Men Who Get It
If you have any doubt that what I’m saying in Sex with a Married Woman and Good Husband, Great Marriage is true—and works—read these letters from men who read Good Husband, Great Marriage.
Here, in their own words, are some men who get it . . .
“Wow! . . . I get it. . . . Finally!”
James. Reading, Pennsylvania
SHE PAID ME BACK IN EXACTLY THE WAY YOU SAID SHE WOULD
My wife and I have been married for nine years, and all that time I thought I was being a really great husband. I used to look at other guys and see things that they were doing and think to myself that my wife was lucky to have a guy like me. However, since we started having kids, I felt that my wife and I were growing farther apart. The affection and intimacy was dropping off, and it got to the point where I felt like we were no longer husband and wife but simply parenting partners. In my mind my wife was becoming so absorbed in being a mom that she no longer had the time and energy to be a wife. I love my kids dearly, but I was also starting to resent them for the fact that my marriage was no longer meeting my needs because their needs were too all-consuming.
Then I discovered your book. I was scanning the relationships section at a local bookstore trying to find something that would help me understand my problem. The title of your book caught my eye, so I decided to read a bit. It was an eye-opening experience. I decided to read the book and spent the whole afternoon hiding in an unused conference room at work reading all 44 chapters. By the end of the book I knew that I was not the great husband that I thought I was. I had lots of room to improve. I started implementing some of the Moves right away. I let my wife sleep in on the weekend while I quietly took the kids downstairs. I cleaned the whole house on Saturday while she was out. I gave her a neck rub that she had not asked for because I could see her rubbing at her neck. When she expressed interest at watching a certain show on TV one night, I volunteered to take the kids up to bed. It was all little stuff, but she noticed it and she paid me back in exactly the way that you said she would. I am suddenly getting little hugs and kisses for no reason, and it just feels like the intimacy is suddenly back. My wife is telling me that she is happy with me and that makes me happy too. Thank you for opening my eyes.
Teague. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
IF EVERY MARRIED MAN TOOK YOUR BOOK TO HEART, THEY WOULD GET EVERYTHING THEY WANTED
Wow, where do I start? First, your book is outstanding! I (the husband) found your book myself. We, my wife and I, had the most magnificent marriage a couple could ever have. Then I went stupid. I quit working on the marriage and started expecting my wife to give me all of the attention and love. Well, guess what! Things went really south, to the point of her wanting a divorce. I found out about a lot of things going on behind my back that I was unaware of and that we were within days of total separation. So we went to a counselor for a session, only to hear it may be too late, there’s a lot of water under the bridge. So I headed to the bookstore where I found your book. I had figured out by now that the problem was mainly mine, so the title Good Husband, Great Marriage struck home. I immediately started reading it and started telling myself WOW! these are all the things I used to do when things were so wonderful. Then it dawned on me that it was my job to make sure my wife is happy.
I was always so proud to be my wife’s knight in shining armor, and then I let it get tarnished. So I started polishing it again and we are back to where we started years ago. I live by your book, and now EVERYTHING is so great. We are like a newly wed couple again and enjoy each other so much. We miss each other daily and talk non-stop when we are together. By the way, when I told my wife that all of what is in the book is what she has told me for several years, her response was, “But I was a woman.” I don’t believe that was the reason I couldn’t hear it. I think it was more that she was my wife, and I got real stupid for a while.
So in conclusion, if every married man took your book to heart they would get everything they wanted.
Bob. Mandan, North Dakota
OUR INTIMACY HAS NEVER BEEN MORE POWERFUL
I believe your book has been instrumental in saving our marriage. The exceptionally good news is that it has not been too late. My wife and I got back together about a month ago, and our reconnection has been/is more powerful than ever. We are able to fully express ourselves respectfully when we have issues and work through them quickly and with ease and confidence. I often pause and reflect if a reaction or comment of mine is not going to serve my wife, in which case I keep it to myself. I am getting good at my Moves and am starting to institutionalize them into my character. Our relationship has never been more respectful, and our intimacy never more powerful. While I will take credit for wanting to change (and will give my wife the credit for having the courage to be the catalyst), your book really gave me a very practical and effective “how to.” I will be forever grateful. This will be the best Thanksgiving ever.
