Previously, the conditioning of men and women into goddess and worshipper roles and the rationalization of that model into Biblical marriage were discussed in terms of the book The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. The model of the wife as a goddess that makes demands offerings from the husband and bestows acceptance, approval, and affection to a husband as chattel that sets out to please his wife by fulfilling those demands was delineated.
This post will quote Schlessinger’s observations from dealing with the problems she’s noted in her radio shows. While she notes these things as “problems”, she misses that the things she notes reflect the very features of the traditional marriage that she espouses which creates the toxic femininity that is so pervasive in this world today.
The Goddess Will Be Done.
Schlessinger notes again and again the entitlement that women have that they are entitled to the fulfillment of all their whims and desires. For instance:
On my radio program, I hear from too many women who believe that they are somehow entitled to have all their needs, wants, desires, and whims met by life in general, and by their men in particular, no matter what choices they’ve made and no matter how poorly they treat their men. (1)
The result is women get married thinking largely about what their marriage and their man can do for them, and not what they can do for their men. And when there is so little emphasis on the giving, the nitpicking and pettiness chews up and spits out what could have been a good marriage. (2)
Notably this dynamic of female supremacism is the very essence of feminism of all kinds. No matter what it may be, the woman must be satisfied in all things, as her value is far beyond that of men, especially the ones in their lives.
The Goddess Rules And Reigns Over Her Man.
The existence and fostering of male mother need, coupled with societal expectations and sanctions upon men for not fulfilling his wife’s will, it’s a natural expectation that the woman would rule the man and dictate the conditions of his life. In essence, marriage is an arrangement where a husband submits to his wife by fulfilling her demands with the expectation of approval or punishment depending on his actions. The man is simple chattel, worth no more than the scum on the bottom of the wife’s shoes. His wishes and desires are unimportant in the marriage, and at worst a threat to the wife. Schlessinger repeats these ideas in her book:
No, I probably will not be writing about the care and feeding of wives. Why? Because the truth is that when it comes to home and relationships, women rule. This is a book about how to rule wisely and lovingly. If a woman does not marry a sociopath or narcissist, then she’s got her basic “male package.” And 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. (3)
Whether it’s whims or tastes should not be the important issue—being fair and loving is. Think about the typical home; it is largely decorated by the choices and tastes and whims of the woman of the house. Real estate agents have told me that they really need to sell a house to the wife because it is generally her reaction that motivates the man. Husbands defer to their wives because they love them and want to please them, and because (girls, we have to be honest) we make life hell for them when they don’t. Since men live for our approval and acceptance, they are too easy to manipulate inappropriately, insensitively, inhumanely, and unlovingly. (4)
It didn’t escape me that Keith used the words “allows” and “lets me” when referring to his own opportunities for downtime or guy time. I don’t believe these references necessarily suggest that he is hen-pecked, I think they point out a universal truth that I have mentioned numerous times in this book: that men are raised by women as children and are embraced by women as adults and look to women for those three A’s. This gives women tremendous power over men, power that ought not to be abused or overused; it is just too easy for a grown man to turn into a rebellious child. (5)
It should be clear between this book and many other media that the wife is considered as a paramount one to always be worshiped and served unquestioningly. She is the one who unilaterally defines the terms of interaction – even what is masculine. Meanwhile the husband’s sole function is to serve the wishes of his wife and bend his view of manhood to the terms that his wife has set. He can not have his own will or do anything without the approval of his wife – the act of marriage has subjugated him to his chosen goddess.
Amazingly, this dynamic is often played off as comedy with people completely missing the kernel of truth that is behind it. There have been numerous comedy sketches where the couple is in a location and the husband is played off as “the man” in public until they get in private and then she sets her will in place by berating him into her will. Schlessinger even notes this:
Wives do tend to be controlling—in ways we perhaps don’t even recognize as such. Just before I went to bed last night, I turned on the television for a last-minute news update, and in going past channels to my usual news station, I paused at a sitcom. I don’t know the characters or the plot, or even the name of the show, but I saw what appeared to be a father talking to his grown son in his son’s fiancee’s presence. The father said something like, “Son, you are a man and you can make any decision you believe in and feel is right . . . until you’re married—then your wife will be making all your decisions for you.”
While the laugh track did its thing, I immediately realized that the controlling of men by their wives is so taken for granted that a sitcom could use it as a source of humor with no one imagining it was a true slap against women. (6)
Sadly, she does not see that this whole dynamic of traditional marriage and traditional gender roles, including her own book, is a slap against the value God has placed in man as a creation of God in His own image. Man has gone from the image of God to something worse than life. The only difference between traditional and modern feminists is the level to which they believe that men are of “lesser life” than they are.
To look at this book in total, while I already knew of the dynamic that represents traditional marriage, the way the book reveals the true dynamics of marriage, coupled with some of Schlessinger’s honesty about the status of women in marriage made it interesting to give a closer look. Women and men have been conditioned into this goddess/worshiper dynamic for several generations now, to the point that the roles are simply thought of as innate features of men and women. It has laid women into prideful arrogance and men into a demeaning existence of slavery to women whose life’s value is dictated to him by the women in his life. Schlessinger illustrates this, as a good sum of how traditional gender roles have broken men:
A wife can tear down a husband’s necessary sense of strength and importance more easily with a look or a comment than can torture in a prison camp. Surviving the latter is a demonstration of a man’s strength. Men don’t easily survive the former: Their wives’ approval is as important as oxygen; surviving their wives’ lack of approval is emasculation. (7)
Schlessinger espouses this model, where the only solid advice in her book to women to reform themselves from their pride is to bask in it and be the benevolent goddess who rains approval down upon her man when he brings a pleasing oblation to her. Rather than both honor the God who created both man and woman along with marriage, woman honors herself and man honors woman. Sadly, too many are stuck in this godless rut of tradition to see marriage as God-honoring in any way.
(1) The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. p163. (2) ibid. p3. (3) ibid. p64. (4) ibid. p146-147. (5) ibid. p179. (6) ibid. p157. (7) ibid. p74.