i started a class at my church last night called wisdom for wives...a 10 week study on growing as a wife. this was a hand out they gave us and i had to share. it made me laugh, both seeing what was suggested to wives in the 50s, and how life as a wife looks now for the most part. i could make fun of the 50s "suggestions", but the truth is, i would love for life to look like this at my house. if i were married to a jerk, i think i would have burned it, but i'm married to a man who truly deserves a wife like this, and it's what i want him to have. now to deal with the little problem called "me" :)...
1950's home economic textbook advice for housewives
the following is from an actual 1950s home economics textbook, intended for high school girls, teaching them how to prepare for married life...
1. have dinner ready: plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal prepared 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 prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed
2. prepare yourself: take 15 minutes to rest so you will 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.
3. clear away 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.
4. 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.
5. minimize the noise: at the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, or vacuum. try to encourage the children to be quiet. greet him with a warm smile and kiss, letting him know you're glad to see him.
6. some donts: 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.
7. make him comfortable: have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lay down in the bedroom. have a cool or warm drink ready for him. arrange his pillow or offer to take his shoes off. speak in a low, soft, soothing, and pleasant voice. allow him to relax and unwind. (this one made me laugh the hardest...brett would think i had lost my marbles and would ask what i wanted him to buy me if he came in to this)
8. 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.
9. 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 and his need to be home and relax.
10. the goal: try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.
can you believe this is from a textbook? wouldn't a school like get sued or something if they taught this now? i know these are extreme and don't necessarily fit into our "culture" anymore, but i would love for our home to be one where our girls grow up seeing me put brett and his needs before my own each day; where they get to see a marriage of "gospel re-enactment" (in the words of tim keller), with us each pouring out our lives for the other. truth is, i don't want me, my house, or my kids to look too good when he gets home. i've gotta make sure he knows it's tough work raising our wild girls and making a new life in my belly ;) putting someone else (or 3 someone elses) first day after day, and doing it with joy, is definitely never something i'll be able to do out of my own strength.
the other handout, an updated version, is definitely more relatable....sad but true.
the 2000 version
1. have dinner ready: make reservations ahead of time. if your day becomes too hectic, just leave him a voicemail message regarding where you'd like to eat and at what time. this lets him know that your day has been crappy and gives him an opportunity to change your mood.
2. prepare yourself: make sure to change out of your work clothes into something comfortable. who cares if he likes it or not...after all, it's most likely his t-shirt and boxers.
3. clear away clutter: yeah right! tell the kids and your husband if they want maid service, they better call one!
4. prepare the children: send the children to their rooms to watch television or play video games.
5. minimize the noise: yell to him over the loud music your kids are playing, that this is what you had to put up with while he was gone. and mention that it was his decision to buy the kids a new CD player in the first place.
6. some donts: don't greet him with problems and complaints. let him speak first, and then your complaints will get more attention and remain fresh in his mind throughout dinner. don't complain if he's late for dinner; simply remind him that the leftovers are in the fridge and you left the dishes for him to do.
7. make him comfortable: tell him where he can find a blanket if he's cold.
8. listen to him: but don't ever let him get the last word.
9. make the evening his: never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or other places of entertainment; go with a friend or go shopping (using his credit card). familiarize him with the phrase "girls' night out"!
10. the goal: try to keep things amicable without reminding him that he only thinks the world revolves around him. obviously he's wrong; it revolves around you.