Ben. Euclid, Ohio
HALF A HUG! WOW!
Today is September 21, 2007. In August a woman called me to say that her husband was leaving her for my wife of eighteen years! Not only is my wife in an affair but she has wanted out of our marriage for a couple of years. To say I have been in a panic would be a severe understatement.
But I quickly found strength and guidance from many sources and last night I checked out your book from our public library. I sat down to read it after everyone had gone to sleep and immediately implemented the Move from Chapter 1. I left her notes in her coffee cup and her cell phone and her digital camera that said thanks for all sorts of things including demanding that I step up as she has wanted for so long.
The most amazing thing happened! At seven this morning I got half of a hug from her while I was brushing my teeth. She said thanks for the two notes she had found. WOW! She hasn’t even smiled at me in more than four weeks.
Today at lunch I said a prayer thanking God for your book. With this and much more work on my part I just might save my marriage. And to all the other guys out there—it really does begin and end with YOU!
Victor. Tacoma, Washington
Married for thirty-three years, 4 children, 3 marriage therapists. When my oldest son said to me, “Dad, tell me it gets easier (female relations),” I responded, “They are complex creatures and just when you think things are better, they become more complex. It does not get easier or harder, just more complex.” Today I would tell him to read your book. As a matter of fact when (and if) my sons get married I will give them a copy of your book (if not before).
I think my problem was I saw myself as a provider, father, lover, corporate leader, etc. I never thought of myself as a husband, until I read your book. My wife brought it home from the library and it sat on the coffee table for about a month. Then I decided I better read some of it. After reading the first few chapters, I accepted the fact it is mostly my fault. So I read the rest of the book. Then I bought the book as a reference. Since then our relationship has improved. My wife is excited, and I have recommended the book to many (some men are not as enthusiastic as their wives). When I was reading it on an airplane recently, I was amazed at how many people asked me about the book and what I thought of it (and boy, do they get an earful). I’ve turned into a walking ad for the book.
When I met my most recent marriage therapist at a party and told her about the book and how I “suddenly got it,” she was really excited for us. She claims sometimes you just keep working and working and working, and then something just resonates (like your book with me), and everything becomes clearer. She is going to read it and see if she can use it to help her clients.
I did make a deal with my wife (she has only read a small part of the book). I will continue to work the book if she will read the wives’ part of the book. She is so pleased with my improvements that she may read the whole book. Thanks for helping me become a good (and aware) HUSBAND.
Russell. Terre Haute, Indiana
Laura and I have been married almost 25 years. Second marriages for both—for reasons so well outlined in your book. For the past few weeks she had a difficult time first recovering from a simple surgery, and then a rush decorating job she had taken on. I was very supportive and helpful. She told me often how she appreciated all I did. Finally, it was over, and I felt it would be nice to just drop everything and go out and celebrate. She said she was really too tired, perhaps tomorrow night. She gave me a hug, and started doing laundry, cleaning the house, picking up her sewing room, and talking with her sister on the phone. I went into a pouty, closed-off funk. South Dakota Badlands. Doing something nice together (after all the support I was) felt to me to be less important to her than all that other stuff in her mind. She asked me what was wrong, and I finally said that I felt like “we” were on the bottom of the list and that she wasn’t too tired to clean the house, etc.—and I was very hurt. She hugged me again and said, “I am just tired,” and I have to get the house back in order before my upcoming trip in three days. In the next few days we did have time, and the house got cleaned so it would be nice for me while she was away. And I don’t know how or why . . . for the first time something in me “got it.” After and during my twit she was steady as a rock, loving, thinking of me, and wanting to leave me well cared for. That actually, tired as she was, she was thinking of me! Well, I didn’t deserve her love by acting that way.
I realized what a wonderful person I married. How lucky I am to have her gentle, steady, and wise love in my life. And I knew I never want to be that “twit” again. She deserved my “better person,” and I want to be that for her. I apologized, and we talked about my misunderstanding of it all. I became more grateful of her being and wisdom than ever before.
The next day I talked with a friend superficially about what had happened. He referred me to your Good Husband book. Funny how the “universe” makes the right things appear when we are ready for it. I don’t open up to my tennis partner like that, but he was the messenger for what I needed.
