This month, I’ve been on an unofficial marriage improvement journey of sorts.
I shared how I overcame the myth that almost destroyed my marriage, how I learned to stop badmouthing my husband to my girlfriends, and I took some time to reflect on all the wonderful lessons about marriage that my husband is passing on to our son.
And in my quest to better my marriage, I borrowed a book from my mother-in-law that caught my eye. (Sidenote: our power went out for three days this week and we camped out at our in-laws the entire time…I highly recommend it.) The title was what did it: The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands by none other than the infamous Dr. Laura.
I have to admit, I’m not really a Dr. Laura fan. She’s a bit, well intense, for my liking, but I was curious to find out what she had to say about keeping husbands happy, so away I read.
And um, wow.
Turns out, Dr. Laura has a lot to say about the “proper” way to keep your husband happy.
Some of the advice I agreed with, like reminding women that men are creatures with feelings too and not our emotional punching bags, that your husband really is turned on when you are secure with your own body, and that nagging never helped anyone.
But there was one piece of advice in the book that I have to say, I had a hard time swallowing.
Dr. Laura says that a woman should never turn down her husband in the bedroom. Like, ever.
In the book, Dr. Laura related how she set one caller on her radio show straight. The caller was complaining that her husband wasn’t being understanding about how she was too tired after a long day of work and caring for kids to have sex. The passage reads,
“The caller asked, ‘Should I be expected to have sex when I don’t want to just because he wants to?’ I took a deep breath and answered, ‘Most of the time, yes.’ It’s called, I reminded her, a ‘loving obligation.’ “
She goes on to cite all kinds of other supporting facts for her argument, saying that as wives, we expect our husbands to do a lot of things they don’t feel like, like adhere to the social calendars we set, or scrape our windshields off, and then likens the act of not having sex with our husbands as often as they may like to a legitimate form of infidelity–in that we are intentionally not meeting the needs of our spouse.
“If women would show more compassion for a man’s physical needs, they would find themselves happier and better able to survive and confront all the annoying challenges of life,” she writes.
She also points out that many women complain that they aren’t “feeling it” because their own emotional needs aren’t getting met from their husbands, but in a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, Dr. Laura maintains that women need to make more of an effort to meet their husband’s physical needs, as sex to a man is more of a form of affection and love, and that he will in turn make you a happier woman, which will in turn only improve your marriage. Apparently, the secret formula goes a little something like this: more sex = happier spouses = happier marriage.
I definitely had to re-read this entire chapter twice because I literally couldn’t believe what I was reading.
On one hand, my thoughts went a little something like this:
And then on the other, I thought:
Oh my gosh, could this be right??
I have to admit, crazy as her theory sounds, I had honestly never thought about how sex to to many men is more of a “love language” to them than it is to us as women; my “love language” is more about spending time together, talking, or just being close. I hadn’t thought about how much a husband might literally need sex to express his love to his wife. That was kind of an eye-opener to me.
And then, as she went on to point out, when you really think about it, has there ever, in the history of your marriage, been a time where you had sex with your husband and then thought, “Huh. I really wish we hadn’t just done that. I’m so miserable now!”
What’s so wrong with sex with our husbands again?
Or, when I considered how I would feel if my husband ever rejected my advances in the bedroom–let’s be honest, I’m like a lot of wives and consider it only by my grace that the light turns green–and I started to feel kind of bad.
Crazy or not, Dr. Laura’s book got to me. I’m not saying that I’ve actually taken her advice and haven’t “accidentally” fallen asleep before my husband in the past few days, but I am starting to wonder if maybe she just might be a teensy bit right…
Image via J&J Brusie Photography