The only people willing to say so are right-wing conservatives, and they end up preaching to the choir; but I'm hard-pressed to think of a troubled marriage that couldn't be somewhat improved by a wife's adoption of a few of Laura's recommendations. Laura to be a less fascinating cultural figure these days than she once was.
But the exciting feel of the show doesn't come across on the printed page. Almost any marriage not marred by what Laura calls the Three A's—affairs, addictions, and abuse, any of which she deems grounds for divorce—can be quickly improved by a wife's simple decision to stop nagging her husband, make sure he has a hot dinner at the end of the day, and increase the amount of hanky-panky she's willing to offer.
What in the world are the parents doing living so far away from each other? The first time I heard her tell a divorced father that he should give up on his first chance at real love—he had met his soul mate during a trip out of state and wanted to move and marry her—so that he could stay close by his children, I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing.
She actually wanted the man to drop by his ex-wife's house every afternoon to help with homework and the yard work and play some ball with his sons, which struck me as a radical notion—as indeed it is.
The ball is in her court in terms of whether she wants to remain friends with you.
I wouldn’t characterize you as a bad person but you will have to live with the consequences of the decision you made.
The newest book combines the "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" philosophy with the "Surrendered Wife" ethos. That a married woman has sexual obligations to her husband once went without saying; now the very notion is radical in the extreme.
To Laura, men are simple creatures, their psychological complexity hovering somewhere between that of Boo Radley and Mr. Our culture is quick to point out the responsibilities husbands have to wives—they should help out with the housework, be better listeners, understand that a woman wants to be more than somebody's mother and somebody's wife—but very reluctant to suggest that a wife has responsibilities to her husband.
I didn't always agree with her: she opposes legal abortion, which I support; she's against premarital sex, of which I dimly recall being distinctly and unapologetically fond.
She once harangued a mother who was clearly at sheer wits' end that she shouldn't hire an afternoon babysitter—advice I could hardly bear to listen to, I felt so keenly the mother's desperation and exhaustion.
I say this somewhat wearily, for it is no easy task defending this woman.
To begin with there is her manner, which is famously off-putting; she is by turns cloyingly sentimental and caustically pragmatic.
A conventional psychotherapist would proceed from the assumption that the man's happiness is the primary consideration in this scenario. Laura doesn't give a whit about his happiness; she cares only that he fulfill his obligation to his children.