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.