The Good Wife’s Guide goes around the internet quite often as a “how to be a good wife” kind of post. However, most find these 1950’s housewives rules outdated so this is a modern Good Wife’s Guide.
If you know me you know I’m not a meek and quiet 1950’s housewife. I have my opinions and I will share them. I also don’t blindly do anything.
This did almost get me in serious trouble once. One time my husband and I, while we are still just dating, were at my parent’s house. We were on the back porch and my husband (boyfriend at the time) says “come here.” I said “why”, he said, “just come here.” I questioned him again and he picks me up and moves me. Turns out there was a copperhead very close to my feet. So maybe I shouldn’t always question everything, ha.
The point is while I love the fashion and decor from the 40’s- early 60’s, I would not have done well with how women were often expected to act. The Good Wife’s Guide is a good example of something I’m sure I would have rebelled against.
How to be a Good Wife
The Good Wife’s Guide is rumored to be a “how to be a good wife” article that was published in a housewives’ magazine like Good Housekeeping Magazine or something of that nature. There is no clear evidence that really does exist or if it did, where it was from. The ideas in it are ones that many women in that time faced though.
I thought I’d share the original guide and then my updated version. Keep in mind I’m saying the things on my updated version are good things to do, not because you are a woman but because you are a nice person that decided to be a housewife. Big emphasis on decided! I’m not a housewife because that is all I am able to be, I’m a housewife because I want to be and it works well for my family.
The Good Wife’s Guide: Original-
- 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 get home and the prospect of a good meal 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.
- Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
- Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.
- 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 to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
- 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. 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.
- 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 later 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 for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
- Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him 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 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.
Related Post: Ditch the Yoga Pants, Embrace the House Dress
The Good Wife’s Guide: Modernized-
- Have dinner ready at a time that works for your family. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute stress. Also consider getting something like an Instant Pot, which works as a slow cooker and an electric pressure cooker. It will also help you avoid a stressful rush at dinner time.
- Give yourself time to rest. 15-minute naps have been shown to really help productivity and aren’t long enough to harm sleep patterns at night. You need to take time out of your day to take care of yourself.
- Clear away the clutter at some point in the evening. A good nighttime routine helps for a better morning. Cleaning up is part of this because no one wants to wake up to a messy house.
- If you have kids, make sure they wash their hands before dinner and pick up. It’s basic hygiene and it’s good for them to learn to take care of their things.
- Greet your partner with kindness. As you should with everyone, especially loved ones.
- Don’t overwhelm your partner the moment they walk in the door. Everyone needs a bit of downtime. It will be easier for you to talk about important things with both of you are settled and relaxed.
- Couples should have social lives outside of each other. Always be considerate of each other’s feels but remember it’s good to have some time apart.
- Your goals will change depending on what season of life you are in. Be sure that you and your partner are on the same page about what is important in your home life.
- Communicate your plans with each other so that no one is worried or waiting around.
- When possible, create a cozy and inviting home. This is different for each family but everyone wants a nice place to call home. That doesn’t mean it’s perfectly decorated or picked up, just that it fits your needs and your family can be happy there.
- Nicely remind your family to take off their shoes before coming into the house. It helps keep the house cleaner and keeps pesticides and other nasty things out.
- Don’t assume things or be passive aggressive. If you have a concern discuss it.
- A good wife tries to do her best.
What are your thoughts on the original Good Wife’s Guide and my modern Good Wife’s Guide? Do you feel like you know how to be a good wife now? I’d love to hear what you think. Honestly, I’m fine with doing some things from the original because I’m a nurturer. But again, that’s a choice, I’m all about having choices.
Related post: 1950s Housewife