Duties of Husbands and Wives

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Eleanor Rose

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Duties of Husbands and Wives
(From Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms, 1891.)

The Husband's Duty
A very grave responsibility has the man assumed in his marriage. Doting parents have confided to his care the welfare of a loved daughter, and a trusting woman has risked all her future happiness in his keeping. Largely will it depend upon him whether her pathway shall be strewn with thorns or roses.
***
Let your wife understand fully your business. In nearly every case she will be found a most valuable advisor when she understands all your circumstances.
***
Do not be dictatorial in the family circle. The home is the wife's province. It is her natural field of labor. It is her right to govern and direct its interior management. You would not expect her to come to your shop, your office, your store or your farm, to give orders how your work should be conducted; neither should you interfere with the duties which legitimately belong to her.
***
If a dispute arises, dismiss the subject with a kind word, and do not seek to carry your point by discussion. It is a glorious achievement to master one's own temper. You may discover that you are in error, and if your wife is wrong, she will gladly, in cooler moments, acknowledge the fault.
***
Having confided to the wife all your business affairs, determine with her what your income will be in the coming year. Afterwards ascertain what your household expenses will necessarily be, and then set aside a weekly sum, which should regularly and invariably be paid the wife at a stated time. Let this sum be even more than enough, so that the wife can pay all bills, and have the satisfaction besides of accumulating a fund of her own, with which she can exercise a spirit of independence in the bestowal of charity, the purchase of a gift, or any article she may desire. You may be sure that the wife will very seldom use the money unwisely, if the husband gives her entire confidence.
***
[M]atters that would be of little concern to you may weigh heavily on her. She needs, therefore, your tenderest approval, your sympathy and gentle advice. When her efforts are crowned with success, be sure that you give her praise. Few husbands realize how happy the wife is made by the knowledge that her efforts and her merits are appreciated.
***
Endeavor to regulate your household affairs that all the faculties of the mind shall have due cultivation. There should be a time for labor, and a time for recreation. There should be cultivation of the social nature, and there should be attention given to the spiritual. The wife should not be required to lead a life of drudgery. Matters should be so regulated that she may early finish her labors of the day; and the good husband will so control his business that he may be able to accompany his wife to various places of amusement and entertainment. Thus the intellectual will be provided for, and the social qualities be kept continually exercised.
***
Give your wife every advantage which it is possible to bestow.
***
Possibly the wife in social position, intellectual equipment, and very likely in moral worth, may be the superior to her husband. It is equally necessary, therefore, that the husband put forth every effort to make himself worthy of his companion. It is a terrible burden to impose on a wife to compel her to go through life with a man whom she cannot love or respect.​

The Wife's Duty

Never should a wife display her best conduct, her accomplishments, her smiles, and her best nature, exclusively away from home.
***
Be careful in your purchases. Let your husband know what you buy, and that you have wisely expended your money.
***
Let no wife devote a large portion of her time to society-work which shall keep her away from home daytimes and evenings, without the full concurrence of her husband.
***
Beware of entrusting the confidence of your household to outside parties. The moment you discuss the faults of your husband with another, that moment an element of discord has been admitted which will one day rend your family circle.
***
If in moderate circumstances, do not be over ambitious to make an expensive display in your rooms. With your own work you can embellish at a cheap price, and yet very handsomely, if you have taste. Let the adornings of your private rooms be largely the work of your own hands.
***
Beware of bickering about little things... What matters it where a picture hangs, or a flower-vase may sit.
***
Be always careful of your conduct and language. A husband is largely restrained by the chastity, purity and refinement of his wife. A lowering of dignity, a looseness of expression and vulgarity of words, may greatly lower the standards of the husband's purity of speech.
***
Whatever may have been the cares of the day, greet your husband with a smile when he returns.
***
Be careful that you do not estimate your husband solely by his ability to make display. The nature of his employment, in comparison with others, may not be favorable for fine show, but that should matter not. The superior qualities of mind and heart alone will bring permanent happiness.
***
To have a cheerful, pleasant home awaiting the husband is not all... A man does not alone require that his wife be a good housekeeper. She must be more; in conversational talent and general accomplishment she must be a companion."​
 

Deleted User CS

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Ellie. A very interesting and fascinating display of information. Thank You for sharing it with the forum. I have several general questions: The tenets and statements as outlined above, are they still practiced in theory by Southern couples in our modern society? Has the women's equal rights crowd drastically impacted these old standard norms of Southern society? David.
 

