In the fourteenth century a source known to us as The Goodman of Paris recorded what was expected of the good wife among the well-to-do burgher class:
You should be careful and thoughtful of your husband’s person. … Wherefore love your husband’s person carefully, and I pray you keep him in clean linen, for that is your business, and because the trouble and care of outside affairs lieth with men, so must husbands take heed, and go and come, and journey hither and thither, in rain and wind, in snow and hail, now drenched, now dry, now sweating, now shivering, ill-fed, ill-lodged, ill-warmed, and ill-bedded.
And naught harmeth him, because he is upheld by the hope that he hath of the care which his wife will take care of him on his return, and of the ease, the joys, and the pleasures which she will do him, or cause to be done to him in her presence; to be unshod before a good fire, to have his feet washed and fresh shoes and hose, to be given good food and drink, to be well served and well looked after, well bedded in white sheets and nightcaps, well covered with good furs, and assuaged with other joys and desports, privities, loves, and secrets whereof I am silent….
Wherefore, dear sister, I beseech you thus to bewitch and bewitch again your husband that shall be, and beware
of roofless house and of smoky fire, and scold not, but be unto him gentle and amiable and peaceable… And in summer take heed that there be no fleas in your chamber, nor in your bed, the which you may do in six ways, as I have heard tell….
And thus shall you preserve and keep your husband from all discomforts and give him all the comforts whereof you can bethink you, and serve him and have him served in your house, and you shall look to him for outside things, for if he be good he will take even more pains and labour therein than you wish, and by doing what I have said, you will cause him ever to miss you and have his heart with you and your loving service and he will shun all other houses, all other women, all other services and households.