Thursday Morning Quickie #20

[Note: The following text was taken verbatim from the M Men-Gleaner Manual, “Love, Marriage, and You” used in 1956-1957. Previous entries in this series can be found here.]

Lesson 9

Becoming Well Acquainted

ABOUT a year ago a young man, age twenty, met a girl in Salt Lake City at a church social. He danced with her twice that evening and then made a date for the next afternoon. They went out together every evening for the next five days. At the end of that time they both thought they were madly in love and agreed to get married, which they did. Before many weeks had passed both the girl and the young man realized they had made a serious mistake. There had been romantic glamour when they knew little about each other, but as their personalities unfolded, a satisfying love relationship became impossible. They had nothing in common except the fleeting romance of those first few “artificial” dates. They had failed to get acquainted before marriage and in this particular situation there was only one way out-disillusionment, heartaches and divorce.

The other extreme might also be mentioned. There was a couple who lived in England who went together for about two years and then became engaged. They were both twenty-three years of age. They decided to postpone marriage until they were a little better acquainted and particularly until they had acquired some material possessions. First they wanted silverware; then they desired a special kind of china; next furniture; then they wanted a house and a car. In 1936 this man and woman had been engaged thirty-two years and they were planning on getting married “just as soon as we have our machine (auto) paid for.”

Quickie Questions

1. What was wrong with each of these two situations?
2. Why is it important to get well acquainted with the person you are going to marry?


  1. what’s with the quotes around artificial?

    1. What was wrong with each of these two situations?

    They’re not real.

  2. I think M Men manuals were a little girl crazy. Everyone knows you should marry someone when you like them a fair amount but not too much, and when you are desperately young and poor. Woo hoo, comment numero uno!!!!

  3. Whoops, never mind about that last exuberance.

  4. sorry corey.

  5. ahh the joy of extremes. so we have the wisdom for more than 5 days and less than 32 years…I’m good then.

    I dislike the perpetual fall in love mantra…that’s attraction people attraction. love isn’t a place you fall.

  6. I think that this lesson would be more useful if there were a footnote detailing what exactly “a satisfying love relationship” is. Sounds a little goofy. Does the ‘satisfying’ modify the love or is it to be read ‘satisfying-love relationship?’

  7. I’ll try to answer this seriously:

    1) The first couple was….what’s the word….lusting each other. The second couple was too focused on the materials and should have realized that even if they wait until their car is paid off they can’t bring it to the kingdom. Although for the second couple I would have to assume they didn’t want to get married and were stalling the entire time.

    2) It’s important to ensure your possible spouse isn’t a sexual predator before marriage. Also important to check out each others credit, parents, and “to spank or not to spank” philosophies.

  8. One of the contrasts I think I see between the old manuals and new manuals is the difference between teaching moderate wisdom (between two extremes) instead of filling lessons with unbounded exhortations where no matter what you do you will be exhorted to do more. The first gives you good judgment, the second unreasonable expectations.

  9. living in zion says:

    I really love these Thursday morning quickies. They always remind me that compared to the poor souls in these stories, my choices are brilliant.

  10. My wife and I didn’t get to know each other much before we married, and our first three years were very, very difficult. On the other hand, the remaining 20 have been really good! So, who knows, eh? I’m glad I married her, and I’m glad we stuck with it.

  11. Somewhere between 5 days and 32 years — AND don’t wait for the car to be paid off… Well, the Missus and I passed those standards. THAT must be why we’re still married after 30 years.

  12. The first couple should have recognized they were mismatched from the get-go, since he was a young man and she was a girl. Now had he been a boy and she a young woman, no doubt the story would have ended differently.

  13. #7–wow, you guys had a very different sex talk in courtship than I did.

  14. “2) It’s important to ensure your possible spouse isn’t a sexual predator before marriage. Also important to check out each others credit, parents, and ‘to spank or not to spank’ philosophies.”

    It’s true. I fear that too many couples never discuss their feelings and opinions about sexual expression within marriage for fear that simply mentioning sex will be a violation of the law of chastity and prevent them from marrying in the temple.

  15. I thought that “to spank or not to spank” was referring to child-rearing philosophies, but perhaps I was naive.

  16. Ardis, #12, LOL. Was this was back in the old days when college boys dated young HS Freshmen? OK, mid 50’s. Probably not. My great grandmother was 14 when she married my great grandfather, who was 28. (Non-Mormons – this was in Sweden)

  17. Naive, Rebecca. Definitely naive. No rational person would ever think of spanking as a child-rearing philosophy!

    (for some reason, I also have this incredible craving to say “Clearly, you’ve never been to Singapore”)

  18. Rebecca J–I think you are correct in the intention of comment #7. My comment was a joke. I can’t speak for Benjamin.

  19. I still don’t get the part about “checking out each other’s credit,” but probably I don’t want to know.

  20. I dislike the perpetual fall in love mantra…that’s attraction people attraction. love isn’t a place you fall.

    I fell in love once, got it all over my shoes. Took 3 weeks to finally wash it off, nasty nasty stuff.

  21. I love the idea of a couple being engaged for 32 years. I’m sure a couple could stay celibate for that long, you know, until they pay off the car.
    Too bad they’re in the UK, if this were a Utah couple they’d been married under common law after the seventh year. (Unless my law understanding fails me)

  22. The second couple’s priorities are completely out of whack: the order of temporal attachments is first house, then car, then furniture, then silverware, and then china! How could they possibly attach to silverware and china before house and car?!

  23. I don’t get why they would want the china and silverware before they got married, when obviously they can get them for free as wedding presents! Dumb!

  24. Yeah, the second couple just had to be brits. No way Americans would do that.

  25. StillConfused says:

    Glad to know that 5 days is too short. I was worried about the length of my courtship but I was a few days longer than that… so I am good.

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