What Makes a Good Wife…and Am I a Bad One?

January 6, 2012

Photography Credit: Dan Busta

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a wife…or more specially a ‘good’ wife. I guess with the new year kicking in and all, I started a-pondering about where I am in my life and what I’m supposed to be doing next…

Anyway, Gareth & I often joke that I’m a bad wife (at least I hope he’s joking). The roles are anything but traditional in our house. As many of you will already know, Rock n Roll Bride is the sole source of income in our household and most of the work that goes into it is on my end – that’s not to say that the things Gareth does aren’t extremely valuable and important – just that he doesn’t spend 12 hours a day glued to a computer screen is all!

Photography Credit: Home Works by Miles Aldridge for Vogue

So because of this, I hardly do any housework. I put off food shopping until we have literally nothing in the fridge but mayonnaise and gin, having long haired kitties means our carpets are almost always covered in a thick layer of white fur, and my floordrobe has got so huge that we might as well get rid of my wardrobe because there’s nothing in it anymore (although in my defense, it does provide a comfy snoozy spot for those kitties of ours).

I joked on facebook and twitter last week, “Our house is not messy, its just like a museum…everything we own is out on display” and baby I wasn’t kidding.

Oh yeah and I can’t remember the last time I properly cooked!

I’ll be honest, I have been struggling with these feelings. I’ve been convinced that I’m failing by not having a cleaning schedule or a binder/Pinterest board full of recipe ideas…basically I felt like a bad wife How old fashioned and un-Rock n Roll does that make me sound!? A bad wife? What, am I living in the 50s?

However in this post-feminist world, the idea of being a good or bad wife counjores old fashioned, out dated and even offensive images. I think of 1950s housewives chained to the kitchen sink with no ambitious of their own other than to be a ‘good wife and mother’, how about you?

In actual fact, I’m not sure it’s entirely healthy to continue to strive to be a ‘good wife’. Instead, shouldn’t both partners be aiming bring as much as they can to the relationship? The operative word being ‘can’ – what they are capable of bringing. I think it’s important to determine the needs of your individual relationship, and to forget what everyone else is doing or thinking. At the end of the day, no one can tell you what’s right for you.

What’s most imperative to think about is not ‘How can I be a good wife?’ but ‘Why do I want to be a good wife?’ or more specifically, ‘What is it about this person that makes me want to marry them?’ and ‘What is it about me that makes them want to marry me?’ I haven’t asked Gareth this, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t marry be because he wanted a wife that was a good cook and cleaner…if so, hell, he picked the wrong one!

Photography Credit: Dita Von Teese for Instyle, USA, February 2011

When Gareth and I got married, I may not have been as busy with work as I am now, but I didn’t fit into the perfect Stepford wife mould either. Although I liked the idea of eating nutritious and delicious meals and living in a dust free home, the things I had to actually do to make these things happen never came naturally to me – I was always of the ‘Oh screw it lets just get a takeaway’ mantra (as proven by the fact that our Indian takeaway gave us a Christmas present this year – a surefire sign that we use them too much).

I don’t think I’m really offering much advice in this blog post, but I’d love to know your opinions on the subject. Hey, who needs a therapist when I have you guys?! Do you think you are/will make a ‘good wife’? Do you even want to be a ‘good wife’? What does being a ‘good wife’ mean to you?