Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Good Wife's Guide

I was reminded of this article the other day by Martina Penter. She pointed out that it would be quite fitting for "The Happy Life of a Happy Wife" blog. Please read with as much sarcasm as you can imagine...

from Housekeeping Monthly, May 13, 1955
(It's a wonder why this magazine is not around anymore.)

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, in 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 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 though 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 always knows her place.
I am convinced this was written by a man.


{Amanda} said...

This is HILARIOUS! I'm trying to decide which ones are my favorites:
-Be a little gay & more interesting...
-Minimize all noise...
-Don't complain...even if he stays out all night...
-Speak in a low, soothing & pleasant voice...
-Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity...You have no right to question him.
Oh wait- that last one probably did it for me. In 1955 this was prime Babyboom...the context of the article explains a lot about the skewed mindset. The glories of living in a paternalistic society. *sigh*

And now, as sexism is leveling out, we have those that can now embrace the differences of gender, recognize and celebrate and NOT have to go the extremes of misogyny or misandry.

I'm all for Womanism though...
"Womanist: Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. LOVES the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. LOVES the Folk. Loves herself. REGARDLESS." ~Alice Walker

Great post Belle =)

Blake said...

Admittedly I might change up the list a bit but otherwise what's wrong with that list in light of the rather paternalistic Word of God?
"Women should remain silent..." I Cor
"I do not permit a woman to..." I Tim
"Do not waste your energy on a woman" Proverbs
"women should dress modestly and decently, not with braided hair or GOLD or PEARLS or EXPENSIVE CLOTHES" I Tim (ouch, ouch, ouch)
"Train the younger women to love their husbands and children" Titus

None of that is very PC or particularly favorable toward the whole women's movement.

FWIW, I am indeed much more inclined to be egalitarian than complimentarian and in all seriousness, TRUE masculinity can't flourish when TRUE femininity is absent. Nor can TRUE femininity flourish in the absence of TRUE masculinity. But that's just my opinion. :)

{Amanda} said...

blake, the "Housekeeping Monthly" article isn't wrong because it's paternalistic. but there are several things on the list that are specifically American culture of the 1950s and clearly not based on God’s word. that’s the humor in it!

the verses you quote are also in specific context as well:
1 Cor- was in context of worship…
1 Tim- again in a cultural context of worship… this was also from specific teachings of Paul to Timothy, he makes that clear. who could call a Christian woman sinful or ungodly for wearing her gold wedding band?
Titus- women should love their husbands and children…that doesn’t mean you have to live by the HM article though.

Proverbs- I’m not really sure where the- ‘do not waste your energy on a woman’ verse is, but I do know that if a Christian woman wants a Scriptural guide to being a good wife, Proverbs is a great place to start! Proverbs 31:10-31 {The Wife of Noble Character}

…she is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. He children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her… vs25-28

one interesting thing about the article from a Christian perspective is that it highlights servanthood...and as Christians, we should serve one another. husbands and wives alike.

james, this list is still cracking me up!

Blake said...

I hope you understood my entire post to 1. be tongue-in-cheek 2. be all about context.

The social and behavioral norms we have today aren't what they were in 1950 and they sure aren't what they were 2000 years ago.

I would even go so far as to question how much any man today REALLY wants a Proverbs 31 woman. Read it closely and think about it...the sentiments are good but that is one wornout woman...no time for recreation, no time for fun and no time for what happens when the lamp goes out because her "lamp does not go out all night"....no thanks.

Jessa Mullen said...

I have always thought that I was born a few decades to late.. I have thought that I would have been a perfect Southern Belle wearing a big hoop skirt living on a Plantation or a pefect 50's girl wearing a poodle skirt bopping the night away.. But after reading this I say... THANK GOODNESS FOR THE YEAR 2008 !!!!! I don't even wear makeup to work, much less to hang around the house !!! 1979 was a great year for me to be born... Good Job God... You know me best !!!

Nicky Nolan said...

This article information was taken from a chapter in a 1950 High School Home Economic Textbook. (Source "Created to Be His Help-Meet" by Debi Pearl)