Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2012

100 years ago: ‘Love at first sight’ not sound basis for marriage, Kansas judge says

November 14, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Nov. 14, 1912:

“LAW VERSUS CUPID – Can the legal enactments of a state stop the queer antics of Cupid? Kansas is thinking of taking a whirl at it to find out. It is proposed to stop ‘love at first sight’ if it can…. The state association of Probate Judges will meet in Topeka in December to study the proposed new law and offer suggestions and get it ready to present to the Legislature, which meets a month later…. The probate courts transact all wedding business, while the district courts grant divorces, and the Judges of both courts are agreed that something is needed at once to stop the growing divorce evil. The average for the country is about one divorce in six marriages, while figures gathered from thirty Kansas counties show one divorce in five marriages. ‘The chief need for a happy wedded life is that the men and women shall thoroughly understand each other,’ said Judge McCandless. ‘This cannot be done in a month. The long engagement is almost as bad as the short one. The limit should be about six months. That’s plenty of time and it is none too short. I realize how affections may be aroused in men and women at chance meetings. They fall in love at the first meeting and take it so seriously that they run to the Probate Judge, get a license and are married before they have known each other more than a few hours. But they ought to take time to study each other, learn something about each other’s disposition, likes and dislikes, character and stability. These hurry-up weddings nearly always result disastrously. I know of only one in nearly twenty since I have been in office that actually resulted happily…. The Probate Judge should be given authority to conduct an examination when young people apply for a license. He should find out how long they have known each other, inquire into their conceptions of married life, their prospects and other matters.’”


Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 7 months ago

I was engaged exactly one time in my life. Well, maybe not quite all the way engaged, since we hadn't set a date yet. We went to visit one of my grandfathers for an introduction. He didn't ask many questions, I think it may have been only one, and that one was, "How long have you known each other?"

C. and I looked at each other, and we thought for a moment. "About nine years," C. answered.

My grandfather seemed very surprised that we had known each other that long. But, we had talked about getting married 8 or 9 years ago at that time, getting married was certainly not a new subject with us.

However, knowing each other for years did not help at all, it ended up with one of the most disastrous events possible.

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