They Asked Me Makes a Good Wife: This is What I Said

Stacey and Steven conversating in Gyeongju

Both Declared They’d Rather Be Alone

In a world where traditional gender roles are constantly evolving, the question of what defines a good wife has become increasingly nuanced. I get it. But I don’t get why my sister’s, black women, are the only ones on the planet who say they don’t need a man. As societal norms shift and expectations transform, navigating the complexities of modern marriage requires a deeper understanding of partnership dynamics and individual values. In this article, we explore the multifaceted nature of being a good wife in contemporary society, delving into personal insights, societal pressures, and practical advice to shed light on this often-debated topic. Whether you’re seeking clarity on your own beliefs or eager to gain new perspectives, join us as we unravel the intricacies of modern relationships and uncover what truly makes a good wife in today’s world.

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I recently attended a party with a couple of ladies, and we engaged in conversation about various topics. When they learned that my spouse and I had been married for almost 30 years, they eagerly sought advice. “Tell us the secrets, they begged”. However, their enthusiasm quickly transformed into a total rebuke of the advice I shared. I’ve replayed that conversation in my mind several times, and I’m perplexed. Why does the idea of being a good wife seem to evoke feelings of prison or slavery– provoking condemnation among many modern women these days?

Feminist or Womanist Viewpoints

Scroll through YouTube, and you’ll encounter some quite extreme feminist or womanist viewpoints.

Take Simone Biles’ situation, where some of her fans are suggesting she should divorce her husband just because he openly sees himself as the prize. Then there’s Tia Mowry, who divorced her husband, claiming she graduated from marriage. Now, she spends a considerable amount of time expressing her views, often scantily clad, reflecting on the challenges of modern dating and the shortage of good men who want to date her. Eboni K. Williams, a self-described #girlboss advocates for women to freeze their eggs, a decision rooted in choosing a career over family. Interestingly, Beyoncé seems to celebrate the virtues of independence of single ladies while, paradoxically, heading home to her self-professed cheater husband every night. And then there’s those two eyesores to black women– Sexxy Red and Sukihana doing whatever ratchet thing they can when a camera is in their face.

We have to be more discerning with who we allow to represent us. But even before that, we have to separate the value-added behaviors in our culture from the ones that are toxic and won’t serve us past a paycheck.

Educated Sistas

Despite the fact that black women are more educated and employed than ever, the prevailing sentiment isn’t one of contentment. Instead, many sistas find themselves in debt, underemployed, and potentially facing a lifetime of solitude. A few striking underlying statistics are important facors. This raises concerns about the challenges black women face, even in the midst of educational and professional advancements.

  • forty percent of all black women will never marry,
  • most of us are not financially prepared to navigate life independently until death,
  • the degrees we sought are in non-competitive fields with limited financial growth or technical skill,
  • Even if all black men marry, there are 2 million more black women than black men of marriageable age,
  • Women have a shelf life for motherhood that men don’t have.
  • And even though most women don’t want to admit it, but womens sexual market value decreases with age in contrast to the men they seek, whose value rises with age.

They Say I Don’t Need a Man

I find it genuinely disturbing when some women confidently declare they don’t need a man. The assertion of “I don’t need a man, I just want one” is something I’ve heard many times, not just on TV, the internet, or in popular songs, but between friends, family members, and casual acquaintances like this past holiday party. However, I haven’t heard a man say the same thing about a woman. If I find it disturbing, what do you think they think?

But I know a man cannot protect what he can’t control. Think about that.

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They Asked me what Makes a Good Wife?

I wouldn’t declare myself a marriage guru, but when asked, I don’t shy away from giving my opinion. So, when questioned, I confidently offered a few suggestions. I was shocked, taken aback even, when both ladies declared, “I won’t do that. However, I’m too independent, and I can’t relinquish my power to a man. They say they are nobody’s slave. And I don’t feel I need to be submissive to a man. So I don’t need a man, I want one.” And the pièce de résistance… “I can do bad all by myself.” You would have thought I suggested something as extreme as “drink your husband’s bathwater every night.”

