Let me begin by saying that I am not very familiar with Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Other than a brief time a few years back when Jim was 'into' talk radio and would occasionally mention something he heard on her show...I haven't heard much about her.
It wasn't until I was investigating something using Google that I realized how polarizing she can be to the general public. People seem to either love her or hate her. As for me, after reading this book? I love her.
This is not my first book on the subject of a woman's role in marriage...it is probably not even in the first one hundred. However, it is one of the few that I intend to return to and read again...and I am thinking that I just might need to return to it annually for a refresher.
Dr. Laura's book, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, is written from a Judeo-Christian perspective without avoiding the reality of our postmodern culture.
Let me state for the record that I believe that marriage is a lifetime commitment. It is not a covenant to be entered into lightly. BUT I get very discouraged by leaders who advise women to stay in disastrous relationships because 'God hates divorce'. Last time I looked God hates abuse and adultery too. Yes, they can be overcome by the grace of God...but it takes work...from both parties.
So, the older I get, the more frustrated I get when I read some Judeo-Christian authors who ignore that not all marriages are healthy.
However, Dr. Laura clears up that frustration in the first few sentences of the Author's Notes. She says, "...the 3 A's: Addictions, Abuse and Affairs, are behaviours, in my opinion, that break the covenant and justify the self-preserving decision to end the relationship. Where the behaviour of one or both of the spouses is blatantly destructive, dangerous, or evil, this book does not apply."
And just in case I still had any doubts, she definitely had me in the Introduction when she said, "...I've got to tell you how remarkably true and sad it is that so many women struggle to hold on to some jerk, keep giving an abusive or philandering man yet another chance, have unprotected sex with some guy while barely knowing his last name, agree to shack up and risk making babies with some opportunist or loser, all in a pathetic version of a pursuit for love, but will resent the h*ll out of treating a decent hardworking, caring husband with the thoughtfulness, attention, respect, and affection he needs to be content."
I didn't necessarily learn anything new from this book. But I was reminded of truths that I had conveniently forgotten about:
* putting kids or work or ministry or (fill in the blank) first
* speaking words of affirmation
* not trying to make him into my girlfriend by overwhelming him with conversation and expecting him to read my mind
* the importance of physical intimacy
* giving him the space to deal with stress
Much of this book reminded me of William Harley, Jr.'s book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair Proof Marriage. I read it years ago and it remains one of my favorites; having given me a LOT of insight into why we were so different from each other (and yet so complimentary).
So, if you have been married over ten minutes...I recommend this book. If you have been married over ten years...I highly recommend this book. And if you are feeling a little bit (or a whole lot) disconnected from your husband (no matter how long you have been married)...RUN, DO NOT WALK, to pick up a copy right now.
It was just what I needed to hear as we near our twenty-ninth anniversary. Comfortable can be a good thing...but sometimes it can become a detriment.
If you are looking for some other titles, I also highly recommend:
Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman
5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
and of course my favorite, His Needs, Her Needs by William Harley, Jr.