There's a file in my head of things i see as i have watched the women in my family, my generation, my mother and her generation, and even my grandmother and her generation.
At dinner recently with my parents - actually at any dinner with them in my memory - my mom is up and down, literally at beck and call for my dad - a different kind of fork, heat this a little more, cut this for him, serve everything his way on his time, here's a better cut of meat, a glass of milk but just this much milk but a large glass, "no - i want this, no i want that, no - i really want this;" the high maintenance factor is dizzying, and she barely sits down and never does really eat.
My Aunt (said the proper, Southern way, not like the insect name)- choosing a dress for her 50th Wedding Anniversary - many lovely options and possibilities - and always the first factor is her husband's preferences - in style, color, design - the first cut is always his preference - and she knows exactly what he will or won't approve of - it has been 50 years after all.
My husband's grandmother doting, fussing, scurrying around to fix everything just so for my husband's grandfather. The smallest, simplest thing was a chance for her to do something for him. My grandmother working a lifetime to take care of her family, doing whatever needed to be done. Both of them - tiny houses with very little 'stuff', but always enough and always spotless and welcoming.
I have an enormous family, and this pattern is repeated over and over, in the generations before me. I guarantee none of them ever heard the term M/s and i certainly can't imagine trying to explain the concept to any of them. But the form is the same in so many ways.
Among my generation, this doesn't exist much. Where it does - for some it took a church to tell them how she is "supposed" to treat her HOH, and how he is "supposed" to treat her. For me it took ttwd to let me see it is ok to serve him, to enjoy doing things for him, and to show him that it's ok to accept that, that it can be good for both of us.
Life was hardly idyllic for the older generations - the serving and pleasing and deferring existed right alongside all sorts of difficulties and hurt and not so nice interpersonal things. And, from the great, great grandparents to my youngest cousins - there are examples of people who have/had long, loving, strong relationships with a form and a flavor that isn't anything like this thing we do, or that thing they did and still do. So many ways to be, and nothing really so new....