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The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage: A Book Review

Updated on June 28, 2017
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Book Written by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

This book is based on the theory that for men and women to have a good marriage, they must recognize and learn to appreciate the differences between men and women…the feminine and masculine traits which make males and females separate and unique from each other. It is clear to me after reading this book that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a woman totally behind the traditional view of marriage. This means a one man and one woman bonding under God and law. This also means she believes the husband should be the breadwinner and the woman should stay home and take care of the children if there are children resulting from the marriage. This view is hard to take for many women who were brought up in the era of feminism where Gloria Steinem made news for her extremely feminist views on the oppression of women by men. And also for many men who were also brought up in this age of feminism where women were supposed to be able to, “Bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let them forget they’re a man” as the old advertisement goes. Men and women both have heard the feminist cries for the past five decades, and now here comes Dr. Laura with her very traditional views.

The book is filled with stories of people who have contacted Dr. Laura through phone calls to her radio show, and also emails. It also is filled with her advice to these couples who have called or emailed her with their personal problems. Her advice is always to put the marriage first, and put individual selfish needs aside for the good of the marriage, and also for the best interests of any children resulting from the marriage. Often in the book, she also refers to another book of hers, ‘The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.” This book clearly carries the message that women can make or break a marriage through their attitudes toward their husbands. If they treat their husbands well and put their husband’s needs first, they will be loved in return and have wonderful marriages. This book about marriage is a continuation of that theme. It did make me realize that I have fallen victim to the feminist views that were prevalent in my developing years of the sixties and seventies. As an adult Christian woman though, I do actually believe that Dr. Laura has some very valid points. At first, that was quite hard for me to swallow. I really had a tough time with the subservient “little woman” role as I was reading this book. But there are also many instances where she does talk to men and explains to them that they need to put their needs from their pasts away and put their marriage first. That was the saving grace of this book for me. One of the main themes of this book is that husbands and wives need to work together as a team to nurture and sustain their marriage rather than each of them looking out for their own needs as a primary goal of their marriages. I totally agree with that, especially since I am currently three years into my second marriage, and I was surprised and happy to hear my second husband talking about the two of us being a good team, even as far back as our dating days. Dr. Laura has a great idea with the team approach. I can tell you from personal experience that it really works.

There are some parts of the book that are quite interesting. Dr. Laura had done some surveys of men and women and included the responses in the book. She asked such questions as, “What do you, as a man, most admire about women in general?” and the same question was asked of women. Then she published the top ten responses for each question. She also asked about what each sex admired most about the opposite sex, and what they feared most about a relationship with the opposite sex. The responses were interesting, and some were quite surprising. In Chapter six, she also includes ten “marriage tools” that in her opinion can most help a couple to have a good marriage. The book is easy to read, and I especially enjoyed reading quotes from conversations with, and emails from her listeners. They emails were written in italics, so it was easy to differentiate what she said and what her readers had said. And conversations between Dr. Laura and the listeners were each assigned initials, so it was easy to read who was saying what.

Readers who will enjoy this book will be men and women who believe in traditional marriage, including husbands being the breadwinners and the wives staying home to take care of the children and the home. And also, readers who are struggling with unhappy marriages who may be able to glean helpful information about how to improve their marriages through reading this book.

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    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      shiningirisheyes,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I agree with your take on her advice and I also don't agree 100% but for the most part she's pretty good.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Karen - Excellent review of Dr. Laura's writes. I may not agree 100% with every comment she makes, but the majority of her advice is spot on.

      Welcome back Karen.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Faith Reaper,

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I was fortunate to eb able to stay home with my children for 8 years and I loved every moment of it! But I know lots of children like yours who didn't have a stay at home mom and still turned out great. I am sure you were a wonderful mom. I can tell by your caring heart.

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

      Hawaiianodysseus,

      It's nice to be back. The vacation was great but I missed writing. I am not sure what Dr. Laura thinks about what women should do after the children leave the nest. I don't know too much about her personal life. I think in order to find that out, we should read, 'The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" which I did read once a long time ago. She still thinks that women should always meet the needs of their men first, and in turn they will be loved and cherished so I am sure she still thinks that for after the children have left.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent book review. I have always worked outside of the home and now have two grown children, and sometimes I wished I had stayed home when they were small, but . . . they turned out great!

      Voted up ++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Welcome back, Karen!

      This is a very good review of Dr. Laura's stance on the nurturing of a good marriage. In the past, I have heard her speak on national radio and may have even seen her on the television talk show circuit. I most definitely agree with the team concept. However, a question I have is what Dr. Laura believes the woman in the empty nest years should then do with her life? Is it still about the seemingly subservient role (the part I don't totally agree with), or is this where Dr. Laura truly preach what she practices? She is, after all, a professional woman spending hours, if not days and weeks at a time, tending to her profession as well as the accompanying business pursuits such as the activities I mentioned above, book promotion campaigns (including book signing throughout the country), public speaking, other kinds of interviews, meetings with her publicist, accountant, attorneys, bankers, investment advisors, etc. I do not believe for one moment that Dr. Laura is the stay at home, totally dutiful wife of the Leave it to Beaver and Donna Reed Show days.

      In fact, come to think of it, she didn't get her doctorate in the first place by being a traditional wife. Hmm...that'd be a good question to ask her. How DID you do it, Dr. Laura?

      That said, I'm glad you're back!