I’m going to go against the grain here by doing something I’ve never done before. I typically like to only review things that I’ve found beneficial, uplifting, life-changing, and positive. I feel that taking that approach is a good move not only for me as a person but as a standard for this blog.
Big huge but. I can’t leave this one be. I advertised that I was reading the book Understanding the Man You Love on Instagram and I promised a review. At that time, I didn’t realize that I would not have much good to say about it.
I usually really enjoy any marriage or parenting book that I read. And I like to share those resources with you so that you can benefit from them as well. Since I was duped by this book I want to warn you that you may want to skip this one.
There were a few nuggets of gold in Understanding the Man You Love, mostly in the first few chapters. When I first started reading the book, I was like “this is awesome, we gotta get all of his other books!” But it went downhills from there.
The beginning of the book is understanding a man’s relationship with his mother, father and other relationships (such as hanging out with male friends). But the beginning chapters didn’t make me understand my man better they influenced me as a mother and how I want to raise my boys and the influence I have over them now and how it will affect them as adults and our relationship later on in life. So even though I felt like I got some nuggets of truth they weren’t truths that helped my marriage.
One good nugget of truth I got was the reminder that men love to be admired and respected. I think all wives and all marriage books for wives need that truth because men thrive on our admiration and respect.
The last good thing that came from the book was that it opened up a lot of discussion between my husband and I. Mostly because I was freaking out about what the author had said and I wanted to see if my husband agreed with him or not. And every time he did not and said he felt that most Christian men would agree with him and not the author. But good discussions with our men is always a good thing.
Overall the book had a more liberal, worldly view of marriage, in our opinion. The author was saved late in life and it seems to be that he still has a lot of how the world views marriage guiding his judgment. For example, telling women that if we gain weight we become less attractive and desirable to our husbands and that we are ultimately breaking the marriage contract. Many times I felt that he was telling us, wives, that it’s completely normal for men to look at and lust after younger, more attractive women and wives just need to accept that fact. Another huge con was that the burden of keeping your husband faithful to your marriage was all on the wife. I left the book feeling very overwhelmed and full of anxiety and it took many conversations with my husband to bring me back down to a non-freaking out state. One whole chapter was called His Cheating Heart. Ladies, skip this book. It’s not worth the anxiety of worrying whether or not your husband is going to have an affair at any given moment.
Communication was another area where the author drops the ball. While he may have some valid arguments scattered in, he makes us women feel as if we should just stop sharing the cares of heart with our husbands because they simply do not care about all of the fluffy details. While they may not care, as my husband reminded me, they care about us and want to know what’s important to us so they listen to our stories. I also tried out how the author encourages women to give their husbands jobs or asking them to do something for us. He says not to give the extra details, because it makes men mad and then they don’t want to help you, so instead to just give the direction. Like, grab that bag, bring me the paper, watch my purse, etc. I brought this idea to my husband and he laughed and said it was ridiculous because men aren’t robots and most men don’t want to be told what to do. Men want respect, and by doing so, we need to ask and be meek when doing so.
Then there is a chapter on men’s emotions. The author basically says that men will show anger for most of their feelings. And that we simply need to accept that. I disagree with that, as does my husband. The Bible is clear about anger and it’s consequences so men and women need to work on not being angry and not fall into its trap. Yet the author basically makes it seem like it is what it is and wives need to get over it and just understand that that is how men’s brains work. Again, it seems like his past heavily influences his writing and it’s a little too new age for us.
Overall, I would not recommend Understanding the Man You Love to any Christian wife. I left it feeling very confused and very unsettled and nothing like I understand my husband better after reading it. It made me feel like maybe I didn’t know him at all in fact and that he’s been hiding what he truly felt and thinks for nearly 9 years. I felt that my husband could have an affair and is checking out every woman that walks past him and I just need to get over it. I felt that all of the burdens for the marriage bed, my weight, communication, and attitude were all on my shoulders to keep our marriage together. The book honestly felt like a bitter diary of how this man wishes his wife would let him act and think. I could be wrong, but it just didn’t feel right. So friend, don’t waste your time and your peace of mind reading this book. Grab Created to be His Helpmeet, Women Living Well or Messy Beautiful Love if you want great marriage material.