The Good Wife’s Guide: Circa 1955

Right before I got married, a co-worker of mine gave me a copy of a 1950s Housekeeping Monthly article on wifely duties.  As someone who admires traditional values, I was excited to see what this list had to offer.  Below are a few of the tips given and how I view them as a modern bride:

  1. “Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready upon his return.  This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are connected with his needs…” Agree (to a degree)– I actually am a strong believer in meal planning. I am not always the best at practicing this idea, but I do enjoy coming home from a long day of work and knowing exactly what’s for dinner. And if I really planned ahead, dinner is probably warming in the crock pot as I turn the key.  However, Mr. H doesn’t expect me to have dinner every night. Some nights we order in or go on a date to a nice restaurant.
  2. “Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make up and put a ribbon in your hair”Disagree—I don’t have 15 minutes to “refresh myself” before my husband arrives. I work.
  3. “Be a little gay and more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and it’s your duty to provide it”Agree (to a degree)—I do think that as a spouse we should lift our partner’s spirits if he’s having a bad day.  We love to share our day with each other, talk about what’s going on with our friends, or ask for advice on things on our mind. Even though we are a couple, there are individual parts of our lives also that make us who we are.
  4. “Prepare the children…they are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part…”This is not always possible!- Children are children. They can be perfect angels one minute and screaming on the floor the next. If anything, I’d be happy to have my husband home to help give me a break! Maybe to take that nap listed in tip #2…
  5. Be happy to see him”–Strongly Agree—Why wouldn’t you be happy to see your best friend?
  6. “Listen to him…remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours”.–Agree with part one of that statement…But the rest…Yeah…
  7. “Don’t greet him with complaints and problems”Agree- There’s nothing worse than coming home from a stressful day at work to deal with a stress at home.  If there’s something really important we need to discuss, I try to let it wait until after dinner.
  8. “Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night.”–Disagree- This is just a respect issue.
  9. “Make him comfortable… Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.”–Agree—Only because it looks so cool in Mad Men! I actually tried doing this for our first few weeks after marriage and had a Jack and Coke waiting for him when he’d come home! (Then we thought of our livers…)
  10. “Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity…You have no right to question him.”Strongly Disagree—While my husband is the head of our household, we make decisions as a couple and discuss how they will affect our family
  11. “A good wife always knows her place.”Agree—only if they mean that her place is by her husband’s side and not as a submissive slave!

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So what do you think???

Are these traditional “wifely duties” still applicable today or have our roles evolved past the point of executing such responsibilities????

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3 thoughts on “The Good Wife’s Guide: Circa 1955

  1. I think I wrote comments about this article a few months back? Or I intended to and its still sitting in my “thoughts book”. 🙂 We are definitely on the same page on nearly everything! Though I must say that I am a big fan of putting a ribbon in my hair – it really does make it feel like his coming home is just that much more special. (Also I live in Japan where ribbons, lace and bows are perfectly (and thankfully!!) acceptable for adult women)

  2. Aside from the philosophy of a woman’s place being less than or underneath a man’s, I agree with the aspects of being considerate to your man. Unfortunately, it seems back then it was all good for the woman to do this, but not so much required of the man to do for the woman. So glad these times are in the past! And I also derive much of my understanding of these times to Mad Men :).

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