One book that has received mixed–but strong–reviews is Dr. Laura’s Schlessinger’s The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands (affiliate links throughout this post).
Some women dismiss it as a male-centered book that ignores a woman’s needs, but others point to it as the catalyst for major positive change in their marriages.
When I first heard of the book, the title brought to mind the Sandra Dee-Bobby Darin movie If a Man Answers, and it bugged me a little— because I was so resistant to the idea that I should actively care for my husband. (In other words, the title pointed to my selfishness.) At the same time, , I liked the way the title made it sound like caring for a husband is a fairly straightforward thing.
Every now and then, I would like to pass along resources for you to consider in working on your own marriage. Sometimes you’ll realize right away that it isn’t what you need—but there may be times when the resource is exactly what you need to read.
I’ve known several women who have pointed to Dr. Laura’s book as playing a central role in providing the insight and motivation they needed to turn their own marriage around.
One woman who credits this book with helping her understand the role of sexual intimacy in helping husbands feel loved is none other than Mrs. Librarian, wife to my friend CSL at The Curmudgeonly Librarian.
I am delighted that she has agreed to share a review of the book with us here.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, psychologist, marriage and family counselor and radio talk show host, wrote a book in 2007 entitled, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. Dr. Laura, as she is popularly known, says that her book was written in response to questions that she received to her call-in radio program. The book was inspired by the questions of countless callers and contains her advice for these women.
I came across the book in one of my weekly visits to our public library. In the past, I had read other books by Dr. Laura and liked them; her book on the Ten Commandments was especially interesting. The title of this book, Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, was intriguing; was this a Home Ec book? Did it contain recipes, or had I missed something vital? So I picked it up and began to read snippets, and as I found it interesting, I checked it out and took it home.
Not a Country-Cooking Kama Sutra
The book deals with topics drawn from the many calls to her program (which I had heard several times in my car, as I was driving) from women who seemingly couldn’t understand the sexual needs of their husbands, for intimacy. Dr. Laura does a great job of explaining that, to men, sexual intimacy is THE way into most men’s hearts; it expresses love and affection in a physical way. In her book, like on her radio program, Dr. Laura is down-to-earth and very ethical in the advice that she gives.
Many women say that their husbands don’t talk enough to them, and so feel isolated from their husbands. Dr. Laura turns the tables and says to these wives, “Think then how husbands feel when they are ignored and placed last on a to-do list”. Many husbands feel isolated from their wives and feel that their wives are cold to them when deprived of sexual intimacy. To men, sexual intimacy is an expression of acceptance and love. You’ve heard the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words”; for husbands, sexual expression speaks louder than words, or even other actions.
Many women complain about “being tired, not feeling well, not in the mood, etc.”, but in the book, Dr. Laura points out, through many interviews, that intimacy doesn’t have to take a long time. One point that she makes is, “How long does it take, anyway, to make your husband happy?” Is she saying that sex is just for husbands, and that wives just need to get over it? No.
“Instead”, she tells the reader, “time in the bedroom is well-spent, and communicates love on many levels.” It seems to be the key to unlock the heart, and research has shown that couples who have a healthy sex life together are happier in all aspects of life. Dr. Laura realizes that this intimate connection draws couples closer together, and so lets wives know that this is something that they can do for their marriages.
What’s In It For Me?
“But what if I’m not in the mood?”, women ask. Do you love him? I cannot speak for all women, but knowing that my husband is satisfied is deeply joyous and gratifying to me. Sometimes a good session “for him” is more than enough, as I can have more than one orgasm per lovemaking session, and I need time between orgasms, to recharge. For a long time, for me, sex was “just sex” and not necessarily an expression of love. It gave pleasure, but I couldn’t say it felt like “love”. To me, love is multi-faceted, expressed in different ways, such as time spent doing something, special gifts, service, talking, everyday taking care of the home. That is building a home and family life.
Yes, when we were younger, our hormonal levels were stronger and my monthly cycle of hormonal ups and downs played a large part in desiring sexual intimacy. In many ways, at many times, sexual intimacy was very pleasurable; however, while pleasurable, I can’t say that my sexual pleasure meant that my relationship with my husband was deeper because of it. In essence, sex was just sex, and love was (and still is) when he goes out of his way to do something special for me, or just talk and listen to what I have to say.
However, The Proper Care And Feeding of Husbands helped me to understand that physical love is, for most men, the way that they feel love expressed to them. For most men, it is the love language that they speak and receive love. Because of this ‘revelation’, I understand and accept physical intimacy more positively than in the past. Dr. Laura helps couples to see the importance of physical intimacy to their relationships.
Image courtesy of savit keawtavee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
About Mrs. Librarian . . .
My husband is a retired librarian and I home-schooled our children; both my husband and I are Sunday School teachers in our local Methodist church. (I started out Assemblies of God and my husband Catholic, so we settled somewhere in the middle.)