If you are happily married, you probably don’t need to read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. There really isn’t any shocking new information in there.
If you are unhappily married and you choose to read this book, you will probably have one of two reactions. #1: “Wow, I never knew that about men. I wonder if I try being nice to him instead of nagging him incessantly, if he really will act more romantically.” or #2: “Oh, so it’s MY fault if I’m unhappy? Yeah, right.”
Psychologists and happy people will tell you: you are responsible for your own happiness and you can’t change other people – focus on yourself and what you CAN change. When it comes to spouses, it is more difficult to claim responsibility for personal happiness: it just doesn’t seem possible to be happy if you are married to somebody who isn’t “meeting your needs.” Dr. Laura’s book attempts to show women how they create their own problems by expecting the wrong kinds of things from their husbands and by not meeting their very simple needs.
Although I agree with most of her advice, and am actually quite shocked that so many women would treat their husbands as awfully as the examples she gives, the biggest turn-off in this book is her customary blunt style and her assertion that it’s all the woman’s fault. Naturally, she excludes abusive and other unhealthy situations, but even in normal, healthy marriages, husbands can be guilty of causing hurt and difficulties through poor choices, unkind words, thoughtlessness and selfishness.
I do agree that women tend to hold on to these hurts for longer than men and that these little issues can build up over time to create a mountain out of a molehill (and that women, and not men, are responsible for that mountain). I also agree that acts of kindness on anyone’s part help a person “get over” (forgive) those little problems. So, for an open-minded woman who truly desires a loving marriage and really just doesn’t understand her husband, this book might contain some eye-opening advice. For a wife in a good marriage looking for a refresher course on what her husband needs and wants, it’s an excellent resource. For the wife who really insists that her husband meet her in the middle, it isn’t going to help much at all.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation in any form for this review, unfortunately. I also did not pay for this book. A friend had it on her give-away stack and I took it from there. I assume it was her husband’s hard-earned money that paid for it.
I have this book and agree that Dr. Laura assumes most husbands are close to saints and it is the wife who is the big “sinner” in the relationship. Most relationship and religious books assume that the wife is the saintly one who spends all day cooking, praying, cleaning, and changing nappies, while the husband is a dumb jerk who throws down his briefcase, sits in a lounge chair to stare at the TV and demand, “Where's my beer?”
In relationships there is culpability and justification on both sides. Most of us just muddle through as best we can. Real life is not a Nicholas Sparks novel.
My aunt gave a copy to my (happily married) mother and to my (mostly happily married) sister and not to me one year.
I was just a bit puzzled as to what made her make that decision, but I decided to take it as a compliment.
I agree that there isn't very often one innocent and one villian in a relationship.
I just finished reading Dr Laura's book “10 Stupid Things Men Do To Mess Up Their Lives”. While it didn't impart any great wisdom to me, I do think I will eventually have my son read it because it points out so often that choosing the wrong woman can lead to a lot of unhapiness!
I own this book, and I love it!
I think she is just filling in a gap. There are plenty of books out there that make men the villains. Why not one that points out the shortcomings of many women?
I see the patterns of relating that she points out in many relationships, even 'good' ones.
I can tell you that when I happen to be reading that book “Again”, my husband always notices and it ALWAYS improves our marriage. It is SO easy for me to be the martyr and feel like I give up everything and he 'gets to' leave the house every day, without recognizing how much stress he endures in the 'real world' so that I can care for his family.
So, I admit, I disagree with Dr. Laura on several issues, but, I have given this book to a few women, and I read it once in a while myself, to remind me that my dh deserves more of my time and affection 🙂 (And much less nagging 😉 )
Both Dr. Laura's books are good & address necessary issues. No one is a saint & her books try to promote understanding of the opposite sex in close relationships. Good reading for all.
And the interesting thing about meeting in the middle, is whose middle? Who makes that decision? Hmmm.