Posted by: Hannah | 11/13/2011

’til death do us part

Day 13 and I was devoid of thoughts for blogging. So I did what any good blogger would do in the face of writers’ block – I stole an idea from Carol at If By Yes.

Behold! The wholly-awesome and thoroughly scientific Marital Rating Scale, written & published by Dr. George W. Crane, Ph.D., M.D., after interviewing 600 couples about their spouses’ “flaws and virtues”:

The guy's a DOCTOR. He knows what he's talking about.

(Please click on the image to find your very own blank, printable version so you can play along at home!)

When Carol and her husband did it, he came out “very superior” and she came out “poor”. Ouch. Now, hubs and I have joked for years that he got the better bargain when we married, and we both know that he was really joking and I was really not. Finally! Here is an empirical and totally not subjective, weird, and probably-tainted-by-the-good-doctor’s-own-marital-dissatisfaction method for proving that each and every day hubs should thank his lucky stars that he found me.

We got our pens and started the quiz.

And it became painfully clear that I was going to get hosed by Dr. Crane.

Five demerit points for telling risque or vulgar stories? Further demerit points for wearing soiled clothing around the house, having crooked seams in my hose, and wearing pajamas instead of a nightgown? Still more for putting my cold feet on hubs to warm them, but then also losing a point because I walk around the house in my stocking feet? IF I’M NOT ALLOWED TO WEAR SOCKS, HOW ELSE AM I SUPPOSED TO KEEP MY FEET WARM?

Bah. By the time hubs was done, I had 31 demerit points. I haven’t scored so badly on anything in my life.

Then came my merit points. Here we go, I thought. My chance to shine. Right? RIGHT?

I picked up an easy 20 points by “reacting with pleasure and delight to marital congress” and “being faithful and true to my husband”. Missed out on the 10 points I could have gained by making the kids go to Sunday school (and attending myself) – although I would argue that since I married an atheist I should get the 10 points for not getting the kids involved in religion, but whatever. An additional 10 points (5 points per child!) for having the care of minor children. I thought I was doing pretty well. And I scored a total of 82 merit points which, if you’re keeping track, means my total score is 51.

Fifty-one. According to Dr. Crane, I am “average”.

Well, I thought. Whatever. Average is good. It’s better than bad, anyway. Now we’ll see! Now we’ll tackle hubs’ score, and if I’m average than surely he will be too and kittens and puppies and rainbows, hooray!

Demerits. Well, let’s see. He does snore, belch without apology, leaves dresser drawers open, shoes in the living room and clothes hanging on doorknobs. All of those things together total five demerit points. Or the exact same number of points I lost for telling vulgar stories. Wait a second…

Being addicted to gambling, leaving lights on, and kissing me after I’ve put on my makeup are each only worth one demerit point. Now, hubs does have a tendency to leave lights on. And he does kiss me after I’ve put on makeup (which only happens, like, twice a year, but still, it messes up my lipstick.) But neither of those things can even come close to being a gambling addict (which he isn’t. I’m just sayin’, that’s… an odd thing to equate). I’m thinking that should be minus five points at least. Maybe ten. Dr. Crane, is there something you aren’t telling us about your hobbies?

So in the end, 35 demerit points for hubs. Which is more demerits than me! Only four more, but more! I AM SO GOING TO WIN AT MARRIAGE.

Merit points! This should be fun.

And wham! Just like that, my points advantage is erased. Apparently being “an ardent lover [who] sees that I have orgasms in marital congress” is worth a staggering 20 points! Add 10 points for being faithful and bam, he’s got 30 merit points on only two questions.

Five points for the kids being happy to see him when he comes home. Another five points for keeping me “equipped with modern labour-saving devices”. Five points for playing with his own damn children!

Dr. Crane, I gotta say, I don’t think you’re being all that objective here.

Total up the merit points and it’s 110, for a final score of 75, or “superior”. Only one point off of “very superior” which, I pointed out, he could gain merely by putting his shoes on the goddamn shoe rack just inside the door instead of in the middle of the living room where they always are. Which I guess explains why I lost five points for using “slang or profanity”.

This quiz has totally rattled the power structure of our marriage. Now I am the one who apparently should be down on my knees thanking God for bringing this superior man into my life and making him stay, even though I am a foul-mouthed slattern who doesn’t hand over the car keys often enough.


This quiz was written in 1939. As Harry said at the end (he was listening in and killing himself laughing – it was actually a good, teachable moment about how gender roles have changed) – “boy, things sure were different in the olden days, mom!”

If you and your spouse decide to do this, please post your scores in the comments or link back to your own blog. I can’t wait to hear what some of the results are.



