Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. It has become fashionable to portray outdated societal behaviors and attitudes — ones we now consider desperately wrongheaded — to be worse than they really were as a way of making a point about how much we’ve improved. 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, his need to be home and relax. The goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.To her fell the housework and the childrearing, tasks considered her indisputable purpose in life, her highest calling; not something voluntarily undertaken.It was seen as only right and proper that the wife should keep the home running smoothly, making it a quiet haven of peace and joy for her husband, the breadwinner.We needn’t paint a mental picture of those times as being one of master and slave, “his every whim a command, his every utterance golden,” because they weren’t.But it is true in those days a woman’s province was understood to be the home.Remind someone what easy lives we lead these days by showing him an alleged list of rules for teachers from 1872.Or poke fun at Victorian sexual attitudes (or modern day feminism) by trotting out a piece of Advice to Young Brides.
DON’T: Have a lot of preconceived ideas of what you want out of life.
The list is often attributed to , first published in 1963 to provide instruction in “The Art of Winning a Man’s Complete Love,” but no such list appears in that work.
However, before we head off to go dancing in the streets over this, safe and secure in our knowledge that this list of housewifely tips was just a bit of cooked-up nonsense, we’d better take another look at the wife’s role in the 1950s.
We don’t want to believe any woman, even half a century ago, was willing to submit herself to a life of servitude in order to be considered successful at her “most important role in life,” that of the wife.
And we certainly don’t want to believe our schools were used to inculcate young women with these skewed notions of the proper role for women.