Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Good Wife Guide

I'm sure many of my readers will remember seeing this article (supposedly from the 50's, though it was later said to be fake):

I remember there being a great outcry by both men and women about the article being sexist and promoting inequality. I'm sure many of you remember this yourselves, so I won't go into much detail about how insulting the article was to many people. Rather, I want to focus on the few brave souls who went against public opinion.

"I wish my wife would accept the part that says 'Don't greet him with complaints or problems'. I understand that she had a rough day with the kids, and I'm more than willing to talk the problems over with her - I just wish she didn't slam them on me the moment I walk in the door."

"If I told my wife I expected her to have a cool drink ready for me when I got home, she'd probably dump it on my head!"

"I wish society was more accepting of submission in women - I'd personally love to greet my husband at the door and offer to take off his shoes.  But I think it would spark an argument!"

I was working in an office at the time, and for each one of those statements above, a furor and outcry would fill the break room as everyone else would rush to correct the offender - especially the one woman who had the desire to take off her husband's shoes!  It got me to thinking, though - was the article really all bad?

Sure, there are certain points that I found offensive - such as "Don’t complain...if he stays out all night." "His topics of conversation are more important than yours." "You have no right to question him."  I think most people will agree with me!

But what is wrong with making sure the home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility? Is it fundamentally wrong to greet your spouse with a meal or a drink when he returns from work? Some of the things on that list struck me as being sensible, even respectable.

For example, the second point suggested taking a little time for yourself before your husband arrives home. This just seemed wise to me.  After rushing around all day, cleaning and cooking, it just makes sense to take some time for yourself! How would you rather greet your husband after work (or you children after school) - frazzled and overwhelmed...or calm and collected? 

Clearing away the clutter, and doing a bit of dusting before everyone arrives home also seems wise. Having a cluttered busy home makes it hard to relax and unwind. When everything is tidy, it promotes a relaxing affect on everyone...and who doesn't want to have relaxed children in the evening?

"Be happy to see him".  It's kinda sad that we need reminders like that, isn't it? After all, if we aren't happy with our spouse, why are we married to him? But sometimes life gets so hectic and busy that we forget to express our pleasure in others. Another sad reminder is the exhortation to "listen to him" - really, that's not something we should forget.

And honestly - it goes both ways, doesn't it? A husband has similar duties to his wife. I love this article which created a companion list called "The Good Man's Guide", reminding husbands that they need to participate in making home life enjoyable and relaxing. I also feel that children have a responsibility to keep the house running smoothly.

I keep a copy of this guide on my hard drive, and have printed out a copy and taped it to my fridge. It represents a lot of things to me - first, how far the woman's lib movement has come, and how far it still has to go (I'll go into more detail on this in a later post). But it also serves to remind me to look at the big picture...to not be so distracted by the little things that I lose track of the most important thing of all - my family.

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