Sunday, May 26, 2013


This is not about the TV show in which the good wife manages to be unfaithful to her husband and still smell like roses. After all, she is super competent and plucky and has much to complain about re her philandering husband.

No, this is about the concept of a good wife, not something I know much about, but as you know, I don't have to know much about anything to write a few hundred words exposing my ignorance.

First, what is a good wife? Dumb question? Not at all. Once, a good wife brought land and money into her new family and hoped they'd treat her well. Once, a good wife had wide hips and promised many children, males preferred. Mothers desperately hope their sons will marry, preferably a good woman who will treat them with love and respect. Lacking such criteria, the mother can usually put the kibosh on any future enterprise. There are always issues of fitness for the new role in the particular family and social culture so good wife is always hard to predict. After all, Anne Boleyn looked perfect for Henry VIII but she produced only girls and a feeble son so off with her head to clear the way for another. His first wife was good to cement a relationship with Spain, but lacked in the production of sons. At least, she kept her head.

In our sophisticated, modern way of freedom in love, there are fewer such objective concerns. There are some guidelines, such as similar background but such are like a wisp of smoke in the wind when confronted with love. When a king gives up his throne for love, what cannot it conquer?

Just about everyone knows about that. For most, it starts like a tickle. In some cases explodes into massive passion and demand called the “thunderbolt.” Whatever it is called, it dominates all existence and demands, yes, demands gratification. In looser days, women have been abducted into new families and even now, men steal women seeking a good one.

Other ways of getting there are slower to develop. Mine took three days, Shirley's four. But however it grows, love includes, the intense desire to be in the others company, difficulty in keeping hands off, a demand for exclusivity and threats, usually implied if that is violated and promises of a glorious future together.

If both are of the same mind there is much hugging, kissing, canoodling and, dare I say it bedding until finally formal declaration in front of family and friends (Or at least, two witnesses) and all is signed and sealed into perpetuity or divorce, whichever comes first.

Do you notice there is no place in the formula for a good woman? Love has no use for the concept but somewhere down the road, the excitement, the passion slow down. In a lovely movie with Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray, he passes by her and farts. Startled, she mutters “Animal noises?” Clearly, she has a new perspective about her husband.

When the honeymoon ends, the good wife construct enters and many a man (women also) wonders, “What have I done?”

So, we come back to the conundrum: What is a “good wife?” If you can figure that out, let me know.

If you find yourself a good wife
You have clearly augmented your life.
She will satisfy your needs
With many good deeds
What, no strife in your life, what a wife!

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