Do you consider yourself a good wife, husband or partner? Blue Eyes assures me I am (and he’d be silly not to right now as I am baking apple cinnamon muffins), but upon reading the guide below, first printed in Good Housekeeping Magazine (May 13, 1955), I had a rethink. Could I be doing better?
THE GOOD WIFE’S GUIDE
- Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious dinner 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 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.
- 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.
- Be happy to see him.
- Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him but the moment of is 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.
- Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a warm or cool 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 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. A good wife always knows her place.
SSo how did I rate compared to Mrs 1955. Let’s see:
- 1. Pretty good. We have a weekly menu and his needs are certainly considered when this is planned. His portion size is reduced, but this is, of course, is part of being concerned about his needs. It’s not ready when he comes home because 3pm is a little early for dinner, but there are no complaints. Luckily for him.
- 2. Needs work. Have resolved to pull over on the side of the road before I get home from work and apply a cucumber eye patches for ten minutes, followed by fresh make-up, illuminator, bronzer, lipstick, mascara and a spritz of his favourite perfume. Will also shave my underarms. Note: buy a ribbon.
- 3. Needs work. Have decided not to be a little gay as that holds no interest for either of us, but will switch on the Julia Roberts’ smile as soon as I see him. In fact, I just practised the permanent smile just now, but he looked a little scared when he looked at me so I will try later.
- 4. Fail. Must work on children’s refusal to brush hair, teeth, shower and change clothes during the school holidays. Must also work on their vocab and manners – grunting while looking at the XBox is hardly the behaviour of little treasures and the man of the house deserves much more.
- 5. Good. I am very happy to see him. He is very good at making coffee, washing up, cleaning the cat litter trays and bringing in the clothes… d’uh.
- 6. Satisfactory. I practised this earlier and listened with great interest as he talked about the weather. Did you know it’s much cooler down south? I know, right? He seemed to like it so will tell him about dog digging a big hole, the kids’ enormous phone bill and my little trip to the shops after we’ve discussed the weather in Uzbekistan.
- 7. Satisfactory. After he has washed the dishes and fed the dogs, he is always encouraged to relax and let the strain and pressure of life drain away. When he makes our coffee, I always try to froth the milk, just to help relax him. You know.
- 8. Good. I just demonstrated this half an hour ago. In a soothing voice (see point 9) I offered him a nice, cool drink while he sat in a comfortable chair and looked at the weather online. I would have taken his shoes off but he wasn’t wearing any. He looked at me strangely, but I think that was because he was deep in thought about the sea breeze.
- 9. See above. Although he did make the hurtful comment that my pleasant, soothing voice was a bit irritating. Poor love, he must have had a hard day.
- 10. Satisfactory. I must confess that I did question whether we should buy a pizza oven today, but quickly remembered my place. The pizza oven looks great! And even though it’s hot outside, I fully supported his decision to go and buy some wood so he can fire it up. If he wants to play with the pizza oven and make me a pizza, who am I to argue?
- 11. Excellent. My place is with my man and I’m not complaining. Why would I? He’s the best for me!
Well, Mrs 1955 would say I have a long, long to go, but according to Blue Eyes, I’m just right. And he wants me to stay just the way I am, not vie for Mrs 1955’s title. What a lucky wife I am. And it’s just as well he agreed. You can bring home the wood and a pizza oven, but this 2012 chick may not feel like making pizza dough.