Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Good Wife Award...

Here is another excellent article to read. I've snipped it to just the highlights to save space, but I truly find great words of wisom here:

Dr. Carle C. Zimmerman of Harvard University and the Rev. Lucius F. Cervantes of St. Louis University surveyed 60,000 families for their new book, “Successful American Families.” As part of their findings, the two social scientists reported:
“While we have more broken families, we also have many more good ones. These good families are increasing and getting better."

Clearly, a cornerstone of the successful family is the wife.
Just what are the criteria for a “good” wife? Each family is unique and has its own pattern and problems. But by and large, the estimable wife often has some basic characteristics. In a cross-section survey of 20 leading marital-relations advisers among member agencies of the Family Service Association of America, we have gathered a consensus of their views on the subject.

The following points, not necessarily in order of importance for every couple, may guide young wives just starting out in family life, and give other women a better perspective on their own role:

1. The good wife, grown-up enough to give as well as to receive, has the capacity to provide her husband with emotional support when needed.
She is sensitive to his feelings and moods. When he is preoccupied by tensions outside the home, she knows he is not rejecting her. If he needs praise, she’s able to offer it. In crises, she stands by him: if he loses his job or fails in a venture, she doesn’t blame him entirely, but puts on a good face and does all she can to see him through the ordeal.
She understands his impulses even though she may disapprove of his behavior.

2. To be able to give her husband emotional support, the good wife develops her own potentialities as a human being.
She fulfills herself as a person and still pulls her oar as a wife. At the same time, she grows along with her husband, expanding her horizons with his and broadening her interests as he moves ahead. She is able to keep pace with him. adjusting to the many and various changes and emotional cycles in their love.

3. Her expectations of what her husband can do are realistic.

4. The good wife shares her husband’s goals, fitting them to her own.
She is willing to wait patiently for the ultimate rewards. In attaining these objectives, she shares responsibilities as well as pleasures and problems.

5. Through the warmth of her affection, the good wife helps keep their love alive.
She sends him off with a kiss in the morning and greets him as fondly when he returns. To her, physical love is a symbol of devotion rather than an end in itself, and she is aware that such physical need is usually greater in the male. The considerate wife lets her mate know that she finds him desirable, and never makes him feel inadequate as a male.

6. The good wife has a deep, abiding, confident faith in the man she has married.
She wants others to respect him as she does. In a group conversation, she permits him to take the lead and shouldn’t interrupt him constantly or spoil his joke - She avoids criticizing him in public. Nor does she disparage associates and friends he admires. She follows an open-door policy for them in her heart even if she finds them dull or sometimes dependable. She may compromise gracefully, however, by not seeing them too often.

7. While she enjoys her husband’s companionship, the good wife doesn’t become too dependent on it.
Respecting his need for occasional privacy, she learns when to keep quiet if she’s aware he is upset or uncommunicative. If he’d rather read or watch a ball game on television, she avoids disturbing him with idle chatter. While family unity is desirable, she doesn’t force him into “togetherness.” If her husband invites her to join him in golf, fishing, or bowling and she’s interested, she’ll go along for the comradeship. But if he prefers some social time with other men, and she senses that she shouldn’t intrude, the good wife doesn’t consider this a personal affront. She knows she doesn’t have to be in her husband’s corner every moment of his free time.

8. Considering homemaking her profession, she enjoys being a capable household manager.
Home should be more than a place for her husband to hang his hat. he should find pleasure in returning to it each day. She makes every effort to keep their home reasonably cheerful, a restful haven. Meals are enticing in variety. Unless he’s willing to do such household chores as washing dishes or changing diapers, she does not insist on it Although he can help around the house, her mate isn’t converted into a “mother substitute.” If she has a part-time career or full-time job, it doesn’t take priority in her life, and her own work should not become more important to her than his.

9. Conflicts are normal in marriage, and the astute wife doesn’t let tensions pile up; she works them out as they come along.
Above all, she must be able to communicate her feelings and respect her husband’s, though they may differ. She tries to find out what’s “eating” her mate, concedes that his viewpoint may be reasonable and opens the way to discussion and compromise. When she knows the “sore spots” in his personality, she avoids the temptation to strike at them. If she has a grievance herself, she tries to choose the right time and place to air it, limiting her arguments to relevant facts. Above all, she retains her sense of humor and sense of proportion.

Naturally, no one wife is likely to fit all these criteria for the ever-loving spouse. Nor does anything less than these criteria necessarily make a woman a “defective” wife. Obviously, the characteristics of American families vary widely, and no outsider can say what is best for each couple. But this can serve as a guide to women who wish to evaluate their own role, and to husbands who may now awaken to the fact that their mates may well merit at the very least a symbolic “good wife” award.

Taken from The Salisbury Times. Salisbury, Maryland. December 18, 1960

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