In 1955, female gender roles were vastly different to those we have today, not just in society but in relationships as well. Focussing on what was considered the norm, a male/female marriage, “The Good Wife’s Guide”, published May 1955 in Housekeeping Monthly included some ‘tips’ for wives that are a stark contrast to modern day relationships.
Tip 1: “Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you.”
There is nothing wrong if your partner (yep partner, not just husband) heads out for a catch-up with friends after work – a little bit of free time to binge watch the latest episodes of your favourite TV show could be exactly what you feel like that evening. But in a day and age where we all have mobiles, an invite from your partner or a text to them takes seconds. Communication from both sides is key to ensure neither of you feel left out.
Tip 2: “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.”
There’s no way you’ll be touching up your make up at home. You may not even wear any. If you do, that stuff comes off the second most of us are out of our jeans and into our Batman PJ’s because a) we’ve also been with “work weary” people all day and b) we’re not hanging around for anyone who only likes our face when it’s maxed out with Max Factor.
Tip 3: “Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.”
OK, so the pillow thing is kind of cute. Nothing wrong with fluffing that up or picking up their dry-cleaning on your way home, as long as it’s a favour you feel comfortable doing. If you know they’d pick up a tub of ice cream for you after a bad day at work, doing little favours for each other can be cute — but taking someone’s shoes off feels more like a one-way street.
Tip 4: “Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return.”
Pah. Between the 9am meeting, the lunchtime yoga sesh/run and the catch up drinks with our mates after work, it’s all we can do to remember to feed ourselves. Don’t feel like cooking after a 10 hour day and countless emails? Arrange to meet your partner at your favourite restaurant on the way home, or grab some takeaway and suggest they come over for dumplings and the latest episode of Stranger Things.
Tip 5: “Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by.”
Where to start with this one? Firstly, who actually has a fire place these days? Secondly, why can’t you get home, kick off your shoes and unwind? Why do you have to wait for your partner to chill out first? And THIRDLY – why are we encouraged to prepare a fire for ‘him’? Who says one person should get to relax? She, them, we, he, us – couldn’t we all do with a little R&R … it’s 2017!