Two beautiful women have contributed to this post through their pictures and photography, Janelle of Stoltzfus in Strasburg
{she’s the lovely model in the pictures, a personal friend, and her blog is one of my favorites! do stop by there and say hello!},
and Jolyn, of In His Image Photography {she’s the lovely photographer, also find her on facebook}.
Huge huge thanks to them!

Some time ago I read an article that quoted a 1950’s public high school text book.
I did not write down the exact words,
but what I do remember has stayed with me for years.

And my daughters enjoy the “Dick and Jane” books.
Take a good look at those books again, will you?
Those pictures?
Mother looks fit for a magazine at all times, it’s quite amazing.
Heels to the grocery store?
Wow. Take me back.

I was able to find the quote again, thanks to online searches.
This may seem a bit extreme, and I agree: parts of it are!

{And I also realize this is specifically talking to stay-at-home wives.
So, if you work outside the home, this may not all work.}

However, read it in a “How can I bless my husband?” kind of way
rather than an “Are you even joking me, that’s too much!!” kind of way.

   

   

Entitled, “How to be a Good Wife”

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 be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.
Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

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 it is your privilege to provide it.

Clear away the clutter. 
Make one last trip through the main part of the  house just before your husband arrives. 
Run a dustcloth over the tables.

During 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 to his comfort will  provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

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

Be happy to see him.

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.

Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

  _________________

Like I said, there’s a lot in there. :)
Feminists were absolutely furious when they rediscovered that bit of “slavery!!”
And now is not the time I’m going to to talk about whether husbands and wives divide responsibility based on gender….

However, what stayed with me was the servanthood portrayed for the delight of the husband.
Modern-day Americans tend to think of no one but themselves, and this can easily carry over into the home as well.

We can so easily get stuck in the “Poor Me!” mode, wanting everything to be about us,
wanting our husband  to do everything right for us,
and forgetting that we have a part to play in our marriage too!

 

Hand raised, I know that marriage is a lot of hard work.
I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for how hard it really is!
And I’m not naive enough to think marriage is all about a little bit of lipstick at end of the day! :)

Marriage is not all about outward appearances, far from it.
There is a love that goes much deeper than being “perfect and poised.”
I’m blessed with a man who loves me so well,
whether I look ghastly ill or ready to go out on the town or anywhere in between!

But I think sometimes as the years go by in marriage,
it can be easy to forget those little things that were so important at the beginning of our newly-wedded life.
I’ve been taking some inventory on my own part in my marriage lately.

Take that bit of time when Husband comes home from work, for example…

{newly-wed Clarita}
I don’t know about you, but I sure looked forward to and prepared that his stepping in the door.
No bad breath for me! I’d brush my teeth, or at least pull out the breath mints please.
Oh, and make sure my clothes are cute and clean. Old ratty clothes? What were those?
And no grumpy face, no way. There was a lingering hug and an “I’m so happy you’re home!!”

 

And seven years later, I STILL look forward to his arrival home. Maybe more than ever. :)
But with three little kiddos and a household to organize maintain keep alive juggle I get to be responsible for,
the preparation can so easily be minimized or forgotten!

{somedays, post-third-baby Clarita}
“Daddy’s home!! Quick, clean up the house!! Change out of your PJ’s!!”
and there are days I meet him in a frump without even a thought of a breath mint.
I mean, sometimes the main thought is that we survived the day, you know?

No one died, any blood is cleaned up, any WWIII’s are or will soon be over.
And boy, sometimes it can be hard to think past the dinner that will soon be burnt
or the little person that’s calling, “Someone wipe me!!”

Not to mention that 6pm is not the prime time of the day for the littles and me…

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that my first priority is my husband,
and secondly my children.
Repeat: he is my first priority.

There are worse things, I know, than not preparing for Husband’s arrival home.
I’m not trying to magnify something that’s ridiculous.

But I do keep thinking,
“What’s it like coming home to ME?”

“What’s it like being married to me?
What’s it like hearing the words that I say?
What’s it like living with my attitude?”
[G. Thomas]

Those little things that used to be a big deal… do they still matter to me?

Regardless of whether our husbands work a professional job with other classy dressed-up women,
or if he’s a comin’-home-dirty kind of man,
my guess is that he would want to see a pretty sight, in the form of his wife.

 

Not that PJ’s are awful, but under most circumstances they shouldn’t be an every-day thing.
Not that messy hair is always bad, but not every. single. day.
And bad breath? Well, I have no excuse for that, unless there is gum disease. :)

Am I someone that is so fun to come home to, or will he be afraid of what he’ll meet?
Does he know I love him, but well, the house is always in continual nearly-condemned state?

