Once, when I was in a high school sociology class, my teacher handed out the following from a 1950's Home Economics Textbook:
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 prospects of a good meal (especially his favourite 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 a lift 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 schoolbooks, toys, paper etc. then run a dust cloth over the tables. Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind to. 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.
Minimise 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 moment of 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 judgement or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. A good wife always knows her place.
When my teacher handed this out, she did not intend for it to be an guide to the girls in our class, rather, she expected us to mock it and gloat over how far women have come. Surprisingly, several of us were inspired to become wives like this excerpt encourages and I remember personally thinking about how much fun it would be to follow such "rules' when I became a homemaker one day.
Once I actually did become a homemaker, I wondered how on earth I could implement these ideas into my life. My husband didn't work a 9 to 5 job, so I really couldn't have all of these things ready for him when he came home... he already was home!
After much thought and planning, I came up with my own way to show my husband that I love him, have been thinking about him and am concerned for his needs. I *try* to follow these steps at least once in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
1. Have a hearty meal prepared and serve it at the table with a nice setting.
2. Take a few minutes to freshen up: tidy hair, moisturize hands, straighten appearance, etc.
3. Put the house into apple-pie order: tuck dirty dishes into the dishwasher, wipe down counters, sweep kitchen floor, put the odds and ends that have wandered from their homes away, etc. If this is done three times per day, picking up the whole house will only take about 15 minutes.
4. Tidy up the baby.
5. Minimize noise. I try to keep the volume on the t.v., ipod, and my own voice ( no shouting!)down... It is nice to have some soft music on in the background sometimes!
These little touches also add to the tranquility and coziness of our home... and that gives me comfort and happiness too!