Thursday, September 13, 2007

How to be a Good Wife

The Good Wife's Guide

From Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955.

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.
I'm sure that many of you may have already seen this "alleged" article floating around cyberspace before. But in case you hadn't I thought I would bring it to your attention. Now some of these bullet points are absolutely absurd. And if my husband demanded or expected me to follow them to the letter than he could quite possibly find himself with a few bullet points of his own.

But some of them are quite compelling in regards to running a happy home. When we were children my mother made us put all of our toys away before my father got home from work. 5 minutes after he was home would could drag them all out again. He never said anything so I never understood why we had to do that. Then I became a working mother. When I would leave the house in the morning it would be tidy. When I would come home - NOTHING - would put me in a bad mood faster than seeing a messy house. Mommy was right. Isn't she always?

I learned that if I bombarded my husband with all of my problems and complained about what the boys had done the moment he walked in the door, it would get on his nerves. I learned to wait 15 minutes or so. And I too understand that. Geez oh man, I just got home. Give me a minute.

I love to prepare meals for my family. But, there are some people who just don't like to cook. My mother is one of them. Yet she did it anyway. And as a homemaker, I feel that my job is the house. Cleaning it, running it, cooking in it. I work very hard. But finally I have a job that I love. The rewards I get now far out-number the digits on my paychecks. And as far as not questioning my husband's judgment? Well that can be tricky. When it comes to finances and "big" problems, I do defer to my husband. The bible teaches women to be submissive to their spouses in all things. Not some things. All things. The husband is the head of the house just as Christ was the head of the church. But my husband will discuss plans with me. We make a decision together. However, if he was adamant about something or just "put his foot down", then, because that so rarely happens I would back down.

Now before anyone comes attacking me for my last sentence, understand that I'm not talking about illegal or immoral situations. I'm talking about the day in, day out happenings. And as far as the last bullet points - like not complaining if he were to stay out all night - well you can forget that one. And I do know my place. It is position of mutual integrity. And "serving" my husband gives me a sense of satisfaction that I never got in the workplace. Because he respects and appreciates me more than they ever did!

So while this article might seem a little antiquated to some, maybe you should reevaluate it. Take it for what it's worth. It's really about showing your appreciation for the one you love.


Sophie Honeysuckle said...

That was such an intersting post-it gave me lots to think about! Just wanted to say I loved your list of things that make you smile!

Sandi said...

You know, it does seem antiquated, but look at the article's purpose. It's trying to help women maintain marital harmony (what was the divorce rate when this article supposedly came out?).
There's something to be said for this list, although in todays world, where so many women work outside the home, it's just not practical. To maintain a home, it has to be a partnership, not the woman trying to do it all.

BittersweetPunkin said... DH printed this off the web a few years ago and gave it to me as a gag....we had a good laugh! I posted it on the bulletin board of the Doctor's office I worked at and the patients got a hoot out of it too! I esp. love the "Don't complain if he's been out all night...." HA!!
Although there are times I do think I am a bit June Cleaver-ish.....I'm glad times are changing!
Blessings for a wonderful day!

Mary said...

Julie -- Most of the things on the list are just what a considerate person would do for someone they love. It seems to me that controversy creeps in when when we start EXPECTING those things to be done, or when we assign them to a specific gender or role. I guess I have a problem with authority (lol); but I will do most of them out of love, and know that they will be reciprocated for the same reason.

Does that make any sense?


Flea Market Queen said...

Wow...I do about 3 of these things!
I am happy to see him, I clean up clutter and I do listen to him about his day. He also is happy to see me and listens to me about my day, we make dinner together and we complain to each other!
works for us...

gina said...

Hi Julie... for some reason, the comment you left on my blog never go to me to moderate, so I didn't see it until moments ago. Anyway, I'm here! :) I actually love this post. And your observations are right on. I agree with you 100%. If you think about it, what a great, conflict-free home you'd have if you followed them. It doesn't mean she's a doormat, just as the Bible's admonition to be submissive doesn't mean you're a doormat. It means you just defer to him when there is a difference of opinion. After all, he's the one God is holding accountable in the end. Great post and blog!

mayberry said...

A wise pastor once told me that a good marriage isn't 50%/50%. Its 100%/100%.

Super Mom said...

Sorry I haven't said howdy earlier!
I've been working hard today. *gasp*

Nunnie's Attic said...

That's ok, I wasn't home all day anyway. Had to take my aunt to the hsp for a "procedure." And then we went shopping! I must say I was surprised to see only one post from you today! Hope things are going better now.


Nunnie's Attic said...

Sandi the divorce rate in 1955 was 11% compared to the 41% of today.


ShabbyInTheCity said...

Yes I've read that before! Some of it really is sensible and would make for a gentler home :)

cityfarmer said...

I believe with all my heart the divorce rate would've stayed that low had we rightfully honored our hubbies as it says in God's Word....there are some laws of the universe that just "work"...we are equal but different and I think deep down most women want to be "taken care of" by their man...but the street runs both ways

Bethany Hissong said...

A lot of times we pull that scripture out, without also reading that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church... if both are doing that, WOW!
Dr. Laura Schlesinger wrote a book about marriage and I think this whole way of treating your husband was exactly what she described today. Funny how some things never change! I think women overwork themselves and this type of thinking puts them over the edge! Though they might get more back massages with this tactic!

bellacolle said...

Thank you for sharing that! I haven't seen it 'the list' before, lot's to think about...But, I do agree with what you later said! When I put my eyes on Christ and act the way I'm supposed to, not worrying about my hubby...well, what do ya know my hubby treats me like Christ tells him too...interesting.. No?

Becky said...

I have always worked full time, some 12 and 16 hour days, too. To be a mother, wife and myself takes a mastering skill of balance. There are so many women out there that do just that and still manage to maintain structure at home.

I love your article!! Life seemed so simple then.



Kimmie said...

Oh, I liked this article...actually I pasted it out- so I could put it on my fridge. I think if we all tried to be the "kindess" spouse, there would be much better marriages for sure.

I thought it was sweet, thanks for sharing Julie!

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted