THIS is what you are—never forget it. Your scepter is your lovely smile, your power is your husband's love, your full-time career is helping your husband make a success of his life.
What do husbands appreciate most? One worker answered his wife in this manner: "I appreciate most that you are a real Christian, and you're a good wife and woman, and I love you."
Occasionally a man does succeed from his own ability, but not often. We want our husbands to succeed because of us and not in spite of us, for then we too will share in the reward.
Are marriage manners important? Are they the keys to a world of happiness for two, and are we—the wives—the keepers of those keys, the ones who cue the moods of our marriages? I think so.
Are we contented and happy, never nagging or scolding, always remembering that true charm is but the overflowing of a contented heart? Are we playing our role well, putting every power on the stretch in the performance of the task God has given us?
Our greatest enemy is self. Always remember that a selfish heart is a demanding heart. Speak less and less of "I," and let "we" dominate your thoughts and actions. Cultivate a "he-first" point of view, for it's a contagious sort of thing, and the result could very well be a happy home.
And those words that are as valuable as diamonds, are you tossing them around and tossing them often? Have you learned those magic words—"Please," "Thank you," "I love you," "I'm proud of you," and "What is your opinion, dear?" Do you manage to keep a buoyant, enthusiastic, optimistic, encouraging spirit? And are you always remembering to remain calm even when there's a bit of heavy weather brewing? Are you making a humorous event out of it all, of thinking quickly of something to praise him for? Remember the little girl who prayed, "Thank You, Lord, for sunshine and orange juice," on that very rainy morning when she was eating her prunes.
Are you a good sport when disappointment comes? This is a virtue that pays dividends and will endear you to your husband as nothing else will.
How are you rating as a listener these days—> grade A? I hope so—ardent, interested, understanding, and never interrupting because you're too curious or inquisitive.
Are you remembering your daily program, practicing strict economy, willing to sacrifice that your husband may succeed as a man of God? Are you guarding his study time, letting nothing interfere? And how about it when the razor is gliding over his face or when he's ivory-towered behind the shower curtain? Are you interrupting his very best thoughts with, "Excuse me, darling"?
Is this all important? Remember Bill—the brainy, exuberant Bill, with a wonderful personality, just ready for promotion? Then he married Mary—a beautiful girl, but one who never gave him a minute's peace, always complaining about his hours and measly salary, always running him down, telling family secrets, extremely jealous, and never encouraging him. The promotion went to someone else, not to Bill. It went to someone far less capable, who had a wife right behind him, encouraging him at every step.
Bill's life was really in Mary's hands, and it was her privilege to help him make of it a masterpiece. Surely it was through ignorance that she did just the opposite. Mary did not know how very important it was that she encourage her husband to realize his full potentialities, for no man is really happy unless he is using his capabilities to the fullest. And he cannot get ahead without hard work and long hours. A man who always gives his best to his work can relax each evening, for nothing is more relaxing than a sense of work well done.
If someone had only told Mary how important it was to send Bill off in the morning free of home worries, and that this could make all the difference between progress and stagnation! But she hobbled him at the beginning of the race. Then at the home-coming, how important that she make home inviting to come to, and greet him each evening with a happy smile.
Of course she saw faults in her husband, and she knew that it was her duty to help him correct those he could, but instead of tactfully pointing them out to him in private, she mentioned them to him any time, anywhere—always trying to make him over, it seemed. She belittled him in public, never making him feel that she was proud of him. No one ever told her that it was just as important to her husband's success that she have confidence in his worth as it was to his health to give him three well-balanced meals each day.
We must remember to live for today and not try to tackle all life's problems at once. God made us all. We are what we have been up to now, and because of our background we are what we are today. Whatever we are from this point on, depends on us! We can alter things that aren't right. We can become masters of ourselves, for God will help us if we make Him first, last, and best in everything.
Get plenty of rest, have an open mind, and be rich in yourself. Don't just admire excellence in others. Be excellent in yourself. Excel! Develop the spirit of the golden rule, and be willing to give and take. Your first duty is to develop yourself. Do something each day to beautify and ennoble your character. Form the habit of cheerfulness. Being happy for what you are is even more important than being happy for what you do.
Every man needs a loving and lovable wife— a composed, happy person. Think of the memories of the old New Zealand man who had these words engraved on his wife's gravestone: "She was so pleasant." When he comes home, may he find a face with a bright smile, hot meals on the table, someone to laugh at his little worn jokes, a home that shuts him in with love and sympathy.