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•»_ The question of war wives after tlxe war is presenting some rather perplexing problems to their Governments in all the world over—even in New Zealand. Discussing the matter in "The Queen," Margaret Heittand says: "In the average peace-time marriage, the bride and her husband belong to the same locality, or they had common associations of employment, friends or class. With the movement^ of troops over the country connections and links have been broken. "Young people have become hurriedly engaged and married in ignorance of each other's belongings. The girl in the south hears and halfforgets that the husband she accepts has his home at the other end of the kingdom or even in the'other island. She has never seriously asked herself whether she is sufficiently fond of him to leave her own people and her congenial work in order to live where he lives and become dependent on a share of his earnings. The time at last arrives when her soldier-husband is discharged and when he expects his wife to join him. The.war-wife asks herself: 'Am I obliged to live where my husband lives? Why should not he live where I live and where I have my paid job? Somebody reminds her, perhaps, of the Jackson case, which settled that a husband might, not forcibly compel his wife to have her in a place of her own choosing. If both parties can agree' about the place in which they shall live, well and good; but there must be no compulsion. The wife in marrying has incurred an honourable obligation. This, it Js to be hoped, even the least educated wivw would recognise. But some of them, without definitely admitting that they married for nothing but the separation allowance, shrink from dependence and the loss of paid employment which removal to another• part oft,the country and early married life often involve. A London cook, for example, finds that she must give up £40 a to live in an industrial district,, where she cannot even get wealthy lodgers; a dressmaker has to live on a- remote farm with the man whom she only knew a few weeks when he was billeted on her parents. The outlook is not rosy. The impending change of status has not gained in attractiveness by the lapse of time. The wedding ceremony and life in a poor street or dull village should have been taken, so to say, in a breath. But' in too many cases a romance, at best a trifle chilly, has had time to go cold; and in lieu of an impulsive Juliet we see a Mrs. Hamlet,, troubled with obstinate questionings and saying she will and she won't. "The curious point is that the. separation allowances for wives have increased the reluctance they were planned to overcome. Although the payment could not be continued definitely, yet the married woman ,by receiving it has. acquired a consciousness of her own increased value and importance. She feels that she loses more by acr cepting the ordinary conditions of married life since she forfeits her,. allow-. anee plus her other earnings.!" it,'':V •

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9592, 23 April 1919

Word Count

WAR-WIVES PROBLEM. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9592, 23 April 1919