How to be a Good Wife

The following is from a 1950s Home Economics textbook intended for schoolgirls, teaching how to prepare for married life.

1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready – on time. 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 prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will 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 a loving wife waiting at the door for him will be sure to lift his spirits!

3. Clear away the clutter: Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and the cleaning will give you a lift too. Remember, a tidy home is a happy home. Don’t let your husband down!

4. 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 his little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

5. Minimise the noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him!

6. Some DON’TS: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

7. Make him comfortable: Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he 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, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind! He does work much harder than you do, and you should reward him accordingly.

8. Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first. Wives often swap gossip and rumours, and he is unlikely to be concerned with such silly tittle-tattle. You should never distract his attention from the important things in life.

9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to be home and relax. Asking to be taken out would be selfish, after all.

10. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax. Also make sure that the home is a place where he is sure to be loved, cared for and pampered in every possible way. So don’t forget to put the children to bed early and have some time together occasionally!

Update: February 2001

Bruna from Wales, who now lives in Italy, wrote in with a couple more tips. Keep ’em coming!

Always make sure that there is enough hot water for you to wash his feet in. Cut his toenails neatly and quietly, trying to avoid flicking pieces of his nails around the bedroom. Remember he has had a stressful day and you don’t want to risk him stepping on a sharp piece of nail in his bare feet.

If you are overweight, you must lose weight immediately. This way, when your husband comes through the front door after a terribly trying day at his workplace, he finds a nice flat doormat to wipe his dirty feet on and not a lumpy uneven one.

If anyone has any more tips, please let us have them below. I’m sure all of us women just can’t wait to learn more!

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About Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

One thought on “How to be a Good Wife

  1. Evidently written by the same people who were behind this Public Improvement Film!

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