DEAR MISS MANNERS: I wish I had a round table!
My husband has decided that, although such distinctions are "irrelevant and silly rules that nobody cares about," we should seat our most senior or honored guests at the head and foot of our table and always take seats along the side of the table ourselves (unless we have just one female guest, for example, meaning my husband would remain at the head).
I maintain that as long as we're going to observe rules, the position of honor is to the right of the hostess (for a male guest) and to the right of the host (for a female guest), and that we should remain at the head and foot of the table (not least because the foot of the table is closest to the kitchen door, in my case).
He tells me that I am being shallow and should be generous and confident enough to cede the hostess's position at the foot of the table.
GENTLE READER: As well as the hostess duties that take you into the kitchen?
But Miss Manners does not wish to argue this on practical grounds, when it is a matter of tradition rooted in history. That must be what your husband means by "irrelevant and silly rules that nobody cares about" -- except him, apparently.
With the polite modern notion of yielding to guests, it is indeed odd that hosts occupy the dominant positions at dinner. But such has been the case since the medieval "high table," where hosts presided over their guests, in descending order of rank. And that is what people now expect. You could adopt a variation, sitting opposite your husband in the middle of the table, but you would probably confuse those in the ordinary host positions about what is expected of them.