He put a ring on it, now what? The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage

Update: (Chris here) I failed to press the button that would have shown Demita Usher wrote this post! Apologies!


I have read so many blogs and articles on swirling, vetting and avoiding DBRs to encourage women to be open and prepare themselves for the right mate. I see photos on top of photos of a smiling bride and her equally happy groom, posted in the swirling hall of fame, on many of my fellow writers’ blogs, but after the cake is eaten, the rice is thrown, and the honeymoon luggage is unpacked in the new home, what next? I see very few articles with wisdom and  practical instruction for new brides on how to do their part in partnering with their husband to build their new marriage into a strong and lasting union–one that will serve as a testimony for other young women who desire marriage in a world that considers a 72-day marriage (thanks Kim Kardashian) a lasting relationship.

In an online chat group I belong to, someone posted an article that hit the internet last year suggesting that a class should be made available that would teach young women how to look for a husband. I immediately responded to the post with the comment that one of the purposes that Home Economics classes served was to help train young women to be wives; cooking, sewing, decorating, etc. Other commenters followed with their own input to what they do to keep their marriages healthy and their husbands happy. Being not yet married I found their wisdom and insights very helpful and educational. What they had to say reminded me of an article I read from 1955 that instructed women on how to care for their husbands and home. (I can see women breaking out into hives at the very thought of waxing a floor in high heels a la’ June Cleaver.) Some of the  suggestions are as follows:

1. Wives need to take care of themselves.
“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.”

2. Wives need to create a comfortable, tension-free home.

a. “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.”

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

c. “Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.”

3. Wives need to listen.
“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,” the list suggests.

4. Wives need to put their husbands first.
The list encourages wives not to “greet him with complaints and problems. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.”

I can already hear the teeth grinding and the eyes rolling, but I ask you to let down your guard for a minute. Those who are married (and those who aspire to be married), is there some validity to this list almost 60 years after the fact? (Guys who are reading this post please chime in.) Put away your torches and pitchforks ladies, nobody is asking you to be barefoot and pregnant, but I am asking you if making things easier for your husband  (or future husband) will in turn give you the ability to receive from him the things you need because he is getting what he needs? My male friends tell me all the time that they are simple creatures; give them a good meal, good sex, and loads of respect and you got them lock stock and barrel. Since I am not married (yet) I submit to you what some of my lovely married colleagues have to say  about this subject:

I am beginning to believe that “home economics” (keeping and running a household) ties in VERY closely with the ability to attract a quality mate. I have conducted a little bit of personal research on this. I don’t know how “valid” my findings are but did notice it was one of those things that would make someone go “hmmmmmm….” ALL (yes ALL) of my female friends who have homes to envy (in terms of style, design, cleanness, efficiency, etc.) and cook phenomenally, ALL of them are married and have stellar quality husbands. Contrast that with my female friends who are single (and having a difficult time getting good and quality worthy men) and I found that these are the ladies that don’t cook, don’t want to cook or are not interested in cooking and their homes are not inviting, lack proper decorating, are dirty and unkept, pig styes. -S.C.

I wonder what men think when they meet a woman who doesn’t cook or clean very much? I would think that she might not be nurturing enough, but at the same time, if she could only prepare a few things, but master them, I’d be okay, especially if I were the kind of man that wants the woman to work just as much as me. -Anonymous

…when I went to finishing school, a few of the ladies there were planning to go into some sort of dignitary/international/foreign affair services, but the majority of the ladies there WANTED to learn cookery, housekeeping, the decorative arts, etc. Using my little research above, just off the top of my head, ALL the “home economics” ladies married well. -S.C.

…the following statement came across my newsfeed today and I thought it was apropos to the topic: “A real woman never lets her man leave the house hungry or horny…. Hubs and I discussed the quote before he left the house today and find that it IS telling of relationships and where they will end up. I think I may have mentioned it before, but I am waiting for an acquaintance to tell me her husband has had an affair on her. She doesn’t cook him any meals (he only eats out or makes his own – SO SAD!!!!!), the home is terribly lacking in being clean, well organized, and ‘inviting,’ and she doesn’t put much effort into her appearance.” -S.C.

