Guidelines for a Good Wife

"1. A good wife always knows her place.

2. Don’t ask your husband questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. 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.

3. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night.

4. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

5. 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.

6. Never complain if he comes home late, goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to relax.

7.Arrange his pillows and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing, and pleasant voice. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

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

9. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash their faces, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

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

Do you think these guidelines are meant for countries in which women are required to wear burqas or hijabs? Do you shake your head in wonderment at an alien culture that insists on women denigrating their own needs while faking sincerity at meeting their husband's needs?

If so, think again. This guide is an abbreviated version of a May, 1955 column of Good Housekeeping that I recently received over the Internet.

If these guidelines for good wives are surprising and totally alien to you, then it’s time for you to appreciate from whence the women’s liberation movement arose.

If these guidelines sound familiar to you but you recall hearing them in your “past life”, then you can appreciate how radically gender roles have changed within your lifetime.

If you believe that these are still good guidelines for a good wife, know that once imprinted on us, beliefs and values can forever affect how we think about ourselves and our place in the world.

If you are impatient with a mother or grandmother who is intimidated about speaking up, making a decision or having an opinion, have empathy for her. She was bombarded with messages like these every day of her life.

Copyright 2007

Author's Bio: 

19 Cloverfield Rd. -- Valley Stream, NY 11581
T: 516 791-2780 -- Email:


Dr. Sapadin is a clinical psychologist, author, columnist, educator and motivational speaker. She is known for her sharp insights and exceptional ability to provide timely, yet timeless advice. Her speciality is expertise is teaching people how to master debilitating fear, anxiety, procrastination and other self-defeating patterns of behavior in order to build competence, enhance communication and enrich relationships.


Now I Get It! Totally Sensational Advice for Living and Loving (Outskirts Press, 2007)

Master Your Fears: How to Triumph Over Your Worries and Get On With Your Life (John Wiley & Sons, 2004). (Also published in Korean and French)

Beat Procrastination and Make the Grade: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How STUDENTS can Overcome Them (Penguin, 1999).

It’s About Time! The Six Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them (Penguin, 1996). Also published in Japanese by Nihon Eizo Press.

Person to Person weekly column, published by Richner Communications.


TV and Radio media: Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox Morning News, National Public Radio (Celeste Quinn Show, Derek McGinty Show, All Things Considered), The God Squad, Canadian Broadcasting Company, the Voice of America, Good Day New York. Full media resume on request.

Print media; The New York Times, USA Today, Newsday, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Men’s Health, Self, Ladies Home Journal, Prevention, First, Fitness, Bottom Line, Moxie, Redbook, Sesame Street, Lifetime, Full media resume on request.

The American Psychological Association, Smithsonian Associates, 92nd St. Y, Herman Miller, Inc, Coopers & Lybrand, Arthur Andersen, Hofstra University.