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View Full Version : “The Good Wife’s Guide” from a 1955 edition of Housekeeping Monthly


Sally Mahmoud
03-01-2009, 11:23 PM
So.. what do you ladies think?


“The Good Wife’s Guide” from a 1955 edition of Housekeeping Monthly

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

2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people.

3. 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.

4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.

5. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dustcloth 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. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise 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.

8. Be happy to see him.

9. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

10. 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.

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 your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

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

14. Don’t complain if he’s home late 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 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.

18. A good wife always knows her place.

HalaTayybah
03-01-2009, 11:31 PM
Wowza............umm.......no comment.

:D

zuhair.shaath
03-01-2009, 11:44 PM
Interesting article, I feel that it has a kind of "YourHusbandIsNeverWrong" approach.. which isn't exactly true.

Memoona
03-02-2009, 12:52 AM
LOL ... very one sided!!!

And I think this person is living in pleasantville.

Memoona
03-02-2009, 12:55 AM
My favorite sentence is

remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah

HalaTayybah
03-02-2009, 01:26 AM
LOL ... very one sided!!!

And I think this person is living in pleasantville.I was thinking Stepford wives................subhanallah.
I hope no brothers expect all this.
Otherwise..................someone will be disappointed.
:)

Ifteen
03-02-2009, 01:31 AM
number 10 and 18 were my fav..

Yes, us lowly women should know our place. Subhanallah.

Who wrote this? I bet it was a man... or at least highly influenced by one.

Asha
03-02-2009, 01:33 AM
Subhanallah.. the first one i was shaking my head and agreeing then slowly but surely i thought i entered pleasantville!

Ya like you siratul Mustakeem, some of the stuff is things that we should/need to do but the tone of this article is just not right.

Somewhere in the almaghrib world, i know there has to be some brothers who are getting a kick out of this lol!


P.S True Its weird and one sided, but if this was all i was needed to do in my life all i can say is Alhamdulilah :)

Ifteen
03-02-2009, 01:36 AM
lool seriously, I can picture that but since there are brothers reading this I will keep the image safely in my twisted head. :D

Sally Mahmoud
03-02-2009, 04:44 AM
masha'Allah!

i think it's definitely one sided, but i thought putting it on a messageboard like this it would get a better review ;)

i cant help but think these are all things I've heard from islamic sources, workshops..etc! Doesnt it sound alot like the saying of that woman to her daughter (like 10 pieces of advice on her wedding night)... and I think i remember a hadeeth where the sahabiyah said when her husband comes home she's dressed, prepped food, and has like a cane (?) ready.. so he can choose whatever he needs!

I think modern men (and even Muslim men of the past) appreciate women whose sole purpose in life doesnt revolve around catering to the husband/kids.. but it doesnt hurt to be in the mindset of trying to "be there" for the other person!

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 08:42 AM
Neither myself, nor any brothers I know, would want a wife like this.

However, I don't think that's even an issue here, so no point in bringing that up. The list has nothing to do with what men want, but rather what women think they should or shouldn't do in a marriage.

So, in relation to this list only, and not considering at all what brothers today do or don't want, a question:
If the title was "The Good Daughter's Guide", "wife" was replaced with "daughter", and the "he" referred to your father, would you have any problems with the same list? i.e. would you be willing to do those things for your father?

Memoona
03-02-2009, 08:56 AM
I don't think many of the points will apply for the daughter. But say the ones that do if the wife is applying them then does the daughter have to?

For example point 5. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. I think would be a good one not just for one's daughter but for all of the children.

But I think the most important one would be point 17 for children that is.

Though I still think that the majority of it would be living in pleasentville even if it is for the daughter :)

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 08:59 AM
I don't think many of the points will apply for the daughter. But say the ones that do if the wife is applying them then does the daughter have to?
What I meant was that if you see this as a Daughter's list, would you, as a daughter, be willing to apply these things towards your own father? This is regardless of whether you're married or not.

