I am continuing today with the article of yesterday “Your Paycheck and your Marriage”. This is a rather long article, so here is the next section, but I will conclude it on tomorrow’s post. There are some interesting bits in this article.
I think I will repost yesterday’s beginning of the article, in case you are just joining us now. You can click on each section to read or download full size.
This article is full of common sense, something I think sometimes is lacking in the 21st century. And, contrary to many conceptions of the 50’s Housewife, we can see presented here a very real ‘shared’ aspect of money and responsibility. I still get a little upset when I hear the accepted idea of the cowering 1950’s housewife doing her husbands bidding. Many homemakers were very much the financial backbone of a family. They did not feel the money being earned was ‘HIS’ and that her role was valuable and necessary and therefore had no problem spending and saving the money as a collective of two people. The concept of marriage as both a partnership of mind and body is equally balanced with one of shared financial goal and purpose.
Some might balk at the mention of the wife ‘wanting to live beyond her husbands means’ as a sort of bondage. “Why not have two incomes and then you don’t have to answer to your husband” I can almost hear modern women speak. Yet, they miss the very point. First off, there were working wives in the 1950’s but if a wife was a ‘stay at home’ it is silly to think of it as bondage. In many ways it is rather freeing and can require much more financial skill. The ability to budget and balance all that needs to be provided by she is tantamount to a good relationship as much as if both members of the couple like the same music or want the same number of children. It also forces one to pay more attention to spending when only one income is available.
It is also interesting that they mention a working wife should not feel that ‘His money’ is theirs and Hers only for herself. Equality is laid out here and though it is easy to put a blanket of oppression over the wives of old, I am always finding the contrary in my research.
The bit about the ‘no money down’ was very relevant. Though we here in 1956 do not have the potholes and trappings of easy credit cards and expected debt, the increase in ‘pay on credit’ could be a mine-field for the Homemaker. We can still feel the need to keep up with the Joneses. And our increasing advertising on television as well as the homes of TV homemakers and what we see in magazines can be a siren song to ill-spending. Yet, we do try here to address it from a very tactful matter of fact way.
I think one thing I have come to realize about the 1950’s (at least what I can garner from my research at least) is the emotions did not rule one as greatly as it seems to today. Though there may be jokes of martini’s and ‘we don’t talk about things or share our emotions’ from those times, in many ways it decreases over all drama and also prepares children for a realistic adulthood. One was not expected to have every whim met or to be the center of attention at all times. Of course, we do see that their own lavishing on their offspring made their Baby Boomer children have a more skewed idea of their own rights and privileges. (not all baby boomers mind, but just in a general sense). So, who can say, maybe their own hardships should have been passed down more. Perhaps given the children a little less and work a little harder, we can’t really change the past. But, we can learn from it, I think. At least I am now basing my entire life upon it!
I think the more we can divorce unnecessary emotions from things where they are not helpful, such as money and our budget, the better off we shall be. This idea of “Well, I deserve it” seems to permeate 21st century. Certainly we should spend on joy and fun, but I think it will be better spent and enjoyed if we do so within the framework of a budget that works for us. I love my vintage items and to buy something new can give one a lift, as long as we don’t use it to quell other suffering or as an excuse to be irresponsible. Spend, certainly, but as a team (if we are married) and with a budget.
So, we can continue this article tomorrow, as it is a long one. I am also always impressed with the length and thoroughness of articles in my old magazines. I picked up a modern magazine the other day and was surprised to see more ads, mostly pictures and writing more catered to a 6th grade level. It was like a picture book or early reader for adults. I suppose we get used to what we get used to.
I am going to close with this sentimental but darling little poem from the same magazine as this article.