Good Housekeeping Marriage Book, The

Good Housekeeping

Twelve Steps to a Happy Marriage

William F. Bigelow

by Helen Judy Bond

Garden City, New York

William F. Bigelow


The articles that are printed in this book made what was in my opinion the most important, the most constructive, series on a single subject that Good Housekeeping has published in the quarter century and more that I was its editor. And they might so easily never have been written—just a little item in a newspaper missed, or its significance overlooked, and these sincere and helpful articles would still be locked up in the minds and hearts of the men and women who wrote them. For it all happened just like that. Students in one of the larger California universities asked that a course in marriage relations be given—and a New York newspaper heralded it with a stick of type over about page 10.

Somehow the item impressed me deeply. Here were thousands of students of both sexes, thinking of marriage, physically impelled toward marriage, admitting that they wanted more information about marriage before undertaking it. Add to these students the hundreds of thousands in other colleges and to them the millions of young men and young women outside of college—and there was Youth itself, visioning marriage as the Great Adventure, which no one should miss, but about which there were grave reports.

I have heard lots about Youth in recent years—its lackadaisical attitude toward all serious things, its tendency to look the moral code straight in the eye and smash it, its belief that chastity isn't worth its cost or success in marriage worth working for. And I had disbelieved much that I had heard, it having been my privilege to work with and for young people in high school and college over a long period of years. I knew that Youth is looking for something better than it is being given in either precept or example. And so this request of a group of college young people seemed to me to be both a challenge and an opportunity.

I accepted the challenge. The next step was to find out how best to meet it. It seemed to me that to offer our young people anything less than the best that I could get would be letting them down. So I turned for advice to several college men who had made a long study of the problems involved in marriage, and from the various lists of subjects and authors suggested—adding a few of my own—selected the group now presented in permanent form in this book. If these articles make success in marriage seem something that must constantly be worked for, they at the same time show that success, plus the happiness that goes with it, can be achieved. Which is all, I think, that any man or woman has a right to ask for.

William F. Bigelow

Helen Judy Bond


If by some strange chance, not a vestige of us descended to the remote future save a pile of our schoolbooks or some examination papers, we may imagine how puzzled an antiquarian of the period would be on finding in them no indication that the learners were ever likely to be parents. "This must have been the curriculum for their celibates," we may fancy him concluding. "I perceive here an elaborate preparation for many things; especially for reading the books of extinct nations and of coexisting nations (from which, indeed, it seems clear that these people had very little worth reading in their own tongue); but I find no reference whatever to the bringing up of children. They could not have been so absurd as to omit all training for this gravest of responsibilities. Evidently, then, this was the school course of one of their monastic orders."

Herbert Spencer

This quotation from the pen of Herbert Spencer arrested our attention this winter when we were reading a number of books dealing with various epoch-making periods in the development of educational method and theory.

We closed the book and pondered over the inferences made by this leader and we began to speculate on what an antiquarian of the present period might say of our textbooks, our curricula, and our examination papers. We hope in his search that it might be his good fortune to unearth the syllabi of some of our courses on Education for Marriage and Family Life, some of the worthwhile literature which is being written on the subject, even perhaps the Good Housekeeping Marriage Book. If these happened to be the only remaining record of the period, we might fancy him concluding, "Ah, what an enlightened people there must have been in the twentieth century. I perceive here preparation for real life problems. This must have been a school course for all the Youth of that generation."

This volume represents a definite step in the advancement of this ideal.

We wish to express to Dr. William F. Bigelow, former Editor of Good Housekeeping, our sincere appreciation for the kindly way in which he received the idea of publishing these valuable articles in permanent form and his readiness to help in every way possible in carrying this idea through to completion.

To each author we wish to express our gratitude for the important contribution he has made, not only in giving new interpretation and new meaning to the institution of marriage, but also for rendering valuable assistance in the solution of many of the problems which confront the Youth of today as they approach this most challenging, most demanding, most satisfying and most rewarding of Life's experiences.

H. J. B.

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