We’re interested to hear from men and women how you’re doing in your marriage, especially now that Good Husband, Great Marriage has come into it.  Did one or both of you read it?  What was your reaction? Is the Good Husband Work relevant to your marriage? Is he making any of the Moves at the end of the chapters?  What happened when he did?  What part is she taking?  Are things changing?

Email us at contactus@agoodhusband.com.  At the top, write the word “Experience.”  If you prefer anonymity, you do not need to give your real name (initials or a pseudonym are fine), or where you’re from.  Please make your shares no longer than 600 words.

This is not a chatroom, and no one but Robert and Jane will read your experiences. We do not respond with personal psychotherapeutic advice to you (though we will send a personal acknowledgment of your email), and we will select or excerpt a few of the experiences received each month and post them here (sometimes with commentary from us) for people to learn from, laugh with, sympathize with, or draw inspiration from. Whether or not you provide it, we will not use your real name, and will change any identifying details about you, your marriage, and your life.

 

Experiences

CALL MEN TO MANHOOD!

I gave your book to my husband, and he was at first mad that you were telling him he had to change.  But it got through to him.  I can breathe now.  Thank you thank you thank you!  We continue to work on our marriage (9 children, 16 grandchildren).  Whew . . . it's been almost unbearable.  But God stepped in.  Thank you.  Keep up the good work.  Call men to manhood.

Kristen...............................................Muncie, Indiana

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MY LIFE HAS CHANGED IN FOUR DAYS

Wow!  Just wow!

First let me say, my husband found your book, all by himself.  We've been married 10 years and I had finally had enough with our cycles of love, anger, resentment, change, revert back.  I was numb and was done with all of it and told him I wanted a divorce.  We tried to talk, but it became a blame game which ended in silence.  Complete and total disconnection. The very next day he told me he found a book he liked.  By that evening he told me what it was and said I should read it too.  He had only gone two chapters in at this point.  I am an avid reader and love to get lost in books, so I agreed.  I downloaded it and read it that night. Completely!  The next morning I told him he was right and it is a great book.  I felt a glimmer of hope and a little nervous that he wouldn't finish it.  But he did!  By the next evening, while I was at yet another school function without him, he sent me a text apologizing for being such an asshole throughout our marriage.  The next morning we had our first "real conversation."  He gets it!  He really gets it now.  All the arguments we've had over the years about me needing my friends and him calling it gossip.  He even stayed in with the kids voluntarily to spend time with them, make them dinner, and help with homework while I enjoyed an evening with friends.  (Something that would never have happened before!)  The funny thing was, while I was out all I really wanted to do was come home to enjoy the new man he is becoming.  Every chapter hit home for both of us. I now have more than a glimmer of hope. It's full-blown love. My life has changed in four days.  I have no doubt that this is a permanent change.  I feel more secure in my marriage than I ever have.  Thank you!  Thank you!  You have saved my marriage and brought back my soul mate!  I immediately recommended this book to two of my couple friends who are struggling as well, and they are going to read it.  I hope they have the same experience we have.

Jean.......................................................................Wichita, Kansas

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YOU HAVE BECOME THE MAN I'VE ALWAYS WANTED!

Your book is amazing.  I recently had a complete breakdown with my wife.  She has come to me in the past, advising I would lose her if I didn't give her attention.  It would go in one ear and out the other for seven years.  I did not know how to be a good husband nor how to give her what she needed.  She told me she had slept with someone else to get the attention I didn't give her, and everything almost came to an end, but I accepted what happened and understood why it happened.  I would come home from work, tired, not wanting to deal with anything and would sit at the computer for hours, or watch TV in the bedroom until it was time to go to sleep.  When she would want sex, I would push her away.  I have always loved my wife dearly, but did not know how to show it.

Once the meltdown happened I did a LOT of soul-searching and researching things on the internet to try to figure out how to save my marriage.  I found your book and ordered it.  I read it front to back and embraced all it has taught me.  Some of the things I already started doing on my own; however, there was a LOT of insight on women's emotions in the book.  Since then I have made a complete transformation, spend a lot of time with my wife and daughter, give my wife the attention and affection she needs, accompany her to family and friend functions that I  never did before.  Her and our friends have noticed my changes.  One of the biggest things was she came to me a couple of days ago and said, "You know, you have become the man I've always wanted.  Please don't stop what you are doing."  That comment alone is full of win.  I appreciate your book and will always embrace it.  THANK YOU!

Roth.....................................................................Paonia, Colorado

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I HOPE I CAN MAKE MY WIFE HAPPY AGAIN

Last Sunday my wife told me she was unhappy with our marriage, and she meant it.  I did some research on counseling, read some articles, and came across your book.  I finished your book tonight, and while some parts made me feel like you were de-masculating me, it's true that I was being an ass at times (not as bad as some of your examples though), but still an ass nonetheless.  I am writing my wife a letter tonight to vow to become a better husband and laying out the reasons why--that I love her more than anything in the world and she is the best thing to ever happen to me.  I have been using your ideas for being a better husband for three days and I already noticed softer, less rigid kisses from my wife.  She has no idea what I have been reading the past few days, so I wonder if she has noticed any change.  I loved the book and hope I can change and make my wife happy again.  I just wanted to say thank you.

Arnie ....................................................Mankato, Minnesota

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YOU KNOW ME

I have only read a few books cover to cover in my life.  Last night I finished Good Husband, Great Marriage and wanted to just say thank you.  While we have never met, you know me.  The way you presented the material as well as the content itself was simply perfect.  At 51 years of age and 27 years of marriage, I still have so much to learn.  Moreover, so many simple actions to take that will make my life better as well as those around me.

