Monday, December 8, 2014

Make Him Number One

This is a piece of advice from Helen Andelin's famous book Fascinating Womanhood. We often forget how our husbands need our attention, especially when we are busy with children, friends and our own projects. We forget to make our husbands a priority in our life and it can lead to all sorts of marital problems.

As Mrs Andelin points out: "A man wants a woman who will place him at the top of her priority list, not second but first." (F.W., p.67, 1992 Bantam Books, emphasis mine). This desire may be subconscious, but if it's not met it "surfaces violently" and may cause a man "to form bitter resentments towards his wife and even his children." (idem)

This is something we as a society have totally forgotten. Being a devoted wife will more often than not bring ridicule upon one's head. It's still kinda OK for a woman to devote herself to children, but her husband? The stereotypical "Stepford wife" of the 1950s bringing slippers to the man coming home from work is still the object of relentless mockery, even though she has all but disappeared out of the public view.

However, as Mrs Andelin rightly points out, a man is a human being and he doesn't like being reduced to a walking ATM, "a social asset" or "a ticket to security". He wants to be loved for being himself, not for serving as a means to an end (don't we all want it?).

There are many ways a woman can make her husband feel neglected. It's obviously quite common when the wife has a career of her own, but it happens with homemakers, too. In fact, according to Helen Andelin, all women have this tendency and should constantly be on guard against it.

One of the things most often placed in front of one's husband are children. Motherly devotion is undoubtedly a noble feeling, but as Mrs Andelin illustrates with her story of a certain Clara, a husband who is constantly forced to play second fiddle to his own kids will grow resentful and may even grow indifferent towards them.

Helen gives one rule to keep in mind:

Don't put the comforts and whims of your children ahead of your husband's basic needs, and further adds that a woman can "serve both husband and children without conflict" and that a happy husband makes for a happy marriage and a happy home (p.90).

In my next post I''ll write more about this topic. Stay tuned!


  1. Thank you for posting this. You are right. Also your children will grow and leave the home and you and your husband will be together after that. If you do not keep close to each other you will feel like strangers when you are the only two rummaging around your home! :-) Do not neglect your sweet husband. Sometimes he may act like a grumpy bear but at times we do not remain sweet 24/7 either. I know I have been home and have my share of problems at times. Yet he has been out in the world working hard to earn a living to allow me to be home raising his children and making a home. Have you been out in public lately? People are not kind and considerate most of the time and he is out there all the time! I have been criticized at times by other women for spoiling my own husband. I only do what I think is right. He works hard for us and is a very good man. Haven't they heard of do unto others as you would have them do unto you? You made a commitment. A covenant with him when you married to be together. How do wives think their husbands should treat them when they themselves are not treated kind by their wives? Are they supposed to forget the unkind way they are treated and go out of their way to be extra good to them? Would They themselves do that? I doubt it. It is a two way street. :) Also you should bring up your children to respect your husband. They watch us and learn from what we do and say too. What are we teaching them? I am looking forward to reading part two! Sarah

  2. You know, Sarah, old books like FW stress how difficult it is to make a living and how hard a man's life is, however, we have collectively forgotten it since feminists started representing women as eternal victims, which is, of course, untrue. Instead of being praised for working hard, fathers nowadays are criticised for not doing their fair share!

    As for grumpiness, well, as you said, we all are grumpy at times, especially early in the morning:)

  3. Hi again!

    I was going to comment more on previous post, but I'll comment here because this post seems like a sequel to the previous :-)

    I was going to add that if someone has problems with being spontaneous it might be good to remember that your husband *is* your Prince and he likes to be treated like one. HE likes to be considered more important than dirty dishes...

  4. Hi, Miriam!

    Yes, it was meant as a sequel. I think more often than not it's done unconsciously, just like Mrs Andelin points out. We simply tend to forget that our husbands have needs, too, and there was time when we actually enjoyed being asked out and stuff and didn't think about dirty dishes all the time:)

    1. Oh, the rosy time of young adults! Now we are seasoned and know how to run a household effectively... what to do and when... ;-) We poor homemakers are in danger to throw the husband with the dishwater :-D

      What do you think, would it be nice to be young again? :-) Would it be nice to dine out if I 'forgot' to make a dinner? Or if it accidentally was burnt...;-)

  5. Who wouldn't like to be forever 18, or at least 28:) And yet, every age has its own charms, and as we go through life we experience many things, some of them unpleasant, I'm not so sure I'd like to go through some of these challenges again. I prefer to think that every age has its own blessings. There are many older people who enjoy life, one just must try and maintain positive outlook and mental flexibility and not turn into a Hyacinth from "Keeping Up Appearances". I think every woman should watch these TV series as an example of how not to grow older:) But then her daddy, on the other hand...