It’s a little thing, I know, but I think the Old Fashioned Wife has a lot of good sense.
After all, marriage statistics were a lot better back in her day.

So put on a pretty little frock
(or at least clothes that don’t stink, have spit up, poo, or kitchen grease on them)
brush your teeth and use a breath mint,
and freshen that makeup and lipstick…
a little squirt of perfume wouldn’t hurt either! :)

And don’t stop there!
Take the time to welcome him home {not just hollar hi from the corner of the house}
and hug him. For at least 10 seconds. At least.
The longer, the better, really. :)

[and I’m off to follow my own advice!]

Make your husband happy all over again that he gets to come home to YOU! :)

~ clarita

53 thoughts on “An Old Fashioned Wife

  1. SherriMonCheri

    Yes! Yes! Yes! :) I was actually thinking the other day that I have been slacking off in the “welcome home” department, so this a wonderful encouragement and reminder to make it fun to come home to me. Last night I heard him pull into the driveway and was able to have supper sitting on the table, waiting for him. He commented positively about it several times…I’m thinking I should try to do that a bit more often :) Thankfully, he doesn’t mind if it’s not always that way! :)

    Blessings to you in your marriage & your continued desire to please your husband and better your marriage!

  2. grace_to_be

    wonderful words of advice!!
    God’s been convicting me of this very thing lately, so perfect timing to read!!

    “what’s it like to come home to me?”

    wow. sobering.

    thanks for being bold to share what many consider “old fashioned” truth!!
    we need to hear it MORE.

    and adorable pics. i’m going to check your friend’s site out.

    love you girl.
    happy week ending!

  3. brokenmiracle

    loved this post! absolutely loved it :) it’s only been 2.5 yrs and 1 kiddo for me, and i already feel like i’ve lost some of my motivation to make our home (and me) a lovely thing to come home to. thank you so much for the encouragement and inspiration!

  4. appalolly

    I like the way you wrote about this.  Because it is about an attitude of servanthood more than anything.  I really get where you are coming from on this.

    And…I loved your friend’s pictures.  The one with the high heels on in the kitchen especially! I think my kids would be staring if I was cooking dinner looking like that!   But hey, I bet my man wouldn’t mind when he comes home!

  5. Anonymous

    I needed this today… The funny thing is my husband usually gets home before me and has the dish washer unloaded and loaded again. At times I am on the receiving end of this and it DOES make coming home something to look forward to.
    Proverbs 31 always brings me to my knees. “She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” One I need to work on… mornings are not my thing, and happen to be a ‘thing’ of my husband.

  6. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    Janelle’s such a great model in these pictures! =)
    and, i like your words. so, so easy to get into a ‘rut’ when you’re raising kids, and before you know it, you’ve forgotten how to be a good….anything, let alone wife!;)
    there’s days when i don’t feel like i’m much to come home to and yet! i’m so very glad that i have one that comes home to me, no matter what state i’m in!

    good reminders!!

  7. baileyandme

    loved this- so much TRUTH. putting the other person’s needs above your own and loving them through thick and thin no matter what– is one of the keys to happiness in marriage, i think…

  8. goingfortheprize

    Thanks for the reminder, Clarita! I know it means so much to him to come home to a tidy house, but that can be hard to accomplish during that most hectic hour of the day. If I can just remember to work ahead . . . I loved the pictures too. This post definately inspires me! :)

  9. aSeriesofFortunateEvents

    That woman is SO pretty.

    This is funny, it reminded me of a conversation Steven and I had about a week or so ago. You know he’s been not working for the last little while, right? Well I came home (let’s just say he doesn’t have happy homemaker tendencies about cleanliness or meal preparation, lol) and he starts telling me about all the stuff that got broke that day. There were like 3 things! And then how Alex got in trouble after school about x, and then Thomas did y and lost computer. ANd I was overwhelmed and tired and exasperated and I said, “DId anything GOOD happen today?!” and he replied, “Oh, I guess you probably don’t want bombarded will all that crap when you first walk in, do you? (I still had my coat on and was putting up my purse) It was odd to be on the other side of it. It really IS overwhelming to walk into total pandemonium. As someone who walks into it regularly after a long day of work, I can honestly say Man or Woman, it makes a body grumpy!

