Let’s listen to Dr. Laura so we can be reminded of how NOT to be. We don’t want to get caught up in this kind of stinkin’ thinkin’ that can come so easy to the female race!
by Dr. Laura Schlessinger:
“I laughed when I heard the title of your new book. I thought, ‘It won’t happen. What woman would buy it? Who cares about us men?’
There are a few things that men want so bad they would do anything for it. I think a good number of men want respect more than love. They like to feel they have some power. I nearly cry when you tell a woman caller to respect her husband. There is so much selfishness in the world— in marriages. Prosperity has allowed women to be so independent, and thus so selfish. I always feel as though I come last—
There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t ask at least one woman caller on my radio program if she expects to stay married considering her hostile, dismissive, or undermining attitude and actions toward her husband.
What is amazing is how surprised they all seem to imagine that their husbands might have a limit to how much they’ll take before they tune out or turn away. What is even more amazing is that this insensitivity to their husbands ’ needs and feelings goes hand in hand with a hypersensitivity about any action or reaction from the men— reactions that are usually more than reasonable.
If women change their minds, men must take it. When men change their minds, they’re brutes.
One male listener wrote to me of his frustration with this double standard. He lamented that women need to understand how frustrating it is dealing with a double standard that only takes into account the woman’s immediate needs or desires.
It was his perception that everything the woman feels or needs is legitimate and very important, while anything related to the man is unimportant and selfish. I think, as generalizations go, he has a good point.
Try visiting various female-oriented Internet chat rooms, and you’ll find cheering sections rallying behind women who trash their men, determined to leave them for trivial reasons (“ He’s not talkative enough,” “I just don’t feel complete,” “I’m bored,” or “He doesn’t want me talking to my mother every day”).
What causes this double-standard mentality? In one big , hyphenated word : self-centeredness. And what is the source of this self-centeredness? I believe it’s a result of the women’s movement, with its condemnation of just about everything male as evil, stupid , and oppressive, and the denigration of female and male roles in families, as well as the loss of family functioning as a result of divorce, day care, dual careers, and the glorification of shacking up and unwed motherhood by choice.
These are the core destructive influences that result in women not appreciating that they are perfected, as are men, when they are bonded in wedlock and have obligations to family.
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.
Cindy’s e-mail addresses the issue of “giving” and “doing”:
” I have been married for ten years and I had a huge problem with Caring and Feeding my husband. I did not know the time my mother put into caring and feeding my dad until I was having difficulty in my marriage.
It was then she helped me understand a wife’s role. My generation (I’m in my 30s) was raised in a very ‘me’ culture: If we’re not happy, then no one will be.
Luckily, my mom and dad taught me that in order to be happy and fulfilled, you must help, love, and care… for others! Even with a great home life as a child, I didn’t know that was so true in a marriage. I just thought you either have a great marriage or you don’t— that somehow marriage existed outside your efforts.
That was just one of my misassumptions. Another was that he should be as knowledgeable about things as my dad, with whom I constantly compared him. I constantly nagged instead of encouraged.
Then my dad gave me advice on how the male ego worked. I followed his direction, being encouraging and essentially being his cheerleader. Things changed dramatically. My mother’s advice, after my many mess-ups, was to love him.
Now, that sounds pretty basic, but I now truly understand what the word ‘love’ means. It’s a profoundly tender, passionate affection for someone; an affectionate concern for their well-being.
God’s greatest gift, after life itself, is love. God created him for you. Love your husband with all your heart and treat him like the gift from God that he is.”
The notion of love as a gift, as a verb, as an attitude, as a commitment, is a revelation to some. Unfortunately, love is usually looked at as a feeling that comes over you and makes you happy; and of course, if you’re happy, then you behave nicely.
Somehow, the notion is out there that you’re entitled to behave badly if you don’t feel that lovin’ feeling. More than that, if you don’t feel that lovin’ feeling, you’re entitled to get it somehow, somewhere, with someone else who’s available.
This sense of entitlement comes from a culture that has elevated feelings over obligation, responsibility, and commitment.