I just finished the book. It is exactly what I have needed in my life for a long time. I will give Laura the book to read. Then we will talk!
Jim. San Diego, California
My wife got the book and read a tiny bit of it before telling me about it and where it was in the house. We have had a tough time over the last few years, what with one thing or another, so I got the book and read a few chapters. I put the book down, looked at my wife, and the look of expectation on her face was something to behold. We just fell about laughing. Within hours of my first read, my view of life, marriage, and my wife had changed–a mere twist of my cognition and the world is a different place. We are in a happy place that has been gone for years, and it really was my own fault and stupidity that got us into the mess we were in. Yes, at times I am an asshole, BUT I am listening, we are talking, and we went away and had a glorious couple of days celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. I was even excited a few days before we went with the thought of spending time with my wife. I will always be grateful for the book, and I haven’t even finished it yet! This really is a husband writing this! Really!! Life is just great.
Allan. Flint, Michigan
I have just finished your book. My wife and I both saw the book at Barnes and Noble and thought, hmmmm, this could be interesting. I (husband, Ian) am the first to read it, she will be next. We are both 70 and have had a great 32 year marriage of equals.
My reaction to the book: First thought was: This should somehow be part of the curriculum for high school seniors. Get to the guys before they are fully locked into “It’s never me.”
Now to my personal reaction. While I am often a good husband, there have been plenty of times when my tone of voice sucks, or I am difficult, or otherwise a problem for my wife. I thought your book gave me fresh insight into the marriage balance. I hadn’t ever thought that in our disagreements I should start from the premise that it was mostly my fault. It was a refreshing whack to the head. And, on reflection, quite accurate.
We are retired together and spend our time traveling. In our case talking has been nonstop since we met. And yet the differences in the way men think, wherever it comes from, seems to mean that you constantly have to look at the relationship each day, every hour, to keep it in a healthy balance. I think your book gives me ideas and phrases that are now in my head as reminders to stop a mistake before it happens.
Actually we had a neat experience during the reading of the book, where I said something about money (actually quite innocently) that triggered an angry reaction. In times past this same situation would have escalated into a really unpleasant argument. Only this time we reconciled immediately. By using your concepts in the book and saying, “Let’s rewind the tape and start from the beginning,” I could realize that she took my words a different way than I meant them. But instead of defending my remark I could see quickly where she was coming from, and she was right, and I said I would never make my remark again. No problem, easy enough to do if your head is screwed on right. And so easy to smooth out the good relationship.
So thank you for writing the book. It is one of the most important books I have read.
After reading your book, I realize now just how much I’ve taken my wife’s love for granted. In so many ways. Psychologically, emotionally, physically. I’ve always just assumed it was there. And now, looking back, I see all the ways she has tried to cry out to me regarding this, but of course, being a guy, being a lunkhead, I just didn’t hear her. As a result, she has withdrawn almost completely from me. In almost every way. But I hear her now, and that is what sent me on the path towards this book, which I went out and found on my own, with her unaware.
To simplify things a bit, I stopped courting her. I stopped trying to earn her affection. I felt entitled to it. This book has helped me see that a good husband forever courts his wife, forever earns her affection, knows that he is NOT entitled to it.
I only pray that I’m not too late. I feel in my heart that I’m not. My wife is still with me. She still loves me. We have three beautiful children who are everything in our lives. But there is still distance. Today when I showed her the book for the first time and started talking to her about it, she pretty much cut me off and walked out of the room. I guess I kind of deserve that. I’m drawing on the strength I know I have inside me to persevere. To get over moments like that. The strength you talk about in the book. The stoic strength of a MAN. Of a good husband.
I only ask that whoever may read this prays for me to continue to be able to draw upon that strength. I love my wife. I love her more than words can account. And I know now what it is I must do for my wife. I must change. Change into the GOOD HUSBAND she so very much deserves.
Rob. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
It’s Sunday evening, and I thought I would drop a line to you. I’ve just spent my Friday evening and most of Saturday reading your book. My wife Megan gave it to me to read a little earlier in the week. I must admit, I am not nearly as into reading self-help books as compared to her, she loves them! Me, I’m a car guy through and through, particularly old-school hotrods. So for me to read through your book in two days is a bit of a triumph, not just for me, but for her too. I’m just an average guy, with a job that puts me in a corporate office as manager of a marketing group. So that the other guys reading this can relate a little, I can wear the dress clothes and I can wear the jeans, but I prefer the jeans and a tee-shirt!