    The good news, is that something Good HAD happened that day. We got room numbers. That’s right, the boys had given all of our bedrooms room numbers like hotels and taped them to the doors. I’m in 208 if you’re looking for me. ;)

  10. Anonymous

    Now that i’m married i realize what a great example my mom was to me in ways like this, as a kid i didn’t really get it but she would often have us prepare for his arrival and always met him at the door with a kiss. (bleh) haha I love thinking about it now! The challenge i’ve had when i do make the “extra” effort is to not have expectations for what his reaction is going to be. Always a work in progress.. thanks for the delightful encouragement! It’s really so fun being an old-fashioned housewife! ;)

  11. down_onthefarm

    such an excellent post. i love truth. it can hug. encourage. and kick my pants with an oh yeah. i forget sometimes. THAT IS who i want to be. :) helpmeJesus. and your friend and her photography are wow. awesome.

  12. purpleamethyst76

    Amen!  We put soooooo much time and care into the babies when they come along and that’s wonderful and important, but there is something so satisfying in taking care of your man.  I truly believe that it is because when we marry, we become one flesh—and taking care of him is taking care of me at the same time!

  13. lonnasjoy

    This is such a good reminder. With four children I am finding this more and more challenging. Especially the coming home to a tidy house I usually try to watch the clock and say, “Ok guys daddy’s going to be home soon let’s clean up the house.” But it doesn’t always happen that way. And why is it the hour or two before supper time are my most intense with children crying and fighting really and wanting mommy’s attention. Really I got to find a way to change that time of day. Love the pics! Great post! Now what am I going to cook for dinner tonight…

  14. lightnindan

    Almost 17 years in, it doesn’t matter how my day went, if I walk in, not to a whole clean house, but just to a clean front room and a, “Daddy’s home!” or a hug from my wife (That kind of hug where I can tell she’s letting the stress out and she knows she’ll be able to cope now that there are two of us.), or both, my time at home has started off well and the tone for the rest of the day is set. Not saying what’s right or wrong, or what a woman’s place is, just spelling out the facts of how things happen. We are in this thing for the long haul and 50/50 just doesn’t cut it. My opinion on the matter is, “When you have a little extra, give a little extra, and when she has nothing left to give, you had better find some and step in, because when it’s your turn at bat you’re up and the whole team pays for the results of your at-bat.” We like to think we know better than the older generation, but we’d sometimes be wise to at least give their wisdom a try.

  15. FOREVERLANE

    I love it! Every bit. Janelle’s pictures too, which I have often admired over there in her writing corner. :) The part about “what is it like to come home to me” and the thing about “marriages having a better success rate back then” are really hitting home for me. It’s one reason we love Created to Be His Helpmeet, right? It will continue to have it’s haters, but the truth still stands . . . and works. The attitude of serving and loving, even at a {gasp} sacrifice to myself is rather Christ-like in nature. Anyway, thanks for the reminders and honesty and for all of the loveliness. Off now to tidy up the place and see if I can scrounge up a breath mint or two. ;)

  16. fruitloops115

    don’t have anything else profound to add, you said it well.
    I do love the pics, and had to go drool over her blog for awhile. Always love a good new blog to follow

  17. TrentTribe

    My goal for homemaking is that our home will be a retreat for my husband and the kids.  A place of comforts, memories, and refuge.  Thanks for some extra inspiration!  :)

  18. Elizabethmarie_1

    Such a great post! Great reminders. You are such a sweet wife!
    I remember when Jeff and I were first married I made his lunch everyday…all the guys at work used to laugh and say it won’t last.
    Well, it DID last…until this past winter. I became very lazy about getting up once Jeff started leaving at 4:30am.
    It’s so dark and cold in what feels like the middle of the night and my lunch making has become very sporadic.
    But if he can get up to go to work for our family, I should be able to get up with him and make him a lunch!!! Right?!?!

    Your post was inspiring to read.
    Happy Weekend to you.
    XxOo

  19. H0LDfast

    i came here a few days ago …. first gasping at the size of your hudson boy, wowzers he’s grown!!! and then all your other lovely words and pictures & then realized your kitchen wasn’t a magazine but actually your kitchen : )
    there is such a peace & clam & beauty here.
    anyway somehow ; ) i never got to leave any comments.
    i’ve read this quote before. so good.
    and the part about coming home to me … ahhgghh – that’s convicting!! i’m reminding every so often of being excited to see him when i watch the kids run out with ‘dads home!!’ shouts & back doors slamming. i should beat them out next time : )
    good words, thanks.

  20. Cluesy

    Sweet post but in today’s world many women including myself have to/choose to work outside the home. Dinner plans are on the hubby just as much as the women :)
    Everything you posted still applies but sometimes the roles are not so defined.

  21. lifeisadance

    @baileyandme – “putting the other person’s needs above your own and loving them through thick and thin no matter what– is one of the keys to happiness in marriage, i think…” so true, and it could be said of both husband and wife. i am so inspired by YOUR marriage.