Memoona
03-02-2009, 09:16 AM
What I meant was that if you see this as a Daughter's list, would you, as a daughter, be willing to apply these things towards your own father? This is regardless of whether you're married or not.I will take a backseat and allow other sisters to answer

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 09:22 AM
I'm not trying anything shady here... where I'm going is obvious.

If you don't think that these things would be considered good treatment of your father, then that is your choice and opinion.

If you do think that these things would be considered good treatment of your father, or at least most or some of them, then know that your husband has more right of these good things than your father does.

So, it's up to every sister to decide what good treatment is, and to remember the rights her husband has over her. No one here is suggesting that these things define a "Good Wife", I think we are all agreed that such a todo list is a little ridiculous. But if these are looked at as suggestions, is it so easy to scoff at them? Interesting dilemma.

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 09:33 AM
I'm sure if we started a list of the husband's responsibilities, and what makes a "Good Husband", it would be a much longer list than this one. Again, that's not the issue here. The issue is what a wife is willing to do to please her husband and treat him well. Obviously, if a man is not fulfilling his responsibilities as a husband, that's a completely different story.

HalaTayybah
03-02-2009, 09:39 AM
So, it's up to every sister to decide what good treatment is, and to remember the rights her husband has over her. No one here is suggesting that these things define a "Good Wife", I think we are all agreed that such a todo list is a little ridiculous. But if these are looked at as suggestions, is it so easy to scoff at them? Interesting dilemma.If they're merely suggestions, then I agree. It probably wouldn't be a situation at all and one could take the useful and leave the rest or maybe even twist them to make more sense. But the main problem arises from the title of the piece : THE GOOD WIFE'S GUIDE.

Implying that if you do none of these, you're a bad wife cuz this is what all the good wives do. Like it's a shurah of some sort amongst all the good wives.
That is where the ridiculousness comes in.
But that's just me.

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 09:40 AM
I wonder what our mothers or grandmothers would think of this list. I'd like to hear that perspective.

Memoona
03-02-2009, 09:51 AM
I think the problem like halaTayybah said is that it's as if EVERY wife has to do this. I think the question of what a wife is willing to do for her husband differs from person to person. As well as it depends what type of husband he wife has. There are some husbands who want to come home to a clean house and home cooked meal and some who don't mind if it's a little dirty.

SubhanAllah maybe thats why Allah (Swt) or the messenger of Allah did not give a specific guide for wives but just generally said that spouses have rights over each other and a man has qawwama. And that's it, the specifics of this is to be understood between each individual couple for themselves :)

Amatullah
03-02-2009, 10:20 AM
masha'Allah!

i think it's definitely one sided, but i thought putting it on a messageboard like this it would get a better review ;)

i cant help but think these are all things I've heard from islamic sources, workshops..etc! Doesnt it sound alot like the saying of that woman to her daughter (like 10 pieces of advice on her wedding night)... and I think i remember a hadeeth where the sahabiyah said when her husband comes home she's dressed, prepped food, and has like a cane (?) ready.. so he can choose whatever he needs!

I think modern men (and even Muslim men of the past) appreciate women whose sole purpose in life doesnt revolve around catering to the husband/kids.. but it doesnt hurt to be in the mindset of trying to "be there" for the other person!


MashaAllah I got a kick out of this! Thanks for posting Sally.

Maybe I'm old school, but I didn't think it was that bad? I actually enjoyed it and thought it was nice. It is definitely one-sided and a few points were a bit weird, but other than that....Seems like things I've seen from my mom, which she does happily. Like Sally mentioned, we can find some of these points in the Sunnah and some of these points are mentioned a lot in islamic lectures.


