A friend had forwarded me an article titled: The Good Wife’s Guide from Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955. Now I had heard about the article before, but quite frankly, didn’t really form an opinion about it. However, this time around when we went through the “tips” that were given to the ladies in the 1950’s on how to please their man, I got a tad furious. Listen to this:

-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.
-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.
-Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
-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.
-Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

And the coup de resistance:

-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.
-A good wife always knows her place.

I first told myself that thankfully we aren’t in that same boat anymore. Women today have rights and won’t put up with crap like this. But then I stopped myself. I looked at my own mother. A highly intelligent 60-year old woman who really wanted a higher education, but was told by her mother that only men get “educated”. She was told to prepare herself to be a “Hausfrau” (English translation: housewife). Well, with her short marriage to my father, just being a “Hausfrau” didn’t get her anywhere. She had to work to be able to take care of us. But yet, while we aren’t following the 1950’s Good Wife Guide, the belief system still has been passed down to us in the messaging we received from our grandmothers, mothers and aunts. If we admit it or not, the beliefs are somewhere in our subconscious that we are to cater to a man. We as women also feel less than if we are not in a relationship. And once we are in a relationship, gosh, it’s really hard at times to juggle between having come so far along with women’s rights and the belief system that is unconsciously guiding us.

Believe me, I see it in my own marriage. I’m married to an awesome guy who is a true partner. However, relationships can bring out the best in you and the worst in you. The worst in you I would call the times when I feel like I need to live up to “certain standards”. Plus, when you’re out in the business world, you deal with standards, too. I had an older gent ask me the other day what I was up to since I was so “dolled up” and smacked his lips. I reacted in that I told him that he was giving away his age (sorry, ladies, I didn’t take it as a compliment…).

So, how do we as modern women deal with these beliefs that have been passed down and unconsciously still guide us? Here’s how you can leave the old feminine traditions in the dust:

-Listen to your body and speak up. If something you’re doing for your man (or other men you deal with) is making you feel depleted, angry, sad, sick or anxious, take it as a cue that you need to just stop and get quiet. First ask yourself what you don’t want and then turn the situation around to discovering what you want. An example would be: I don’t want to be constantly doing the cooking. What I want is to share in the meal preparation responsibilities. After that talk to your partner and tell him how you feel. However, make it about you and not criticism, judgment or a command toward him. (Do you like being criticized, judged or reprimanded?) Ask him for a solution. The old feminine tradition would have required you to bite your tongue or hold everything in. You would also have to pretend that everything is okay. And that’s why so many women are suffering from adrenal fatigue and thyroid conditions – holding in your emotions is so 1950’s.

-Connect with women and form a modern day feminine support group. I’m not talking about a group where all you do is male-bashing or bitching about your men. What I mean with a modern day support group is to have a small circle of women you get together with in person, enjoy good food, have fun and talk about issues that come up with you in your personal or business relationships with men. The goal is to be able to release your frustrations and actively seek out solutions from other women. I could call it brainstorming, but that sounds way too masculine to me. The ladies in your group might have had a similar issue and resolved it. Or you might find that when you all put your heart and minds together, you might have been misinterpreting a situation or are overreacting. However, when you’re stuck in your own head with over-analysis paralysis, you won’t get the clarity that you need. That’s where your gals can help you. Plus, being around great women just lifts you up!

I personally think that non-conformity to these “good wife standards” is the new power word for you. This will help you bring forth those unconscious beliefs and step into your own power. Plus, aren’t rules meant to be broken? Especially antiquated and outdated ones that are no longer serving us!

Author's Bio: 

Marion Chamberlain is a former self-improvement junkie that found freedom, connection, and independence through self realization. Learn how you can do the same with her powerful coaching program http://marionchamberlain.com/krafting-with-marion/