Duties of a Christian Wife to her Husband

The wife should remember that upon her, to the greatest extent, devolves the duty of making home happy. She should do nothing to make her husband feel uncomfortable, either mentally or physically, but on the other hand she should strive to the utmost of her ability to do whatever is best calculated to please him, continually showing him that her love, plighted upon the altar, remains steadfast, and that no vicissitudes of fortune can change or diminish it.

She should never indulge in fits of temper, hysterics, or other habits of ill-breeding, which, though easy to conquer at first, grow and strengthen with indulgence, if she should retain her husband as her lover and her dearest and nearest friend. She should be equally as neat and tidy respecting her dress and personal appearance at home as when she appears in society, and her manners towards her husband should be as kind and pleasing when alone with him as when in company. She should bear in mind that to retain the good opinion of her husband is worth far more than to gain the good opinion of hundreds of the devotees of society, and that as she possesses the love and confidence of her husband, so will she receive the respect and esteem of all his friends.

She should be careful not to confide to another any small misunderstandings or petty quarrels between herself and husband, should any occur. This is the surest method of widening any breach of harmony that may occur between husband and wife, for the more such misunderstandings are talked about, and the more advice she receives from her confidants, there is less probability that harmonious relations will be speedily resumed.

The Wife a Helpmate

The wife should act openly and honourably in regard to money matters, keeping an exact account of her expenditures, and carefully guarding against any extravagances; and while her husband is industriously at work, she should seek to encourage him, by her own frugality, to be economical, thrifty, enterprising and prosperous in his business, that he may be better enabled, as years go by and family cares press more heavily on each, to afford all the comforts and perhaps some of the luxuries of a happy home. No condition is hopeless when the wife possesses firmness, decision and economy, and no outward prosperity can counteract indolence, folly and extravagance at home. She should consult the disposition and tastes of her husband, and endeavour to lead him to high and noble thoughts, lofty aims, and temporal comfort; be ever ready to welcome him home, and in his companionship draw his thoughts from business and lead him to the enjoyment of home comforts and happiness. The influence of a good wife over her husband may be very great, if she exerts it in the right direction. She should, above all things, study to learn the disposition of her husband, and if, perchance, she finds herself united to a man of quick and violent temper, the utmost discretion, as well as perfect equanimity, on her part is required, for she should have such perfect control over herself as to calm his perturbed spirits.

Taken from "Australian Etiquette" (1884), quoted in HQL-0027, p. 29-30