Being a Loyal Wife–Observations from the 1930s

Being a Loyal Wife–Observations from the 1930s
Being a Loyal Wife–Observations from the 1930s

Letter 1, 1937–

It seems I am never with some of my married friends–girls my own age as well as those of the older generation–but they are complaining about their husbands, or criticizing them, one way or another.

Perhaps you would not call that a lack of loyalty, but I feel that it is.

I have been with these same husbands a lot, and have been more or less in their confidence. It is seldom, if ever, that they say one word in criticism of their wives. Is it because the wives are so nearly perfect in their husband’s eyes? Or do they, perhaps, see our faults, but are loyal enough to say nothing about them, even to close friends?

After all, we marry of our own volition, and surely should not expect our husbands to be faultless, when we ourselves are not.

Letter 2, 1938–

The other day I overheard two women talking about their husbands. Each seemed to be trying to make hers out the worse–nothing especially bad, just ordinary “meannesses.”  I could not help but wonder what they would think and feel if their husbands “visited” the same way.

Why isn’t it just as easy to say, “John likes me to have meals on time,” as it is to say, “John is always so cross and unreasonable if I am behind with the meals”? Both statements can be true but how differently they sound when saying them to a group of other women!

One evening I knew my husband would be away late on business so I started the chores and was milking when a neighbor came in. She watched me for awhile and then said, “I wouldn’t milk any man’s cows. He could do it himself if he was late.”

“Well,” I replied, “I’m not milking ‘any’ man’s cows, I’m milking our cows.”

There wasn’t any answer.


  1. The same thing happens regarding kids. Sometimes moms will complain endlessly about a kid to acquaintances. It worries me. It’s different than making a general statement (“the kids all woke up early due to the time change and I’m sooo tired”) or asking a trustworthy friend for support or advice. It makes the child’s foibles public in the community in which they are growing up. We have to be careful about this.

    1. Or posting pictures of their children in embarrassing situations….or telling the world about the creative discipline they used on their children. I think it’s horrible!

  2. I was talking about something with a friend one day, and part of the story was that back when the Redneck was working crazy hours I would get up at 1:30 am to make his coffee and pack his lunch She replied that I was a better wife than her, because she would have told her husband not to wake her up when he got up. Another woman said the she is not his momma or his alarm clock–he can do all that himself. I do get mad at him, and I sometimes complain about him, but for the most part–he works long hours so I can stay at home with my adult son with special needs, we have a nice home, he allows me to run the house the way I want, he is generous, and he bought me new UNDERWARE recently. Seriously, he does all that and I’m not supposed to get up a little early to fix his coffee and lunch? (smh) I don’t understand women…;)

    1. I totally agree. I’ve been making my husband’s toast and coffee and packing his lunch for my whole married life.
      It is best when husbands and wives can help each other without keeping a scorecard.

    2. My husband went for a stretch in which he had to get up at 3:45 AM and some people were incredulous that I would get up with him to make him breakfast and pack his lunch, as if it was unreasonable for him to expect that of me. Actually, he never asked me to but I thought it was the very least I could do, since he was getting up to work for a paycheck that would benefit me as well. Besides, I could crawl back into bed for a few hours after he left; he had to stay up.

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