Whilst at university, I spent a lot of time looking at feminism and the antiquated ideas of ‘women’s roles’ (not just a hat rack my friends).
At some point in my research, I came across a photocopied article (I don’t think the internet had been invented then) allegedly taken from a 1955 edition of Housekeeping Monthly entitled
The Good Wife’s Guide
Oh how I chuckled…and cast it aside.
Now that I am wed, I decided I should probably do the right thing – read it and learn how to be a good wife – the wife he deserves…
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. Rule number 1 and I’m failing at being a good wife from the off! Who has time for preparing tomorrow’s meal today? I have never had a meal, delicious or otherwise, ready for Rory’s return. Sometimes I even get HIM to cook. I should imagine that my husband is feeling pretty neglected right now.
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. Firstly, my make up is ALWAYS touched up thank you very much!
Secondly, take 15 minutes to rest? I have two children, rest is the past time of people who aren’t me.
My darling husband may very well have spent the day with a lot of work weary people but I’m afraid he’s just come home to one and I can’t be arsed to hide it.
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. I’m not sure that’s his thing and, to be honest, I can barely even muster the energy to be a little hetero some days and then there’s finding someone…Oh, THAT gay.
His day may well have been boring, but he hasn’t watched a billion episodes of Fireman Sam so I’m not allowing him to claim the title of ‘most bored’.
Luckily for him, I am naturally interesting.
He married well.
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. We have two children, there is no escaping that fact that our life IS clutter now. Ain’t no rug big enough to hide it anymore. Does anyone even own a dust cloth these days? I just use one of Seth’s discarded socks to give the TV a quick once over…
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. If Rory gets in from work and finds the house is at subtropical temperature he is not going to go to his happy place. He is going to realise the heating has been on all day and won’t be able to get that gas bill out of his mind. If I’m not cold I will feel immense personal satisfaction though, there’s always one winner.
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. “They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part” Well, wouldn’t we all?
I spend the whole afternoon trying to calm the kids down, stop them leaping on furniture and bickering with one another. Unfortunately, no matter how much they love him, Daddy getting home from work isn’t going to suddenly make them compliant!
Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. This one I excel at. I am ALWAYS happy to see him, moreso if he is clutching a nice bottle of red! It could possibly be argued that my smile is less ‘warm’ and more ‘maniacal’ but it’s there.
Sincere and possibly even a little desperate.
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. I’ve spent the day with two small humans who believe that everything they have to say is far more important than anything I might have to say. When my husband gets home, I’ll be listening with all my might. I won’t be taking any of it in but I am proficient in the art of nodding at the right time and looking interested.
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. Screw that.
Yes he works hard but he also gets to talk to other grown ups, not share his lunch and not wipe other peoples arses (unless his work just got weird). The evening is OURS not his! I have a very real need to relax too. Or go to the pub. Whatever.
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. My actual goal: keeping the kids alive and not losing my shit over pointless things because being an at home mum sometimes feels akin to living in a pressure cooker. I will absolutely attempt to create a bit of peace and harmony but I’m afraid that
A) I’ll fail
B) See A.
Don’t greet him with complaints and problems Not a chance, I’m a sharer.
If I’m suffering WE’RE suffering – we’re married now, a team.
I’ve probably not spoken to another adult all day so I will not be held responsible for whatever falls out of my mouth once I start talking.
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. Just no, if he’s late home or stays out all night, I’m afraid I’m probably going to go batshit. I don’t have the option of just being late or not coming back because I’ve had a bad day. I’d have to take the bloody kids with me thus defeating the purpose!
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. If I asked Rory to lean back in a chair, removed his shoes and spoke to him in a creepy whisper he’d probably think I was going to kill him or something. No one would feel comfortable in this scenario.
Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement 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. WTF? Don’t ask questions, don’t complain if he stays out all night? Were all men in the 50s having affairs or something?
I will ask ALL the questions thank you very much for that is how conversation works.
Besides, what if my judgement is actually better?
A good wife always knows her place. Yup – alongside my husband, as his equal being fabulous AF as always.
It turns out I am a Good Wife after all.
What would a How to be a Good Husband guide look like???
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