SubhanAllah maybe thats why Allah (Swt) or the messenger of Allah did not give a specific guide for wives but just generally said that spouses have rights over each other and a man has qawwama. And that's it, the specifics of this is to be understood between each individual couple for themselves :) Memoona brings up a good point, jazaaki Allahu khayran. Ihsaan and birr to parents has been made general in the Qur'an and Sunnah as well. Allah ta'ala commands us to do ihsaan and birr--our GOAL, but He does not mention the MEANS, He ta'ala leaves that up to us to figure out because each parent is different and the ways to attain birr and ihsaan are numerous. and Allah knows best.

Um Tammer
03-02-2009, 10:25 AM
I wonder what our mothers or grandmothers would think of this list. I'd like to hear that perspective.
I think most of this would be hard to do daily but, some of it is
commonsense...looking decent and the kids looking clean.
We should try to impress our husbands from time to time
and vice versa.

Sally Mahmoud
03-02-2009, 10:37 AM
I wonder what our mothers or grandmothers would think of this list. I'd like to hear that perspective.

yes, i agree!! They're perspective would be interesting!

My guess is married women will look at this list and say it isnt all that bad, and single women will have much more issue with it!! <yikes, dont chop my head off!!>

But my point in posting this was several things-

1-social commentary on our society and how far we've come (good or bad, you can decide). I thought this article was preaching some very islamic things, and was wondering if you all felt the same way.

2- perhaps show another perspective to what it means to be in a marriage.. it's not always about you.. and in fact, the more you make it about the other person*, the better off you will be! As long as love/respect is the basis of the relationship.. insha'Allah goodness pays many dividends!



*assuming it's a healthy balanced marriage.

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 10:46 AM
1-social commentary on our society and how far we've come (good or bad, you can decide). I thought this article was preaching some very islamic things, and was wondering if you all felt the same way.

I agree. I saw a lot of good in this list from an Islamic point of view. Also, the sisters made a good point earlier that this should be looked at as suggestions (similar to our own compiled list of ways to please the wife (http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?t=28917) and husband (http://forums.almaghrib.org/showthread.php?t=28916)), as I'm sure every person has his or her own concept of good treatment to the spouse.

However, I will say this: What prompted me to reply to this thread in the first place was the knee-jerk type reaction some of the other members had. We need to critically think about things like this, not simply act on emotion. Not everything that was suggested is ridiculous... in fact, much of it we find in the Sunnah, as mentioned earlier. Just a general reminder, for myself as well, to consider things logically and not simply dismiss them because they may seem ridiculous to you at first glance.

Hala
03-02-2009, 11:02 AM
With the exception of a few, I didn't think it was that bad overall.

Amatullah
03-02-2009, 11:02 AM
It seems nowadays that wanting to be a good homemaker is shunned and disliked...Like it's something from the ancient times that is not done anymore except by 'uneducated' women. When I read this list, I didn't think it was a big deal at all and I really thought of how my mom barak Allahu feeha takes care of my dad.

One sister mentioned that it's not a bad thing to do ihsaan in this regard! Ihsaan in everyday life is what we're supposed to do, and it doesn't mean you're a failure if you cannot do this, but TRY, because actions are by intentions.

The scholars say that ihsaan has three components: 1) to do utmost good in general 2) if someone treats you badly, you still do good to them showing no signs of irritation 3) to do more than just good, to strive to do the most good you are able of.

Remember you are doing this to please Allah azza wa jal first and foremost, so do the best you can and the outcome will be in your favor inshaAllah. hal jaazaa'ul ihsaani il al ihsaan :)

And Allah knows best.

HiBz EsSenSe ©
03-02-2009, 11:06 AM
Maybe I'm old school, but I didn't think it was that bad? I actually enjoyed it and thought it was nice. It is definitely one-sided and a few points were a bit weird, but other than that....Seems like things I've seen from my mom, which she does happily. Like Sally mentioned, we can find some of these points in the Sunnah and some of these points are mentioned a lot in islamic lectures.

