As promised, here comes the second post in the series:
Mrs Andelin devotes a whole sub-chapter to illustrate the ways how children are put first. She discusses the situation where the husband wants to move to further his business, but the wife refuses, because she fears it will disadvantage the children (I know from personal experience that it happens more often than we think. Usually, it goes along the line that the children will miss their school friends/have to learn a new language etc).
Mrs Andelin points out that there is a difference between endangering the welfare of one's children and pampering them so that they would never experience the slightest discomfort. The same holds true for choosing a house. Wives can press their husband to go beyond their means, motivating it as the necessity "for the sake of the children", but, as Helen states, the husband often isn't "inclined to place his children's wishes ahead of his own." (F.W., Bantam Books 1992, p.91).
Another problem situation is when the husband has to compete for attention with his own children. Mrs Andelin states that some wives actually enjoy their husband working long hours away from home, so that they can devote themselves to their kids without his interference. In this case, the poor guy is basically reduced to the paycheck he brings. Helen also warns the wives against buying things for the children the family can't afford and being more interested in one's children than one's husband.
However, children aren't the only thing which the wives tend to put first. Some women are so obsessed with their housekeeping that the husbands feel themselves strangers in their own households, afraid to drop a crumb. To quote the book, "create a home, not a showplace. (idem, p.93), or, in other words, the king is more important than his castle.
Some women ignore their husbands by spending countless hours on their appearance (though every self-respecting person should try and look his best at any occasion, like all other things, it can be overdone), can't cut the apron strings tying them to their parents, or are more interested in their husbands' money and status than in them as human beings. There are also ladies who prevent their husbands from expanding their businesses because they are afraid to lose financial security.
To quote Mrs Andelin: "...when you make a man number one you must also make his work, plans, and goals number one." (p.94).
Next time, we'll discuss among other things, what to do when a man comes home, and whether he should make you number one.