My Response to The Good Wife’s Guide

Posted on February 4, 2010. Filed under: children, humor, marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

The Good Wife’s Guide

The Good Wife’s Guide above has been around for a while. Some claim it came from The Housekeeping Monthly in the 1950’s – others insist it was from an earlier generation. Still others say it’s somebody’s idea of a joke. Regardless, it is worthy of a response. Here is my official response to The Good Wife’s Guide that my husband handed me, right before he ducked.  I’ve listed each tip and my response is in blue and italics below it.

1.  Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return.

Okay, before we go any further, just when would that be?

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

First, I thought I was his favorite dish. Secondly, lobster is his favorite meal, but in today’s tough economy, I’ve been working very hard (he’s not the only one who works, you know) to make our food dollars stretch a little further, but the two lobster tails won’t mate. Serenading lobster is a time-consuming task. It might not leave me with any time to make dinner.

2.  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.

If you read further into this Good Wife’s Guide, you’ll know why it isn’t possible to accomplish this husband-pleasing task. But, I’ll give you a few reasons. While I was resting for 15 minutes, the kids painted the bathroom walls with my lipstick and strangled the cat with my pretty hair ribbon. Besides that, saying husbands are work weary and then suggesting that they have the energy to stay out all night (#9) is contradictory. A more realistic look at this task is in order.

3.  Be a little gay and a little more interesting to him. His boring day may need a lift, and it’s your duty to provide it.

Well, might I suggest that if he wanted me to be a little gay, that should have been discussed long before I became his good wife, although I’ll admit it would probably make things interesting. I may have to sacrifice the lobster farm, though, to have time to become a “little” gay and lead such an interesting life.

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

Okay, we’re back to #1 again. Just when will that be? And if I did all of that, I wouldn’t be rested, fresh, and look all dolled up anymore per instruction #2. When you decide what you really want, get back to me.

5.  Over the cooler months of the year, you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel like he’s 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.

So does raising kids, but that doesn’t mean I had to enjoy childbirth. Besides that, shouldn’t I be getting most of my immense personal satisfaction from him and the gay, interesting life I lead on the side? Oh, and hand me the short end of the stick I keep getting. I need more kindling.

6.  Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s faces and hands, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes.

All right. Stop right here. The children have been changing their clothes ten times a friggin day since they were two. Isn’t eleven times unreasonable?

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noises of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

For starters, there aren’t enough hours in the day to wash and dry the 10 loads of clothes that the kids go through and you’ve just added one more load. I’ll also have to assume that the dead cat’s fur can just stay on the floor, but doesn’t that violate #4? But I think I can keep the children quiet. I’ll go get the duct tape.

7.  Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

I “sincerely” tried this once. Wearing nothing but a smile, I wrapped myself in Saran Wrap and waited to greet him at the door. But by the time he got home, my smile and most of my body had melted away. And somehow, the Saran Wrap got stuck to the duct tape on the two-year-old’s mouth, and her lips are now stuck to my thigh. I’m beginning to believe that you’re setting me up to fail here.

8.  Listen to him. 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.

Okay, but I’m sure he’s going to notice the totaled car in the driveway, and I hope the boa constrictor that got out of its cage doesn’t slither up his leg before he’s done saying the all-important things he has to say. I’ll wait to tell him, too, that the Department of Homeland Security has disclosed that duct tape will be the weapon of choice in the future, and that we are now under suspicion because of the large quantities I’ve been buying to keep the kids quiet. Therefore, I must curtail my duct tape purchases for the unforseeale future. He may suspect something’s wrong without me saying anything, though, because the kids are pretty noisy without it.

9.  Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late, stays out all night, 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.

I must really point out that the contradictions simply have to stop. If he has such a very real need to be at home, then he could and should come home. That aside, how can I have his lobster ready, be fresh, and keep the house and the kids clean if he comes home late? Why should I even have to make his favorite dish if he’s going out to dinner? We could’ve spared one of those poor little lobsters. No comment, however, is necessary on the “other places of entertainment.” I’ve become a little gay to make his life more interesting. That’s all the entertainment his strained and pressured day can handle.

10.  Try to make your home a place of peace, order, and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

Finally, here’s one that is doable. But it will probably require tying up the children, in addition to purchasing another roll of duct tape. I’ll have to take lasso throwing lessons to catch them, though, so I may have to abandon my gay, interesting life and my 15 minutes of so-called rest. He better enjoy the peace and tranquility while his kids are bound and gagged, because I have a pretty strong hunch that it borders on child abuse. If that happens, I’ll probably be in jail when he’s looking for his favorite dish tomorrow night. Be careful what you wish for. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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

Yes, I have heard that many people on the brink of insanity often have a strange sense of calm about them before they lose it.

12.  Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or 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.

Since it now appears that you are talking about the Almighty here, I must interject with an English lesson. Anytime you’re referring to God, any reference to Him should be capitalized. Him, His, and He all fall within the rule. Oh and before I forget, why does this guide include a reference to God? I thought it was about husbands and wives…

13.  A good wife always knows her place.

Yes, of course she does. She also knows her husband’s place, and she takes a break from her gay, interesting life to visit him at the cemetary every Sunday.



