Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Good Old Days

Pardon me if I seem a little distracted today. I've been brushing up on "The Good Wife's Guide", and I find myself woefully, even abysmally negligent in most "good wifely" matters.

I found my Good Wife's Guide while cleaning out a drawer, where I'm sure I unintentionally buried it beneath myriad other papers...

Anyway, for the next few days I'll be repenting of my lax ways, and trying to do better. (where IS that hair ribbon...?) In an attempt to atone for my misdeeds, I'll share my re-found knowledge with you, so you can all do better too.

Here, then, (strange spelling and all)  from "Housekeeping Monthly" magazine, 13 May 1955 is

The Good Wife's Guide 

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 been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish!) 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 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.

*Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc and then run a dustcloth over the tables.

*Over 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 for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

*Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to 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.

*Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

*Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquillity where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

*Don't greet him with complaints and problems.

*Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

*Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie 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 knows her place.


  1. now THAT's the charge you should've read to me at the wedding....too bad, I guess.

  2. I could never have done it with a straight face. I DID actually read it at a family bridal shower once (Heidi's I think) and one of the Aunts just smiled and nodded agreement through the whole thing (which was funnier than the actual article!)

    Yes. Just remember. A good wife knows her place.

    : )

  3. I can't believe this stuff was written for a women's magazine. Surely there was a man behind these sentiments!

    That reminds me of our university days in Regina. Our church was doing a video serious on Sunday evenings---by Bruce Wilkinson, I think---on marriage and the relationship between husband and wife. Afterwards, we would go for coffee with another couple in the church, of which the wife was a relatively new Christian. She had great difficulty with the picture of the "Biblical wife", at least as presented by Bruce.

    As I recall, her mother-in-law, a very traditional woman in this respect, gave her a copy of a book from the 50s describing very similar duties of a wife. This upset her that much more.

    I'd like to go back to those conversations and hear what I said. I wonder if I would feel differently now...

  4. I like that "be a little gay and more interesting for him" The image that comes to mind is not what would have come to the good wife's mind in 1955 - I don't think.

  5. These are my favourites:

    His topics of conversation are more important than yours.

    Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night.

    Riiiiight. Good thing I wasn't a wife in 1955 because I would have been hung. To be sure!

  6. Hopefully, we've come a long way!

    Oh, pardon me, hubby calls.....;-)

  7. Maybe I've just had a really tiring week, but I think it's the MAN that should be doing those things for the tired old woman he's coming home too! Although, maybe when I don't have 3 poopy bums to wipe and people whining and crawling through my legs as I cook dinner I'll have more time for ribbons in my hair and all the rest...

  8. well... I guess I'll never be a good wife. Do they have a bad wife manual? I could probably do that :)

  9. Tara - It's in line with Linea's thinking.