In 1913, Blanche Ebutt published Don'ts For Wives
, a guide for just-married women. It opens with the sentence, "Art is a hard mistress, and there is no art quite so hard as that of being a wife."
We read the book expecting it to be filled with hilarious, antiquated advice...so were surprised (but delighted!) to see that Blanche's advice is remarkably progressive. While there are some tips that don't really apply to modern women (most of us have jobs and money of our own, don't have a bunch of servants, and cannot worry about always being home when our husbands -- or wives
-- get home from work), here are 10 tips that are still totally relevant in 2018.
Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash
1. Don't think that, because you have married for love, you can never know a moment's unhappiness. Life is not a bed of roses, but love will help extract the thorns.
2. Don't be jealous of your husband's acquaintances with other women. You don't want him to think you are the nicest woman in the world because he never sees any others, but because he sees plenty, and still feels that you are the only one in the world for him.
3. Don't profess to care nothing about politics. Any man who is worth his salt does care, and many men learn to despise women as a whole because their wives take such an unintelligent attitude.
4. Don't omit to pay your husband an occasional compliment. If he looks nice as he comes in dressed for the opera, tell him so.
5. Don't spend your life keeping up appearances. Why should you buy expensive furniture for the benefit of your neighbors if you haven't a balance at the bank?
6. Don't become a mere echo of your husband. If you never hold an opinion of your own about anything, life will be dreadfully colorless for both of you, and there will be nothing to talk about.
7. Don't impose on your husband's good nature. Because he is 'such a dear,' and will give you anything you like to ask for, don't take advantage and ask for something unreasonable.
8. Don't refuse to take an interest in your husband's hobbies, but don't let him leave all the tiresome work to you. If he loves to keep up chickens, let him get up half an hour earlier in the morning to feed them.
9. Don't return to an old grievance. Once the matter has been thrashed out let it be forgotten, or at least never allude to it again.
10. Don't forget your poorer neighbors. If every family that had enough to eat kept an eye on even one family that hadn't, there would be much less misery in the country.
Pretty great, right? And there were a lot
more wise tips in the book. Mrs. Ebbutt also dropped more truths in the companion book, Don'ts for Husbands
. Both pocket-sized books were re-released in 2010, and are a fun addition to a wedding gift!