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70 Responses to “My Response to The Good Wife’s Guide”

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…and all the ladies said, “amen!”

My MIL was the quintessential 1950’s housewife. She’d have no problem with this list. Gah.

So was my mom and MIL – I can remember being told to stop fighting, dad is coming home!

Love your responses…do you mind if I use them myself? It seems my husband has read this also and now expects The Good Wife…

Oh feel free to use them anytime you need them, hon. We’re all in this together!

I needed this little laugh! 🙂

I’m pretty sure that I have seen this article in a 50’s magazine my mother found.

However, “good wife” articles in Housekeeping magazines were probably as common as “please your man” articles in Cosmo.

I’ve seen this article before and think it’s a bunch of unrealistic crap. It’s because of articles like this that many women used “Mother’s Little Helpers” in the 1950’s.

nor am I interested.

Sure, it is a bunch of unrealistic crap, but is it any more unrealistic than what magazines publish today (about how to get the perfect body, how to have the perfect orgasm etc?)

“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.”
This is awesome advice. Christ, I’ve been master of the house for all this time and never had a clue. I don’t think I’ll be taking out the trash anymore or walking the dog now that I’m master of the house. If you need me, I’ll be on my throne, scratching myself in a slightly intimate area. Don’t ask why. Yours is not to question.

That itch sound kind of personal. I sure hope you can get rid of it!

I have no idea what these people would say to the fact that I have to put a crucifix hold on my husband to keep him away from the brownies while they cool. -.-

This is some of the funniest stuff I’ve read in a while (comments included)! I’m the bread winner in the house as my hubby is on disability. Shouldn’t I then be the master of the house? I never get this treatment when I walk in the door!

eviejane, oh please try it and come back and let us know what it feels like!

[…] leave a comment » So THIS is why you all complain about being exhausted from your marraiges.  […]

Brilliant responses. I envy you your gay, interesting life.

And I envy your ability and talent. The purple sweater on your blog is exceptional!


the duck tape its hilarious!!!

Everything can be fixed with duct tape and bailing wire. Just ask my husband.

Amen, sister! hahahaha!

I have yet to find one.

Funny stuff! Too bad none of these scenarios exist in the real world.

i believe your responses were awesome. i don’t understand men and their vision of what a “good wife” should be like. this list isn’t realistic. this list may have been able to work in the 50’s but this day and time, this is impossible to the working business woman today. it’s amazing how time has changed over a few decades. women have put on so many hats such as mom, care giver, provider, mediator, teacher, house-keeeping, and lover.

I remember reading this in my high school Family Living class in 1967. Even then, we were ROTFLOAO

Wow – I’m simply impressed that you remember what year you took Family Living! I would have loved to have heard a bunch of teen responses to this in the 60’s.

Well Done!

A great read 🙂

This made me laugh til I almost peed my pants… love it!!!!!! I linked this post on my blog to share with others!

Thanks, Nicole! Glad you liked it. So many women can relate to this antiquated thinking!

HA! Makes me glad that I’m not a married woman of the 50’s. Whew!

oh good googly mooglies. I needed that laugh!
thank you! thank you! thank you!

Can I borrow that phrase? Good googly mooglies – how much fun is it to say that?!!

I know! it’s one of my favorite phrases! you can borrow it… run with it… spread the word! 🙂

Thank you so much for your take on the Good Wife’s Guide. While I’ve read the article before, I appreciated your questioning where the guide fits into the world of couples with children (the kind of kids who speak and respond to stimuli). I have a feeling that the guide was published around the same time the term “breadwinner” was coined. Imagine generations of selfless, impeccably made up women dressed to the nines, forgoing their gay lifestyles in order to fluff spousal pillows, only to find out that all the jerks did was bring home bread. I enjoyed the post. –mel @

Sounds just about right. So sorry I missed this important guide during my marriage. No doubt the reason why my wifely (cough) undertakings went underappreciated. I’m thinking it was the dusting. Or forgetting to tie up the rambunctious children.

Hi – sorry your comment went to spam, glad I found it! Now, you just have to find a good husband guide. Oh…. now, that could be fun.

Hahaha very funny! I especially liked your response to #11. I know a woman whose husband used to freak out if he couldn’t see fresh vacuum lines when he got home. She would have to send the kids into their rooms, not to come out until after the husband had been the first to tread on the freshly vacuumed carpet. She is such a strong woman now and I can’t imagine her putting up with that crap, but I guess what doesn’t kill you truly does make you stronger.

You mean guys like this really exist? Well refer to the last tip, obviously today they wouldn’t last long!

lol This blog is very interesting. “Tek kin teet kibba heart bun” Meaning: When in difficulties, a little laughter can help you to feel better about your problems

Thanks for the ditty! I’ll have to work on memorizing it, use it on my kids, they’ll love it!

your responses are more humorous than the said “guide” – one problem, the guide is a fake. maybe you knew that already.
see Snopes article:

I knew that there are many stories about the validity and origin of the article, regardless, it’s been passed around so much that it deserved a sarcastic response!