“I have a right to be happy, don’t I?” is not an infrequent comment from callers frustrated that their marriages haven’t put them in a perpetual Valium-drip state. And this focus on happiness helps them to rationalize their virtual abandonment of marriage and family, and their replacing it with hobbies, drugs and alcohol, work, affairs, whining in therapy or with friends or family, or hostility directed at those who love them.
This is not a minor issue. When marriages are distressed, the children are hurt and limited in their ability and hope to achieve happiness. This is the point I bring to the attention of many women callers who, with unrealistic demands and outrageously negative behaviors, determine that the solution to the problems in their home is divorce.
There are two issues that I force them to look at. The first is that children of divorce will suffer both in the present and in the future. The second is that they are wrong if they think a new pair of pants will change their lives— because the same skirt will be in the room!
I challenge them to do what they complain their spouses won’t or can’t do: change! I explain that men are indeed simple creatures, and if you change certain aspects of your interaction, like magic you will see changes in them, too.
I remind them that their current feelings do not need to change before they can change their behavior. I ask them to behave “as if ” things were lovely in their relationship : a call of affection during the day, a kiss at the door, a nice outfit when at home, a request for his opinion about something to do with the family, a comment of appreciation for something well done, a hug, a good meal, a back rub, some alone time after work before dealing with plumbing or financial problems, and a cuddle at bedtime ….
Invariably, the women protest. Why should they have to be nice when things aren’t exactly the way they want them ?
Clifford , a listener, e-mailed about this attitude: “What ever happened to sweetness? If you act like a *****, you will be treated like a *****. I asked my wife once if she wanted something, as she was being unusually nice.
She angrily said to me ‘I would never be nice to anyone to get them to do something for me. That is sucking up!’
So, what is the alternative? Treat them like Sh **? A man takes care of his woman and a woman should take care of her man! What a concept!”
What surprised me when I went to my Web site, where I’d asked listeners to send me contributions for this book, was the avalanche of expressed pain from husbands— not so much anger, but pain. It may be a surprise for many women to imagine that their husbands are in pain because of their behavior toward them.
In all fairness, men do tend to be more stoic than women; they try to be strong and carry on no matter what. I do not fault that at all.
That is a description of masculinity, one that has been under attack from a feminized culture that denies the importance of such inner strength and fortitude. Without those and other masculine characteristics, much of Western civilization would not have evolved. Think about the self-control and self-denial necessary in exploration or combat or survival under ferocious conditions.
I do believe that it’s to the betterment of men and society that women temper and civilize these masculine characteristics; however, to deny the reality and value of masculine traits altogether is cruel toward boys and men, not to mention foolish, as it undermines the home and country.
That men do not emote pain, hurt, and despair like women do seems to mean to some women that men are not feeling anything. The truth is men suck it up and just try to get along in life in general and with us in particular.
Women should not measure or interpret a man’s heart, soul, intent, or feelings based upon their own reactions.
Women cry and talk; men don’t ruminate on feelings, they try to do something about the situation. I guess that makes men lousy “girlfriends,” but very helpful “partners” if women would respect their uniqueness.
Ray, a listener, signed himself “Frustrated and depressed husband”:
“I hear many of the calls from women who sound so much like my wife. Their disdain for their obligations to their husbands is far too familiar. It is agonizing to listen and to know that I live with the indifference of a woman just like those callers. I can’t describe the frustration, depression, and finally, the utter despair that is the result of twenty-four years of neglect.
I can’t do justice to the efforts that I have made to salvage a relationship that should be the cornerstone of our family, but is instead a millstone around my neck. I can’t explain to you the progression from loving and nurturing husband, through concerned and understanding spouse, to frustrated and repressed male, and angry, depressed curmudgeon, all the way to desperate wretch.
Just know that you must write this book. If you can save just one family, you must write this book.”
Ray was not alone in his lamentation. Too many men are living in this pain, having given up any hope of happiness after making every attempt to give their wives what they say they want so that they will treat their husbands nice.
What do women want?
