Fascinating Womanhood/Surrendered Wife/Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands


I have read/been reading these three books. I liked Dr. Laura’s Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands because she’s very no-nonsense, and she makes a lot of great points about how many women bully and emotionally abuse their husbands. *Fascinating Womanhood *is also interesting because the author gives very clear instructions on how to behave with a husband so as to make him happy and, in turn, make YOU happy. *The Surrendered Wife *is the one I am still reading. She doesn’t focus on the scriptural/religious reasons for giving control over to the husband, but she does speak to women who have control issues.

I am an aggressive, assertive, sharp-minded woman. I married a mild, quiet, humble man. He likes women who are assertive, and I initially thought it was cool to be in charge, but I find that it’s not good to feed my inner control monster. I am trying to work on accepting the man I married, which sometimes means trying to find a place to be comfortable with the fact that he is passive and quiet.

Have any other women read any of these books and/or gone through this with their own marriages?


Huh…yeah, this would desribe me exactly. If my husband and I argue, it’s typically about this subject. I am working on trying not change him to fit my perfect little world, but I’m finding that it’s an automatic response sometimes. Just recognizing it lately has really been helpful for me in biting my tongue, but I have a long way to go.

My husband admits that he likes it that I’m in control much of the time and recognizes that he needs to step up. We often talk about how our roles seem to be reversed from the natural order of things, and how God knew what he was doing when he put us together because we balance each other out - otherwise, if I had married a man who was like me, I fear I would only become more rebellious than I already am.

So, do you think those books are helping you? Does your husband recognize the problem?


Dr. Laura’s Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands…

*I don’t mind her writings, but I find this book is for a particular type of situation. But I never ran into the situations in which she brings up. *


I definitely have this problem but I’m not sure how to solve it because I truly believe that I often know better than him in certain situations, especially with regards to parenting. How does one send the message to the husband that he is doing it wrong without usurping his leadership? I haven’t figured it out.


WELL as a husband I can tell you, IMO, you talk about it BUT never in front of the kids-in fact never in front of others. Chastise in private-praise in public.


Gee and at my house it’s “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy.”:whistle:

Inasmuch as I do often say that, I will tell you “momma” is happier when “poppa” is in charge.
Here’s what I figure…ok, he makes a request…is it illegal immoral or just a really bad move…is it harmful to me or the kiddoes…if not why not do it? The guy loves me. Why wouldn’t I want to do whatever I can to help him be happy? If I’m selfish enough to deny his request…well, it is llikely it will come back and bite me on the …you-know-what.
Oh yeah. Other important parts of this scenerio

  1. complete faithfulness to each other
  2. a willingness to talk about anything
  3. a desire to stay together no matter what
  4. constant prayer for each other.
  5. be willing to forgive
    We’re married 32 years Oct 12. We have just been blessed with a second grandchild, a little boy. God is awful good isn’t He!


This isn’t my biggest area of control problems, but I do still know where you’re coming from. In my situation, I have had to let him step in and parent my son, who is not his biological son. I found a fantastic man who was thrilled to marry a 30-plus woman with a child who isn’t his, and to be a father to that boy. (The biological father is not in the picture, and my husband is absolutely “daddy.”) When we got engaged, DH watched my son a few times while I worked. All I said was, “I’ve taken an inventory of fingers and toes. I expect them to all be there when I get back.” He got panicked the first time there was a poopy diaper, but I just laughed and said, “Oh, have fun figuring it out. Hint: Winnie the Poo is on the front of the diaper, Eeyore is on the back” and then I left him to it.

Sometimes, we have different ideas about parenting. Especially discipline. I believe in the VERY occassional spanking, but I can’t say that his ideas of when it’s appropriate are the same as mine. I had to tell him that spanking had no place in potty training. I’m seriously considering a total end to all spanking, since I’m ambiguous about it, anyway.

DH is much more relaxed about behavior at Mass. I want to train the kids to sit quietly and not crawl, climb, talk, scream, leave the pew, etc. With a toddler, this means you have to work on it constantly and I know the kid has limits to what he can handle, so I end up taking him out of the sanctuary at least twice every week. DH won’t even raise an eyebrow until the kid is running up the aisle.