Well, to get to the point, I love my wife more than anything and love to be with her. We do a lot to keep things like they were when we first met. We’ve always exchanged those special-day cards, but we also leave notes for no reason saying I love you, little cards on pillows, bringing home flowers on occasion just to show we love each other, things like that. She’s caring, giving, full of life, smart, sexy, and a good teacher. Yeah, I said a good teacher. Not as in a job, but with me. That’s a great attribute of a wife that most guys miss or at least discard. She has helped me understand a lot of things about relationships, family, and the like.
As great as things are between us, there were some things I was doing that bothered her. She wanted them corrected, and rightfully so. So reading your book wasn’t that much effort; she’s worth it! We are worth it! We both had been married before, so I think that adds even more drive for us to make this life together as perfect as possible. I will say I found the book very one-sided at first, but as I read it, I got the points you wanted to make. There are a couple of points I would like to comment on, just so other guys might get it sooner than I did. Hey, none of us are perfect, so when a little wisdom comes your way, take it.
I always thought two people in a marriage should be equals. At first, reading your book, I thought I had to be less than equal, but here’s the first eye opener for me as I continued to read: “Women are givers-back.” Well, that explains a lot! If I shut down or get distant, I’ll get that back. If she’s upset with something I did, I get something back that upsets me. Okay, I get the pattern here! But there is a bigger idea that goes along with this one. My reality might not be her reality. She’ll see things one way, I’ll see them another. Even if I think it to be the absolute truth, arguing with her to see it my way isn’t going to change her reality. She’s been wronged, wants an apology, and doesn’t want it to happen again. Simple as that. We’re not talking about having our own opinions or beliefs in everyday conversation here. We both support each other for being ourselves. I’m talking about times she’s been hurt by something I did or said. Whether I knew it or not doesn’t matter, I was wrong so it’s time to apologize and make it right. That includes change in behavior as needed.
Megan and I have always been able to talk pretty well, even if we raise our voices a little. But there were a few topics that she had a hard time starting the conversation about at all, for fear I might get upset. But guess what? Your book helped her to get past that and start confronting me about them. So thanks! Oh, by the way, here’s our plan for your book now. We’ll take a chapter a day, and address it in our marriage. We’ll do the Moves too.
All I can tell you guys is this—just doing this much made a big difference in one weekend. I’ll stay focused on this in love and respect for her. Read, Listen, and Practice what’s in the book that applies to you. You’ll find she’s worth it!
Ray. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
LOST IN A BOOKSTORE, FOUND IN TRANSLATION
[This letter is from a Spanish-speaking man living in France who read the book in its French translation. Though his English is not perfect, it is wonderful, and I post it as he wrote it.]
I’m so happy to have read you book! I’m one of this 10 man in the continent who bought it by him self! AND I’m not only proud to say it all over but I already bought 4 more books to offer to my BEST FRIENDS. And since I read it in French I have many friends who read only Spanish. That’s way I was looking one in Spanish because my very BEST friend is gonna get married next June, I want to offer him for his wedding.
My relationship with my wife was getting bad and bad last two years (twelve years of marriage, and 3 children). I was in kind of depression and I get rid of it beginning of this year . . . then I decided to fix my relationship with Marie, and I was lost in a bookstore and . . . your book appeal me! The title, and then a overall reading, your HUMOR, man! You got a lot of humor and serious at the same time.
You know I was almost gonna get separated with my wife thinking that I didn’t love her. I was so blind, so your book have open my eyes a lot. THANKS TO YOU, Robert, for your book. As Jane said, it’s a revolution.
I’m a theater man, I teach also theater and acting, so I TEACH how to get in “connection” to my students, to my actors, I tell them, “Listen to your partner,” I actually do it. I was supposed to be a “nice guy,” and blah blah. But I was an asshole with my wife . . . so anyway, you give me a good lesson, Robert.
Antonio. Meaux, France
YOUR BOOK GAVE ME INSTANT HOPE, AND THE PROOF IS IN THE HAMBURGERS
Your book is great; the proof is in the hamburgers!
