April 11, 2011

Is This Stuff Every Husband Should Know?

This last week I was sent a newly released book to review by Eric San Juan called Stuff Every Husband Should Know. It was a short book that I finished while reading off and on throughout a single day. It’s published by Quirk Book which releases a lot of “Pocket Companion” books.

What I Liked
For what it was, I enjoyed the book. It was not written to be the end-all manual for husbands, but a fun overview of some common marital topics and a warning to the newly married man to avoid common pitfalls. It provided some genuinely useful “man” information such as “How to Choose Great Jewelry”, “How To Remember Things Men Don’t Remember”, and “How to Do Simple Wall Repairs.” It gave great ideas like “Six Great, Easy Dates” and “Five Great, Classy Dates”, as well as “How To Serve Breakfast In Bed”. And, it provided some good relational food for thought like, “Be the Master of One Meal A Day”, “How Not To Fight Over Money”, and “How To Make Decisions.” The chapters weren’t very long but generally provided some good information.

What I Didn’t Like
The book is written to be light hearted and funny which worked well when it was actually funny, but it was awkward and felt forced when it wasn’t. One of the first things that didn’t sit well with me (and actually caused me to tell my wife I didn’t think I was going to like it at all) was that the book seemed to be based on the idea that “Marriage is hard, so here’s how to survive” instead of “Marriage is hard, here’s how to thrive.” It seemed to find it’s foundation in the stereotypical husband jokes and work its way out of that muck, rather than start fresh with a message of hope. It felt like a book about dealing with marriage rather than a book about falling in love with marriage. Which, as any visitor to this site needs to know, that is a very important thing to me.

As with any book you read, you’ve got to pick out the bones, and one of the biggest bones I had to pick with this book was a chapter on how to manage one’s erotic materials. The idea was how to keep it safe and secure from anyone else including your wife if you weren’t already open about it. If there’s any message I want resounding from this site is that honesty in marriage is the key to a happy and intimate relationship. Porn destroys marriages, especially when it’s kept secret. Whether or not it’s common doesn’t change the fact that it’s dangerous. The irony to me was that the author often, when telling husbands to do hard things, challenged them with the words “You are a man, you can adapt. You can overcome any obstacle.” Aparently getting rid of an addiction to porn didn’t warrant that kind of admonition.

Since at first glance it looks as though I didn’t like this book twice as much as I liked it, let me say again that, for the most part, I enjoyed it. In all fairness that chapter on porn was a few pages in a book that was full of some good information. If nothing else, it all got me thinking about my own relationship with my wife, and even sparked some conversation. And that, dear husbands, is always a good thing.

Want A Free Copy?
I asked Quirk Books if they’d be willing to give out a copy or two to our readers, and they graciously offered to send five. So if you’d like to a chance to receive a copy of Stuff Every Husband Should Know, simply post your best piece of “Every Husband Should Know” advice in the comments below (keep in clean) by Friday, April 15 at 10pm EST. I will choose five winners using Random.org and announce them on Saturday. Only one comment per person, please. And sorry, but only U.S. readers are eligible.

So what is that one piece of husbandry advice you’d give to someone getting ready to be married?

The book is Available at Amazon in hardback and for the Kindle here.


  1. Husbands, and then fathers, should get in the habit of becoming last. The wife should come first, the family should come first, and the kids should come first. This might not be a hard and fast rule, but it's good new mentality to work to adopt.

  2. Enter marriage with eyes wide-open; after marriage, keep your eyes half-closed.

  3. Don't focus on what's missing in life; you will overlook what's there. Tell or show her in some way, every day, that you love her.

  4. I like to live by philosophy, "Happy wife, happy life," but I suppose the best advice for being a husband came from the minister who conducted our pre-marital counseling. He said, during an argument with your spouse, you should ask yourself - Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?

  5. Always make time to sit and listen to your wife. Giving her your full attention lets her know you truly care about her and what she thinks.

  6. It really bothers me that the author of this book has a chapter on how to keep porn safe and secure from your wife if you weren't already open about it. This is exactly the kind of secretive, dishonest behavior that ruins relationships. Thanks for making it clear that you don't support this ridiculous idea. Are you sure you want to be giving out free copies?

    It sounds like the book focuses on how to woo (perhaps even successfully manage) one's wife superficially, while not striving to change anything about oneself internally to become the kind of husband she would like to have. It is the difference between selfish love, and an unselfish, giving kind of love. If you keep your porn hidden, and keep looking at it anyway, but love your wife and do everything outwardly to make her happy, you are still approaching marriage from a selfish point of view. It even taints the nice things you do for her.

    This might seem like a minor point, but I think it is the key difference between a site like yours and a lot of other sites and books out there.

  7. @Anonymous, I appreciate your words and understand where you're coming from. I definitely whole-heartedly agree with your thoughts on the porn as well.

    Though I'm not sure I would go as far as to say the book actually highlights the difference between selfish love and unselfish love, I definitely got that vibe every now and then while reading it. As far as recommending it, however, I think there is enough thought-provoking stuff in it to warrant a recommendation as long as I also give my word of caution. Even if one ends up disagreeing with every thing written in the book (which would be quite worrisome indeed), the very fact that you've been called to think about those things and decide where your stand is a healthy exercise.

  8. Yeah, okay. I agree that anything that gets you thinking is valuable. I haven't read the book, so I don't know what other good advice it has. I am just suspicious of advice that tells you the right things to do as opposed to the right way to be. One of the reasons I like your site so much is because you focus on the latter.

  9. @Anonymous, Thanks so much for you compliments on the site. I will try my hardest to keep that the focus.

  10. My advice would probably be: figure out her love language, and make sure you learn to speak it, even if it's hard to do.

    In my case, my wife's language is gifts, and I am totally not a gift person. But because I know she likes them, I make reminders to myself to pick things up for her from time to time when I'm out shopping.