In 1955, Housekeeping Monthly published an article called, “The Good Wife’s Guide,” telling wive’s how to be a “good wife” to their husbands. This is the social norm that laid a foundation that our parents were born into and still permeates in the patriarchal, misogynistic air that we breathe. We have been so marinated into this patriarchal sauce we don’t even know when we are participating within. How often are these views upheld in the church? How often are they attributed to the Bible? To God? Isn’t it fitting that the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44) and the “Deceiver of the world” (Rev.12:9) would lie to us and deceive our view of women and “Steal, Kill, and Destroy” (John 10:10) healthy equity in relationships as we know it? Can you see how those with power (i.e., men) have created this type of narrative to merely serve themselves? Yet, at the end of the day, patriarchy doesn’t serve anyone well; it leaves men feeling like boys, women feeling like slaves, and both people feeling resentful and alone.
As you read the points below for a “Good Wife” below from the 1955 Housekeeping Monthly article, will you listen to your body and write down what is evoked in you? Do you grieve for all this system has cost you? Do you curse or rage at the grave injustice? Will you see anew the pressure women have been born into to cater to male desire? Will you repent? Will you become a fierce advocate for women, and stand up against sexism and misogyny that still remains in our society and in our churches?
God have mercy.
Side note: I realize there are women who love homemaking and find a lot of satisfaction in that position. There is nothing wrong with this, own this, no shame! This is not meant to mock or devalue those women. My point is to reveal the harmful mindset of entitlement when a man expects or demands this from his wife as her sole role.
(Trigger Warning: If you suffer from Patriarchy Stress Disorder proceed with caution.)
The Good Wife’s Guide
1.) 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.
2.) 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.
3.) Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair, and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
4.) 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.
5.) Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up school books, toys, paper, etc., and then run a dust cloth over the tables.
6.) 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 order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
7.) 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.
8.) Children 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, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
9.) Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Listen to him.
10.) 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.
11.) 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.
12.) 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.
13.) Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
14.) Don’t complain if he’s home late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
15.) 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.
16.) Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing, and pleasant voice.
17.) Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment of 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.
18.) A good wife always knows her place.
My final thoughts are as follows:
- Please find the closest trash can to vomit into
- Curse and/or pray
- Grieve boldly that this toxic belief has hurt so many.
*Also it was brought to my attention that this original article could be fake. I sure hope so.