“Double double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble”
Does this tongue twister sound familiar to you? We read these words, recited by the three witches, in the opening scene of Shakespeare’s famous play, Macbeth. Anyone who has read Macbeth will agree that the real cause of Macbeth’s doom was his wife and fourth unofficial witch of the play, Lady Macbeth. But, Mrs. Macbeth is not the only example. Many stories have depicted women as harbingers of wars, destruction, and death. Ram went to war with Ravana because of Sita who was abducted in the first place at the instigation of Surpanakha. Helen of Troy, Cleopatra, Draupadi is some of the famous “battle-provoking” wives whose names have been etched in the golden ink of history.
We believe in the hackneyed saying that history guides our present by telling us not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Our daily soaps have thoroughly absorbed the lessons passed on to us by history, myths, epics, and other stories. We have yet to see a television “saas” or “bahu” who doesn’t spend half her time in plotting and scheming. Unfortunately, the TV shows cannot incorporate a full-fledged war in their episodes, so the producers are happy to depict the ladies of the house as shrewd, cunning, conniving and surviving on the fuel of jealousy. Then, we have the so-called “feminist” shows that portray women as the “men of the house”. Such women make dominating wives, who act on their own wills and answer to no one. If neither category of wives possesses the attributes desired in an ideal wife, what traits make a good wife?
Let us take a look at the top 12 qualities that a good wife must have so that double trouble and toil can be avoided.
Patience is the most elusive quality in today’s world. We are so used to this mechanical lifestyle that we have no time to stop and ponder. Our tight schedules, pending pile of chores, daily appointments have made us impatient as well as unreceptive. Listening patiently to the other person’s problems can solve many issues. Your calmness doesn’t make you weak. It helps you in analysing the situation in a better manner and makes you more judicious. Remember, in an argument, the pitch of your tone simply reflects your uncertainty. Instead, be calm and win your husband with your composure.
Let us face the fact that we live in the 21st century and the ancient definitions of a “good wife” need to be revised. A good wife doesn’t necessarily have to be meek, obedient, dutiful and deferential. These qualities are generally appreciated in girls whereas guys are expected to be bold, outgoing, courageous and fierce. These primitive stereotyped moulds have been shaping us since ages. It is time to make the gender-based idols eco-friendly so that nature can take over the role of the society in the conditioning of our behaviours. Be self-assured and take your decisions confidently. Your confidence reflects your personality so, make it shine and bedazzle your husband.
We have often heard our parents telling us that girls need to stand on their feet because they are not inferior to boys in any manner. The whole talk of self-dependency is not all about superiority/inferiority binary. We live in a competitive and growing economy where even basic commodities are expensive. Why should the entire responsibility of supporting the family lie on the shoulders of the husband? Just because society assigned certain gender roles thousands of years back, doesn’t mean we have to adhere to those roles for eternity. Furthermore, it is terribly wrong to think of the home-makers as “jobless”. The wives who work hard to keep their homes functioning are doing the most difficult job in the world. So, do not for once, underestimate your worth because if you lose faith in yourself, the structure of your family will crumble and your husband will start taking you for granted.
What’s in a name? Have you ever thought about it? According to Manusmriti, “One should not marry women whose names are similar to constellations, trees, rivers, mountains, birds, snakes, slaves or those whose names inspires terror.” Does the name Kali or Durga inspire terror? Maybe, in the hearts of Asuras. Perspectives change everything. Our names do not define us for “Dheeraj” can be the most impatient man in the world or “Drishti” can be blind. It is difficult to understand the logic behind the things written in Manusmriti because we cannot go back in time to have a better idea about that society. And, changing your names after marriage, most certainly does not reconstruct your personalities. Learn to be comfortable in your skins. If you accept yourselves, others will accept you too, if only eventually.
“Wit beyond measure, is man’s greatest treasure” is the motto of the Ravenclaw house in Harry Potter. If wit can earn you a respectable place in the magical world, it can definitely help you in this muggle world. Your intellect, common sense and judgement do not only make you attractive persons but also desirable wives.
7. Sense of humour
Who can resist a person with a great sense of humour? Your humour makes you amusing as you have the capability of alleviating stress levels. Laughter helps in healing the nerves. It has therapeutical effects. Nothing is better than having a partner who can make you feel lively again. Plus, wives who do not complain about every little thing are definitely included in the definition of “good wives”.
Every relationship stands on the foundation of honesty. Express your feelings openly. If conversation over a cup of coffee can bring you close, an honest talk with your husband about the things that bother you can bring you closer. So, enter into the uninhibited realm and make your bond stronger.
Marriage becomes a mundane affair after a few years because the daily pattern becomes predictable. When a relationship becomes monotonous, it is important to reload it with unpredictable elements like surprise dates, thoughtful gifts, amazing trips, etc. Keep the fire simmering by thinking out of the box.
Again, it will be cliché to say that respect can only be earned but, clichés are generally true. Treat your partner the way you wish to be treated. Do not rely on the manual of marital conduct prescribed by the society. Think of your husband as an individual and respect his decisions. Stand by him in his tough times and express your opinions honestly in order to make him see things from your perspective.
Marriage cannot be a bed of roses. You might get pricked by a few thorns now and then. You can never enjoy rains if you are scared of getting wet and falling sick. The view from the mountaintop is not meant for you if you do not dare to look down. Similarly, your husband cannot be a perfect individual because perfection does not exist. Be appreciative of what you have. Value the efforts that he makes to keep you happy. Try to enjoy the roses and ignore the thorns that come as part of the package.
Try to be his friend, his partner-in-crime, and his go-to person for gossip. Friendship is based on trust and if you are your husband’s best friend, nothing can pull you asunder. Love is all about understanding, faith, kindness, warmth and approachability. Be his best friend and you will be his everything.
Break the stereotypes. Do not let anyone else write your story for you. Be the harbinger of peace and not of war. You don’t have to nag your husband to make him listen to you. Do not use tears as weapons of assault. Having to shout to make your presence felt is not “feminism”. Strive to go beyond the assigned roles. Do not abide by the old definitions of an ideal wife. Create your own definition of a “good wife”.