I was in the bookstore Christmas shopping when I saw the book and picked it up. In our marriage, I felt I was the one who wanted connection, and that she was the one who didn’t know how to connect. I have felt sad and lonely throughout most of our marriage. I couldn’t believe that someone who feels the way I felt could also be responsible for the problems. Isn’t that like life kicking you when you are down? My feelings told me I was the one being victimized.
Anyway, I read a random page, and it described me. So I bought the book and wrapped it up for her for Christmas. The gift was my promise to read it. The day before Christmas was the worst day. I felt so sad all day—another holiday with no love in my life . . . being married to someone who can’t give.
We got through Christmas day, and the day after I started reading. The book gave me instant hope. Instead of thinking, “She’s to blame, I can’t change her, so I am trapped,” the book raised the question, “I could be responsible for her distance. If I can change, she may change in response.” That was hope.
A few days later we went to one of our favorite restaurants. I didn’t feel oppressive sadness. I felt hope.
The next morning before I went to work, I read the chapter in which “The Move” was to write her a note [Chapter One]. I wrote her a note telling her how much I loved dinner, how great she looked, and how I hoped we could do it again.
I called later that day just to touch base on evening plans. She said, “Be home by five. We’re having hamburgers.” Hamburgers were the proof that I am mostly responsible for the pain in our marriage and in my own life. Home cooked hamburgers are one of my favorite meals. My wife has not cooked hamburgers for over two years since she found out she has high cholesterol. (I am 75 pounds overweight and have the cholesterol of a teenager; she is thin and normal weight, and has high cholesterol. Go figure.) She makes great burgers, but I haven’t had one for two years. The other night she made them—for me. She wasn’t rewarding me for being nice. She was just feeling more of a desire to give me what I like because I had loved her. Simple as that.
The more I have used my man-skills on her, the more she has responded (you should have seen what she showed up wearing to bed the other night). These changes have happened very quickly. And the feelings of sadness I thought I would always have to live with are just plain gone—without therapy or medication.
Yes, she was distant, cold, and absent. I had pushed her there. I stopped pushing, and she is coming back. How long will this last? As long as I continue to be a man.
The proof is in the hamburgers!
Joseph. Cherry Hill, New Jersey
My name is Frank. I am a 31 year old farmer and truck driver from central Illinois. I married my wife Becky five years ago. She had two sons from a previous relationship and now we have two daughters together. I was very reluctant to read your book. We have been having problems for a while now, and they all came to a head a few days ago. In my line of work I work long hours and get really wrapped up in my job. I thought all of the problems were with her and her not being able to accept my line of work and the hours.
After reading your book it made it all so clear—the problems were with me and my inability to see everything through her eyes. I was like a two year old, wrapped up completely in me and what I was doing. I never thought about how it made her feel to have to take care of the kids, take care of the house, and take care of me. She really is the best thing that ever happened to me. I love her more than anything else in the entire world. She has given me four beautiful children, taken care of me like I’ve never been taken care of before, always put up with my crying, bitching, and moaning about the farm or anything else I cry, bitch, and moan about. I will never take her for granted or not listen to her ever again.
You have opened my eyes to what I always should have been to her, what she has always been to me. I promise to love and cherish everything about my goddess Becky. Thank you for all of your wisdom and insight. I will pass this book on to every married male friend I have. God bless you and your dear wife Jane. I really look forward to any other books you decide to write. Believe it or not I really hate to read.
Frank. Taylorville, Illinois
WE HAVE A BETTER RELATIONSHIP NOW
I have just finished reading your book, and have a couple of comments. First, it’s a great book, and as Jane says in her Foreword, “revolutionary.” The intensity and humor with which you “take men on” as the “flaming assholes” which they can be is extraordinary! I have been in several men’s groups since the mid-eighties, in which one of the major objectives was to find men willing to get together and share themselves outside the clichés about men which you so successfully describe and take to task in your book. We didn’t want to be assholes anymore but didn’t know how to change. Discussion helped. At least I think we were becoming aware of what we were not.
