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Returned soldier seeks advice from columnist Dorothy Dix. “Dear Miss Dix: I have been discharged from the Army after three years’ service. I got a bullet through my right shoulder, but am well and strong again. I have been married for two years to a very nice girl with whom I am much in love. I am twenty-six; she is twenty-three. My family gave us a fine farm home as a wedding present. Now here’s the problem...” “The Guardian,” 11 July 1945.

“When I went in the Army my wife took a job in a war plant in order to help out on labour shortage of the time, not because there was any need for her to earn money. She was thrown in contact with a class of women she had never known before and I am afraid they have done her more harm than she realizes.”

“I have had a hard time talking her into giving up this work and going to house-keeping with me. She also refuses to have children and wants to lead a care-free life. She is a country-bred girl, but she doesn’t want to go back to living on a farm and I can’t bear the thought of living in a city. I would hate to lose her, but I don’t see how we can be happy together when she is so changed, and I am afraid our marriage will end up in divorce. What can I do about it?”

On Their Own

Dorothy Dix replies: “A lot has been written and said about how war was bound to change the men who went through its many experiences, and how, when ‘Johnny came marching home’, he would not be the lad he was when he left. But somehow we have pictured Johnny’s wife as being static-staying at home and minding the baby and counting her ration points and putting in her time knitting socks and writing love letters to her soldier.”

“But, believe me, brother, the boy who thinks the girl he left behind him is going to be the same girl when gets back to her, is going to have a rude awakening! For she has changed, too. The war has done things to her, and it is going to take just as much tact and patience for the returning soldier or sailor or airman to adjust himself to his new wife as it is for her to learn again how to get along with a new husband.”

“That is a problem that is being laid on our doorstep this very minute. Millions of men like you are coming back from war to find that the sweet little docile wives, who yes-yessed them on every point, and asked John what he thought they thought about everything, have learned how to stand on their own two feet and have developed minds and independence of their own and turned into scrappers. And millions of other war wives who have been solely dependent on their husbands for a livelihood, have found out that they can make fat salaries and they are never going back to work for their board and clothes in a kitchen.”

“It isn’t going to make for peace and harmony. It is going to fill the divorce courts. But when the clinging vine turns into a sturdy oak, all that the husband can do is to develop a taste for oaks. After the other great war there was a song that went: ‘How are we to get the boys back on the farm after they have seen gay Paree?’ Nobody ever found the answer. And it is going to be the same way about getting wives back to the wood stove and domesticity after they have acquired a taste for mink coats and working in big plants.”

“In your case, however, Buddy, I advise you just to hold steady, because it won’t be very long before your wife will lose her job and then she may be very glad to have a home and farm to go to.”

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