  1. I’m totally going to do this. This week! After I run the school’s Scholastic Book Fair. So, maybe Friday. I want to see how great a wife I am! But my husband just bought me an iPhone, I think he might get more points than me…

    • Well, and it is just about impossible for the wife to score higher than the husband, because it’s so heavily weighted in favour of the menfolk. Maybe you can be the first!

  2. So he gets the same amount of points for just playing with his kids that you get for being the primary caregiver of the same kids? Really? (And pleasuring your wife is worth double those points? Really? I mean, sex is important don’t get me wrong, but in terms of hours spent? Not right.)

  3. I’ve done this before but I can’t remember where I ended up. Not so great I’m sure, since I’m not very 1950s…except when it comes to making my husband remove the dead rats from the attic. In that case, I’m 1950s all the way.

  4. Hey, you did WAY better than my sad little 36 – I’m a foul mouthed wench, too, and MUCH more slatternly. I’m trying to comfort myself with the fact that I am out of the house for most of the day, every day, and not home with a broom. In my evening wear.

    But I did get a whole POINT for being willing to work outside of the home to support the family.

    And I don’t wear red nail polish.

  5. What if I’m do not wear pajamas OR a nightgown? What if I’m nekkid? Wait, I can answer that one myself. It’s because I’m a whore and shouldn’t be filling out questionaires meant for god-fearing married people 😀

  6. HA!!!
    Matty came out with 81…and I got 37.

    Thank God I’m not living in 1939…NO ONE WOULD HAVE ME. O_O

  7. So, if you don’t wear hose to have misaligned seams in, is that a plus or a minus? Pfft. Who am I kidding? I’m sure for Dr. Crane that makes me a slattern of the worst order. I’ve seen this before, but never filled out the form. It’s pretty clear that it’s a very biased collection of Dr. Crane’s preferences, and all it really proves is that he’d have made just about any woman miserable… 😛

    “I AM SO GOING TO WIN AT MARRIAGE” made me laugh out loud. Mwah-ha.

    • Kate: It was the notion that as long as the wife was having satisfactory sex she wouldn’t mind so much if husband kept a mistress that cracked me up. I suppose back in 1939 a wife getting regular orgasms was pretty rare.

      Marilyn: Dead rats are totally a man-job. I make hubs remove dead rats from the back deck when the cats thoughtfully bring them home for me. I also made him deal with the hindquarters of a rabbit that the dog brought into the house one morning. “Reacts with pleasure and delight at being asked to remove dead animals from the communal living space – 10 pts”.

      Carol: The one measly point I get for taking care of all these children every day really browned me off, too. And I don’t get much credit for keeping the house clean because I don’t do it with perfectly coiffed hair, high heels, and straight hose seams.

      Grace: Hubs had a similar comment. “Why is a nightgown better than pajamas?” We came to conclusion that Dr. Crane did not mean a shapeless-but-cosy flannel nightgown and instead was referring to some kind of lacy negligee that crawls up your ass crack all night long. Also – this comment made me laugh out loud.

      Meg: I’m sure someone in 1939 – maybe a widower with six kids – would have been willing to take a chance on you. 😉

      MaryP: I really would LOVE to know more about Dr. Crane’s own personal marital history. Anyone here watch Boardwalk Empire? In my head, Dr. Crane = FBI Agent Van Alden. I think they are the same person.

  8. I looked him up on Wikipedia. My favourite bits of trivia:

    1. Apparently he wrote an article on why men are superior to women, and used the logic “how many women have you seen who were shepherds?”

    2. He liked to call marital congress “boudoir cheesecake”.

    • I looked him up, too. He also basically invented computer dating. Oh, and voted Republican.

  9. Fun fact: I just added up the points and the tally is as follows (as far as I could tally given my sleep-deprived state today):

    Women have a max “merit” score of 110….men get 131 (or 126…my poor mama brain can’t count that high, apparently).

    Women have a max “demerit” score of 102…and men get 90.

    You know, all facts about “boudoir cheesecake” aside (*snicker*), I think a test is fundamentally flawed when inequality is built into it. Hmmm……

    • Clearly. Scary thought. Especially since he had not one but TWO syndicated relationship advice columns in US newspapers for over 40 years.

  10. […] He looks after the boys like a champ. The dayhome kids LOVE him. He truly appreciates my cooking. He’s funny. He’s the smartest person I know. He understands my obsession with Gordon Ramsay. He scored in the “superior” category according to Dr. Crane’s marital compatibility test. […]

  11. Out of curiosity I added the points on each chart for the “perfect” marriage. The highest a woman (with two children) can have is a 110 (i may have added wrong) while a man can get a 132.

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