If my son falls and is actually hurt, I will shove DH out of the way to get to him. Yesterday, he cut his lip on a tooth while falling off the arm chair. Not a biggie, but the mere site of blood brings this out in me. Poor DH, who is rather clumsy and lethargic by temperment, tries to get there and I will climb over him or elbow him aside in my race to get to my son.

But, yesterday, DH took my son out for a drive to give me a break. It occurred to me that I should tell him where the diapers are in the car or something, then I thought, “Oh, let him handle it.” The worst that will happen is he’ll have a wet butt. DH can, if he has to, buy some diapers.

DH gives him too many cookies, IMO, but they’re not poisonous. A BAD or incompetent father wouldn’t feed him at all. I see to it the kid’s diet is balanced, overall. So, if I leave them alone, I know he’ll be OK.


I think the issue is phrasing. If my husband misses an exit on the highway, I don’t say “You missed the exit!” with a hieghten tone and angst against him, I actually just say “Where are we going?” in a normal voice.


I wish my wife was more of a computer and forum geek, because she needs to read this thread! We’ve been married for only about three weeks now, but we’re already running into “new roommate” issues. This morning she was irritable and miserable to the point of tears because the house was a “disaster,” she said. In her book, “disaster” means there’s a shoe on the floor. Actually, we’re way beyond disaster because the bed isn’t made and I do, ahem, have a couple of small piles here and there…

Grace has taken the leadership roles in a couple of areas, most notably of which are finances. After a couple of days of consolidating bills and accounts, we are now a well-organized financial machine. And when it comes to organizing the house, again, she’s a rock star.

However, I’m starting to get that tense feeling I associate with my mom whenever she walks into a room, or whenever we get home from work. (We don’t work together, but we commute together.) My job is turning into a living hell, and when I get home, 12 hours after putting my suit on, it’s only then that I can begin to think about the things I want to do–either with my life or just that evening. But I feel my back tensing up as we start changing into casual clothes, and I feel downright GUILTY for picking up a book or turning on my computer. And then she hits me with it–“Honey, we really need to do X.” “Babe, if Y doesn’t get done, I’m going to scream.” Etc.

I understand that people are built differently. Particularly men and women. And I’d LOVE to take more of a leadership role, and I do when it comes to my little piles. But from my point of view her whole world revolves around making sure our little dollhouse is in perfect shape. That’s her interest, her THING. My interests are wildly divergent from hers–biking, hiking, reading, writing, teaching CCD, arguing with Protestants, whatever. I’m trying to purge myself of my selfishness, but damn it, I don’t see an unmade bed as a reason to cry.

Okay…I’m breathing slowly…

Tonight I’m bringing home chocolate and flowers just to keep some peace. But in this, the early stage of the marriage, I see dangerous precedents being set. It’s scaring the Hell INTO me…

So, uh, sorry to threadjack. I just logged on get some advice and I saw this thread. In conclusion, I guess I’ll just say I’ll go get her one of those books and continue to gaze at my navel in search of character flaws…


Oooo, that first year of marriage. hated it. trying to block it from my memory.

I have no advice except it is better to (calmly) talk it out than to suck it up.

However, if you have a dryer to move for her, move it!


sorry to hear about the “issues” but I have a question didnt you guys discuss stuff like this before you got married?


I am sorry that you are experiencing this conflict. You have married a controlling woman that might have some obsessive compulsive issues (sounds that way to me anyway) How do I know? I have a 16yr. old daughter that is exactly that! What proof do I have (besides the diagnosis when she was four)? She gets irrate with ME…her mother…if I leave laundry on the couch folded or unfolded…she gets on her hands and knees scrubbing floors after school sometimes…she absolutely loves bleach…(as a joke we bought her some for christmas)

I am trying to prepare her for her role as a wife, by explaining that no one could possibly be as driven as she is, and she’ll have to work on letting perfection go, as it is an unobtainable goal.

My advice to you is do help out with the housework, but point out that perfection is not your thing. I would also tell her exactly what you told us…she is not your mother, and I’d bet she doesn’t want to be either! Get Dr. Laura’s book…it is perfect for you.

