"The man may be the head of the house but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head any way she likes" My Big Fat Greek Wedding. This line sums up how women have managed to run their homes for the last several thousand years. Let the man "run" the home, the woman pulls the strings. One of the fundamentals that this quote embodies is that men need to feel like the kings of their castles. In order to make that a reality, wives need to meet that need.
Anyway, like I said, the woman's role is nothing to sneeze at. The atmosphere of the home is wholly dependent on her mood swings. If she's happy, the laundry gets done and the family gets fed. If she's not happy, well, society enacted things like overtime and after school activities for this reason. In any case, women who don't recognize the power of a woman's ability to bide her time until the right moment arises, does not understand the power it is to be a women.
Men would be the first (or last) to admit that they don't get how much they need their wives. The running joke is that in days gone by a man would turn to his wife and say, "I
make the big decisions and you make the small decisions." When she would ask him to clarify he'd answer, "I make decisions like who to vote for president of the United States while you make decisions like what to bake for Friday night dinner. My decisions affect the world on a grand scale; your decisions only matter in the kitchen." To this the wife replied, "Oh, is that how it is?" and the man didn't get desert for a week. If you do not get anything new from reading "The Woman's Role in the House," just remember this: nitty gritty details matter a whole lot more than most big decisions. And the woman is all about the little details.
Let's talk gender roles for a moment. According to John Gray, author of self help books on how to keep the love and functionality alive in your marriage (emphasis on functionality), men need to feel needed and women need to feel cherished. Unfortunately, homemakers and the like have felt so underappreciated for so long that many have taken a leap in the opposite direction. The last half a century has witnessed a role reversal where women have conquered the driver's seat while the men have accepted the back. Now, men need to feel cherished and women, well, they still don't know.
The truth is, while us ladies feel like we're not being taken for granted anymore, which is great, the divorce rates are mounting. What happened? We forgot how to be women in the house. We were not built for bashing down egos and opinions with battering rams. G-d created us with finer tools in mind. Those of us who have made good use of our built in methodologies live and continue to live very happy marriages. Those of who don't are either miserable or unmarried. Go figure.
For more details on how to be a wife within an ideal marriage, check out Genesis and the process of Adam and Eve's creation.