If you're a married woman who thinks you may want a little help making your marriage better, Dr. Laura Schlessinger's latest book, "Woman Power: Transform Your Man, Your Marriage, Your Life," could have some answers.
Schlessinger points out to The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler, over the last several decades, women have believed lies that have made their marriages very unhappy.
She says, "Women have been lied to that, somehow, the parts of them that are really the most significant to us are unimportant. The part that wants to mother and nurture our children is unimportant. Hired help is equivalent to a mother's love in taking care of children. That's ridiculous. You're entitled to be angry, resentful and frustrated and annoyed with your man because somehow men deserve that. If you are loving, you are subservient. All these lies have been told to women."
So with her book, she wants to help women re-discover and enjoy the "power" of being a woman.
Talking about sex, she notes women who constantly say they are "not in the mood" should re-arrange their priorities.
She asks, "Did you really imagine that women should tell men: 'Listen, we're going to get married, I'm going to put all my energy into my career, my girlfriends, my family, the kids the house, my hobbies and none to you and I'm probably never going to be in the mood for sex, so you're going to be celibate.' How many men would get married?
"No. 2," she continues, 'God gave us these bodies with other sensuality to enjoy. A woman's orgasm is not tied into reproductionl; a man's is. Our bodies are to be enjoyed. If we're working ourselves sick and silly so we can't enjoy our bodies, how sad is that?
"Thirdly and fourthly and fifthly, how many times have you not been in the mood, but when you got involved anyway, it lit your fire?"
Schlessinger points out it is good to be nice to your spouse, and notes, "Men do stuff for us they're not in the mood for. Just pleasuring them is part of love even if you're not 'in the mood.' It's called love."
Here is an excerpt from her new book:
Transform Your Man, Your Marriage, Your Life
by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
While this book stands on its own in inviting and guiding women to maximize their inherent potential for transforming their men and their marriages into experiences of joy and satisfaction, it is also a response to the many questions from both husbands and wives, generated by its "sister book," The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.
In that book I pointed out that, as Cathy Young wrote in her review of it in the Boston Globe, "In the age of feminism ... we have paid a lot of attention to women's complaints about men and criticized men for not meeting women's needs -- but we've forgotten that men too have needs and women too have faults. Somehow, we've even developed the notion that a woman who seeks to meet her husband's needs is subservient (but a husband who fails to meet his wife's needs is a pig) ...
"Part of the problem is that feminism ... offers very little by way of an alternative. Too often (Schlessinger is right about that), it has promoted anger, rancor, and male-blaming instead of equal partnership.
The majority of women do want loving relationships with men."
Amen to that! I have found it fascinating that most women are really not all that aware of how dismissive they are toward their husbands and their husbands' needs. That mentality has become so commonplace in our culture that most women don't register it as unkind, thoughtless, cruel, abusive, or downright mean. But it can be. The almost-universally positive response from women who have actually read the book has been immensely gratifying to me. Instead of a knee-jerk defensiveness based on the mistaken notion that they are being blamed for all the world's ills, women have embraced the concept I have offered them: that, as women they have the power to transform their men, their marriages, their homes, and their lives into a more positive, rewarding experience.
Here is one all-too-typical example of a wife not understanding her power. I recently took an interesting call from a second-marriage mother and her eighteen-year-old daughter. The daughter felt helpless to deal with her mother's overt jealousy and resentment that her new husband of three years was paying more kind attention to the daughter than the mother.
Of course, I immediately pursued the possibility that this guy was hitting on the daughter. Nope. I checked with the mother to find out if the daughter was being seductive with the stepfather. Nope. I then asked the daughter to hang up the phone, promising her that her mom and I would deal with it.
I admonished the mom for putting her daughter in the middle of her own marital problems. Then we got into some details. The mom had three complaints: that he was cheerful when the daughter called him at work but short-shrifty when she called him; that he was cheerful with the daughter when he walked through the door at the end of the day but did not have that same greeting for her; that he was cheerful when the daughter requested a favor but wouldn't do what she asked of him no matter how often she nagged about it.
"My dear," I queried, "when you call your husband at work is it to whisper sweet nothings or naughties into his ear? Or is it to whine or nag him about something?"
"When your husband comes home, do you greet him at the door with a cheery 'Hi honey, glad you're home, kiss, kiss'?"
"When you ask him to do something for you, do you pick it apart afterwards or show gratitude?"
"Then what do you expect from him with all this negative training? I just want to know what happened to catching flies with honey?"
I explained to her that when the daughter called him, greeted him, appreciated him, it was a more positive experience than when she, the wife, engaged him. Simple as that. This goes along with part of my thesis, that men are simple -- not simpletons -- but simple in their needs -- i.e., not complex. They need appreciation, approval, and affection from their woman; and when they get that, they will, as I've said many times on my radio program, swim through shark-infested water to bring us lemonade.
Women wield more power in man-woman relationships. Men are born of women, raised by women, and come to women for their bonding and mating.
Throughout their whole lives, women are central to men's emotional well-being. I don't think we can come up with one story about a man committing suicide over the breakup with a golf buddy. We all are aware of the devastation that can be wrought by a man's frustration when he is not loved, admired, appreciated, and embraced by his woman. That hurt, rejection, or loss can virtually end his motivation for life.
Most men live to serve their wives and children -- their families. When they are not made to feel that they are appreciated for those efforts, they become hurt, lost, lonely, and not very cooperative.
Within only two weeks of the publication of The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, I received a letter from a six-foot- four, two-hundred-and-fifteen-pound police officer. It was painful to read, but I shared it on my radio program. The response to it from all across the United States and Canada was amazing. Why? This big, masculine, powerful, accomplished guy was turning into depressive mush because his wife never seemed to be proud of, or happy with, him. This letter registered with men and women alike. Men from all walks of life identified with his pain. They, too, in spite of loving their wives, were starting to imagine a life without them.
The women identified, in whatever small or large part, with his wife -- and were overwhelmed with sadness and regret. All during the two weeks after this reading, hundreds of wives wrote to me that, after having a good cry, they all contacted their husbands at work and told them that they loved them and were proud of them. They all also reported that their husbands seemed transformed into happier human beings, offering to help with this and that without being asked!
Simple. Took five minutes ... tops.
I have never been asked for more copies of anything else I have read on this program in thirty years! That letter triggered hundreds of letters from women who did what Jeanah, one of my listeners, did within minutes of hearing me read Robert's letter. She faxed me this:
"I feel that a 'thank you' is not enough to say to you and the gentleman who wrote the letter you just read. I fear that I am one of those women.
"I have been sitting at my desk listening on my headphones in my regular working stupor. That letter stopped me dead in my tracks.
"I just ordered a bouquet of flowers and chocolate to be delivered to my husband at work. The card reads, 'I am proud to have you as my husband.'
"I'm leaving for the rest of the day, to buy something sheer and frilly. When he comes home, I'll be on the bed, wearing not much, holding grapes and a cheese ball. I'll keep the remaining details to myself.
"See you on the happier side of marriage."
The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands gave articulation to the pain that men feel when the woman for whom they are willing to do anything does not idolize them. It is not that most women or wives are mean. It is that women have not been encouraged to understand and appreciate men and masculinity. Women have been trained to see men as "the evil empire" and to perceive giving as subjugation. Sad.
Unfortunately, there were also letters from men whose wives refused to read the book.
The foregoing is excerpted from Woman Power by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022size>