Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Good Wife's Guide

The "original" - but don't read it! I have it all below.
Allegedly an excerpt from Housekeeping Monthly, this "Good Wife's Guide" has been circulating the internet since it's inception. Some say it was even sent around by fax before e-mail took off. Most experts have discredited this article as little to no proof of its original publishing exists. However, I personally believe the advice in this article to be somewhat reflective of the time period. If you want proof, just watch any episode of "I Love Lucy", or films such as "Crime of Passion" (1957) or "All that Heaven Allows" (1955). Life for the average housewife was quite depressing, and strict gender roles paired with a cash flow coming exclusively from the husband did nothing to help. Anyway, I thought I had already done a post about Anne Taintor, but apparently I was mistaken, so I'll leave the info about her for another post and simply accompany this delightful little guide with some of her artwork.

  • 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 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 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 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 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 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.

With that, I must leave you. I did have that dream last night, and it has yet to come true. Must keep the house clean for my imaginary husband's return!

Photo credits:
All images used in this article are copyright Anne Taintor, save the Good Wife's Guide which is in the Public Domain.

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  1. i love the "Be a little gay" rule. I understand we interpret the word differently now but in the context of a 21st century wife, it's both applicable and disturbing

  2. I don't agree with this post at all. I do believe that we women have our unique roles as keepers of our home. This is the way God made us, and we should embrace it. It is freeing to be able to live out our roles as housewives. I do believe in the How To Be a Good Wife article, because it really does tell us our roles; how we can better serve our husbands. With the Feminist Movement, we somehow lost our way.


What do you think?