Secrets of Happy Family Life

2189. Husband and Wife.—Being hints to each other for the good of both, as actually delivered at our own table :—

2190. Hints for Wives.—If your husband occasionally looks a little troubled when he comes home, do not say to him, with an alarmed countenance, ” What ails you, my dear ? ” Don’t bother him ; he will tell you of his own accord, if need be. Be observant and quiet. Let him alone until he is inclined to talk ; take up your book or your needlework pleasantly and cheerfully ; and wait until he is inclined to be sociable. Don’t let him ever find a shirt-button missing. A shirt-button being off a collar or wrist-band has frequently produced the first impatient word in married life.

2191. Hints for Husbands.—If your wife complain that young ladies of the present day are very forward, don’t accuse her of jealousy. A little concern on her part only proves her love for you, and you may enjoy your triumph without saying a word. Don’t evince your weakness either, by complaining of every trifling neglect. What though her knitting and crochet seem to absorb too large a share of her attention ; depend upon it, that as her eyes watch the intertwinings of the threads, and the manoeuvres of the needles, she is thinking of the events of byegone times, which entangled your two hearts in the network of love, whose meshes you can neither of you unravel or escape.

2192. Hints for Wives.—Never complain that your husband pores too much over the newspaper, to the exclusion of that pleasing converse which you formerly enjoyed with him. Don’t hide the paper, but when the boy leaves it at the door, take it in pleasantly, and lay it down before him. Think whet man would be without newspaper, and how much good newspapers have done by exposing bad husbands and bad wives, by giving their errors to the eye of the public, When your husband is absent, instead of gossiping or looking into shop windows, sit down quietly, and look over that paper ; run your eye over its home and foreign news; glance rapidly at the accidents and casualties ; carefully scan the leading articles ; and at tea-time, when your husband again takes up the paper, make some brief remarks on what you have read, and, depend upon it, he will put it down again. If he has not read the information, he will hear it all from your lips, and when you have read, he will ask questions in his turn, and, gradually, you will get into as cosy a chat as you ever enjoyed ; and you will soon discover that, rightly used, the newspaper is the wife’s real friend, for it keeps the husband at home, and supplies capital topics for every-day table-talk.

2193. Hints for Husbands.—You can hardly imagine how refreshing it is to occasionally call up the recollection of your courting days. How tediously the hours rolled away prior to the appointed time of meeting ; how swiftly they seemed to fly when you had met ; how fond was the first greeting; how tender the last embrace ; how vivid your dreams of future happiness, when, returning to your home, you felt your-self secure in the confessed love of the object of your warm affections ! Is your dream realised ?—are you as happy as you expected ? Consider whether, as a husband, you are as fervent and constant as you were when a lover. Remember that the wife’s claims to your unremitting regard, great before marriage, are now exalted to a much higher degree. She has left the world for you—the home of her childhood, the fireside of her parents, their watchful care and sweet intercourse have all been yielded up for you. Look, then, most jealously upon all that may tend to attract you from home, and to weaken that union upon which your temporal happiness mainly depends ; and believe that in the solemn relation-ship of husband is to be found one of the best guarantees for man’s honour and happiness.

2194. Hints for Wives. — Perchance you think that your husband’s disposition is much changed ; that he is no longer the sweet-tempered, ardent lover he used to be. This may be a mistake. Consider his struggles with the world—his everlasting race with the busy competition of trade. What is it makes him so eager in the pursuit of gain—so energetic by day, so sleepless by night—but his love of home, wife, and children, and a dread that their respectability, according to the light in which he has conceived it, may be encroached upon by the strife of existence ? This is the true secret of that silent care which preys upon the hearts of many men ; and true it is, that when love is least apparent, it is nevertheless the active principle which animates the heart, though fears and disappointments make up a cloud which obscures the warmer element. As above the clouds there is glorious sunshine, while below are showers and gloom, so with the conduct of man—behind the gloom of anxiety is a bright fountain of high and noble feeling. Think of this in those moments when clouds seem to lower upon your domestic peace, and, by tempering your conduct accordingly, the gloom will soon pass away, and warmth and brightness take its place.

2195. Hints for Husbands.—Summer is the season of love and innocent enjoyment. What shall the husband do when summer returns to gladden the earth, and all who live upon it ? Must he still pore over the calculations of the counting-house, or ceaselessly pursue the toils of the workroom—sparing no moment to taste the joys which Heaven measures out so liberally ? No ! Let him ask his wife once snore to breathe with him the fresh air of heaven, and look upon the beauties of earth. The summers are few that they may dwell together ; so let him not give them all to Mammon, but seek invigorating and health. renewing recreation abroad, which shall make the hearts of each glow with emotions of renewed love.

2196. Hints for Wives. — ” It was ! ” ” It was not ! ” “It was ! ” “It was not ! ” ” Ah ! ” ” Ha ! “— Now who’s the wiser or the better for this contention for the last word ? Does obstinacy establish superiority or elicit truth ? Decidedly not ! Woman has always been described as clamouring for the last word, and men, gene-rally, have agreed in attributing this trait to her, and in censuring her for it. This being so, it remains for some one of the sex, by an exhibition of noble example, to aid in sweeping away the unpleasant imputation. The wife who will establish the rule of allowing her husband to have the last word, will achieve for herself and her sex a great moral victory ! Is he right ?—it were a great error to oppose him. Is he wrong ? —he will soon discover it, and applaud the self-command which bore unvexed his pertinacity. And gradually there will spring up such a happy fusion of feelings and ideas, that there will be no ” last word ” to contend about, but a steady and unruffled flow of generous sentiment.


2 thoughts on “Secrets of Happy Family Life”

  1. There was a well-used edition of “Enquire Within” in one or other of the many houses I lived in as a child. I recall browsing in it from curiosity and learning more about the adult world. I don’t suppose I’d have been interested in the above.

    It was certainly a later edition.


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