Whether it’s our marriage, parenting or our profession, it’s common for us to get so consumed in our own little world of trouble that we forget that every problem we face has, in some form or fashion, also been a problem for prior generations.
Nowhere is this more true than in marriage. In fact, in doing research for my book, Marriage Done Right, I reviewed plenty of old pamphlets and books that were full of marital advice.
In 1947, Edward Podolsky penned a book titled, Sex Today in Wedded Life. It included a series of adages, many of which would be considered sexist today, but let’s take a look at them:
10 Commandments for Wives
- Don’t bother your husband with petty troubles and complaints when he comes home from work.
- Be a good listener. Let him tell you his troubles; yours will seem trivial in comparison.
- 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.
- Let him relax before dinner, and discuss family problems after the “inner man” has been satisfied.
- Always remember he’s a male and marital relations promote harmony. Have sane views about sex.
- No man likes a wife who is always tired out. Conserve your energy so you can give him the companionship he craves.
- Never hold up your husband to ridicule in the presence of others. If you must criticize, do so privately and without anger.
- Remember a man is only a grown-up boy. He needs mothering and enjoys it if not piled on too thick.
- Don’t live beyond your means, or add to your husband’s financial burdens.
- Don’t try to boss him around. Let him think he wears the pants.
Did you pick up on the last one? “Let him think he wears the pants.”
Who said some advice isn’t timeless?
Now let’s take a look at the advice for husbands:
10 Commandments for Husbands
- Remember your wife wants to be treated as your sweetheart always.
- Remember her birthdays and your wedding anniversaries.
- Bring her some gift every week, no matter how inexpensive it may be. (It’s not the price, it’s the thought.)
- Don’t take love for granted. Don’t “ration” your kisses. Being a woman, she wants you to woo her.
- Respect her privacy.
- Always be tender, kind and considerate even under trying circumstances.
- Don’t be stingy with money; be a generous provider.
- Compliment her new dress, “hair-do,” cooking, etc.
- Always greet her with a kiss, especially when other people are around.
- Remember marriage is a 50-50 proposition and you are not the majority stock holder.
Naturally, any list of this nature is going to be oversimplified, but with the exception of the sexist overtones in some of this advice, I think some of these are gems that contain a significant amount of foundational and timeless truths.
With good communication, intentionality and some creativity, you can keep the flame of intimacy going in your marriage, no matter what age, stage or season you find yourselves in.
What’s your reaction to these old lists? Might you add advice any of your own? Please let me know in the comments section below.