...Ihsaan and birr to parents has been made general in the Qur'an and Sunnah as well. Allah ta'ala commands us to do ihsaan and birr--our GOAL, but He does not mention the MEANS, He ta'ala leaves that up to us to figure out because each parent is different and the ways to attain birr and ihsaan are numerous. and Allah knows best.
I want to second this, I didn't think it was that bad either .. 1 of the points I had to double take as its not realistic to be done all the time but I took it as a 'how to guide'- SubhanAllah most of it is common sense AND is from the Sunnah as previously mentioned thus must lead to a succesful marriage (& Srs - know that any practicing Brs has a "how to list"" themselves)

Anti_Shaytan
03-02-2009, 11:27 AM
I'm pretty sure I've heard most of those points mentioned before, and if I'm not mistaken they were probably during Fiqh of Love. What's with all the hostility? Like the sister mentioned, most of the points mentioned are from the Sunnah anyway.

Or a dumb woman. I'm sure she was a wise olden...

Anti_Shaytan
03-02-2009, 11:29 AM
Neither myself, nor any brothers I know, would want a wife like this.Speak for yourself buddy. EVERY brother I know WOULD want a wife like this.

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 11:34 AM
Speak for yourself buddy. EVERY brother I know WOULD want a wife like this.
Heh... I meant, not exactly like this. There are a few things I would change, like replacing "not questioning my judgment" with "patiently advising me when she feels I'm wrong." Also, need to put something in there about learning Islam, reading books, etc. and teaching me what she learned.

Hala
03-02-2009, 11:34 AM
I think it's the wording that puts some people off. But if you consider the time period and the society it was written in, I'm not too surprised.

FarhanaK
03-02-2009, 11:36 AM
Mashallah Sister Yusra, you said it for me. Another way to think of this article is that it's from 1955 and this is wayyyy pre-feminism, so you'd expect every single american woman to agree with this article at that time, because that was their "purpose", to be a good wife. But of course, for Muslim women that's far from our main purpose of creation which is to worship and please Allah, and within this purpose comes the goodness to his creation (husband, kids, parents, siblings). Another point is that it's really ironic how most american women are feminist now and they would want to ruin the author of this article, but in a different sense they still are submitted to the wims of men by means of the fashion and the makeup industry. They would never do chores to please men but they would do everything to look good for them.

Sally Mahmoud
03-02-2009, 11:54 AM
Another point is that it's really ironic how most american women are feminist now and they would want to ruin the author of this article, but in a different sense they still are submitted to the wims of men by means of the fashion and the makeup industry. They would never do chores to please men but they would do everything to look good for them.


i like this point!! Ironic isnt it?

and i think all smart women regardless of ethnicity/religion, knowingly or unknowingly, adopt the spirit of this article! Which like you said, is serving your husband/family and doing it with ihsaan! All of this comes out of a place of love, and when you look at it that way, it is not farfetched!

Rahma
03-02-2009, 11:56 AM
I've seen this article before and I remember hearing discussions about it in one of my classes. Granted the audience was all non-muslims the topics ranged from how aweful/weired the woman appeared. As a result of new movements and the industrail revolution it is apparent the effects of these on the minds and lives of woman during that time...the more progressive they wanted to me, the less importance was placed on the home and traditional ways of doing things. Ideas such as not waiting hand and foot on ones spouse were placed and brought forth. Overall, the wording was strange I remember thinking many of these points were closely linked with role of the woman and bits and peices of the Sunnah of the Prophet sal allahu wa sallam placed therein.

Wa'alaykuma Salam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu

Memoona
03-02-2009, 12:00 PM
i cant help but think these are all things I've heard from islamic sources, workshops..etc! Doesnt it sound alot like the saying of that woman to her daughter (like 10 pieces of advice on her wedding night)...

This is the story Sr Sally is talking about. I re-read the story and I don't know I just get a different feel when reading this story then when reading the article.

A Mothers Advice to Her Daughter Prior to Marriage


Harith ibn Amr, the king of kindah proposed to marry the daughter of Auf bin Muhillim. Her mother said to her the following words on the day that she was to be taken to her husband:

"My daughter, if advice were to be left off to those of virtue, I would have abstained from advising you, but good advice is a reminder to the heedless and a helper to the wise. If a woman didn't need a husband because of the richness of her parents and because of their great need for her, then you would have been the richest of people in that regard; however women were created for men and men were created for women.

My daughter, you are indeed leaving this house that you have been raised in, leaving to so to a man that you do not know and to a partner that you are not used to. Be a slave to him and he will become your slave, and preserve for him 10 qualities:

1,2) Be sincere towards him by always being satisfied with your condition, and be obedient to him.

3,4) Be careful about his eyes and his nose: do not let him see you in a bad state and do not let him smell from you any odor except the most fragrant of odors.

5,6) Look after the time of his sleep and the time of his meals, for the continued state of hunger makes one weak and restless sleep leads to anger.

7,8) Protect his wealth and look after his family - the key to wealth is good estimation and the key to family is good planning.

9,10) Never disobey his commands and never spread his secrets - the former embitters the heart and the latter will make you unsafe from his betrayal."

So what do you guys think?

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 12:04 PM
So what do you guys think?
Sounds like a very sensible list.

Sally Mahmoud
03-02-2009, 12:14 PM
So what do you guys think?

you know, in my culture, we have a saying "give the bread to the bakers even if they eat half of it" ;) meaning you should let people who know how to do things do them, b/c the product will be worth it...

i think that when it comes to eloquence and organization of thought, this woman, and Arabs of that time would definitely take the cake! That's why the Quran was sent as a literary miracle to that society (with all of humanity as the audience).

It's certainly more eloquent.. some people will prefer the "how-to" nature of the 1955 homemaker's guide.. others will prefer the advice of the mother to her daughter b/c it's open to interpretation!

I just noticed tho- subhanAllah... this advice was given a LONG time before 1955 and yet it tells the woman to manage the house and wealth of the man...etc where as the 1955 guide has absolutely no mention of any life outside the home.. not even finances!!

Adib Contractor
03-02-2009, 02:48 PM
I woke up, came back to this thread, and would like to say Fine, you guys are right. The guide , there's a way to tell people to do things, and we all know that with women, you gotta be extra careful.


IF I said yes to the above, what would be the response?
Answered that here:
If you do think that these things would be considered good treatment of your father, or at least most or some of them, then know that your husband has more right of these good things than your father does.

Saba Hashmat
03-02-2009, 03:51 PM
You know what the difference is between this and what the sunnah says.....its that this takes Islam entirely out of the picture. And that's what I have a problem with. Okay so it says do these things to be a 'good wife" but then what? so what if you are a good wife? what do you get for it? what is the reward???

In the society that this was published there was no thought of "higher reward" and if there was it was what their twisted idea of religion preached to them. Which of course also preached that the black race was an inferior race. aoodublillah. So It's not hard to see that women rebelled and started going to the extreme of 'feminism' ---

The point that this article is missing for me is WHY??? why do these things? And Islam answers it for me and tells me in a kind fashion of why and how to do these things...and what i will get if I do...alhamdullilah! This article doesn't even answer what the dunya benefits are of pleasing one's husband. I mean if you read the book "the surrendered wife" the author says if you want intimacy, and a strong bond with your spouse then do this....No problem..who wouldn''t want that?

You know when I listened to the shayook in fiqh of love, in the ideal/husband/wife cds, etc etc...I get motivated to do what they are telling me to because it all relates back to the purpose of my life. When I read this it doesn't motivate me at all. It's not what you said ..it's how you said it

This is the same problem we have today with preaching Islam to the youth we always tell them do this do this...and then something like al-maghrib comes along and it actually builds the emaan so that they youth understand WHY and are glad to follow the rulings as well. And wallahu alim.