Saturday, July 12, 2008

How to be a Good Wife, Part I

Good morning, my dear Readers,

I found some nuggets of treasure in an old book I've been reading, entitled "Home and Health and Home Economics", published in 1880. They are tips to wives (there's a section for husbands, too) on how to better please their husbands. Some of the ideas are so foreign to our modern sensibilities, that they might be offensive, but I found them to be sound and something that I wish to strive for. The section on maintaining personal attractiveness especially stuck out to me.

1. Reverence your husband.
He sustains by God's order a position of dignity as head of the family, head of the woman. Any breaking down of this order indicates a mistake in the union or a digression from duty.

2. Love him. A wife loves as naturally as the sun shines. Love is your best weapon. You conquered him with that in the first place. You can re-conquer him by the same means.

3. Forsake all for him. Looking back may be as fatal to you as it was to Lot's wife. You have voluntarily taken him for "better or for worse." Henceforth your destinies are intertwined.

4. Confide in him. Distrust is a bottomless abyss.

5. Keep his love. It may require much care and thought, but the boon is vital to your happiness.

6. Cultivate the modesty and delicacy of your youth. The relations and familiarity of wedded life may seem to tone down the sensitive and retiring instincts of girlhood, but nothing can compensate for the loss of these. However much men may admire the public performance of gifted women, they do not desire that boldness and dash in a wife. The holy blush of a maiden's modesty is more powerful in hallowing and governing a home than the heaviest armament that ever warrior bore.

7. Cultivate personal attractiveness. This means the storing of your mind with a knowledge of passing events, and with a good idea of the world's general advance. If you read nothing, and make no effort to make yourself attractive, you will soon sink down into a dull hack of stupidity. If your husband never hears from you any words of wisdom, or of common information, he will soon hear nothing from you. Dress and gossip soon wear out. If your memory is weak, so that it hardly seems worthwhile to read, that is additional reason for reading. The disease is advancing to a threatening stage. Keep by you some selected book. Read little by little, as you can. Think of what you read. Talk to your husband of it when he comes. If your memory fails you in the critical moment, try it again. Persist, and victory is inevitable. Ask him questions about it. Enlist his interest. Any new thing placed before him will awaken his admiration. A careful reading of the daily and religious papers will enable you to keep him posted by incidental references and statements while at the table, or while walking or riding or in the sitting-room. Soon he will come to rely upon you for his information on my matters. Then your throne cannot be shaken. This need not occupy many moments each day. But your time will not be worth having without it.

As the list is a little long, I will post more as I have time.

May you be blessed this day, wherever you are.



  1. Dear Marqueta,
    I enjoyed reading this so much and I thank you for sharing it. I look forward to the rest. These really are nuggets of treasure. I love old books and all the wisdom found in them! I find them to be sound too and just as applicable today as they were then!
    The Lord bless you,

  2. These sure are gems of advice that could be heeded today. I am afraid by the majority, they would be laughed at, which is so wonder marriages fall apart...what a great book.


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