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Spousal Advice, Then and Now


HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE

The following is excerpted from a 1950's high school home-economics textbook.

Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal -- on time. 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 are part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so that 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. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter: Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

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, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.

Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

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 renew himself in body and spirit.


HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE: 1995 REVISION
by

Have dinner ready once a week: Plan ahead, even five minutes before, to have a delicious meal -- stop at Taco Bell on the way home. The rest of the week, scrounge food from fridge and cupboards. Spagettios are quick and easy. Tell your husband that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs and would he please make himself a sandwich because you are too tired. Most men are hungry when they come home, so ignore their whining and point them toward the fridge.

Prepare yourself: Leave him with the kids one night and go shopping. You have just been with a lot of work-weary people. Your boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter: Kick magazines, papers, and mail off the coffee table so you can eat off it while you watch TV. Have the remote handy. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

Prepare the children: If you both need a break, send them to Grandma's house in another state. If Grandma won't take them, take a few minutes tie children's hands and feet, and don't forget the gag. Tell them you are playing Cops and Robbers and you will free them as soon as their lawyer arrives. Usually, they will fall asleep before you come to untie them hours later. Your husband will think you are a genius, but don't expect flowers.

Minimize all noise: At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Ha ha! Just kidding. We know you don't possibly have time to do laundry or vacuum. That stuff will have to wait until your next 3-day weekend. If you want things quiet, turn the TV down. Try to encourage the children to be quiet (See Cops and Robbers, above). Be happy to see him if he stopped to rent videos. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him. If he doesn't seem equally glad to see you, start an argument. Since things are nice and quiet, he will be sure to hear you.

Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. He doesn't understand what you mean. This will lead to an argument. Don't complain if he's late for dinner, unless he was supposed to pick it up on his way home. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him (same thing you're drinking unless his preference is different). Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. This will alarm him and he will wonder if he has forgotten your anniversary or birthday. You could get a present out of it. Allow him to relax and unwind before mentioning that it's his turn to take the kids to the dentist.

Listen to him:You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first. This will placate his ego. His six words won't take long, then you can yammer his ear off with the knowledge that he will ignore you, anyway, since Hard Copy is doing a series on Hooters in Hawaii.

Make the evening yours: Complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. If that doesn't work, leave. Go out to dinner yourself. After a few evenings alone with the kids, he'll see the wisdom of your words.

The goal: Try to make your bathroom a place of peace and order where you can renew yourself in body and spirit. Calgon, take me away!

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