How to Be a Good Wife (According to a 1950's Home Ec Book)

A reader recently sent me a forwarded email titled, “The Good Wife’s Guide” that supposedly came from a 1950′s home economics textbook designed to prepare female high school students for married life.

While Snopes was unable to determine the article’s authenticity, it serves as a fun and infuriating read for today’s modern women.

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 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. 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, papers etc and then run a dust cloth over the tables. Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to relax and 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 faces and hands (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, and 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 question his 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.

Well this “good wife” knows her place and it’s in the 21st century; THANK GOD.

Strollerderby’s own Meredith Carroll (then, an engaged Meredith Cohen) explored these daunting June Cleaver notions for The Aspen Times as she prepared for her upcoming trip down the aisle. Carroll admitted, “I’m afraid my marriage to Rick might be doomed to fail before we even make it to the altar,” I can only imagine a lot of smart young ladies of the Silent Generation felt the same way.

While it’s pretty damn safe to assume “The Good Husband’s Guide” was never published in the 1950′s, Serge Bielanko does us proud with his marital advice for the modern age in ‘Do Not Talk to Her in the Morning’: 15 Marriage Tips From A Foolish Husband.

Ladies, are you a “good wife” to your husband?

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