Christmas is a time for family, but we all know that even in the happiest of families there can be tensions over the festive period. In 1913 Blanche Ebbutt published some handy hints for husbands and wives to try and ensure matrimonial bliss.
Here are some of the don’t for wives:
- Don’t forget to wish your husband good-morning when he sets off to the office. He will feel the lack of your good-bye kiss all day.
- Don’t let your husband wear a violet tie with grass-green socks. If he is unhappily devoid of colour sense, he must be forcibly restrained.
- Don’t despise the domestic potato. There are a hundred appetising ways of cooking it, but unless you take it firmly in hand, it will arrive at table with the consistency of half-melted ice-mushy without, stony within. The boiled potato is the rock on which many a happy home barque has foundered.
- Don’t bother your husband with a stream of senseless chatter if you can see he is fatigued. Help him to the titbits at dinner; modulate your voice; don’t remark on his silence. If you have any cheery little annecdote to relate, tell it with quiet humour, and by-and-by he will respond. But if you tackle him in the wrong way, the two of you will spend a miserable evening.
- Don’t talk to your husband about anything of a worrying nature until he has finished his evening meal.
- Don’t be satisfied to let your husband work overtime to earn money for frocks for you. Manage with fewer frocks.
- Don’t think it beneath you to put your husband’s slippers ready for him. On a cold evening, especially, it makes all the difference to his comfort if the soles are warmed through.
- Don’t let him have to search the house for you. Listen for his latch-key and meet him on the threshold.
- Don’t check your husband’s high spirits. Let him sing at the top of his voice in the bathroom, or whistle out of tune on the stairs, and be thankful for a cheerful man about the house.
- Don’t nag your husband. If he won’t carry out your wishes for love of you, he certainly won’t because you nag him.
And for the men…
- Don’t fidget. some husbands are never still for a moment. they walk in and out of rooms like the wandering Jew; they play with the salt at dinner; they draw lines on the tablecloth with a fork; they tap the table with their fingers and the floor with their feet; they creak their slippers and drop the coal tongs on to the tiled hearth. In fact, they keep their wives in a state of tension, and the poor creatures would need nerves of iron to enable them to stand the strain.
- Don’t sharpen pencils all over the house as you walk about. Try a hearth or a waste-paper basket, or a newspaper. It does not improve either carpets or the servants’ temper to find scraps of pencil-sharpenings all over the floors.
- Don’t hang about the house all day if your occupation does not take you abroad. Spend regular hours in your study or ‘den’ or go out and play golf; but don’t inflict your company on your wife during every minute of every day. She is fond of you, but she wants to be free sometimes. And she has business to do, even if you haven’t.
- Don’t keep her is cotton-wool. She isn’t wax – she is a woman.
- Don’t ‘nag’ your wife. If she has burnt a cake or forgotten to sew on a button, she doesn’t want to be told of it over and over again.
- Don’t take the attitude that wives, like children, should be seen and not heard. No doubt you are a very clever fellow, and it is an education for her to listen to you, but she may also have some views worth mentioning.
- Don’t grumble day after day at your wife’s untidiness if you happen to be a methodical man. It will be much easier, and will save friction, if you quietly put away the things she leaves lying about, her untidiness may be a constitutional defect, and, if so, no amount of grumbling will cure it.
- Don’t say anything to your children that may tend in any way to lower their estimation of their mother don’t insist on having gorgonzola or other strong-smelling cheese on the table or sideboard twice a day when you know the odour makes your wife feel ill. After all, it is a small thing to forgo in comparison with your wife’s comfort.
- Don’t forget to use a reasonable amount of caution should your hobby be one that may be dangerous. Your wife doesn’t want you to be ‘funky’ but she has the right to expect you not to take undue risk in your motor-car, bicycle or flying-machine.
Remember and marital bliss will be yours!