Back When

Then (1958) & Now (2008) (July, 2008)
How times have changed. Saying “I do” isn’t the same today as it was 50 years ago. Yes, the obvious – costs – have gone up, but more than that has been transforming the last half-century of wedding planning.

The Happy Couple 1958 2008
Most Common Name Mary
Age at Marriage her: 20
him: 22
Life Expectancy her: 65
him: 57
Annual Income her: $1,572
him: $2,396
The Ceremony 1958 2008
Annual Weddings 1.5 million 2.4 million
Postage for Invitations $.03 $.42
Marriage License $1.00 $65.00
The Stereotype Blushing Bride Bridezilla
Gown Princess lace,
handmade by
Belgian nuns
Pricetag: $135
Strapless & sexy
Pricetag: $1317
Tuxedo Rental $5.50 $69.95
The Reception 1958 2008
Cost of cake per guest $.35 $4.52
First Dance Song “All I Have to Do is Dream”
(Everly Brothers)
“No One”
(Alicia Keys)
Party Song “At the Hop”
(Danny and the Juniors)
“4 Minutes”
(Madonna with Justin Timberlake)
Trendy Gift CorningWare casserole dish
Pricetag: $12.95
Nintendo Wii video game
Pricetag: $399.00
The Reception 1958 2008
Likely Getaway Car Chevy Impala convertible
Pricetag: $2,700
Toyota Camry
Pricetag: $18,570
Gas (per gallon) $.30 $4.05
Destination Niagara Falls Hawaii
Honeymoon Cost $237 $3,680
Later On 1958 2008
Number of Children 3.6 2.1
Divorce Rate 33% 50% gratefully acknowledges AARP in providing the above statistics.

The Modern Day Housewife (or, “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby”) (March, 2008)

You have probably met some men who would like women to go back to the “good old days” where, as they would say, men were men and women were women, each knowing their place. We at know why.
Want to know what women were taught only 50 years ago in how to be a good wife? For your enjoyment, we thought it would be fun to reprint (with permission) the May 1955 issue of Good Housekeeping guidelines.

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need it and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
  • Gather up the schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the momentof his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late, or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.