Patrick H

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View attachment 305668
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Duties of Husbands and Wives
(From Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms, 1891.)

The Husband's Duty
A very grave responsibility has the man assumed in his marriage. Doting parents have confided to his care the welfare of a loved daughter, and a trusting woman has risked all her future happiness in his keeping. Largely will it depend upon him whether her pathway shall be strewn with thorns or roses.
***
Let your wife understand fully your business. In nearly every case she will be found a most valuable advisor when she understands all your circumstances.
***
Do not be dictatorial in the family circle. The home is the wife's province. It is her natural field of labor. It is her right to govern and direct its interior management. You would not expect her to come to your shop, your office, your store or your farm, to give orders how your work should be conducted; neither should you interfere with the duties which legitimately belong to her.
***
If a dispute arises, dismiss the subject with a kind word, and do not seek to carry your point by discussion. It is a glorious achievement to master one's own temper. You may discover that you are in error, and if your wife is wrong, she will gladly, in cooler moments, acknowledge the fault.
***
Having confided to the wife all your business affairs, determine with her what your income will be in the coming year. Afterwards ascertain what your household expenses will necessarily be, and then set aside a weekly sum, which should regularly and invariably be paid the wife at a stated time. Let this sum be even more than enough, so that the wife can pay all bills, and have the satisfaction besides of accumulating a fund of her own, with which she can exercise a spirit of independence in the bestowal of charity, the purchase of a gift, or any article she may desire. You may be sure that the wife will very seldom use the money unwisely, if the husband gives her entire confidence.
***
[M]atters that would be of little concern to you may weigh heavily on her. She needs, therefore, your tenderest approval, your sympathy and gentle advice. When her efforts are crowned with success, be sure that you give her praise. Few husbands realize how happy the wife is made by the knowledge that her efforts and her merits are appreciated.
***
Endeavor to regulate your household affairs that all the faculties of the mind shall have due cultivation. There should be a time for labor, and a time for recreation. There should be cultivation of the social nature, and there should be attention given to the spiritual. The wife should not be required to lead a life of drudgery. Matters should be so regulated that she may early finish her labors of the day; and the good husband will so control his business that he may be able to accompany his wife to various places of amusement and entertainment. Thus the intellectual will be provided for, and the social qualities be kept continually exercised.
***
Give your wife every advantage which it is possible to bestow.
***
Possibly the wife in social position, intellectual equipment, and very likely in moral worth, may be the superior to her husband. It is equally necessary, therefore, that the husband put forth every effort to make himself worthy of his companion. It is a terrible burden to impose on a wife to compel her to go through life with a man whom she cannot love or respect.​

The Wife's Duty

Never should a wife display her best conduct, her accomplishments, her smiles, and her best nature, exclusively away from home.
***
Be careful in your purchases. Let your husband know what you buy, and that you have wisely expended your money.
***
Let no wife devote a large portion of her time to society-work which shall keep her away from home daytimes and evenings, without the full concurrence of her husband.
***
Beware of entrusting the confidence of your household to outside parties. The moment you discuss the faults of your husband with another, that moment an element of discord has been admitted which will one day rend your family circle.
***
If in moderate circumstances, do not be over ambitious to make an expensive display in your rooms. With your own work you can embellish at a cheap price, and yet very handsomely, if you have taste. Let the adornings of your private rooms be largely the work of your own hands.
***
Beware of bickering about little things... What matters it where a picture hangs, or a flower-vase may sit.
***
Be always careful of your conduct and language. A husband is largely restrained by the chastity, purity and refinement of his wife. A lowering of dignity, a looseness of expression and vulgarity of words, may greatly lower the standards of the husband's purity of speech.
***
Whatever may have been the cares of the day, greet your husband with a smile when he returns.
***
Be careful that you do not estimate your husband solely by his ability to make display. The nature of his employment, in comparison with others, may not be favorable for fine show, but that should matter not. The superior qualities of mind and heart alone will bring permanent happiness.
***
To have a cheerful, pleasant home awaiting the husband is not all... A man does not alone require that his wife be a good housekeeper. She must be more; in conversational talent and general accomplishment she must be a companion."​
This a beautifully written, and here's my takeaway: If you remove the gender subtitles and put them all under a heading that we could call "Duties to one's spouse," this list is full of excellent, practical advice for both partners in a marriage. So that I am clear, I mean to say that both spouses should try to observe ALL of these practices, without regard to gender assignments.
 
