Tips for wedded bliss, from the 1950s… 194



View Profile

Ever wondered why the divorce rate started to rise in the 80s? Have you stopped to think about how our mothers’ lived, loved and stayed married? Well, we take a look back today at the tips for wedded bliss from the 50s and they are sure to entertain you.

In 1943, Edward Podolsky published a well-read book on “How to be a Good Wife”, and the first four tips are extra giggle-worthy!

1) Don’t bother your husband with petty troubles and complaints when he comes home from work.

2) Be a good listener. Let him tell you his troubles; yours will seem trivial in comparison.

3) Remember your most important job is to build up and maintain his ego (which gets bruised plenty in business). Morale is a woman’s business.

4) Let him relax before dinner. Discuss family problems after the inner man has been satisfied.

In other pieces of timeless advice, Eugenicist Prof. B.G. Jefferis writes that a woman should allow the man to be their boss, in his “Searchlights on Health, The Science of Eugenics“:

“The Number One Rule. Reverence Your Husband.—He sustains by God’s order a position of dignity as head of a family, head of the woman. Any breaking down of this order indicates a mistake in the union, or a digression from duty.

And, quite clearly, one should remember never to nag…

Reverend Alfred Henry Tyrer wrote in his 1951 book, “Sex Satisfaction and Happy Marriage” that a woman should not ask for things and expect to stay married:

“I verily believe that the happiness of homes is destroyed more frequently by the habit of nagging than by any other one. A man may stand that sort of thing (nagging) for a long time, but the chances are against his standing it permanently. If he needs peace to make life bearable, he will have to look for it elsewhere than in his own house. And it is quite likely that he will look.

And Dorothy Carnegie, wife (and author herself of How to help your husband get ahead) of the intrepid author of How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie agrees wholeheartedly.

“Nagging causes more unhappiness in families than extravagance, poor housekeeping and infidelity all put together”

Tyrer also comments on the fact that all women should know confidently how to cook, and do so as a core part of her job.

“Housekeeping accomplishments and cooking ability are, of course, positive essentials in any true home, and every wife should take a reasonable pride in her skill. Happiness does not flourish in an atmosphere of dyspepsia.

And finally, Mrs Carnegie insists that we should be happy with good enough, and not chase material possessions or push our husbands to.

“Better to be content with working within our limits that to kill ourselves—or our spouses! –trying to achieve what is beyond our capacities.”

Entertaining to look back at yesterdays ways and see how they apply to today…. Do you feel like you saw the world when these things were true? 

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Have a read of this, it was my mindset when I married your father Justin. Year that went well, not.

  2. The good old days. When men were men, and women were their servants and did as they were told!

  3. mum use to say when you arent getting along go in another room away from each other that reduces esculating the argument but uno it never worked the buggers follow you lol

  4. Divorce was almost unheard of in those days due to the cost involved, NAGGING really? what about the physical abuse that a lot of women had to endure when their husbands finally arrived home from the pub and expected dinner hot and on the table when he walked through the door? No my mother taught us to stand up for ourselves and don’t allow yourselves to be used as a door mat. Best advice she ever gave me.

    13 REPLY
    • this could be the reason Trish why so many older woman, like myself are happy being single

      1 REPLY
      • It IS the reason! I do hpwever agree on the last statement about living within your capabilities and enjoying it rather than striving too hard and being miserable

    • Spot on Libbi me too, I’m not saying for a minute all men are like that however I have seen enough to be happy to stay on my own now!

    • Trish being single at our age is fantastic – and of course there are still many great men about – wonder where they might be hiding lol

    • Deborah I have all the male company I need where I live, it’s great we can all get together and enjoy a drink and a laugh and then go home to enjoy our own space.

    • The men are out there, last year I had a bloke knock at my front door, turns out he was a taxi owner who had taken a fancy to me, yes I know that sounds ridiculous, anyway I answered and was stunned but managed to dismiss him him, 2 days later is a note left on my front door. Despite all my chatter in here, I am pretty quiet , I nearly had a fit, he wanted me to ring him so we could go out. No I never rang him

    • The men are out there, last year I had a bloke knock at my front door, turns out he was a taxi owner who had taken a fancy to me, yes I know that sounds ridiculous, anyway I answered and was stunned but managed to dismiss him him, 2 days later is a note left on my front door. Despite all my chatter in here, I am pretty quiet , I nearly had a fit, he wanted me to ring him so we could go out. No I never rang him

    • In the 50s divorce in Australia was almost impossible. It took years and you had to show fault. Women could not get home loans and career choices limited. So of course the husband was the boss.

    • Oh Libbi that’s a funny story, scary though when blokes come knocking on yr door like that. Hope he has not been back and you avoid taking taxis lol

    • haha Deborah. I have not got a cab since, I now give my neighbor the taxi fare to take me anywhere I need to go

    • Rob Mcgrath Spot on!! A bloke on here the other day said something along the lines of “seriously girls (the way he refers to mature ladies) it was way better when the man went out to earn the money and you stayed home to raise the kids wasn’t it?” My response did not support his assertion and was very much along the lines of your comment!

  5. Married in 1965 those were the basics that we were taught to be god wives. It was instilled in us when we did a week running the school flat during my 2nd year at intermediate in the late 50’s. We had to cook a meal serve to our parents and then entertain them until after we had served afternoon tea,, Check you had a clean apron on and that you hair was tidy before you opened the door.

    2 REPLY
    • Yes we had a flat with bed room bath room and kitchen we had to cook for the teachers we invited for lunch and afternoon tea it was a good learning point Even though I was good at home it stood me instead for life pity they ever stopped it as my nieces and daughters had not a clue

    • Yes I remember the flat at school but I don’t think it did me any harm,as I could handle working 5 kids in 8.5 years & running a house which was always clean & nothing out of place at 76 I’m still the same,do a dozen things at once & nothing out of place,a lot are pretty hopeless these days…was married in 1956..

  6. what does dear hubby contribute

    2 REPLY
    • In those days he was in charge of finances, and should keep the woman and his children, in a manner to which they were used to. It was his job. If a woman chose to work it was extra money, which she was in charge of. If he would allow her to go out to work.

  7. Four words of advice for husbands: Happy wife = happy life.

    4 REPLY
    • An old married couple were asked their secret. She said having lots of patience. He said knowing when to shut up! I’m afraid I don’t have much patience and he doesn’t know when to shut up!

    • Patricia it might be the same people I’m thinking about – two centenarians who had been married for 80 years. When asked about how to make marriage work Florence talked about patience, love etc. Percy talked about the use of two words “Yes dear”.

  8. This was my mothers life which I dutifully copied for my 1st marriage……didn’t make it last tho….I was ‘shown the door to teach me a lesson’…..sure did I learnt that I was ok after all!! married my soulmate 25 yrs back and sharing and caring is for real now…..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *