Editor’s note: In this exclusive column, Dr. Laura discusses the principles from her engaging new book, “‘The Proper Care And Feeding Of Husbands,” available autographed now at ShopNetDaily.
Why did you write this book aiming at the women – aren’t both responsible for the quality of the marriage?
Of course! However, women are in the unique position of having an extraordinary amount of influence over their husbands, which when exercised thoughtfully, compassionately, lovingly and intelligently results in a happier husband who will “swim through shark infested waters to bring her a lemonade.”
Women seem not to understand, or underestimate, the profound power they have over their husbands. Men are very emotionally dependent upon women from the day they are born to the day they expire. This book teaches women to use this power benevolently – which will definitely result in them being happier with life and love.
What are the most common complaints men have about their wives?
- Their women don’t seem to have much regard for their feelings and needs
- Their women constantly criticize and dismiss them
- Their women don’t seem to want to go out of their way to please them
- Their women nag, demand, and complain – and seem to behave as though they were entitled to do so
- Their women don’t make them feel truly needed and valued as men
What are husbands’ most important needs?
- He wants to feel like a “man” to his woman; he wants to feel he is providing and protecting
- He wants to feel she needs and admires him
- He wants to know she desires him
- Basically, “The Three A’s”: appreciation, approval and affection
What is the No. 1 worst mistake women make with respect to being happy in their marriages?
They marinate in negatives. It is typical of women to fester and ferment over disappointments, slights, annoyances, angers, etc. Women, more typically than men, will go over it ad infinitum in the own heads, with their mothers, sisters, friends, co-workers, neighbors, social groups (remember Jerry McGuire?) – in doing so they reinforce the negative and create a bad attitude – one which turns into entitlement for not being particularly nice.
Attitude is about believing that your mate has your best interests at heart – it is about not letting loving feelings be squelched by everyday annoyances and disappointments; it is about benefit of the doubt; it is about cherishing the moments and living for the well-being of the other and being sustained by the joy of giving and the blessing of receiving in return.
All through the book you say “men are simple” … isn’t that an insult?
Not at all! In fact, most all of the many hundreds of responses I received from men in preparing this book confirmed just that: “Men are only interested in two things: If I’m not horny, make me a sandwich,” and “As a man, I can tell you our needs are simple. We want to be fed, we want our kids mothered, and we want lovin’.”
What about sex? Are wives obligated to give their husbands sex on demand?
As a woman who happens to believe that orgasms are a fabulous gift and blessing from God, I am amazed at how many women callers are willing to give them up to the gods of “I’m tired,” or “I’m annoyed.” Now, anyone cannot be in the mood from time to time – that’s natural. However, the denigration of male sexual needs (They are just animals) and the use of sex to punish or control (You didn’t do what I wanted) and inappropriate prioritizing (My work and children take all my energy) are self-centered and self-defeating.
I ask my women callers who complain that their husbands are not happy with virtually no sexual intimacy (and, by the way, that’s what the men truly feel about sex with their wives – it’s the ultimate in “acceptance and approval” for them) if they would be satisfied with that profound a rejection and dismissal. They always say, “No, I guess not.” Frankly, too many women treat their husbands as accessories instead of priorities.
Are there any marital situations for which your book does not apply?
Yes, most definitely. Where the behavior of the husbands is blatantly destructive, dangerous or evil, this book does not apply.
However, these ideas and techniques have salvaged and revitalized innumerable strained, stagnant, boring, disappointing, annoying, frustrating and even seemingly dead marriages. When I nag a woman caller to try just one simple behavior for one day, I inevitably get the call back that they are amazed at the difference a day made.
Are you going to write the book for men on the proper care and feeding of wives?
Nope. Men are born of women and between girlfriends and then a wife; men spend their entire lives in the tutelage of women. What women accept or reject is largely the guiding force for what men will and won’t do. When they are treated with the Three A’s, they naturally, and in gratitude and affection, give their women the attention, regard, respect, support and love they want.
The ideas and techniques in this book are simple and sweet. What a blessing for women to know that they largely control their own happiness! My job is to get their prejudices and bad attitudes out of their own way. Transforming your guy into a loving man is its own reward.