  22. lifeisadance

    @aSeriesofFortunateEvents – Room 208, I’ll remember that. :) And you have good perspective – there are so many women who work as well and come home at the same time as their husband or after them… and it’s the restful, happy atmosphere that matters more than anything, right!

  23. lifeisadance

    @Cluesy – you’re so right. in today’s world this list from the 1950’s wouldn’t apply in nearly every family. i guess it’s more the heart of serving and blessing each other, right? than the actual literal following of the “good wife” steps. :)

  24. zanyzeal

    –But I do keep thinking, “What’s it like coming home to ME?”– So thought provoking and what a great post right before Valentine’s Day. The attitude of servant hood is almost long lost in our “Me and I deserve” society. Fun pictures!

  25. erlinyoder

    I read this in a rush the other day, and kept wanting to come back to comment. I don’t have anything to add, but I really did love this post! My mom was a really good example of this to me, and I want to be like her. Taking time to acknowledge each other is so important! I think we set a good example of respect to our children by it. Acknowledging people when we see them is an area I’m still working on in the boys, but it’s so important to me. I often notice a child/young teenager/youth who can look an adult in the eyes whether it’s just in greeting or conversation. It’s not seen much anymore! Wait, wait–I thought I had nothing to add! (: Again, really good post!

  26. Richgem

    My “problem” is, we’re at home together almost every moment of every day and have been for 5 years. I do make sure that I workout regularly and wear the clothes I know he likes on me; jeans that fit, brighter colored well-fitting tops, nice undies,  hair fixed and just enough makeup to open up my eyes. He’d actually prefer the lovely birthday suit but never tells me it’s lovely or anything. I think we’ve gotten bored from so much togetherness. I do think about What is it Like, Being With ME? In his favorite sense, I know he LOVES being with me, even though the words are never there. Other than that….I guess if he really didn’t like me or the way I keep the house, he’d be miserable. And I don’t see him as being miserable. I loved my Dick and Jane books that we read at school when I was little. Many years later, I bought a few for my kids (they were really for me). I used to think I’d actually grow up and look like either their mom, or Barbie or June Cleaver or Mrs. Brady. Boy, I was waaaayyyy off the mark. ( 8   I have a friend here who does photography and her business name is also In His Image!

  27. lifeisadance

    @Richgem – being home together all the time would definitely be different! and much of this wouldn’t even work or apply. but regardless of whether you look like Mother in the Dick and Jane books, Barbie, June Cleaver, Mrs. Brady or not – i know you must be a delight to be around! being together all the time would create challenges to keep things fresh and exciting… and yet in some ways it sounds really comfortable, like your favorite coffee mug (poor illustration) or favorite shirt (also lame) but like something you love SO much just because it’s so familiar. see, i have to much to learn from you, because some day it will most likely be ME in your shoes! :)

  28. MikeKnows

    it is very hard for us men looking for that good old fashion down to earth woman today since they have changed, and they are nothing like the ones back then.

  29. Telling It Like It Is.

    Well to be real honest, the good old fashioned women were the Best compare to today. Many women today are so Very Nasty to start a Conversation with, and how do you expect a good man like me to meet a woman since most of them now are like this? And i know other friends of mine that had similar experiences with these type of women. Just too many very High Maintenance Women out there nowadays, and it is all about money for them. It is very sad that women have Changed for the Worst over the years, and this is the Real Reason why there are so many of us Single Men now which we’re Not To Blame.

  30. S Staelens

    Love it! I love trying to be an “old-fashioned wife” and after 14 years people still ask if we are newlyweds! I loved your article thanks!

  31. Very Extremely Hard To Find A Real Good Old Fashioned Woman Today

    Speaking of old fashioned which Most of the women of today Aren’t old fashioned at all since many women now that have a Career are so very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, greedy, picky, narcissists, and very money hungry too which certainly speaks for itself. Today i have noticed that Most women unfortunately have a very serious attitude problem and no manors at all when many of us men will try to start a Normal Conversation with them which they will be very nasty to us and walk away. What in the world happened to the women of today? Oh boy, have they Changed for the Worst unfortunately which Most of them in the old days were Never Ever like that at all. Nowadays women really do want the Best of all and will Never settle for Less do to their Greed And Selfishness they carry around with them Everywhere they go. Years ago which Most of the women back then had a Great Personality and were very pleasant to have a conversation with. That made it very Easy back then for the men in those days meeting women the way our family members were very Blessed as well to find Love at that time which today as you can see it is very difficult for many of us Good men that are hoping to meet a Good woman to settle down with. No wonder why many of us men are still Single today since it really does Take Two Too Tangle which many of us Aren’t Single by choice.

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