The Dude’s Guide To Marriage: Ten Skills Every Husband Must Develop To Love His Life Well, by Darrin & Amie Patrick
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for an honest review.]
It is a bit sad that the authors of this book, a husband and wife team, where the husband has written at least one other “Dude’s Guide” , assume that the reader of this particular book will be a husband who never reads books who receives this book as a not-very-subtle gift from his wife. Although the book does include one appendix about singles that offers some encouragement and expresses the dissatisfaction with singlehood felt by many, the vast majority of this book, which including its worthwhile appendices runs at a trim 200 page, is aimed directly at married men and gives them a tough but godly standard of behavior to model so that there can be success in marriage and family that is often elusive for many men, who may be devoted to their hobbies or may be good providers, but are often at a loss in how to effectively communicate with and show love and concern for their wives, with immensely damaging results.
The contents of this book are focused and well targeted, and consist of introductory material that encourages men to take their marriages seriously, a set of ten chapters that give ten straightforward and blunt ways that men can learn how to love their wives well, and then a set of appendices that speak to the book’s single readers, advise counseling for serious difficulties, give men advise on how to be as spiritual as their wives, and talk about the five love languages explored by Gary Chapman . The ten chapters are based around a single word, to make their point even more clear: Listen, Talk, Fight, Grow, Provide, Rest, Serve, Submit, Pursue, and Worship [God]. Besides being blunt and direct, there are some surprising pleasures to be found in the book, like detailed conversations on how to properly pay attention, ask clarifying questions, and built rapport and show understanding of the needs and longings of one’s spouse, a worthwhile undertaking. The chapter on rest gives particular attention to the need to observe the Sabbath as described in the Bible, a surprising and remarkable piece of advice that is so striking one wonders if the author understands the full implications of what he is saying.
Most of the book is written by Darrin, but his wife Amie writes thoughtfully in many chapters and writes one chapter, the touching and romantic chapter on pursuit, explaining how she wanted to be pursued and treasured by her husband, and giving a worthwhile and heartfelt commentary on ways that men can continue to show an interest in a wife after marriage, rather than relegating pursuit to only the dating or courtship period of a relationship. While it is a bit sad that the author is likely right that most of the men who read this book will find it as an unsubtle present from their longsuffering wives, those men who take this book seriously, and use the book as a conversation piece, especially with the five good questions that come at the end of each chapter, will find much to reward them. This book is a challenge, but the challenge is not designed to be an attack on the honor or dignity of a man, but rather a call to put one’s passion and attention into cultivating a good marriage on all levels, so that one’s marriage and family relationship can be a springboard to success rather than an area of weakness and continual difficulty. This book provides sound and biblical advice on marriage that address some of the major difficulties faced by many men, and it is written in such an honest and open fashion that it encourages acceptance rather than talking down to its audience, which is a rare and notable achievement in this sort of book.
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