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Eleanor Rose

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Ellie. A very interesting and fascinating display of information. Thank You for sharing it with the forum. I have several general questions: The tenets and statements as outlined above, are they still practiced in theory by Southern couples in our modern society? Has the women's equal rights crowd drastically impacted these old standard norms of Southern society? David.
A few years ago, ABC News featured a group of couples sharing their secrets for a long and happy marriage. They were all in a good position to know, because each of the couples had been happily married for over 50 years. They all also had strong ties to the South. Of course that’s not necessarily the reason for their happy lives, but it certainly didn’t hurt. I think most Southerners are still raised to value the sanctity of marriage and to believe the following (I bet my Northern friends are too :smile:):

Don't sweat the small stuff. Period.

Communicate with each other. That means listen too.

Be patient. Patience has always been considered a virtue in the South.

Remember that your wedding vows are a promise.

Choose someone who has the same interests as you or be willing to take an interest in what they enjoy.

Trust each other.

Have a sense of humor.

Empathize with your partner.

Love one another enough to do all of the above.
 
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Culper Bell

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If this image is of what I think it is, then this is the clearest picture of Queen Victoria during her first daughter's wedding I've come across yet!

Very interesting post here, as most of these customs hadn't changed from similar manuals and articles around the 1850's advising nearly the same exact things. Oh how things do and do not change.
 

Deleted User CS

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A few years ago, ABC News featured a group of couples sharing their secrets for a long and happy marriage. They were all in a good position to know, because each of the couples had been happily married for over 50 years. They all also had strong ties to the South. Of course that’s not necessarily the reason for their happy lives, but it certainly didn’t hurt. I think most Southerners are still raised to value the sanctity of marriage and to believe the following (I bet my Northern friends are too :smile:):

Don't sweat the small stuff. Period.

Communicate with each other. That means listen too.

Be patient. Patience has always been considered a virtue in the South.

Remember that your wedding vows are a promise.

Choose someone who has the same interests as you or be willing to take an interest in what they enjoy.

Trust each other.

Have a sense of humor.

Empathize with your partner.

Love one another enough to do all of the above.
Ellie. You certainly seem to know the secrets to a long and lasting marriage. Great advice to live by for all of those fortunate married couples out there in the ethernet. This is why I love the virtues and values exhibited by Victorian Southern Society. As you know by now, I certainly do not feel as though I belong in this modern age. Thanks for responding to my question. Keep The Faith. David.
 
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Eleanor Rose

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It’s never too late to find love @christian soldier! I think the older we get, the more time we have to do the “work” that enables us to feel worthy of love, ready to accept a partner as they are and to be accepted unconditionally by them. There’s definitely less drama, more peace and a greater capacity to forgive.
 

Deleted User CS

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It’s never too late to find love @christian soldier! I think the older we get, the more time we have to do the “work” that enables us to feel worthy of love, ready to accept a partner as they are and to be accepted unconditionally by them. There’s definitely less drama, more peace and a greater capacity to forgive.
Ellie. As always, very well said. David.
 
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Or golf clubs, fishing gear, etc?
Thank goodness there was the Equal Rights movements, so we all may keep our little secrets...
As I told somewhere else, sometimes I leave my purchases in the car for a while, so when asked if that is again a new pair of shoes, i may rightfully say "noooooo, I already bought it a while ago, you probably just have not seen it yet!"
But I admit that it is easier with shoes and handbags than with a new fishing rod or a set of golf clubs...
 