I guess I would not call what you mentioned being submitted to your husband. That is being kind and courteous to him, especially if he is in the middle of speaking with someone during a gathering. I do that with my dear husband on a regular basis. He does the same for me if he sees me busy talking at a gathering. For example: Today is my mom’s birthday. He asked me yesterday what I planned to do. I told him that I plan to make lasagne, a meal she recently requested. I had my day planned out on how I would make it along with editing videos and making website changes. When we got up this morning I went to take a shower. He asked how much meat was needed for the lasagne. I told him. When I got out of the shower he had it thawing out for me. After breakfast I started working on it. WE ended up making the lasagne because he wanted to help (and learn how to do it). He is just really kind like that. I had not asked him to do anything. It was a great help indeed. I am getting the other tasks done earlier than I expected. -Anonymous

I know the word often evokes negative connotations but I like being a wife submitted to my husband. I reap great rewards that the others will NEVER know. I was the talk of E’s family when we first met because ALL of the men fix their own plates at family functions. I was the sole wife who got up and MADE my husband a plate and brought him a drink. He sat, enjoyed himself, and I got up, made him a plate and brought him his food. When he wanted seconds, I got up and repeated the scenario. This is our custom when we are out, at friends’ or at get togethers. -S.C.

I had 50+ years to watch married couples. The ones that really had it going on were the ones that treated each other well. You would think this is basic relationship training regardless of the type of relationship it is. I’m not doing anything that I would not do for friends except the obvious. Seriously. I treat my friends nice, reach out when they have needs and try to accommodate them. I do this and way more with (husband). This is not hard to understand, that is, if you are emotionally stable. -Anonymous

Some more thoughts: speak highly of him to others, don’t remind him of his faults, cut him lots of slack. My hubby works 12+ hrs a day, travels a lot so I want his home life to be something he is running home to. Even if he has worked a long day and could go back to the hotel and take a Sat. morning flight home, he ALWAYS takes the last flight home, no matter how late, just to sleep next to me. I might get criticized about the part where I say I make sure my daughter is in a good mood. Can you imagine working all day to come home to a pissed off, tired toddler? Some stay at home moms don’t enforce a schedule because she is not working but I insist my daughter take a nap and if she can’t fall asleep, I lay there with her and rub her back until she does. If that doesn’t work, I tell her she must lay in the bed and not move and “rest” even if she doesn’t fall asleep. When hubby comes home, the table is set for dinner, the food is almost ready. I pour him a glass of wine immediately. We eat and while I’m cleaning up the kitchen, HE gives our daughter her bath. He does her whole night time routine, bath, pajamas, book, sing and sleep. I appreciate that very much. Then we either read, chat, pay bills, or watch a movie. It’s a simple, easy life but I like it that way and it works for us. -Anonymous

re: to making sure the house is in order, INCLUDING the attitudes of our children….They should have a routine anyway. Quite naturally, life intervenes at times, but the child should know at a basic level what to expect…Helps a great deal with Mom’s nerves and harmonious household…. -C.S

I’ve seen women CHEW their significant others over the pettiest stuff imaginable. Rude, crude, classless behavior. We were pulling into a gas station and a woman drove right up besides us and started cussing at us because my husband didn’t put his signal on soon enough for her. I would never behave in that manner with anyone. She came off as very ugly, aggressive and masculine. When people get mad with me, I apologize and that will usually shift the energy right away. -Anonymous

I’m not perfect but with only one baby and not having to work, there really isn’t an excuse. When I was working 60+ hrs, of course, I wasn’t able to do as much I do now, but with two incomes, we just hired some help. I know some people like to punish their spouses when they argue by not doing the stuff they usually do, but even if we are mad at each other, we still take care of each other. I’m pretty happy these days. -Anonymous

After reading these comments, those who still want to roll their eyes and have the “this is the way I am and he can take it or leave it” stance, fill this post with angry, defensive comments, or feel that the things these ladies are doing sets the advancement of women back 50 years, that it is not reasonable, not realistic, and hits the mute button on your “Independent Women” a la Beyonce anthem, ask yourself married or not the way you are doing it, as Dr. Phil would ask, “how is that working for ya?” I would also ask, don’t you want to be happy and content in your relationships? I know I do.

Let me sincerely sound the alarm for those who say hubby or boyfriend is still here and things are fine, I have read posts of neglected husbands/significant others on different posts about marriage who have anonymously stated that once their last child reaches adulthood, they are out of there, or if no children are involved, they are quietly planning their exit as they are tired of being treated like they are not important to the women in their lives. Yes I know the argument to follow, “What about HIM? What about MY NEEDS?” My happily married friends married to QUALITY men have told me that because they take good care of their hubbies, their husbands are willing to swim through shark infested waters to bring them a glass of lemonade or do whatever it takes to keep their wives happy.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I want to follow the lead of these women, they are happy and fufilled in their marriages and all these women cannot be wrong.  Their husbands are happy and so are they.  If a clean house, a hot meal, respect, and lots of good loving ensures that my future husband outside of work does not want to be anywhere else but home with me and his family every night, then if need be, I for one will don that apron and wax my floors with June Cleaver in mind waiting for my future hubby to come home.

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