Marital Rating Scale, Circa 1930

It’s not Valentine’s Day anymore, but here at Good Feed we always have room for a little romance.

Enter the marital rating scale. Courtesy of Dr. George W. Crane, these charts were part of a 1930s project meant to help husbands and wives exchange “constructive feedback” and end marital discord by cataloging frequent sources of irritation.

According to The Atlantic:

In the 1930s, [Crane] went around to a bunch of husbands and said, “Hey husband, what does your wife do that annoys you?” And then he added all those complaints up and created a handy chart that let you rate your spouse against the generic ideal/anti-ideal. That’s what you see in the chart above.

And in the American Psychological Association’s magazine:

Although most people who read the test today find it humorous and obviously dated, Crane did attempt to make it scientific. His method was to interview 600 husbands on their wives’ positive and negative qualities. Then he listed the 50 demerits and merits that arose most frequently. Crane did admit to using a personal bias in weighting the items that he thought were most important in marriage.

Oh, and check out the husband’s chart after the jump.


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About Lu Fong

Lu Fong was a staff writer and blog editor for the Good Men Project in its formative years. As the requisite woman on staff, her hobbies included cleaning, cooking, knitting, fainting, and childbearing. Follow her on Twitter @lufong.


  1. The grading system isn’t exactly equal, as Arthur pointed out. Also, there is a double standard for looks. Women are expected to be attractive but men can dress any way they want to. Also, men are expected to be the money makers but women aren’t supposed to have any career ambitions. This sort of thing makes it difficult to take the relationships industry seriously.

  2. How refreshing, here is no great expectations for frequent hot sex……

    • FlyingKal says:

      I thought that was implicit in the very first point “slow in coming to bed”…

      • Theorema Egregium says:

        You mean like “slow in coming … in the bed”? 😀

        Oh God, these list would be such a treasure trove for snarky comments, if it were worth anybody’s time!

        • FlyingKal says:

          Na, I was thinking more that “delays until husband is (almost) asleep” is a pretty effective way to avoid having sex.
          But I guess your way works too… 😉

  3. This is also a snapshot into class perspectives. I can’t imagine a poor midwestern dirt farmer (or the many poor immigrants in urban areas) in1930 America during the Great Depression giving two shits about any of this. A wife may or may not have owned seamed hose and a husband may or may not have been able to afford the newspaper (or read it).

  4. Sure, because nothing says romance more than grading your spouse like they’re your student in school.

  5. I just counted the highest possible scores for husbands and wives and guess what? Husbands can get a max. merit score of 146 (if they take their wife out on date 4 times a week), while wives can only reach 120 (if they have 4 children to take care of). It´s of course the opposite with demerit scores: Husbands can fail with 90, while wives can reach a fail of 102. Subtract the numbers and we have a balance of 18:56. So, according to the score system alone, husbands are generally 3 times more superior to wives. Good work Dr. W. Crane, Ph.D., M.D.!

  6. The seams in my wife’s hose are almost always crooked, and she darns my socks very infrequently and, when she does, rather poorly. I am forced to demerit this shit out of her.

  7. What is really interesting about this is what it says about how men and women think differently: Notice that out of the 12 merits, only two in the chart the husband fills in are actually to do with the husband interacting with his wife, whereas eleven out of the twelve things wives thought were important are about personal interactions. It’s a clear demonstration of how impoverished male socialisation was back then. Has it improved in the 21st Century?

    • That’s what I though. The results may be cooked up but the actual questions show society expectations and the effects of such limited socialization. For women, the annoyances seem to be similar, complaining of less interaction but has men’s complaints changed? I’d like to think so

    • Anti Dill says:

      We have advanced since the 30’s that was almost 100 years ago. And the only real reason that most men and women think differently is because they had no choice, when was the last time you saw a man wearing a dress(who wasn’t having a sex change)? When was the last time you saw a boy playing with dolls? I have personally heard a mother state to her child(female) to not be so rough because it’s not lady like. That indoctrinates our children to fit a certain paradigm, and they grow up thinking that men and women think differently. Every person is different but so is every woman from other women and men from other men. Let’s evolve here a little and show we have brains to realize this.

    • that was my thoughts too…..women still want basically the same thing…..time with their husbands, support and to be a priority in his life…like they are on the same team.

  8. The only hose I have is in the garden!

  9. How else am I suppose to get my feet warm??

  10. I love the last bit…”Crane did attempt to make it scientific….(but) …admitted to using personal bias in weighting the items he thought most important in marriage.’ No wonder no one these days believes scientists when they talk about global warming…

  11. Red nail polish? I feel like such a tart now.

  12. Cooper Fleishman says:

    “Very poor.”

  13. things haven’t changed much, my husband gives me demerits when I am “slow in coming to bed”, I however, wait until my husband is “fully” asleep!


  1. […] by a 1938 checklist of what annoys husbands about their wives.  To see how you measure up, read here… Pin […]

  2. […] Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Announcements. Bookmark the permalink. ← Ideological Criticism Outline […]

  3. […] out the GMP article for the wife’s chart. (My favorite demerit for her: “Wears red nail […]

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