The Wife from the Past

I was catching up on my daily reading over at Talia’s blog, where she shared about spending her sick day on the couch watching TV Land. All the talk about the good old, black and white days reminded me of this old magazine article. You may all have seen this already (I know it was circulating through email forwards a while back), but if you haven’t, it’s definitely worth a moment of your time.

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 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 favorite 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 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.
  • 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. Minimize 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 tranquility 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 of 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 always knows her place.

It’s interesting how things have changed, isn’t it? :)

6 thoughts on “The Wife from the Past

  1. It starts out ok, I can picture women from that time going along with those recommendations… then about halfway through it gets to be a stretch even for the 50’s.

    “Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.” – Classic!

  2. Oh a man’s dream. Should I psych Cale out and act like that tonight? Oh this could be entertaining. (low soothing voice) “Good evening Cale, did you have a nice day? Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable? A foot massage perhaps?”

  3. Some of these I actually love and try to do– such as the one about greeting him with a warm smile. I don’t like dumping my day all over him the minute he walks in the door. Or, the one about clearing away the clutter, since I hate for him to come home to a messy house. Or, preparing myself; it might sound dumb, but I try to take at least 5 minutes before he gets home and put on clean clothes, fix my hair, apply some lipstick and a whiff of perfume. I think this is especially important for me as a stay-at-home mom, because on the days when I stay home it is so easy to just remain in my “comfy” clothes and not wear any makeup. It’s great to have a reason to be pretty, and my husband is that reason because he appreciates it!

    However, some of these (like the one your husband mentioned) just don’t present a proper picture of marriage to me! yes, I love to serve my husband and consider it my privilege as his wife, but it works both ways– and I love that my husband is there for me just as much as I am for him, and I know if I’ve had a crummy day I can rely on him for a listening ear and maybe even a neck rub. :) I would gladly do the same for him, after all— it’s give and take. My husband is the head of the household, but that doesn’t mean we’re not equals.

    Thanks for posting this, it is such good food for thought!

  4. “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.”

    Sounds like a divorce waiting to happen! Just kidding! I think its fun to watch and see how women act around men and how its so different today then it was back then. Heck most families don’t even eat dinner together anymore.

  5. My husband emailed this to me a couple of years ago. A few months later I ran across it and decided to try to follow all the rules for one night. It was a very interesting night for me (I had to bite my tongue a couple of times to keep my natural sarcasm out of the conversation) and getting the kids (2 & new at the time) to stay quiet clean and combed was almost comical! My husband (who I had not told of my plan) had a GREAT night, so great in fact that the next night I had the shiny new wristwatch I’d been mooning over waiting on my bedside table! He got a huge kick out of it after I told him what I’d been up to. Not up for that every night but it makes a great story to tell at dinner parties! =)

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