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Wives

  • I hate being called a housewife. I prefer being called a domestic goddess.

    • Roseanne Barr,
    • 1985, in Geraldine Barr with Ted Schwarz, My Sister Roseanne ()
  • As millions of women have done before me, I pulled domesticity over my head like a blanket and found I was still cold.

  • I have often thought that less is expected of the president of a great corporation than of an American wife.

  • ... you may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House. I will describe her as shortly as I can. She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excellent in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it — in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. ... And when I came to write I encountered her with the very first words. The shadow of her wings fell on my page ... Had I not killed her she would have killed me.

  • There is, I suppose, no occupation in the world which has an influence on the efficiency and happiness of the members of nearly all other occupations so continuous and so permeating as that of the working housewife and mother.

  • I was born imagining myself with an apron on, with pies cooling on the window sill and babies crying upstairs. I thought that all that stuff would somehow anchor me to the planet, that it was the weight I needed to keep from just flying off into space.

  • I am to gratify his pleasure and nurse his child, I am a piece of household furniture, I am a woman.

    • Sophia Tolstoy,
    • 1863, in O.A. Golinenko et al., eds., The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy ()
  • You remember the man who said he had a little contrivance that shut the window and turned on the heat before he got up? It was called a wife.

  • To be a housewife is to be a member of a very peculiar occupation, one with characteristics like no other. The nature of the duties to be performed, the method of payment, the form of supervision, the tenure system, the 'market' in which the 'workers' find 'jobs,' and the physical hazards are all very different from the way things are in other occupations.

  • 'You speak so because you do not know men,' said Em, instantly assuming the dignity of superior knowledge so universally affected by affianced and married women in discussing man's nature with their uncontracted sisters.

  • It is but the name of wife I hate ...

  • Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffered Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — 'Is this all?'

  • The idea that some day another wife would be added to our household was ever present in my mind, but, somehow, when the fact was placed before me in so many unmistakable words, my heart sank within me, and I shrank from the realization that our home was at last to be desecrated by the foul presence of Polygamy.

  • ... I discovered several never-failing signs by which one might know when a man wished to take another wife. He would suddenly 'awaken to a sense of his duties'; he would have serious misgiving as to whether the Lord would pardon his neglect in not living up to his privileges; he would become very religious, and would attend to his meetings ... which seemed just then to be very numerous, and in various other ways he would show his anxiety to live up to his religion.

  • In the Mormon Church the feelings or sufferings of women are seldom considered. If an order is given to any man to take a journey or perform any given task, his wife or wives are not to be thought of. They are his property just as much as his horses, mules, or oxen; and if one wife should die, it is of little consequence if he has others, and if he has not he can easily get them; and if he is not young or fascinating enough to win his way with the young ladies, he has only to keep on good terms with Brigham Young, or even with his bishop, and every difficulty will be smoothed away, and they will be 'counselled' to marry him ...

  • [The word] lover ... seems more active than 'wife.' One becomes a lover by loving and being loved. One hardly becomes a wife by wifing and being wifed.

    • Ida VSW Red,
    • in Margaret Cruikshank, The Lesbian Path ()
  • ... no one in the whole world knows all a man's bignesses and all his littlenesses as his wife does.

  • There are no love songs for wives. Only for lost loves, unrequited love, 'I'll see you again whenever spring breaks through again' loves, foggy day in London Town loves, sneaking out in the middle of the night to go to Santa Fe loves, never any here and now, ring on the finger loves.

  • Wife and servant are the same / But only differ in the name, / For when that fatal knot is tied, / Which nothing, nothing can divide, / When she the word obey has said, / And man by law supreme has made, / Then all that's kind is laid aside, / And nothing left but state and pride.

  • [On women's role in the home:] Every wife, mother and housekeeper feels at present that there is some screw loose in the household situation.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • If home is to have a greater lure than a tavern the wife must be at least as cheerful as the waitress.

  • Don't ever say wife to me / it's too cold / if someone asks who I am / tell them I am the one you love ...

  • The 'leisured' wife was a badge of achievement, the ornament to hard work and virtue for families on the way up.

  • Upstairs she lay awake and planned a new, heroic role for herself. She would expiate all her sins by sinking into domesticity. ... she would put her lily hand down into sewerages and save him the trouble of lifting up the ooze and hairs and gray slime that resulted from their daily lives.

  • This is the unspoken contract of a wife and her works. In the long run wives are to be paid in a peculiar coin — consideration for their feelings. And it usually turns out this is an enormous, unthinkable inflation few men will remit, or if they will, only with a sense of being overcharged.

  • ... when one married a man, it was clear to me, one married also the sink and the stove ...

  • I do not refer to myself as a 'housewife' for the reason that I did not marry a house.

  • Sometimes, I recollect, those twenty years with her had seemed long; but that was because, firstly, twenty years were long, and secondly because we are none of us perfect, and thirdly, because a wife, unless she is careful, is apt to get on one's nerves.

  • A man wants a wife who sits still, and not only still but on the same chair every day so that he knows where to find her should he happen to want anything.

  • ... you may imagine me the very shadow of my husband.

    • Dolley Madison,
    • 1811, in Dorothy P. Madison, ed., Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison ()
  • ... if you ain't got on to it by now, that I'm no little, tremblin' wife, you never will. Those kind has nerves. I only got nerve.

  • As a group, housewives to-day suffer more from social isolation and loss of purpose than any other social group, except, perhaps, the old.

    • Alva Myrdal,
    • in Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein, Women's Two Roles: Home and Work ()
  • ... our souls are so crusted with housewifely moss, / That Fancy's bright furnace yields nothing but dross ...

    • Anne Grant,
    • "A Familiar Epistle to a Friend," The Highlanders and Other Poems ()
  • I'm having trouble managing the mansion. What I need is a wife.

  • I have sacrificed everything in my life that I consider precious in order to advance the political career of my husband.

    • Pat Nixon,
    • in Betty Medsger, Women at Work ()
  • Come, come, said Tom's father, at your time of life / You've no longer excuse for playing the rake / It is time that you thought, boy, of taking a wife / Why, so it is father: But whose wife shall I take.

    • Diana Mitford,
    • in Mary S. Lovell, The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family ()
  • ... while I was ironing one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a wife. ... My God, who wouldn't want a wife?

  • You say being a housewife is the noblest call in the world ... You remind me of those company executives who ... praise the 'little guys' of their organization in their speeches.

  • A successful woman preacher was once asked 'what special obstacles have you met as a woman in the ministry?' 'Not one,' she answered, 'except the lack of a minister's wife.'

  • A woman fit to be a man's wife is too good to be his servant.

  • Some women work so hard to make good husbands that they never quite manage to make good wives.

  • A living doll, everywhere you look. / It can sew, it can cook. / It can talk, talk, talk ... / My boy, it's your last resort. / Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

  • ... she said new house to him without ceasing, without haste or rest, by night and by day, apropos of everything he mentioned, till he began to wonder if he were indeed a God-fearing Presbyterian, with such murder in his heart.

  • You get a hundred dollars a week for filing, and a hundred dollars a night for fucking, but you don't get nuthin' for filing, and fucking, and cleaning, and cooking, and washing, and ironing, and chauffering, and nursing, and sewing, and ...

  • [The married woman is] is a bonded slave, who takes her master's name, her master's bread, and serves her master's passion; [and] who passes through the ordeal of pregnancy and the throes of travail at his dictation.

  • Don't nag your husband. If he won't carry out your wishes for love of you, he certainly won't because you nag him.