All I said was that in a relationship, one person, the husband, has to take on the role of the leader, and a good wife follows his lead. And they jumped all over me for suggesting it.

What Makes a Good Wife?

What Does Submissive Actually Mean

As I reflect on the concept of submission in marriage, I find that willingly yielding or surrendering oneself to the authority of another is, indeed, the very essence of submission. It’s a definition that often unfolds within the context of a consensual and profoundly respectful relationship. In my own marriage, being submissive to my husband is not a surrendering of my individuality or independence; instead, it is an acknowledgment and profound respect for his role as the leader of our household.

This dynamic doesn’t restrain my ability to maintain my thoughts, make decisions collaboratively, or pursue my aspirations freely. Submission, in our case, is not about seeking permission for fundamental freedoms; instead, it is about embracing a well-defined set of roles that complement each other. On most days, my role takes on a supportive nature, yet within that support, I find strength and fulfillment.

In navigating the journey of our shared life, someone has to be responsible for charting a course toward our shared goals. This acknowledgment and understanding of roles and responsibilities distinguishes what makes a good wife from a great wife in our marriage. It’s not about one partner overshadowing the other; rather, it’s a harmonious dance of mutual support and shared aspirations that makes our union truly meaningful.

You cannot turn submission off and on like a light switch.

Traditional Gender Roles- What Makes a Good Wife?

I am old enough to vaguely remember the 1960s (born 1966) when traditional gender roles defined women’s social and cultural landscape. My mom didn’t work. She was there when we got home from school. My mom attended PTA meetings and she was my girl scout troop leader. She cooked almost every night and she took us to museums and playdates. And when my dad came home, she made sure we didn’t disturb my dad’s peace and quiet too much. But we ate as a family, they provided a mostly united front when disciplining us, and they tried hard not to let us see the behind the curtain workings of their marriage. I’m sure they struggled from time to time– I didn’t see it. They were and are my role model for marriage and relationships.

My dad worked and went to college. My mom did not. Their roles were the norm. Society limited economic opportunities for women, dictating predetermined career choices but strongly emphasized women’s roles as wives and mothers. This discouraging higher education or careers outside of nursing, teaching, or the secretarial pool. Restrictions limited educational opportunities, constrained reproductive rights, and pervasive gender stereotypes and discrimination shaped the prevailing attitudes. And that was white women. Black women had it much worse.

As a result

…these restrictions curtailed political participation and voting rights. The absence of legal protections against gender-based discrimination posed challenges for women in various aspects of life.

I’m always asking myself, what makes a good wife? My marriage is a very traditional inspired one. However, it’s interesting to note that I made more money when Steven and I married. Surprisingly, this didn’t change the core dynamic of our relationship. Despite our income difference, he was the de facto leader, and I continued being his supportive partner. And although we made decisions together then, as we do now, he has always led our household, both in practice and in principle.

Revisiting Gender Roles

Being a military family who travels a lot added an exciting twist to our finances. Steven’s income took the lead, and mine, as his wife, played a supporting role. Military life meant job security for me was uncertain, which turned out to be true over the years. Any money I bring in is a bonus, giving me the flexibility to focus on raising our kids and pursue personal interests, like running this blog.

It’s intriguing to see how our relationship defies traditional gender roles, especially considering the historical norms mentioned before the 1960s. Back then, society had strict roles for women, limiting their opportunities. Laws like coverture subordinated a woman’s legal rights to her husband upon marriage, affecting many aspects of life.

Third World Feminism

Looking at things today, we’re still dealing with expectations surrounding gender roles, not just in our personal lives but also in the law and public opinion. The recent changes in Roe v. Wade and evolving views on feminism show a significant shift backwards (in my humble opinion).

However, it also seems that many women, including black women, are seeking a different balance—a desire to move away from the pressure of being solely seen as strong, independent women and leaning more towards a traditional marriage, without the submission aspect. And that’s crucial to recognize that they do not want to fully embrace the whole traditional wife role, just the financial ones.