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Duties of Husbands and Wives
(From Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms, 1891.)

The Husband's Duty
A very grave responsibility has the man assumed in his marriage. Doting parents have confided to his care the welfare of a loved daughter, and a trusting woman has risked all her future happiness in his keeping. Largely will it depend upon him whether her pathway shall be strewn with thorns or roses.
***
Let your wife understand fully your business. In nearly every case she will be found a most valuable advisor when she understands all your circumstances.
***
Do not be dictatorial in the family circle. The home is the wife's province. It is her natural field of labor. It is her right to govern and direct its interior management. You would not expect her to come to your shop, your office, your store or your farm, to give orders how your work should be conducted; neither should you interfere with the duties which legitimately belong to her.
***
If a dispute arises, dismiss the subject with a kind word, and do not seek to carry your point by discussion. It is a glorious achievement to master one's own temper. You may discover that you are in error, and if your wife is wrong, she will gladly, in cooler moments, acknowledge the fault.
***
Having confided to the wife all your business affairs, determine with her what your income will be in the coming year. Afterwards ascertain what your household expenses will necessarily be, and then set aside a weekly sum, which should regularly and invariably be paid the wife at a stated time. Let this sum be even more than enough, so that the wife can pay all bills, and have the satisfaction besides of accumulating a fund of her own, with which she can exercise a spirit of independence in the bestowal of charity, the purchase of a gift, or any article she may desire. You may be sure that the wife will very seldom use the money unwisely, if the husband gives her entire confidence.
***
[M]atters that would be of little concern to you may weigh heavily on her. She needs, therefore, your tenderest approval, your sympathy and gentle advice. When her efforts are crowned with success, be sure that you give her praise. Few husbands realize how happy the wife is made by the knowledge that her efforts and her merits are appreciated.
***
Endeavor to regulate your household affairs that all the faculties of the mind shall have due cultivation. There should be a time for labor, and a time for recreation. There should be cultivation of the social nature, and there should be attention given to the spiritual. The wife should not be required to lead a life of drudgery. Matters should be so regulated that she may early finish her labors of the day; and the good husband will so control his business that he may be able to accompany his wife to various places of amusement and entertainment. Thus the intellectual will be provided for, and the social qualities be kept continually exercised.
***
Give your wife every advantage which it is possible to bestow.
***
Possibly the wife in social position, intellectual equipment, and very likely in moral worth, may be the superior to her husband. It is equally necessary, therefore, that the husband put forth every effort to make himself worthy of his companion. It is a terrible burden to impose on a wife to compel her to go through life with a man whom she cannot love or respect.​

The Wife's Duty

Never should a wife display her best conduct, her accomplishments, her smiles, and her best nature, exclusively away from home.
***
Be careful in your purchases. Let your husband know what you buy, and that you have wisely expended your money.
***
Let no wife devote a large portion of her time to society-work which shall keep her away from home daytimes and evenings, without the full concurrence of her husband.
***
Beware of entrusting the confidence of your household to outside parties. The moment you discuss the faults of your husband with another, that moment an element of discord has been admitted which will one day rend your family circle.
***
If in moderate circumstances, do not be over ambitious to make an expensive display in your rooms. With your own work you can embellish at a cheap price, and yet very handsomely, if you have taste. Let the adornings of your private rooms be largely the work of your own hands.
***
Beware of bickering about little things... What matters it where a picture hangs, or a flower-vase may sit.
***
Be always careful of your conduct and language. A husband is largely restrained by the chastity, purity and refinement of his wife. A lowering of dignity, a looseness of expression and vulgarity of words, may greatly lower the standards of the husband's purity of speech.
***
Whatever may have been the cares of the day, greet your husband with a smile when he returns.
***
Be careful that you do not estimate your husband solely by his ability to make display. The nature of his employment, in comparison with others, may not be favorable for fine show, but that should matter not. The superior qualities of mind and heart alone will bring permanent happiness.
***
To have a cheerful, pleasant home awaiting the husband is not all... A man does not alone require that his wife be a good housekeeper. She must be more; in conversational talent and general accomplishment she must be a companion."​
Pretty good advice. Thanks for posting.
 
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