Jill, a listener, sent me this Internet “joke” about “The Perfect Husband”: “A new Perfect Husband Shopping Center opened where a woman could go to choose from among many men to find the perfect husband. It was laid out on five floors, with the men increasing in positive attributes as you ascended the floors.
The only rule was that once you open the door to any floor, you must choose a man from that floor, and if you go up a floor, you can’t go back down except to leave the store.
So, a couple of girlfriends go to the store to find a man to marry.
The first-floor sign reads: ‘These men have high-paying jobs and love kids.’
The women read the sign and say, ‘Well, that’s wonderful… but,’ and wonder what’s on the next floor.
The second -floor sign reads : ‘These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, and are extremely good looking.’
‘Hmmm,’ say the girls. ‘Wonder what’s further up?’
The third -floor sign reads: ‘These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, and will help with the housework.’
‘Wow!’ say the women. ‘Very tempting… but there’s more further up!’
The fourth-floor sign reads: ‘These men have high-paying jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, will help with the housework, and are great in bed.’
‘Oh, mercy me. But just think! What must be awaiting us further up?!’ say the women. So, up to the fifth floor they go.
The fifth-floor sign reads: ‘This floor is just to prove that women are impossible to please.’ ” Oops.
Here’s an example of “I love you… now change into my perfect husband”:
DR. LAURA: Nikki, welcome to the program.
NIKKI: I would like to know when it is appropriate for me to butt into my fiancé’s life and when it isn’t.
DR. LAURA: Why is it you think you have to butt into his life in many different arenas?
You don’t like him as he is?
NIKKI: I love him as a person, but there are certain things , like manners, he wasn’t brought up with. His parents were hippies and let him do whatever he wanted. When I met him and we were walking across the street and I had high heels on and it was in the middle of winter, he didn’t try to help me across the street.
DR. LAURA: In the dead of winter why were you walking around in high heels in the first place if you couldn’t walk normally in them?
NIKKI: We were out to a fancy dinner.
DR. LAURA: People can wear sensible shoes no matter where they go. Okay, so you wore silly shoes and he didn’t throw you over his shoulder.
NIKKI: What about such things as manners? When he comes over to my parents’ house and he puts his face about an inch from the food and says, ‘Wow, this smells really great!’?
DR. LAURA: I think that is very complimentary.
NIKKI: Even if his face was right above the food?
DR. LAURA: Well, how else would he smell it?
NIKKI: I don’t know…. Okay.
DR. LAURA: Nikki, if you are ashamed of him, get rid of him . If you are ashamed of him, leave him alone.
NIKKI: I’m not ashamed of him. Nobody is perfect. I am totally in love with him. What about him working out and eating better?
DR. LAURA: Nikki, get a different man. Stop beating this one to death. I am really sad that you pick a guy, say you are totally in love with him, but keep pointing out how he is totally unsatisfactory to you. That is insulting. That is not love. If you want an exercise maniac who reads Ms. Manners, get one of those. It is offensive and demoralizing to men when we women types grab on to them and then want to remold them in our image of the perfect man or perfect husband.
NIKKI: That is true.
DR. LAURA: It doesn’t make them feel better about themselves.
NIKKI: Yeah , he does feel horrible about himself when I do that.
DR. LAURA: How cruel are you being? How nuts is he to keep taking it?
NIKKI: True. He doesn’t have much self-esteem, so he just kind of takes it.
DR. LAURA: There must be a reason you want this kind of situation with a man. I don’t know, maybe it gives you a sense of superiority.
NIKKI: I’m sure that’s part of the problem.
Ouch. That problem is a frequent one, especially with women over marinated in the most negative beliefs of the women’s movement— that is, that society and men will oppress; they are the enemy; do not submit; terminate or dominate. And men are easily dominated with negativity from their woman.
As I pointed out earlier, since men are simple creatures who come from a woman, are nurtured and brought up by a woman, and yearn for the continued love, admiration, and approval from a woman, it makes them vulnerable to their woman’s moods, desires, tantrums, criticisms, disappointments, dissatisfactions, angers, and rejections. Women need to better appreciate the magnitude of their power and influence over men, and not misuse or abuse it. Ladies, it won’t make you happier.