Modern Women

In this context, it’s interesting that women often prefer men to handle financial responsibilities, giving them a break from certain duties. However, there’s a delicate balance because they might need to be more enthusiastic about taking on the roles of homemakers or primary caregivers. Additionally, there’s a reluctance to be overly agreeable, submissive, less argumentative, or conform to specific body weight standards. This intricate situation raises confusion for me as conversations with my friends suggest that women might desire more than they’re willing to reciprocate.

The Future of the Black Family

This back-and-forth leaves me with a sense of sadness, considering how it could impact the strength of the black family and black love in the future. Unfortunately, the prevalence of single mothers and how they raise their sons and daughters adds another layer of complexity. The dynamics of evolving expectations and family structures may affect the foundation of relationships within the black community, potentially influencing how sons and daughters perceive and navigate their roles and responsibilities in relationships. This adds an emotional layer to the complexity of modern relationship dynamics, highlighting the broader societal impact on the future of black love and family structures.

This complex situation highlights the interplay of modern expectations, showing a desire for some traditional aspects without necessarily fully embracing traditional roles or expectations. It’s my humble opinion that modern feminism doesn’t work.

So what Was my Advice?

It’s pretty straightforward.

  • Bring something to the table– peace, agreeability, and availability are great starts. Men do not care enough about their wives’ degrees or accomplishments to overlook a bad attitude.
  • Smile; stop walking around, thinking you should only smile when you want to. It would be best if you were approachable to men. But I’d also appreciate it too. It’s a nice thing to do, but I may also know someone perfect for you.
  • If you want something, ask for it. Men cannot read our minds.
  • Let’s face a hard truth: many men aren’t keen on dating single mothers. It’s a reality I had to come to terms with myself. Too many women think hard about marriage and not hard enough about motherhood. You can have sex without babies, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t advise you to stay childless until you get married.
  • Getting men to sleep with you and getting a man to marry you are entirely different actions. So date with intention and know the difference.
  • As for your appearance, leave over-the-top weaves, long decorative nails, dramatic eyelashes, and revealing outfits aside. I would also advise against excessive tattoos and body piercings. Most men aren’t into those and don’t make the best first impression.
  • Watch the language. Swearing and using offensive terms like bitcha$$, ni&&as, or bitcha$$ ni&&as will immediately make you seem less desirable. You immediately sound unwifely. This includes maintaining good grammar— if you lead with “What your name is,” more than likely, you don’t stand a chance. If he’s okay with that, you might also want to reconsider giving him a chance.

Desired Traits for a Wife

  • Do you always have to be right? You can have constructive discussions without being overly assertive. Try embracing a more ladylike demeanor. If things get heated, take a moment to count to 10, excuse yourself, walk away, or consider seeking guidance from a reputable etiquette or marriage coach.
  • Health matters. Over 80% of black women are overweight, and 80% of them are morbidly obese. This is a real concern, especially considering weight gain after childbirth. Taking care of our health, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight not only benefits us physically but also impacts our desirability to the opposite sex.
  • Mastering domestic skills—cooking, cleaning, and managing the household—can be valuable. It’s not about conforming to traditional roles but enhancing overall skills and self-sufficiency.
  • Lastly, recognize that you are not the sole prize. I don’t know if I believe men are either. Just stop walking around like you are special. Stop with the diva and queen attitudes. And let’s hold each other accountable for what we say and do.

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  1. Karen

    Good evening, I just read your post. There’s no pill in the drugstore for JEALOUSY. You’re a devoted wife and mother. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    1. Stacey A. Peters

      Good evening! Your words carry a warm encouragement, and it’s true—some feelings, like jealousy, can’t be soothed with a simple remedy. Embracing our roles with dedication and love stands as a testament to who we are. Your support is a gentle reminder to focus on what truly matters: being true to ourselves and those we care for. Thank you for the reinforcement. Let’s continue to navigate life’s complexities with grace and understanding.

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