I am curious to know in a practical way what that really means. How does a woman cherish her man? Books like The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, by Laura Schlessinger, may lack real depth, they do make a valid point. I know of many men who would love it if their wives would on a regular basis treat them to a home cooked meal, a back massage, or a great night of sex. They don't feel cherished. Dr. Laura's simple (simplistic?) thesis is that if wives did these kind of things more often their husbands would be more attentive to their needs and desires which would make for a happier marriage.
The specifics of what the wife does for the husband matters less than the fact that the wife makes a regular concerted effort to please him. Don't take me wrong – a good marriage takes the combined effort of both the husband and the wife. I do understand it needs to be a two way street. But my wife has on several occasions commented on how often some of her female friends bitterly complain about their husbands. When she asks what they do for their husbands to make them feel cherished, they don't seem to have much of an answer.
This leads me to ask, do women feel it is part of their duty as a wife to take care of their husbands? Is it just a quaint, old-fashioned notion that no longer has any value in the modern world? Does being taken in hand have any effect on how a wife treats her husband?
My wife takes very good care of me. She is very good at taking care of my needs. She does so because she loves me and wants to be a good wife. She also feels it is her duty to do these things for me. For example, she cooks for me almost every night, fixes my plate and brings it to me at the dinner table. I have never required her to do so. I have never told her to get her behind in the kitchen and fix my supper. Perhaps it is her traditional upbringing that motivates her actions. But I think she is motivated by something else, something more meaningful.
I offer this only as an example, not as a road map of what a wife must do. Your husband may prefer other ways that you could demonstrate your loving concern for him. I liked the way Solomon in Proverbs put it:
An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will lack no gain.
If "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" is a simple book, I think it's the kind of simplicity that many marriages need. In fact, it was after I read Dr. Laura's book that I began a concerted effort to cherish and focus on my husband. This has enhanced our marriage more than I can say--in fact, it lead to this website and the whole "taken in hand" experience.
Stephen asked for specifics and these are a few of the things I do: I go to bed at the same time as my husband and make myself available for sex, a back rub, a head rub, or just a listening ear--whatever he needs or desires. He works very long hours and isn't home for dinner, so I cook his favorite foods on the weekends, rather than asking him to take me out. I figure I can go out to dinner during the week. I make a point to thank him at least weekly for working so hard and providing so well for our family. Recently, I wrote him a letter detailing all of the reasons I love him-I put 44 reasons, one for each year of his life.
Of course, as Stephen points out, this is not all "give, give, give." Dr. Laura was correct when she said that such attention earns a woman all of the love in return that she wants. My husband continues to amaze me with the ways in which he demonstrates his love and concern for me.
You asked if women felt it was part of their duty to take care of their husbands. Actually I do not really consider being a wife a job. I do not really look at it as there is a list of things I should do as part of my job as a wife. We both cook and clean up. When he is home he just does things around the house and with the kids. We met as students and we have always been this way. We are partners, we work together.
One thing I do understand, and do differently is give him the respect that he deserves. This is a complete change of attitude for me.
I'm going fishing this morning - in fact, I'll be leaving in a few minutes. After cooking a nice dinner for me last night, my missy packed a fishing lunch for me and had it ready to go when I got up a few minutes ago. She went to bed early with me last night to take care of me there too. Think I'm not a happy camper? Cherish goes both ways, and I do my best to make sure that she is cherished and taken care of in those areas that are important to her.
Oh, you say it all to well Stephen. GT is what I call an old-fashioned girl, one that prepares meals and makes sure that my clothes are clean and keeps a very tighty home. These are things that never go unnoticed in my eyes and are an expression of her love and caring for me. I feel very privelaged to be treated in this manner. I have witnessed the otherside of the broad spectrum of relationships and I think that I would feel somewhat hollow and not cared for or apreaciated if GT didn't do some of the things that she does do for me.
It's when I read comments like these that I'm glad my husband doesn't pay much attention to this site. If he starts reading about all these perfect wives he's going to start getting ideas. Wives like these are a menace to low-achievers like me. I would think it unlikely that he'll ever come across Dr Laura's book, but I shall keep a sharp eye on him just in case.
You asked if women felt it was part of their duty to take care of their husbands.
Perhaps I chose a word that is now in disfavor among many.
Certainly, I agree with you when you say you want to do things for your husband because you respect him. It is the ideal. I know that my wife loves and respects me, and yet I also know that she sometimes does things for me because she knows it needs to be done no matter how she may feel at the particular moment. She took a sacred vow to love honor and obey. When someone takes a sacred (substitute your prefered word here) vow they are duty bound to fulfill the committment they made. There are times when my wife and I don't get along. It doesn't stop me from doing those things that are necessary for the family or just for her. I do it because I made a committment. Yes, of course I do it because deep down I know I love her, even when she is being a pain in the butt (she may differ over who the real pain in the butt is). But there are times when doing ones duty is necessary.
Actually I do not really consider being a wife a job. I do not really look at it as there is a list of things I should do as part of my job as a wife.
Well this is where you and my wife differ. Perhaps it is my wife's traditional upbringing that causes her to feel that there is a "list" of things she should do because she is a wife. As I have stated in the past, we live in a fairly traditional marriage. Many of the chores are divided along traditional lines. She cooks, cleans the house, buys the groceries, decorates, sews when it is needed etc. We have a small farm and along with my regular job takes up much of my time. I do help out when asked or when I see she needs help. No, I do not sit in a chair and read the paper while she is working. I am not above scrubbing the kitchen floor or helping her prepare a meal. Some might scornfully ridicule my wife for being this way, but I find her to be an exceptional woman who is committed to doing her best to make our house a home. Some may call me sexist, but I do think women have an innate ability to make a house a home. Women add a special touch to a home in a way that I don't think a man can equal. But hey, that's just me.