The Young Wife, in our model, perhaps age 18-23 and not yet with children, does not go to college. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t educate herself. Self-education, as a subset of self-improvement, should be a theme throughout her life, but especially in the early years. The Young Wife should remember that she will be raising her children, and thus she should have the kind of education that she wishes to give to her children.
Since we will assume that the Young Wife got an adequate education regarding Math and Science in high school, her focus will be primarily literature, arts, history and culture. She should also study government or economics, but women tend to be less interested in these topics.
In general, a Young Wife can study about 2-3 hours a day, reading books of merit, in addition to her other duties. This is a level of involvement that can be quite pleasurable, and is not terribly demanding. A Young Wife can also study 6-10 hours per day, if she is serious about her education, but that is for those special women who value that kind of high-level education.
This reading should be “educational.” It can also be fun and interesting, but it should consist of books of lasting merit. Disposable thrillers and romance novels don’t count. Nor do a wide range of books on what are basically degenerate topics, including all sorts of “social justice” books today. Self-improvement should be a constant theme.
One goal of this reading should be to master her native language. The Young Wife should read high-quality literature, not only “high-quality” in the sense of the quality of expression, but also the moral content. Much “serious” literature of the twentieth century can be summed up as: “everyone behaves badly.” Avoid immoral and degenerate topics. Look for stories with a strong moral element. This can be found at every reading level. A Young Wife should start at a reading level that she is comfortable with, and move up as appropriate. For some women, they will have to start at what amounts to a preteen level. Look for books like the Little House on the Prairie series, Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, and The Secret Garden. Moving up a bit, we have books like Little Women and Laddie. At a little higher level, we have some of the big adult novels that are nevertheless easy to read. David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens, or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain might be good.
Getting more complicated, we have books like Middlemarch, War and Peace, and all of Jane Austen. Somewhere along the line, we should include a survey of poetry in English, and start reading the plays of Shakespeare. These bear many rereadings. Eventually, we will be at a level to tackle the Harvard Classics, with some very weighty items including the Divine Comedy, Paradise Lost and the Aeneid.
Most women are rather ill-educated these days, so it would be good for many women to start at what, in the nineteenth century, would have been considered a preteen level.
Our Young Wife can also read many contemporary works of merit. This could be Created to be his Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl, Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, or the Closing of the American Mind, by Allan Bloom. Probably, she should be guided in this by someone, or some resource.
The Young Wife will soon be busy with children. But, she can continue this process of self-education, reading 2-3 hours a day, for a decade or more. This is one of the nice things about being a stay-at-home wife. You can educate yourself to a far higher standard than those other women who have a career, and must devote all their time and energy to vocational issues.