Book Review: The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands

The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands. Dr. Laura Schlessinger. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2004.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger has gotten much attention over her radio show through the years. Naturally this has led into a number of books. The most curious title for the old blog as mentioned in the past has been “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands”, which makes it a natural title for review and discussion. This book, presented with excerpts solicited from her radio show, aims to deal with problems she notices in wives with respect to traditional marriage.

Schlessinger begins by noting the resentment, disrespect, and disdain that husbands voice about their wives, noting that “a good man is hard to find, not keep”. She then notes a general insensitivity to a husband’s needs and feelings, while the wife has a hypersensitivity to any reaction or action from her husband. The author then addresses the issue of time in a woman’s life, repeating the typical mantra from traditionalists that a woman can’t have it all. Schlessinger then mentions the issue of nagging, nitpicking and criticizing, that men actually have feelings, men have different communication styles and directives, and that men need respect, sex, and guy time.

While Schlessinger brings up a number of important issues, she inevitably champions traditional (feminist) marriage, as the typical female sub-humanoid view of men is reinforced throughout the book. Amazingly enough, she is rather forthright about the models and aims of traditional marriage and traditional gender roles – that the husband is to worship the wife by bringing his oblations (“protect and provide”) to please her and the wife is to joyfully receive these things and rule over him (“receive and rule”). That she has a religious bent, calling out women for violating Commandment X (Exodus 20:17) regarding a traditional husband’s provision (p166), yet fails to see that traditional marriage at its core violates Commandments I and II (Exodus 20:3-6) by leading men to repeat the sin of Adam (Genesis 3:17) indicates her core morality in this book.

She reinforces this model throughout the book as she addresses the problems that she’s noticed from the callers of her radio show. As any Gribble does, she shows an astonishing proficiency at dealing with the “conspiracies” of traditional marriage, yet fails to call out the rather obvious white elephant sitting right in her midst indicating that what she is seeing represents features of traditional marriage rather than aberrations. Much of her advice towards wives in this book can simply be distilled into this: “Present yourself as the benevolent goddess he craves to worship and all will be well.”

I found the book fascinating in plumbing the depths of deception and how far it can go, lifting 44 passages for possible further discussion. While an incredibly useful resource in documenting the phenomena of typical female-led, male-submissive traditional marriage for those who have eyes to see, it functions as a terrible resource for those who actually want their marriages to give glory to God in all things.

Rating: 2 out of 10.

Book Cover Image Source: Amazon

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands”

  1. I have never read this book, but was always under the impression that it promoted -roughly- a Biblical view of marriage.

    I am familiar with your thoughts on traditional marriage, and so I get where some of the consternation stems, but I am surprised to learn that Dr. Laura is basically advising wives to “receive and rule”. My understanding of traditional marriage is that the husband has” paid the cost to be the boss”.

    Very disappointed to read that Dr. Laura has set wives up as de facto goddesses.

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  2. @Elspeth
    I’ll get into some commentary of certain things soon. Dr. Laura ‘s book is normative in the realm of traditional marriage. While not coming out and directly saying “receive and rule” (my words), that’s the general gist of the message of the book.

    As for my consternation, I’m of the thought that God rules marriage, not the wife (or the State). This is something I have expressed repeatedly in many many posts. While I would very much love to participate in a God-ordained and God-honoring marriage, the possibility of that happening in this day and age seems to be somewhere near slim and none – especially given my age. To call to Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”, I begin to think that with marriage – especially in light of a number of my prayers over the last 10 years or so for it – if being married makes me lose Jesus, then I don’t want it.

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