Don’ts for Wives….


I’ve found a little book called “Don’ts for Wives”  by Blanche Ebbutt.   It was published in 1913 by A & C Black,  (London) and is full of wonderful wisdom…..

Here is the Preface:

“Art is a hard mistress, and there is no art quite so hard as that of being a wife.

So many women exhaust their artistic power in getting married, which is, after all, a comparatively easy business.  It takes a perfect artist to remain married – married in the perfect sense of the term; but most of us have to be content to muddle through.

Imagine a girl called upon without a single lesson to produce a tune – a lot of tunes – in fact, one never-ending succession of harmonies – from the most difficult instrument in the world.  Note that the instrument not only gets grumpy in cold weather and skittish in spring – not only slacks or breaks its strings with every change of temperature – but becomes tempestuous over a tight shoe, broody over an out-of-date egg, and cross, sulky, or mirthful for reasons that no sane woman can understand.

That is what the average wife has to reckon with; and if she intends to play the game – humiliating as some may think it – HE will loom largely on the horizon all her life.

I hope she may find it worthwhile to take a few hints from an old hand”.



8 responses

  1. What a pleasant description of marriage, lol! If all women had to be content with muddling through matrimony, I doubt if many of them would enter it.

    That said, i don’t think attitudes changed that radically between 1913 and 1970. My poor mother was mercilessly criticized by her mother-in-law for being an inept housewife, cook and mother: yet in her time she was guardian to her mentally ill sister-in-law, did the income taxes (my father was barely literate and couldn’t do math), and made most of the major decisions in our household, at least before dementia set in. That my father was hopeless goes beyond saying; but to think what Mom put up with most of her life makes me sad. As awful as she is now, she deserved better.

  2. A male coworker keeps talking about watching theOprah recently “where Indian women ADMIT husbands cheating is the wife’s fault.” We chose to not engage.

  3. Ha, well it’s true in that one’s spouse can loom large over one’s life if one becomes to dependent. I see this as a warning to women: be responsible for your own happiness! Hopefully that’s the message they got out of it.

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