The ‘Good Housewife’s Guide’ From 1955 Will Shock You


At times, it may seem as if things tend to progress rather slowly. When we think about our life, we might not feel as if things have changed much from when we were children. Sure, technology has made some inroads into our lives, and that does have an impact. For the most part, however, things seem to be status quo for most of us.

However, when you stop to look back just a few decades, you might be surprised with how different we live today. That is especially the case when you look back to the 1950s and the traditions that were common in that day for how wise would treat their husbands. In fact, there were recommendations that might just take you by surprise. Even if you were alive back then, you might have forgotten some of those trends along the way. They seemed normal then but now they are quite different.


In the Housekeeping Monthly Magazine of May, 1955, a list was posted. It was called the “Good Wife’s Guide” and his was the details of how a woman should act to be a better wife, mother and human being. When you look at these rules, they will probably take you by surprise. They seem so alien compared to life today but it really wasn’t all that long ago.


1.) Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.

2.) Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.


3.) Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so 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.

4.) Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.


5.) Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.


6.) Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.


7.) 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.

8.) Children 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 or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.


9.) Be happy to see him. Free him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Listen to him.

10.) You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.


11.) Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.


12.) Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where you husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

13.) Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.


14.) Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.


15.) Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

16.) Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.


17.) Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment of integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.


18.) A good wife always knows her place.

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