Wifely Duties: The Role Of A Wife In The Family

Written by Harini Natarajan

So you are about to get married? Great. But are you confused about what exactly are the wifely duties you may have to perform every day? Back in the day, most wives stayed at home to cook and clean, look after the kids, and take care of the husband. But now, women are breaking those stereotypes!

No longer does a wife have to stay home. Today’s women are pursuing their careers. Nowadays husbands realize the need to chip in and help with the errands and household chores. That said, what could be the duties of a wife in today’s marriage? Here, we break down those roles and duties of a wife in a marriage. Keep reading.

What Are Wifely Duties?

“A man may be the head of the family, but a woman is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she wants” – Maria Portokalos, My Big Fat Greek Wedding

1. Physical Intimacy

The term ‘wifely duty’ is synonymous with a wife having to have sex in a marriage. Back in the 20’s and 50’s, wives had to be open to having sex anytime with their partner. It was their ‘wifely duty’ that came with being married. However, things are changing today. Here are some factors to consider concerning physical intimacy and marriage.

  • The common misconception is that women don’t want sex once they get married. Women have been raised with the thought that they need to be docile, and that sex is primarily for the satisfaction of men. In fact, women are often condemned for being open about their sexuality. Derogatory terms, primarily female-gendered, are often used to describe promiscuity. Society demands that women be sexually desirable but not sexually desiring.

But today, women are embracing their sexuality. The idea that a woman’s sexual satisfaction changes once she becomes a wife is outdated. Women want to be pampered. Marriage does not give the husband an unfettered right to sex anytime.

  • Research shows that the longer couples have been together, the lesser sex they tend to have (1). Another study indicated that the unequal distribution of household chores may exhaust women by the end of the day and cause them not to prefer sex (2). Women are expected to cook, clean, do the laundry, and work a full-time career, while most husbands work at the office and don’t always help with the household chores. Along with these comes the responsibility of taking care of the children – that there is no wonder that women are tired and just want to sleep at the end of the day.

In some cases women are sexually repressed and often feel embarrassed to tell their partner what gives them sexual satisfaction. This causes them to be unsatisfied, and sex often becomes a chore for them.

Another attributing factor to the decrease in sexual activity in wives is their dwindling interest in a quickie. When you were dating, having sex was thrilling and fun. You loved tearing each other’s clothes off and getting down to business. But as women age, the need for immediate sexual gratification decreases. Foreplay becomes a big deal here! Try giving your wife a massage – it can also be just a regular massage to take some stress off. Take the time to pamper your wife and show her how much she means to you.

  • Women, you don’t have to have sex when you don’t want to. Back in the day, wives saw it as their duty to please their husbands sexually even when they didn’t want to. Now things are different. Ladies, tell your partner if you don’t feel like having sex. Sex becomes an errand if you indulge in it only to please your partner.

However, remember that men tend to be more physical. They need physical intimacy. While it is alright to not be in the mood for sex, there may be a problem if you never want to have sex. This doesn’t mean that you have to force yourself to have sex with your partner. Instead, take a day to pamper yourself, just relax, or chill at the spa – and then get physically intimate with your partner. Take the time to get into the mood for sex. Be open to talking to experts who can give you advice on how to spice things up. Wives, if you feel unfulfilled, tell your partner what works for you. Let go of the stigma that comes with being open about your sexual desires.

2. Emotional Support

I, (Your name), take you, (Partner’s name), to be my wife (or husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

The role of both spouses in the relationship is to love and support each other through the good times and the bad. A marriage will only work when both, the wife and husband, respect and support each other.

The husband being emotionally unsupportive in a marriage was often considered acceptable. However, this leaves the wife feeling unappreciated. However, the wife is always expected to be supportive of her husband. It is important to understand that it is not the wife’s duty alone to be supportive. The husband must take the responsibility too. Both parties must take charge and make the marriage work.

3. Everyday Chores

In the earlier days, wife was supposed to stay home, cook meals, dress the kids, iron her husband’s clothes, do the dishes, and do every other household chore. She also was expected to take care of her husband once he is home from work and be physically intimate with him. Thanks to feminism, wives now know that they can also pursue a career. But they are still often expected to have a full-fledged career and perform the household chores. This obviously will leave them exhausted.

Wives, split your everyday chores equally with your partner. You will be surprised at how this helps with your marriage.

  • Have a scheduling sheet to decide which chores are to be done by whom. Take turns to cook, clean, do the laundry, water the plants, etc.
  • Wives, if you both are working full-time but you have kids, be open to hiring help. Women often feel that by hiring help they may not be able to give enough time to their kids. But that’s not true. Take the help of a nanny to handle your child, and then take some time during the latter part of the day to hang out with your kids.
  • Have a financial discussion with your partner to be on the same page about running your finances and saving/investing.

Here are some basic tips to help you improve your marriage.

What Can A Wife Do For A Happy Marriage

What Can A Wife Do For A Happy Marriage


  1. Sit down with your partner and have a proper discussion about what they expect from you and what you expect from them. A marriage only works when both partners are open to each other, and respect and support each other. If there are disagreements, find ways to settle them.
  1. Divide the household chores between you and your partner. This is extremely helpful. Dividing chores lessens the burden on the wife and makes both partners appreciate each other. If you have kids, get them to help you out with cleaning the dishes and putting the trash out.
  1. If you and your partner are facing issues at home, be open to meeting with a counselor. They can get to the root of the problem and give you solutions to improve your marriage.
  1. When it comes to sex, be open to trying new things. Wives, be open about what pleases you sexually. Take time to get into the mood for sex rather than just indulging in it to please your partner.


There is no rule book on what a wife should do in a marriage. The best thing to do is having an honest discussion about both your expectations and how you two can make the relationship work even after marriage. Do this before you get married – and also once a year after you are married. It will help build your marriage and preserve it for a long time to come.


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As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.