Book Review: The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands

I usually don’t go for books like this. But I was given a set of CD’s and decided to take a stab at listening while I was working in my shop a while ago. It first came out in 2006 and I think I listened to her read it and explain it in about 2008, but it is on the money even now. While listening I was blown away by how exactly Dr. Laura Schlessinger put her finger on the problem with a lot of marriages. Even if you don’t think there is anything wrong with your marriage you will want to read the book or get a set of CD’s and listen. It will really help any way you look at it.

The basic idea in the author’s mind is that men treat their wives like queens, but women do not treat their husbands like kings. Men are naturally geared toward caring and providing for, and protecting our wives. Women have, to some extent, accepted at least some of the modern feminist thinking about men and marriages. This includes ideas such as “men and women can do the same things,” (different than equality) “women can have it all” (career, home, husband, kids) and “you don’t need a man to complete you.” Men put their wives up on a pedestal, and all too often women use the position to lord it over the husband. (I was actually thinking of a different picture involving bathroom humor, but this will suffice.) In accepting the modern thinking women are by and large contributing a great deal to divorce or a marriage that isn’t very happy.

I was stunned as I was listening, because I have become so used to women who write books about marriage and blame men. We do our share of wrong, on the whole, but I get so tired of hearing how men should be more sensitive, get in touch with their “feminine sides,” and help with the housework. And before you get on my case I helped a lot with housework. Women want control over their own lives, and they want control over the men’s. Frequently, they want this control without responsibility. Husbands don’t get the credit for what we do, yet in order for women to do what they want men have to provide the environment for it. What I mean is, women have gotten a lot more independent now that men have tamed the wilderness and built cities and houses. It’s a little harder to be “self-realized” when you’re running from the local carnivores or defending yourself from outlaws.

A lot of times men just go along with the poor treatment. Right up until they get a different sort of attention from another female. Then, kaboom goes the marriage. Dr. Laura is not saying that husbands are without faults. Lots of men do lots of wrong things. Lots of women are doing lots of right and good things too. But she is saying that if a husband is treated like a king by his wife, she will generally find that her man responds and does what is natural for him. The message from the world is beating us men down on a daily basis. The message from our wives should be an “adorning (of) the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4). It is precious in our sight too.

Sarah called her husband “lord” (Genesis 18:12), submitted to him and obeyed him. I know that message just goes all over the modern woman, which explains the high rate of divorce. Men also have a big responsibility to “live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel” as Peter says (1 Peter 3:5). Dr. Laura’s point is that if a women takes care of her end, it is very likely that the husband will respond as she wants. The wife is torpedoing the result she wants by getting wrapped up in her “self realization.” Try the book, and you’ll find that most of what she says is in The Book.