Be warm and affectionate
If you disregard the language in which the said article was written, there are a few good pieces of advice there. One of the main points in this set of guides revolves around the image of a warm and affectionate wife, one that knows how to show love to her husband.
This is a suggestion that can’t be outdated. Even though showing your affection for your husband might not reside in offering to take off his shoes anymore, you should still find ways to express your love for him. We often push aside our emotions and focus too much on everyday obligations, on work or worries. So much so that we let our loved ones guess how much we really care about them. Don’t let this be the case in your marriage.
Another important skill that 50s wives seemed to nurture is understanding. We may be tempted to say a little too much understanding if we are to believe what the article promoted. A 50s wife was to never voice her grievances if her husband was late or was going out having fun on his own.
Although we wouldn’t all necessarily agree with such level of tolerance anymore, there is an essentially desirable characteristic there. None of us is perfect, and our husbands aren’t either. You should not allow being put in a submissive position, but having some understanding of your husband’s weaknesses and flaws in a necessary skill that is equally beneficial today as it was 60 years ago.
Tend to your husband’s needs
The guide we are referring to instructs housewives to tend to their husband’s needs in several ways. But, primarily, we get a sense of those husbands needing primarily some peace and quiet, and a warm dinner. We would nowadays say that a modern man has a few more needs than that, but the essence is the same – to be a good wife, you should put some effort to tend to your husband’s needs.
This mostly doesn’t mean being a tidy, smiling, and immaculately looking good anymore. But, it does mean having empathy for what he might be in need for and searching for ways to provide it for him or support him on his path. There is still a lot we can learn from the 50s wives, and that is how to make your life partner feel valued and cared for.
The things that did change
The 50s housewife’s guide promoted such image in which the wife was a warm and understanding haven from the stressful world for her man – at best. Although there are some positive points in the said article, there is also something that no one could agree on nowadays. And that is the absolute lack of direct and reciprocated communication.
The advice given in this guide explicitly demand that a good wife does not express her desires, needs, talk about her frustrations, shows her exhaustion, voice her complaint. And even though some men of today might still desire such seemingly ever-happy wife, this is a truly unhealthy way of interacting.
Today marriage counselors agree on communication being the single most important factor in any relationship. In order for a marriage to succeed, spouses need to learn to talk to each other in a direct and honest way. It should be a conversation between equal partners, one in which both can and should be explicit about everything that they are experiencing. And this is the point in which the old and the new ways collide.
So, to be a good wife to your husband is somewhat the same as it was 60 years ago. You should be warm, understanding, and empathetic. But, it is also different in one crucial aspect, which is your right to have the same sort of support and interest in your husband. Marriage is, after all, cooperation on shared goals and visions of the future, not a relationship of servitude.