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A Model Husband, 1894

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 17, 2009

Responding to “Garcon” and his description of “The Wife I Want” in The Young Woman’s Journal of December, 1893, “Muchacha” describes her “Model Husband” in The Contributor of March, 1894:

If ever I marry, which I hope some day to do, I will wish for a man possessing as many as possible of the following characteristics. Perhaps, however, men will be as scarce as “the gold of Ophir” before I have any opportunity to wed, in which event I suppose they will be so noble as to be almost above criticism:

I would like him to be of good parentage, for with mankind as with animals, much depends upon the stock.

He should honor his parents, and love the Lord with all his heart; I will then be able to fearlessly follow wherever he may lead.

I desire him, if possible, to be of good outward form, but more particularly to be pure and upright in spirit, as these qualities will make a person beautiful and attractive whatever may be his peculiarities of for or feature.

I desire him to be industrious, methodical and prompt in the performance of all his duties, but never to be so much occupied that he cannot spend some portion of his time in conversation with myself and our children, if God blesses us by the bestowal of such gifts.

I desire him to consider me his helpmeet, and not his slave; thus he will talk with me about his business, that when the cares of life burden his soul, I may be allowed to help carry the load, as in his prosperity and blessing I expect to share the joy.

I desire him to give me a monthly allowance, such as he can afford, for personal use and household expenses, so that I may not be taunted by him with the words “It’s money, money, money, whenever I come in the house.” I hope to have some wisdom about expenditures, and not be required to ask my “lord” for every nickle I need, or to render an account for every dime I expend.

I want him to help make a HOME, whether the place of abode be a hovel or a palace. The way to assist in this is by his making his cheerful presence felt there as often and as much as his duties will permit.

I want him to reprove me kindly for my mistakes and short-comings, but not to compare me with other women either dead or alive whose qualifications may excel my own.

He should not torture me by even appearing to take more delight in the society of other women than myself. Plural marriage not being now possible, he should not waste his time or try my soul by “flirting” with other females.

His character and actions should be such as he would delight to see reproduced in his children.

He should be faithful in the gospel, courageous in spirit, wise in leadership, just in decision, kind in reproof, industrious in work and study, and truthful continually.

I want him to be proud of me, and not feel ashamed to introduce me in all society where he goes as his wife.

I would like him to be charitable in considering my failings, and when I give offense offer me kind reproof, but never treat me with silent contempt.

I will admire him, though it may sometimes cause me disappointment, if he will steadily and unswervingly pursue the path of duty, attending with fidelity and promptness to every requirement of his religious office.

I desire that he should speak to me kind words of encouragement to show that he appreciates my efforts to please him, and not take everything in a matter-of-fact way, as though it was exactly what he should receive. Even if he is worthy of my deepest thoughts and most devoted labors to please and comfort him he might occasionally express a word of praise.

I want him to be the head of the household, directing the footsteps of myself and family towards the goal of future and eternal glory and exaltation, where I hope we may be found worthy to dwell in the presence of our Maker.



13 Comments »

  1. This was uplifiting and instructive. I’m interested in your comment about editing. If editing is a factor, it seems that the editor favored the latter much more than the former.

    Comment by John Scherer — August 17, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  2. Interesting note about the control of the household money by the husband. Both of my grandfathers did the family finances, but I seem to remember that my mother did, and I and most of my contemporaries that I’ve ever discussed the question with, inside and outside of the church, do the family finances instead of their husbands taking charge of the task. I wonder when and why that changed.

    Comment by Researcher — August 17, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

  3. This was a well-thought out list. But, I confess, I didn’t understand what she was talking about with her polygamy comment:

    Plural marriage not being now possible, he should not waste his time or try my soul by “flirting” with other females.

    Is she saying that flirting with other females was an accepted part of the polygamous system? On the other hand, she uses the turn of phrase that polygamy is “not . . . now possible,” as if polygamy is something that she wishes were possible. Huh?

    Count me as confused.

    Comment by Hunter — August 17, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

  4. Men who took plural wives needed to meet and attract those wives somehow. They’d probably court Wife No. 2 pretty much the same way they had courted Wife No. 1 — including flirting.

    I hadn’t thought of it before, duh, but there must have sometimes been a lot of flirting going on right under a wife’s nose, since such behavior would not have been barred by the man’s already being married.

    So, Hunter, I think she’s saying, “Husband, plural marriage is past. You married me, and you won’t be marrying anybody else. So don’t flirt, because that behavior isn’t going to lead anywhere any more. It’s a waste of your time, and it makes me mad.”

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 17, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  5. Ardis, your response made me smile. Thanks for that.

    Comment by Hunter — August 17, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  6. To Abigail: There are plenty of forums on the internet for such rants. Keepapitchinin is not one of them. Move along.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 17, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

  7. Pretty much sounds like my guy. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. Such guys may be as
    rare as the “gold of Ophir” but I seem to know quite a few of them.
    Marjorie Conder

    Comment by Marjorie Conder — August 17, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  8. I’m just guessing that Muchacha and Garcon did not make a match of it.

    Comment by Jami — August 17, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  9. I hope she found him, or is having a good time looking for him in the great beyond.

    Comment by Anne (U.K) — August 18, 2009 @ 3:33 am

  10. Other than the style of language, I was surprised that both lists weren’t as dated as I had expected. Some of the ideas are downright modern-sounding. I can’t really find much to argue with on either list, if you take them as ideals and not as strict expectations.

    Comment by Tamary — August 18, 2009 @ 8:04 am

  11. Just found your site and it’s my new favorite. I’m loving this…thanks for your contribution to the blog world!

    Comment by Laurel — August 18, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

  12. Glad to hear that, Laurel. If you have some time to fill, click on “Topical Guide” at the top left-hand corner. That’s a list of all the posts published here. The ones listed under “Latter-day Saint Lives” are usually the favorites.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 18, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

  13. Wow, from comparing him to animal stock to talking about “fearlessly following” and getting money from him so he won’t have to put up with her meckering (is that a word in English? I’ve forgotten), this is one classy document. I think guys hate these lists, but all girls have one, whether it’s officially written out or not.

    Comment by Michelle Glauser — August 19, 2009 @ 11:42 am

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