I remember mom saying, “Let’s see if dad’s in a good mood or not”. Then making sure we washed our hands and faces and put on nice clean clothes before he got home.
Life has changed. Visit to see how.

Love it! I needed a good laugh after taking care of my sick husband and baby this week. Another treat I have to look forward to…my husband is making ME dinner tonight!

Lucky lady, where do i find one of him? My hubby expects me to cook. Not my favorite task.

This is pretty funny, that’s all I have to say! HA!
And of course I agree with you all the way!

You did an amazing job putting this into perspective. Occasionally, I being out my copy of this Good House Keeping article, just so my girlfriends and I can have a good laugh. I really like what you have done with it. Linda

[…] 5, 2010 by Julie Interesting timing, as I have been reading and reflecting on marriage, that this post was one of the featured posts when you first open up WordPress (this blogging […]

I visited your blog (as I have for everyone who posted here) and commented on your post. Glad to see that you’ve opened the conversation even more, and from a different perspective!

wow all of these are so unrealistic.

Too funny, dig the responses

I’ve see this before, but your comments brought me to tears(of laughter)

Love it! Great responses!

This is fabulous! I’m just grateful that my husband’s first language isn’t English because he’d love this.

Most of your crap rest upon reading something into “gay” that in this context simply is not there, besides loose claims about contradictions that isn’t there either. If you only knew you owe to read a text in such a way that it get the most stringent you maybe would be able to write something worth reading. At the most you are cementing my idea of how stupid women are, specially when trying not to be.

LOL. It’s called humor and sarcasm, you should try it. If you read it, it’s about how times have changed, and that includes the connotation behind the word ‘gay,’ a word which I did not in any way demean. If we can’t laugh at life, it would be a pretty boring world, wouldn’t it? Sadly, it looks like you’re stuck in a stereotype of hate and demeaning women. Let’s try to keep the hate out of my blog, shall we?

Sopranelsker you sound like an idiot – good luck finding a girlfriend! Btw this is really funny! Made me laugh, especially as my sisters husband brought it home one day to show to her cos she never makes him tea – she actually started to feel guilty till I went mental at him for being such a jerk. She’s the one who works part-time and takes care of his kids while he just sits around on his stupid ps3 :/

I thoroughly enjoyed your post! I’ve read the ‘good’ wife’s guide many times and have always laughed hysterically. My friends and I usually have a great time picking our favorite rule and then skewering it to death. Thanks for the chuckle.

That reminds me of Harry Enfield’s sketch: 😉

OMG! I’m cracking up here! Oh how much fun my four independent and dominant daughters would have commenting on that video! Too funny! Thanks for sharing it!

Hehe! Never let them look at you with utter contempt, make sure they know about your 13th rule 🙂

This was a very cute and fun post to read!

I read this years ago…without your comments; but it is a BLAST WITH YOUR COMMENTS & YOU MAKE ME LAUGH!!!!! WATCH OUT PAT!!!!!

help you to make your baby healthy hxxp://healthfreehelp[com]

I just watched an episode of NCIS where they were investigating a Navy Chaplin who was a serial killer. He had a fetish for the 50s and dressing women in bridal gowns. Found in one of his rooms, was a 1955 book titled “The Good Wife’s Guide”. It was a small, paperback book of approximately 15+ pages; looked authentic. (Jan 3, 2011)

I saw someone made a reference to Snopes but the article is actually an authenic article. In the closing years of the fourteenth century, an anonymous French writer compiled a book addressed to a fifteen-year-old bride, narrated in the voice of her husband, a wealthy, aging Parisian. The book was designed to teach this young wife the moral attributes, duties, and conduct befitting a woman of her station in society, in the almost certain event of her widowhood and subsequent remarriage. The work also provides a rich assembly of practical materials for the wife’s use and for her household, including treatises on gardening and shopping, tips on choosing servants, directions on the medical care of horses and the training of hawks, plus menus for elaborate feasts, and more than 380 recipes.

The Good Wife’s Guide is the first complete modern English translation of this important medieval text also known as Le Ménagier de Paris (the Parisian household book), a work long recognized for its unique insights into the domestic life of the bourgeoisie during the later Middle Ages. The Good Wife’s Guide, expertly rendered into modern English by Gina L. Greco and Christine M. Rose, is accompanied by an informative critical introduction setting the work in its proper medieval context as a conduct manual. This edition presents the book in its entirety, as it must have existed for its earliest readers. It illuminates the milieu and composition process of medieval authors and will in turn fascinate cooking or horticulture enthusiasts. The work illustrates how a (perhaps fictional) Parisian householder of the late fourteenth century might well have trained his wife so that her behavior could reflect honorably on him and enhance his reputation. This book can be found on Amazon.

Michael Reeve, Thanks for contributing to the discussion and sharing this little-known information! As you can tell, my response to the Good Wife’s Guide was all light-hearted and in jest, but I find the history behind the guide to be fascinating. Thank you, too, for your service to our country. (Yes, I do notice email addresses!)

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