satisfactory sexual partner?

15. Are you sure you are rated as a good, competent hostess, so that guests, either expected or unexpected, feel perfectly at ease?

16. In spite of dropped cigarette ashes or scattered papers, does your husband feel free to use any room in the house at anytime?

17. Even though you may dislike the drudgery, are you a good cook, serving a satisfactory variety of food attractively?

18. Do you avoid like a plague being or giving an indication of being a bossy, possessive wife?

19. Do you warmly welcome home a weary fighting man, often frustrated and distraught, let him blow off steam, and send him forth again a man loved, comforted, renewed, knowing he has a precious haven well worth fighting. for?

20. Do you rarely complain and never whine?

The perfect wife can answer each of these twenty questions and all that they imply with a clear-cut "yes." The wife who answers twelve questions with "yes" is probably holding her husband, but positive answers are needed for the other questions. It is the wise wife who will give careful thought to each negative answer and make and carry out plans to change each negative to a positive "yes" answer.


Yes No

1. Do you never criticize your wife before the children or others and never, or rarely, in private?

2. Do you regularly provide—without her having to ask for it—a reasonable portion of the family income to expend as she desires without accounting for the expenditures?

3. Do you voice your love for her daily and so act that this is not merely a vocal routine?

4. Do you carry a full half share of responsibility in handling the children and their affairs and support your wife's action in this regard so that you present a united front?

5. Are you as considerate and courteous to her relatives as to your own, and do you keep your relatives from intruding unduly in your home and family affairs?

6. Do you occasionally send flowers or other gifts to your wife in observance of anniversaries, etc., and sometimes for unexpected little occasions?

7. Do you show a real interest in her intellectual life and club and hobby and various group activities?

8. Do you reveal an understanding of the drudgery of cooking and cleaning and child care that is the lot but not necessarily the joy of an intelligent wife?

9. Are you observant of the little things your wife does to make home and meals, etc., attractive—and generous in voicing compliments?

10. Do you cooperate generously in planning and carrying out social activities?

11. As a host and as a guest in other homes, are you attentive to your wife and on the alert to help her appear to her best advantage?

12. Have you developed a sympathetic understanding of feminine psychology so you are not baffled by her changing moods and emotional requirements?

13. Do you show recognition of your wife as an equal and an individual with an intellect of her own and not just a taken for granted mate-mother-cook-housekeeper?

14. Are you an adequate financial provider, not merely currently, but with insurance and savings that assure reasonable financial security?

15. Do you intelligently strive to be a considerate, understanding, fully satisfactory sexual partner?

16. Do you discuss your business and financial affairs with your wife as your adult partner in the business of maintaining the family unit?

17. Are you easy to live with, an agreeable companion in the home and elsewhere with your wife and children?

18. Do you groom yourself carefully, wholesomely, so your wife can be proud of the appearance and presence of "her man"?

19. Are you courteous, somewhat chivalrous, mindful of your manners?

20. Are you reasonably cheerful and down right companionable?

The perfect husband will answer each of these questions with a firm and assured "yes." The husband who has a dozen affirmative answers may be getting by, but he should study his negative answers carefully and take positive steps to change the negatives to positive "yes" replies.

Married folk who are troubled about their family relations would be well advised to examine carefully their own attitudes first, the attitudes of their mates second, searching for the troublemaking negative attitudes that may well be undermining the happiness of both. Men and women who can take it on the chin could to good advantage ask their partners to rate them on the tests presented here. All too often we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and overrate our desirable characteristics.

Divorce lawyers and marriage counselors are constantly being confronted with marriage problems that are clearly due to the negative attitudes of the man or the woman or both. And they are frequently startled by the fact that many men and women haven't even discovered what their real problem is. It is because of the confusion of imagined problems with the fundamental difficulties involved that troubled married folk who want to make a positive effort to save the family ship from the rocks go first to their family physicians and to competent marriage counselors before they ever rap on the door of a lawyer's office.

Power Of Positive Living:
Ask For It

You Are Positive Or Negative

Positive Way To Meet Problems

Make Up Your Mind

Success Adores The Positive Attitude

Turn Handicaps Into Assets

We All Crave Social Acceptance

Need For Satisfactory Love Life

Your Yearning For Self-esteem

Banish Awe And Fear Of Others

Read More Articles About: Power Of Positive Living