The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage

The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage

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by Laura Schlessinger

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Dr. Laura Schlessinger reveals how to bring a marriage back from the brink of disaster.

Jumping off her million-copy bestseller The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Dr. Laura Schlessinger exposes the sensitive and loving truths necessary to produce and sustain a wonderfully satisfying marriage. First and foremost, men and women need to understand

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Dr. Laura Schlessinger reveals how to bring a marriage back from the brink of disaster.

Jumping off her million-copy bestseller The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Dr. Laura Schlessinger exposes the sensitive and loving truths necessary to produce and sustain a wonderfully satisfying marriage. First and foremost, men and women need to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of masculinity and femininity. Both husband and wife have power in their relationship, and both need to realize this to ensure for themselves the personal satisfaction they yearn for. Dr. Laura explores the best ways a couple can relate, caretake, and nurture each other, and how to rescue a troubled marriage that seems doomed to fail.

Using real-life examples from her call-in radio show, Dr. Laura focuses on the typical mistakes made by men and women in their relationships, and gives us real-life solutions for keeping our unions strong, loving, and lasting.

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Editorial Reviews

This book is the proper follow-up to Dr. Laura's bestselling 2004 The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands. In The Proper Care & Feeding of Marriage, Dr. Schlessinger doles out healthy doses of her trademark wisdom about the respective roles of men and women in marital life. Her traditional stance on issues like divorce, sex, chores, and interfaith marriage might surprise, even offend some readers; but this award-winning call-in radio host will keep you interested.

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The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage

By Laura C. Schlessinger

Harper Paperbacks

Copyright © 2008 Laura C. Schlessinger
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780061142826

Chapter One

"Me Tarzan. You Jane."

The first and most obvious issue in approaching the glory and angst of marriage is to understand the fundamentals of the two people involved; one is a woman, the other is a man. And that is no small thing! Sometimes it must seem to frustrated spouses that each has more genetics in common with flies and daffodils than each other. Not so; but if one doesn't understand, admire, respect, and at times forgive, the nuances of the opposite sex, then the beauty and satisfaction that can arise from the uniting of man and woman in the most important covenant of marriage will not be discovered and enjoyed.

So much sociopolitical time and effort has been spent trying to eliminate the reality, subtlety, magic, and meaning of masculine and feminine, that men and women are afraid and hostile to acknowledge their own pleasure in being such and in yearning for the complementary gender in their spouse.

I remember some twenty-five years ago working with a middle-aged couple on their marital problems. Frankly it seemed as though they were hopeless, refusing to spend any time at all on their difficulties other than complaining and blaming each other for their unhappiness. I recall closing my eyes for a moment andjust listening. I could hear the hurt, loss, and need in their voices. Instead of trying to reconcile their "problems" I decided to get to the root of the plant and stop worrying first about the way the petals looked. I opened my eyes and interrupted their fight by saying, slowly, to each of them, "Sir, what do you do to make her feel like a woman?" and "Ma'am, what do you do to make him feel like a man?"

They both just stared at me, speechless. I insisted that they answer my question, despite their determination to get back into the fight. Finally she began to cry softly, and he looked deflated, when just seconds before, they were both energized, reddened with anger. We had some fifteen minutes left to the session, and they had nothing to say—to me or to each other.

Marriages are not business arrangements of coworkers or co-owners. Marriages are the joining of two minds, bodies, souls, spirits, hopes, dreams, needs, personalities, and different genders. Unisex clothing does not erase the fact that men and women are very different creatures, and that they are each at their best in enjoying life and love when they revel in those differences with awe and respect.

I did a number of surveys on my Web site ( The first had to do with men's and women's perceptions of the opposite sex. For all my questions about men/women, marriage/divorce, and so forth, I received thousands of responses, usually within an hour of my posting the questions! Presented here are, in no order, the most frequently mentioned answers. This first group of answers are from men, and they are about their perceptions and feelings about women in general. So you women need to read these with an open heart and mind, for in these answers are many of the solutions to your marital problems with your husbands. The second group of answers are from women, and they are also about women's perceptions and feelings about men in general. You men need to read those with the same open heart and mind, if you wish to move your marriage into a more satisfying place in your life.

Part A—Answers by Men

Question 1

What do you, as a man, most admire about women in general?

1. Social skills, nurturing nature, compassion, sensitivity, listening skills, focus on relationships and bonding (friends, family, community)
2. Physical softness, sexy, curvy, beautiful, and graceful bodies
3. They will sacrifice for family, the power of creation of new life, being mothers
4. Better at details (multitasking)
5. They take the rough, hard edges off this world, they bring feelings and emotions and a sense of intimacy to us logical guys
6. They can create a home out of any environment, adding aesthetics (color, grace, beauty) to life, they make a house into a sanctuary . . . a home, homemaking
7. The positive effect a good woman can have on her husband and family
8. In femininity there is gentle power over people

Paul, a listener, added: "What I admire the most among many things in women generally is the strength, inspiration, love, and support they give men. They are the balance that counterweights all the chaos, hard times, and heartache us men go through."

I believe that men yearn for their spiritual and psychological counterbalance to humanize and beautify life. I don't think it matters much to a man if his woman chooses to be an accountant or physician—as long as she is "his woman" and "a woman" to him. That understanding is lost to too many women today. Sadly it is all too typical for women to want to be seen by their men as the high-powered position they have at work, instead of as a woman, with those special attributes that are natural to her and yearned for by her man.

But the reality is that women today do not think of themselves in the context of helping "their man." Women today have been brainwashed into thinking that efforts in that direction are in the category of oppression, subservience, and catering to frail male egos. It is sad that this is the prevalent point of view, because interdependence is what ultimately feeds both the man and the woman what they truly need to be happy.

Generally when people lob the phrase "know your place," the understanding is that they are reminding someone of their subordinate position in a relationship or situation. I look at that quite differently. I believe that when a man knows that he actually has a place with his woman, and she with her man, they bring the best out in the other—and enjoy life more feeling purposeful, needed, wanted, and necessary.


Excerpted from The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage by Laura C. Schlessinger Copyright © 2008 by Laura C. Schlessinger. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, a licensed marriage and family therapist, is one of the most popular talk-show hosts in radio history and the only woman to win the prestigious Marconi Award for syndicated radio. She is the author of twelve New York Times bestsellers, writes a daily blog, and is a regular Newsmax columnist. She is heard daily on Sirius/XM Channel 155 live, and her program is streamed and podcast on Dr. Schlessinger has her own YouTube Channel ( She is also the skipper and driver of a racing sailboat program that won the 2010 international race from Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas. She and her husband live in Southern California.

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