(This commentary is taken from the book, The Rules, IIwritten by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. These are my thoughts on the book. I can't help but be amazed at the similarities between The Rules and Fascinating Womanhood.)

Whether we like it or not, there are certain rules that pertain to relationships between women and men. These rules are based upon laws of basic human nature. They work.

To think women and men should treat each other exactly alike is unrealistic. To think you can treat a love interest like a buddy is absurd! The man must have an attraction and be the pursuer in the relationship. Relationships approached any other way just will not yield satisfactory results.

You might want things to be different. You may not like The Rules, but you will like the results. The Ruleshave been criticized for being old fashioned and unfeministic (to which I say a hearty, BRAVO!) The authors try to defend The Rulesfrom these allegations. What didn't work 50 years ago still doesn't work today. Human nature has not changed because it is built in by our Creator.

Although the book is mostly written for single women wanting to get to the altar with Mr. Right, there is an excellent chapter on "A Rules Refresher For Married Women." This chapter is the focus of the remainder of this editorial. Below you will find 16 rules for married women.

  1. Start with your looks.
    If you happen to have a husband who is paying less attention to you than you would like you have to ask yourself if it is in any way warranted. Take an honest look at yourself. Do you need to work on your weight? Do you need to work on your hair or nails? Do you dress in nice clothing, or run around in sweats?

    It won't help to demand his attention. You need to begin on a program to improve your visibility. You are the woman he loves and married. Keep yourself up for the sake of your marriage.

  2. Use your mind.
    Just because you are married and have made your family your number one priority (which it should be) is no reason to let yourself become too narrow in focus. Keep up on current affairs, have some outside interests, do some volunteer work, have some friends, or even take up a new hobby or sport.

  3. Don't analyze and reanalyze your relationship or force him to talk about it.
    You've probably heard that one of the major differences in men and women is the amount of words we have to use up in conversation in a day. Most of us women not only have lots of words to use, but we love to use them to torture our husbands with heart-to-heart talks and questions about your relationship. We like to know what he's thinking and like to hear him avow his love for us. Big mistake. Work on yourself, be secure with yourself, gain your husband's attention, but talk to a friend if you need some deep conversation and he is not ready for it.

  4. Leave him alone.
    This is sort of related to the above point. Men are more inward and at times they need to unwind and relax. If he's watching a game or reading the news, let him do it in peace. It's better to leave him uninterrupted than to annoy him and possibly feel rejected or unloved. This most likely is not the case. Get involved in your own activities and let him seek you out. The man is the pursuer and it works this way even for married couples.

  5. Don't be a nag.
    Don't complain about the things your husband provides for you such as, the house, the income, the car, etc. Don't nag him about his friends. Quit complaining about jobs he needs to do around the house or yard. Instead of tearing him down, build up his confidence. Let him know how much you appreciate him and how happy you are. Sometimes these gripes are valid, but nagging is never the answer. Work on accepting him while making yourself the best you can be.

  6. Let him initiate romance.
    Perhaps your husband isn't as romantic as you would like. He married you and you shouldn't expect him to have to prove it daily. He may bring you flowers and gifts, if so, be grateful. But again, the best advice is to work on yourself and remember, you reap what you sow. If you go out of your way to make his life sweet, you may benefit in the end.

  7. Don't be jealous.
    Put your energy into being confident, fun and intelligent. Don't be clingy and worrying if he talks to another female. Jealousy is a flaw in your veneer. You need to have the attitude that your husband got quite a catch when he got you and that there are plenty of men who would be glad to have you.

  8. Take the high road with friends and family.
    It is doubtful you will get along with every person in his sphere. You must let your noble character qualities shine in cases where you clash with his friends or family. Don't belittle yourself by criticizing them. A man wants a woman he can look up to as being a better person than himself. Don't waste your time on cattiness.

  9. Try to compromise.
    What if you have opposite tastes and goals? You must be flexible and open-minded. Don't be stiff and rigid, but be ready to enjoy life with your man.

  10. Be quick to say you're sorry, preferably first.
    Fighting is a part of married life at times, I'm sad to say, but there are fights and then there are fights. Don't be mean, spiteful, hold grudges, hang onto hurts, and stay angry. Don't let the sun set on your anger. Be the one to make up first.

  11. Be neat.
    The authors tie this in to being sexy saying disorder - stockings hanging around, dirty clothes on the floor, papers strewn all over, dishes undone - is not sexy. Very true, but not the only reason. Disorder in the home shows disorder in the mind to my way of thinking. It hurts your progress and creativity. Besides, the home is your haven. You should strive to be successful in the area you operate best in.

  12. Be independent.
    Dependency on a man is a distinctly feminine characteristic. Men love to know their women depend on them, however, you need to have a balance. Can your husband depend on you in a crisis? Does he know you have inner strength and spiritual fortitude? Does he know you will be there for him when he needs you? I think sometimes we confuse "independence" with "strength". Men do not want another man, they want a woman - a feminine woman at that. If you are too independent and don't need him, you may find one day, he realizes it.

  13. Have time out together.
    Alone-time with your spouse is important and it's good to get out in a different atmosphere. Hire a sitter now and then.

  14. Lock the bedroom door.
    This is an excellent practice in any home. Make it a habit to lock the door all the time and you will relieve yourself of any embarrassment you may feel if you only lock it at "certain times."

  15. Say things nicely.
    You keep throwing water on your relationship if you speak with a sharp tongue, find fault, or use snippy answers. Especially, don't let little things bother you. It can be easy to do. Stresses and strains can build up and it's easy to take it out on those closest to you.

  16. Don't have exaggerated expectations.
    When you have expectations, and they aren't met, it's always a let down. I have found it's better to expect little, then when you get more, you are pleasantly surprised. If he's working long hours, don't brood over your lack of attention. If he didn't pick the right gift for you, don't show disappointment. Learn to enjoy the simple things of life.

More Station Master's Opinion Pages

First Steps in Winning the War
Stay at Home Women
Check Your Attitude
How to Be an Unforgettable Woman

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