My book club selected Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s (famed radio show host) book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, for October and I finished it while on vacation last week. Although I strongly disagreed with a few of her assertions (wives should give up on their career dreams to be good little homemakers!?!) and thought her tone and direction with callers was downright rude, I saw myself in many of the examples of harried, resentful, and nagging wives. I had several great discussions with my husband as I read the book, and I am already reaping the benefits of a better and more loving attitude at home. One male contributor to Dr. Laura’s book suggested simply to nag less and give more sex. The suggestion made me smile, but it has a lot of wisdom. Other insights included:
“Your basic male is a decent creature with simple desires: to be his wife’s hero, to be his wife’s dream lover, to be the protector and provider for his family, to be respected, admired, and appreciated. Men live to make their women happy. The cruelest thing a wife can do to a husband is to never be happy.”
My husband has come right out and basically said this before, that all he wants is for me to be happy. If I am grouchy or depressed or annoyed every evening when he gets home, he doesn’t like coming home. Along the same lines, I loved the book’s advice about putting on fresh clothes, a little perfume, and brushing your teeth before he gets home. Just as we want to be “courted,” we should attempt a little wooing ourselves. Having fallen into the workout clothes rut myself, that one was a direct hit.
“If your husband doesn’t say all the flowery things you think he should because you’ve watched too may chick flicks, you should look at what he does. When he scrapes the ice off your car windshield, that is love-speak. Men are made of action. Action is largely how men communicate.”
Guilty! I’m a Pisces; I love romance, I love emotion, I love sweeping, grandiose acts of love. I mean, for Pete’s sake, my husband proposed at a cliff-side village on the Italian coast at sunset. But nowadays, I practically have to sob before I get a bouquet of flowers. Instead, though, I need to realize that when he fills the car with gas so I don’t have to, or jumps in to do dishes after dinner, that is even more meaningful than the ephemeral beauty of a few carnations.
“This issue of power struggles is at the core of many marital woes. The typical complaint from men: She nags and is never grateful or satisfied. The typical complaint from women: He’s insensitive, doesn’t meet my emotional needs, and won’t do anything around the house. And it goes around and around…”
Perhaps the most humbling part of the book for me was realizing how much I really do complain and nag, and how completely selfish and unnecessary it is. I need to learn to shut my yapper when things don’t matter. I’ve already started trying to do this more. Likewise, sarcasm is nasty and should be avoided at all costs. One section of the book discussed a Dr. Laura listener that could have been me–great home, beautiful kids, amazing husband–but she just kept whining and nagging and complaining. I need to realize how incredible life really is and let the insignificant stuff go. Because life is good!