“The Good Wife’s Guide.”
“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…”
“Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.”
“Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night…”
“A good wife always knows her place.”
This was said to be an article from a magazine called Housekeeping Monthly way back in 1955. That’s 60 years ago! I got this from an email a long time back and still see it circulated from time to time. The scribbles on the image aren’t mine! Read through it and tell me what you think. 😉
There are some points in the article that I would LOVE to do. There are some that I positively just CANNOT do. Ha! It was fun going through each item. Here’s what I’d do and what I wouldn’t do.
1950s kitchens are pretty cool. Image credit: Clickamerica.com
Have a delicious meal ready in time for his return [from work]. For example, I would love to cook a warm meal for my husband and have it ready for him as soon as he comes home from work. But the reality is I sometimes come home much later than he does. Ha! Or when I do come before he does, there’s already food prepared by the household cook who cooks 1000x better than I do. Blessings! But on weekends, when my husband makes lambing that he wants a particular dish, I try to do it. (Emphasis on try.)
She does look 90x better than I do after a day of work. Image from Jen but never Jenn.
Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes of rest so you’ll be refreshed before he arrives. In an ideal world, I’d be all Betty Draper of Mad Men Season 1 by the time my husband comes home from work. You know, perfectly-pressed clothes and gorgeous hair. But the truth is, by the time my husband comes home (if I come home ahead of him), I’m still usually in my work clothes OR a really comfy shirt and boxers. So unsexy but so comfy. Yes, should make more effort. But am just too exhausted after work to even brush my hair. Just being honest!
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. But what about my day? I think this tip will work if it goes both ways. My husband and I are guilty of this — we’re both so tired at the end of the way that sometimes we just stare off into space. It is what it is. When we catch ourselves doing this, we snap each other out of our tunganga mode (“staring off into space” mode). Be each other’s cheerleaders at the end of a tiring day.
Look at that spotless kitchen! I want it. I also want the breakfast nook and the flowers on the window sill. In an ideal world, this is how spick and span my kitchen is. 😉 Image from The Vintaquarian.
Clear away the clutter before your husband arrives. Why is there clutter in the first place? Oh right. Kids. Laundry. We’re both guilty of this. He has a lot of collectible toys that he doesn’t want me to rearrange on my own, hence it looks like clutter to me. I have a lot of books and bags that are piled in chaotic order, but looks like clutter to him. This should go two-way, not just for the wife. Clear the clutter away for each other!
Gather schoolbooks, toys and run a dustcloth over the table. I’d love to do this not just for my husband but for myself.
Just for you, dear husband! And yes, I do this. Image from Bridgeman Images.
Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare a fire for him to unwind by… after all, catering for his comfort will give you immense personal satisfaction. Hmmm. I think this is really sweet if you take it into proper context. Do things for your husband because you genuinely want to serve him, to make him feel comfortable. If you’re feeling like you’re forced to do things, then it’s not coming from a place of love. THEN you’ll turn bitter and make this feel more like an obligation. I find that I find “immense personal satisfaction” when I do things with love, not because I have to.
Prepare the children. Minimise all noise. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. No friggin’ way.
Be happy to see him. Now this I 100% agree with! Nothing’s more upsetting than coming home to a spouse who looks dismayed to see you! Welcome him with a warm kiss and a hug. Be genuinely happy to see him. That goes for welcoming him home, or when you yourself come home to him. This goes two-way too!
Greet him with a smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Greet him with a smile — see previous point. As for the second half of the sentence, I kinda agree with the thought but not with how it’s worded. If “show sincerity” is equal to “be sincere” then I’m okay with it. The word “show” just puts me off, like you’re putting on a sincere act of being the devoted housewife when you’re not. BE sincere and show that genuine sincerity.
This is more like it! Husband and wife working together in the kitchen. Image from Bourbon and Pearls.
Listen to him. Let him talk first. Remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. I’m good with listening to him. I’m not good with one’s topics being more important than the other. Both your topics are important!! A twist to this advice is to be sensitive before you talk. Sometimes my husband is super tired from work and just wants to eat in peace. I give him that, and save my stories before bedtime, when he’s recovered from the workday. It’s being aware of whether you let him talk first or if you talk first. But it’s not because he’s more important.
Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or even if he stays out all night… No. Just no. This reminds me of the very first episode from Mad Men, when Don Draper came home really late to his family. His kids were in bed and his wife was waiting for him, but she didn’t complain. It went without saying that he worked late, but the truth is he had just come from his mistress. The end-shot of Episode 1 was so beautiful — it looked like they were the perfect family. It was such a disturbing but truthful shot. I loved it. (By the way, if this was a spoiler, sorry!! But you had 8 years!!!).
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. I believe it’s the goal of both partners though, not just the wife’s duty.
Don’t greet him with complaints and problems. Whoops. I’m guilty of this. *sheepish smiles* But I’ve stopped this! Now I greet him with a hug and a smile. Before I couldn’t wait to tell him about my day, negatives and all. Now, it’s a greeting of love first! The updates on the day, bad and good, can follow later.
Greet him with a cake! Image from Kerrfect.
Make him comfortable. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Again, another thing I’d love to do if I came home much earlier than he does. But actually, this can be done even if I’m home, like, 10 minutes before he is. My husband loves calamansi juice, so perhaps I can do this. I’ll try this week!
Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. I would actually like to do this. But I must remind myself that whatever I say in the low, soothing and pleasant voice isn’t a recounting of the day’s events. That wouldn’t sound very relaxing.
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. Wow. Cannot. fathom. this.
A good wife always knows her place. For sure it’s not below her husband, but by his side. That’s MY belief.
Which ones apply and don’t apply to you? Image from Tumblr.
Before we go shooting down this guide, let’s be reminded that this was (supposedly) written in the ’50s — the time when the husband was usually the breadwinner, and the wife keeper of the home and nothing else. To be fair, being at home was the only job meant for ladies at that time. To some extent, this kind of practice still exists and is preferred. If you find happiness and value in it, by all means, go for it! 😉 For as long as everything is grounded in genuine love and you can make it work, it will be a wonderful life. In my case, some points can work, some points don’t.
If I had my way, I’d totally want to have the home spick and span for my husband when he’d come home from work, complete with a hot meal and all. I’d even fix him his favorite drink — a welcome home smoothie perhaps. But as for the other points, not so much. I’m thankful that I live in a time that’s more open and empowering for women, and at the same time, one that doesn’t frown upon men being more domesticated too!
What do you think of the The Good Wife’s Guide? Come share your thoughts!