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1913 Marital Advice


I oldcouplehave this book called “Don’ts for Husbands, Don’ts for Wives” written in 1913.  I thought I would share some of the advice given.  I’d really like your comments on them too, so feel free to leave them!

Don’ts for Husbands:

Don’t look at things solely from a man’s point of view.  Put yourself in your wife’s place and see how you would like some of the things she has to put up with. (p.5-6).

Don’t condescend; you are not the only person in the house with brains. Don’t omit to bring home an occasional bunch of flowers or a few chocolates.  Your wife will value even a penny bunch of violets for your thought of her.  Don’t rush out of the house in such a hurry that you haven’t time to kiss your wife ‘good bye’.  She will grieve over the omission all day. Don’t belittle your wife before visitors.  You may think it a joke to speak of her little foibles, but she will not easily forgive you. (p.11)

Don’t forget your wife’s birthday.  Even if she doesn’t want the whole world to know her age, she doesn’t want you to forget.

Don’t for Wives:  

Don’t take your husband on a laborious shopping expedition, and expect him to remain good-tempered throughout.  If you want his advice on some special dress purchase, arrange to attend to that first, and then let him off.  Men, as  a rule, hate indiscriminate shopping.  Don’t allow yourself to get into the habit of dressing carelessly when there is ‘only’ your husband to see you.  Depend upon it he has no use for faded tea-gowns and badly dressed hair, and he abhors the sight of curling pins as much as other men do. He is a man after all, and if his wife does not take the trouble to charm him, there are plenty of other women who will. (p. 137-8)

Don’t sneer at your mother in law’s old fashioned ways; you may hurt your husband as well as his mother. Don’t think anything too much trouble to do for your husband’s comfort; remember he is occupied all day in working for you.  Don’t be afraid of thinking and planning and working for him. (p. 142)

Don’t keep the house so tidy that your husband is afraid to leave a newspaper lying about.  Few men have such a sense of order as most women have, and they are naturally more careless at home than at the office.  But what does it matter when you really come to think of it?   Don’t quarrel with your husband’s relatives.  If you can’t get on with them, don’t ask them to visit you, but persuade your husband to visit them occasionally.  As a rule, however, a little tact and patience will carry you over the thin ice. (p. 143)

So, there you have a few excerpts from 1913.  This small book has 151 pages in it, with plenty of advice that I think is still relevant today.  Some of the words or phrases are clearly outdated (and some of you probably think her ideas too!) I think the following verses support  some of the 1913 advice:

Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”  Phil. 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Pam Bass is a wife, mom, and licensed Christian counselor, who has helped hundreds of people over the last 23 years.  She desires wives especially to be cognizant of the way the American culture can influence our stated Christian values.  Through her blog, she hopes to encourage women (in particular) to  know and trust what God tells us in His word.  Find out more at


  1. Advid Reader says:

    Holy cow, don’t show the Don’ts for Her list to my husband. The comment about not making the house ‘too tidy’ would be interpreted as a license to allow that pesky cluttering habit to morph into full blown hoarding.

    Thanks for sharing these pearls of wisdom, or blasts from the past.

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