A good wife always knows her place.
That line, from Housekeeping Monthly’s May 1955 The good wife’s guide, always makes me laugh.
It’s the last line in a list of points that every good wife should follow. Everything from greeting him with a cold beverage and dinner on the table when he gets home to remembering that his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
Here are a few of my favourites:
n Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement 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.
n Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other place 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.
(Right, I get all the enjoyment and entertainment I need by raising a family and catering to the home.)
n Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
(May I rub your back for you too master?)
n Prepare yourself (and the children). Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking.
(Because of course, he shall not love you for who you really are.)
While us women of today can have a good laugh at these old-school rules, it’s true that our grandmothers and even some of our mothers bode by them as if they were scriptures from the Bible.
Obviously, times have changed.
Now women are speaking out of turn and making accusations, instead of slaving in the kitchen they’re out for martinis with the girls and I have yet to meet a woman from the 21st century who fluffs her husband’s pillow.
So in turn, I present the good husband’s guide:
n Upon arriving home, take the children from your wife (preferably out of ear-shot) to give her a much-needed break.
n If you want dinner, it’s in the freezer – you know how to use the microwave.
n Compliment your wife on her beauty (even if her hair is tossed up in a bun, she’s still in her pajamas and her legs resemble a wholly mammoth).
n Wash the children up, read them a story, put them to bed, return four more times to cries for water, another story and teddy. When they are finally asleep, tidy up their toys, do up the dishes, sweep the floors, prepare lunches and start a load of laundry.
n Once your chores are complete, tend to your wife’s needs by asking if you may rub her back or feet.
n Never question her or call if she is out with friends or shopping. Remember, she has wrestled children all day and it is your turn to parent.
n Do not argue her spending habits. You buy beer, she buys shoes.
n A good husband always knows his place.
A little much?
I don’t think so.
– Jennifer Smith is a reporter and photographer for The Morning Star.