Monday, February 20, 2012

Being a "Good Wife" in 1950 and Now

So Michelle Duggar, of "19 Kids and Counting" fame, and also being famous for being pregnant, like well over half her life, has been spotted passing out pamphlets expounding on the secrets to having a successful, long-lasting marriage.  I read barely a third of the article and I KNEW I would be writing a post on it.  I'm just suffregetty that way, I guess.

So three of the little nuggets of wisdom are this:  1) never bring up your husband's failures, as it could crush his spirit, 2) always gaze adoringly at your husband when he speaks, and 3) always regard your husband as your leader.  It reminded me of an article I read about"Being a Good Wife" from Good Housekeeping..... from 1955.

So I have a few, um, tweaks to the original.  Allow me:

1.  Have dinner ready when he gets home.  Plan ahead, even the night before, for a delicious meal.  It's part of the warm welcome home.
2012 rule:  Did he break his arms somehow?  Is he not just as capable of dialing the pizza place?

2.  Prepare for his arrival.  Freshen your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking.  He looks at a lot of weary-looking people all day.
2012 rule:  Try not to wear the same comfy sweats more than five days in a row.  Try not to start changing out of your work clothes in the driveway.

3.  Clear away the clutter.  Run a dust cloth over the table just before he arrives home.
2012 rules:  Kick a path through the toys from the door to the fridge.  That's his first stop anyway  He's on his own from there.

4. Minimize all noise before he arrives home.  Silence the washer, dryer and vacuum.  Encourage the children to be quiet.
2012 rules:  Seriously?  If you can hear yourself think, you're ahead of the game.

5.  Listen to him.  Remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
2012 rules: Last thing I want to do is hear a blow-by-blow of how his workmate blew chucks after eating at the roach coach.  Tuning him out is not only necessary, it's critical for survival and sanity.

6. Your goal: make your home a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
2012 rules: Then NEVER HAVE CHILDREN!

7.  Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
2012 rules:  Then NEVER HAVE CHILDREN!

8.  Make him comfortable.  Have him lean back in an easy chair.  Have a drink ready for him.
2012 rules:  Pick the Legos out of the sofa and the plastic Barbie shoes that stick to the backs of his legs.  Shove the dog off the good end and direct him to where the sodas ALWAYS are.  The drink is for you.

9.  Don't ask questions about his actions or question his judgment.  Remember, he is the master of the house.
2012 rules:  On a good day, he doesn't even know what decisions I have made.  What he doesn't know won't hurt him and eliminate the need to talk about it.  He should know by now, ALL your decisions are for the betterment of the family.  Question his judgment, my ass.  He doesn't even know what plumber we use.

10.  A good wife always knows her place.
2012 rules:  A good husband knows his!  Respect me, honor me, and share with me, and I'll be the best goddamn wife on the planet.  Try it out, guys.

And as for Mrs. Duggar's rules?:  Here's my answers to those.

  • If I never brought up my husband's failures, I'd never win an argument.
  • Gaze adoringly?  Yeah, I gaze alright.  Mostly it's with this verbal embodiment of the look on my face: Are you kidding me???  Did I actually CHOOSE that ten years ago?
  • Always regarding him as a leader?  Yeah, he's the leader of a country of four and as such, is always open to attack from the flanks or veto on his position.  Guess who holds absolute veto power?  You got it.
If I forgot any, PLEASE feel free to add your own.  I am always interested in what you all have to say!