Dear Dr. Laura,
I'm a huge Democrat and a self-professed bleeding-heart liberal, but I had to write to tell you: I LOVE YOU. You've changed my life.
My mom's been an alcoholic for 30 years and is 3 times divorced. Dad was good, but absent after they divorced when I was 2 - he supported me financially, but I saw him like 6 times per year. We are very close now. My family has a history of women putting men down and divorcing them if they (the men) refuse to be abused or berated.
Mom's alcoholism created chaos most of my life and instilled in me self-loathing, anxiety, perfectionism and bouts of alcohol abuse and an eating disorder. I dated a guy who hit me and another guy who was emotionally torturous. I can now answer the question, "Why?" when asked why anyone would stick around for abuse: I was used to it! I didn't know how bad it was.
BUT I didn't just take it, I also dealt it.
When my husband and I married 5 years ago, I (unknowingly but definitely) treated him the way I'd seen men treated by my mother. I was mean, dismissive, and a basket case.
Two years after our wedding, I found out he was having an affair with a girl from his past. I immediately set about blaming him, trying to figure out why HE, the evil one, would do something so terrible to ME, the victim. No introspection for me, though.
Serendipitously, at the same time, I got a car with XM Radio. I almost immediately heard you mention “The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands.” Curious, I bought and read it right away. I decided to give your methods a go and forced myself to be patient, as my husband was incredulous with the new me. It took a couple of weeks before I noticed him smile at me more and laugh at my jokes, but it was a glimmer of hope. In two more weeks, he softened. Eureka!
I kept it up and was hopeful. After soul-searching, crying, and discussions, we decided to work hard to stay together. I changed, apologized and he did too. The bimbo was out; I was in.
We would have NEVER had a chance had I not read your book. It sounds crazy, but for the first time, I realized men have feelings.
Today, we're far more in love than when we married. Mom's still a crazy alcoholic, but I keep her at arm's length to save my life and my marriage. My husband and I now WORSHIP each other. We're SO in love and are so happy. I listen to you religiously and I learn something new every day. My progressive friends can't believe I love you, but when they have marriage trouble, I buy them your book. Then they thank me. Or they don't read it and end up divorced or miserable.
Your book saved my marriage and you taught me how to handle most situations. You continue to help me maintain my sanity and you've taught me how to ditch my angry-alcoholic-mother's view of relationships and life in general.