My (second) wife Lisa and I had been spending a good part of this past summer working on much of the material which you describe in your book—before discovering the book itself. Lisa is a mental health counselor, and I am a retired teacher and artist. When she saw your book on the web, she ordered it immediately for her clients and for reference, and when I saw the title when she opened the package, I guess my face “fell about a yard”! She saw my reaction and we laughed, but I really felt I should read it. I did. It helped a lot, particularly since we’d done a lot of the homework in our discussions this summer (and earlier as well).
And we have a better relationship now, more communicative, more loving, more tolerant of each other. We talk. We both, and particularly me, listen better. Then I went through a rather strong and dark reaction to your book, just after I finished reading it. It’s not that I can’t take being called an asshole—I’m a man, and we’re great and strong, aren’t we? (Chapter 4: “Remember You’re Great”), but I really had to re-search back to that chapter to find the acknowledgment I needed.
My reaction to the book regressed, I think, because it took me back to many of the problems (mostly my fault, huh? . . . yes!) in my first marriage, which ended (rightly so, perhaps) in 1989. When I remarried in 1993, I went into men’s group work and therapy, vowing to not make the same errors in my second marriage. Generally I succeeded, but I had one major problem: I sometimes screwed up because we (both myself and Lisa) had not gone back far enough nor deep enough into our early relationships with parents, particularly she with her dad and I with my mom. When we projected old behaviors in our marriage relationship (her anger, and my dependency, for instance), often and unconsciously I felt I had to walk on eggshells with her. Her anger tended to damage my self-esteem, and in her eyes, I lost face. What she really wanted was for me to be the man I could be, that she knew I could be, but my behavior, stemming from my relationship with my mother, came from self-denigration, from my lack of self-esteem because of very early experiences of abandonment, and her anger regressed me to old “asshole” behaviors. So when all this came out and was understood, our marriage started to work better.
For me, your book was a touch-up and a kind of “graduation present.” Though there is still and always work to be done, your book has put good insightful touches on a marriage that was beginning to stagger a bit. Thanks so much.
Pearson. Sydney, Australia
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS WE ENJOYED EACH OTHER
Someone was looking out for me when I by chance saw an excerpt of your book on the internet. I was really impressed and figured it was worth a last shot, so I ordered it immediately. I was at the end of my tether. In fact, I was hanging onto the tether with my teeth, and my marriage and I were over the edge of a cliff. The last eight years in our fifteen year marriage were hell, and now it all seemed over.
After a particularly heartrending day where a divorce lawyer was enlisted, I finally got the love of my life to come to the table and speak to me after a not-very-unusual three-week silent treatment from him. I very carefully and tactfully suggested that I read a book to him for a couple of hours each day so that we could see if it was any good together and chat about what we thought related to us. (The only way I could get him to sit down with anything longer than a quick glance would mean I’d have to read it to him—his workaholic syndrome.) I gave him a cup of coffee, sat down with no distractions around, and started to read. At first begrudgingly and eventually laughingly he stayed with it while I continued.
And then the breakthrough came. He’d relaxed into it enough to laugh and say, “It’s like Alter had a camera in the room watching us!” Then just like that he started to relate with me. I’d read a chapter and at the end we’d comment over what we thought, how it was like us, how we could work on this, and mostly we laughed. We laughed a lot more than we had in a very long time. We laughed at ourselves, and we laughed at the fact there seemed a whole community out there with very similar troubles and they seemed to have survived. For the first time in years we enjoyed each other! We read three-quarters of the book over the weekend, and now we read a chapter every couple of days to draw it out a bit, because we don’t want it to end. It has helped so much!! We have communicated so well because of it. And as the work week progresses and tensions creep in, we read a chapter together and talk together about it, and the tensions seem to flow away.
It’s therapy in a book. It’s like an instruction manual for us. Who would have believed? Of course we can’t say this is the magic pill that saves us, as this is only the start, but it’s a start I never thought I’d see again. What if I had never seen that excerpt?! Thank you so very much!
Corrine and Vaughan. Leicester, England
I TRULY LOVE AND ADORE MY WIFE
Too bad this book wasn’t written forty years ago, could have saved my bride a lot of anguish. We’ve been married 41 years. A lot of what you’ve written I’ve learned the hard way through trial, error, and experience. My Darling Wife did not deserve the BS I put her through. I enjoyed your book. I’ve learned some new insights and have been positively reinforced in some areas of behavior. I truly love and adore my wife. After reading your book, my eyes/mind are even more open to how my behavior affects our relationship. Since I’m only 60 and my bride is 59, we have many more years of enjoyment and being together. I’m going to keep your book in a place where I see it daily to serve as a reminder. Gonna buy a copy for our son so he may learn from it too.