I myslef am something of a slob…it drives my D nuts…but we complement each other nicely…I have a feeling you two will also as soon as these issues work out. I have heard the first year can be difficult…Communicate your thoughts…

Congratulations on your marriage BTW
God Bless


Actually, no. We took on a few other, more pressing issues such as:

*]Whether she would convert to Catholicism, and if not, whether she would consent to raising the kids Catholic (yes on both);

*]Whether we would live in the cesspool of D.C., or the fresh, green-and-blue of the Pacific Northwest (You can guess my position on that, and I lost);

*]Follow up to previous bullet point: whether we would live IN the cesspool, or just on it’s bank (we decided the bank was good enough); and,

*]Whether to include her virulently anti-Catholic family in the wedding plans. (That was an easy “no.”).

Those are just some highlights. I’m finding that many of our budding domestic issues were simply beyond prediction. We both like a neat ship, but we disagree over what’s acceptable…


I do recall conflict resoultion being part of the Pre-Canna classes…but yes you are right those things mentioned are important :smiley:


I hear there is a pretty vibrant Catholic young adult community in D.C. Perhaps you two could get involved in some Catholic young couple stuff. From there you each could get advice and support from other newly weds who are also living the faith…

As always, just my :twocents:


In order not to threadjack - let me say first, I’ve read “Fascinating Womanhood” and consider it good for kindling in the fireplace. There are good books by faithful Catholics out there re: marriage - after you get through those, move to the non-Catholic stuff. You will be better prepared to chew the wheat and spit out the sticks…

I’ve suggested many times “The Seven Levels of Intimacy” by Matthew Kelly.

Now, to the newlywed Montanaman - how about working out a “schedule” - for example, Tuesday and Thursday are “at home project nights”, Wed is Bible Study - Monday and Friday evenings are VEG FESTS (reading books, watching movies, playing scrabble, listening to music - whatever just to unwind and relax)?


I would NOT recommend buying any of the three books for your wife. ESPECIALLY one called “The Surrendered Wife.”

Your wife is just going to have to come to grips with the issues she’s having with you. It is very, very frustrating to be the one who cares more about having a tidy house.

If, after a while, things don’t improve, then you could give her the Dr. Laura book. It may still make her mad that you bought her a book on how to do her job, but I think it’s the one least likely to make her angry. Plus, it’s full of really good advice on how to just plain accept the man you married.

You can try to help, but you probably won’t be able to fix everything. Make the bed every morning or do something else like that. Do try to get out of the habit of leaving things on the floor. Don’t expect her to be thrilled and stop complaining, though. She just has to adjust.

And, sometimes, you just can’t win. I just got back from the grocery store. I’m really big and pregnant and carrying groceries in is a pain. My two-year-old needed his diaper changed and I needed to pee. I wanted to tell my husband to bring in the groceries. He was upstairs making the bed. Now, I didn’t say anything except, “Oh, thank you, sweetie.” but somewhere deep inside, I was annoyed that he wasn’t bringing in the groceries! :wink:


Actually, I think it’s a really good book. There are a few minor points I don’t agree with her on, but I do agree with most of it.

I’ve spent years being strong and independent and taking care of myself. I know I can do it. I am just sick of it. :wink:


And, sometimes, you just can’t win. I just got back from the grocery store. I’m really big and pregnant and carrying groceries in is a pain. My two-year-old needed his diaper changed and I needed to pee. I wanted to tell my husband to bring in the groceries. He was upstairs making the bed. Now, I didn’t say anything except, “Oh, thank you, sweetie.” but somewhere deep inside, I was annoyed that he wasn’t bringing in the groceries!

Well, a guy has to learn to read the situation–and fast. Perhaps he was thinking “If I make the bed, I’ll get kudos.” But in reality, he failed the test.

The other morning, I read her romantic poetry by Neruda, made coffee and brought it to her, rubbed her back a little bit, and then went to make breakfast. In the middle of simultaneously flipping eggs and bacon, she said “Hey! We have enough money to go buy blinds! Want to go?”

I had CCD to prep for, not to mention a half-dozen other little things. I promptly said no. That was all it took for a fight.

Anyway, enough of this. I’m sorry for the threadjack! I’m outta this one.


It doesn’t sound like you’re reading her love language. She apparently thinks you ‘care’ if you take pride in the house and show interest in making it a home. I would skip the breakfast making and romantic poetry and schedule in some time for doing laundry or shopping blinds.

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