Philip. Toronto, Canada
I’ve been married to my wife for four years. We are both 36. My first marriage and her second.
After four years she’s headed back to her parents’ to get some space and to figure some things out, including whether to be with me. Meanwhile, I saw Robert and Jane on TV and they said so much in a short time that I immediately ordered the book.
I don’t like self-help books. I try ‘em from time to time, but always put them down as gimmicky–someone finding a clever way to deliver less-than-profound messages and make money.
This book I tore through in an evening and early morning. And then I read it right through again. And now I keep going back through key passages or chapters and making notes. It’s like Robert had observed first hand much of my past couple years. Maybe there’s some solace in not being the only one to cluelessly put my marriage into the ER.
I thought I was a good husband because I love my wife and would never commit any major transgressions–like cheating or hitting–but I guess I really never realized that it takes a lot more than a marginally clear conscience and a devoted, loving wife to make a great marriage. I just wasn’t there with her–she kept putting in while getting nothing (good) out, and the less she got the more she put in until she realized it wasn’t working and she became pissed at all of the rejection that I never meant to make her feel.
My own worst isolation booth was online porn. It was something we had enjoyed together and so I thought it was okay, but it began to be a place where I hid from myself and devoted time and energy better spent on her.
She gave me all the love I could want, but my perfectionist (and other) issues made it hard to love myself and therefore accept and return love from her. I see now she was way too tolerant all along, too willing to try and carry the whole load with her own love and effort. And she is one that, more than most, has run quite a gauntlet to get to me, only to find me coming up short of being the safe harbor I should have been. Instead, I managed to make her feel quite hurt and rejected too many times in too many ways.
I’m one of the few guys who found the book first and have now asked my wife to read it. She says she will. I only hope it’s not too late. I only pray I’ll get a chance to see if I can put all this learning to good use and for the person I care most about in all the world.
Thanks for crystallizing and communicating what I should’ve been able to see for myself.
Howard. Birmingham, Alabama
I’m a 27 year old man who is single and has never been married. I’ve had my string of failed relationships, all for various reasons, some because of the things I’ve done and others because of the deal-breakers I have created to protect myself (lying, cheating, etc.). What I know, and have known for a long time, is that I have been searching for the kind of relationship described in your book—a truly nurturing, cooperative, communicative, and loving relationship. It has been extremely difficult to find this.
I have spent much time working my own issues, especially those from childhood. I’ve faced some of my demons, others I’ve left in the closet to fight another day. And then there are still others that your book brought to my attention. Issues I didn’t even know were there yet, issues buried further than I’ve already searched. Now I know I must begin the next phase of the journey into myself.
In addition to providing me with insight for my future self-exploration, your book has provided me with a ray of hope that the relationship I’ve always wanted is out there and is attainable. Reading it, I realized that I already practice some of your lessons; others I definitely will need to work on going forward; but now I feel aware of the problems with myself, my upbringing, my views as imparted to me by father and culture. And most importantly, I also feel equipped to begin to tear down the old walls that kept me tunneled into a pattern of behavior.
Having just completed my first read, I am also struck by powerful insights into the next phase of a partnership. While many of the lessons in the book state to always give into your wife, I understand that will not always work. Once we men have proven that we are honorable, and will be consistently, then the compromising phase begins. Once the trust is there that my behavior is not just for courtship, not just for show, then the relationship I want will truly come into being. But after thousands of years of emotional, physical, and mental repression, we as men must make that first powerful display through action. I get it now.
If only everyone would sit down and read your book with an open mind and an open heart. To think of the world that could be, a world based on the mature love that is attainable—it’s mind-boggling.
Thank you for writing and sharing your work, your experiences, and parts of your marriage with the world. It is a gift that no one should overlook. Thank you for helping to enlighten me to previously undiscovered beliefs and issues within myself that need to be changed. Thank you for providing hope that there can be more in a relationship. I cannot say enough, THANK YOU.
Bartholomew. Chicago, Illinois