Jonny ..........................................San Diego, NM

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NOW I UNDERSTAND WHERE HER ANGER COMES FROM

I just finished reading your book.  It was excellent, and really drove home the point that I was too stubborn to see my faults in my marriage.  I currently am away from my family, a trial separation of sorts, while I stay with my friends to figure out what we both can do. In the two weeks I have been gone I have tried to maintain contact with my wife, but all except one day, she has been giving me the cold shoulder. Because of your book and suggestions, I continue to try and not give up hope. I understand where her anger comes from. Everyday is a struggle being away from my family, and I just want my wife to be open to forgiveness and a fresh start to see what I learned from reading your book. Please pray for me that she will someday soon give me this opportunity, and let down her guard, and show me love and hope in return.

Barry.................................................................Santa Rosa, California

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MY LAST GREAT HOPE

I spent over an hour in our local bookstore yesterday, searching for a book, THE book, that would help Jim and me.  I'm desperate to save this relationship we have because I know in my heart that Jim is the wonderful man I've always thought he is and that we can be incredible together, though he gives me almost no reason to think so. I chose your book after looking through I don't even know how many because you wrote it from a man's perspective, and I thought, "If he'll read anything, maybe (maybe!) he'll read this."  Jim and I are not married, but we have been together for a year and a half, living together for almost a year of that.  Though he doesn't show it, he has said (via text) that he loves me with all his heart and soul   Via text?  Yep.  He can't say that to my face.  Why?  I don't know: maybe if we actually talked I'd have a clue. He does say, "I love you," though I'm not really sure what that means to him.  He's in a law enforcement field, and I've heard that men in those fields tend to have less empathy, compassion, patience, ability to communicate.  Is that true? I don't know.  After reading your book, I'm beginning to see that maybe it's just true of all (or most) men.  And yes, I read your book in one day, cover to cover.  I couldn't put it down, as it were a lifeline to the life and relationship I truly want and need.

I've told him that things have to change, to which he replies with one of three statements: 1. I can't do anything about it right this minute.  2. I can't change.  3. I'm working on it.  After reading your book, my responses to these would be: 1. Of course you can!  2. Of course you can!  3. No, you're really not.  We have one of these "discussions" about every 4-6 weeks and nothing has changed.

I love Jim with all my heart.  I try to say and do things that let him know this every single day.  I leave him notes, send him texts, give him little things I know he'd like, give him hugs for no reason other than that I love him.  He does none of these things.  Yet still I persist.  Why? Because I have always been able to see the man he is beneath that dismissive, unapproachable, stop-before-I-have-to-deal-with-an-emotion exterior. And I have hope that he will break free from that crusty shell. My hope is, however, dwindling. Quite frankly, your book is my last great hope. If he reads it, if he can put aside his mistrust of and distaste for dealing with emotions and actaully read it, then he may just see that real change is possibe.

Am I perfect?  Nope.  It took me a long time to deal with my own demons, and this relationship has brought back some of them. I've gone through therapy, though, and it helped me tremendously, though until reading your book I'd forgotten some of the lessons I'd learned during that therapy.  I have work to do on me, but I'm already starting that.  Thank you.

I'll write Jim that letter you suggest at the end.  Had, in fact, been planning to do that since about a quarter of the way through the book.  Will it work?  Does he love me enough and value my love enough to change?  Can he learn to let go and love himself?  I don't know, but I have hope.  I'll let you know how that whole thing works out . . . or doesn't.  Thank you very much for helping me to keep that hope alive a while longer.

Melinda.....................................Evanston, Illinois

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I'VE BEEN WAITING MY ENTIRE LIFE FOR THIS BOOK

I just finished reading the book.  As a feminist who was brought up reading Ms. and New Women magazines, and as someone who has read all the self-help relationship books since the 1970s, I feel that I've been waiting my entire life for this book to be written.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Having come from three generations of mothers who had to support themselves and their children without child support or alimony after their husbands dropped the ball and either left or were kicked out for their bad behavior, I chose to not follow in their footsteps.  I have never been married and do not have any children.  Even though I haven't been married, I have experienced much of what you write about in my intimate relationships with multiple men over my lifetime. At the age of sixty-one, I would like to find a life partner.  But I'm dating in the pool of men who have failed at their marriages.  I find at this age the men who are happily married have figured out most of what you've written about.  They have had to in order to make the marriage work and to make it happy.  But that's not who I am dating. The men I date are clueless. Their relationship skills are horrible. But I see that they are also lonely and sad. I think they truly want to be connected, they just don't know how to do it.  And with the pain and fracture of the previous failed marriage, they are upside down and discombobulated.  They put on a great show, but we know the truth.

I've often quoted Janis Joplin (and was surprised you didn't have this quote in your book since it sums it up nicely) from the song "Cry Baby."  She sings, "All you ever gotta do is be a good man one time to one woman, and that will be the end of the road."

I read John Gray's Mars and Venus on a Date.  I like John Gray (mostly), but he says that all men pull away at the beginning of a relationship, and when they do the woman needs to get busy with family and friends until he comes back on his own.  The worst thing a woman can do at that critical juncture is to call the man.  (What, are we living in the 1950s?)  Obviously John Gray has no idea the special kind of torture a woman experiences when a man in a new relationship pulls away.  Or how cataclysmically devastating it is to think you've had a good date judging by his behavior and words, only to have him never call you again, with no explanation!  It's a special form of abuse that a quick "This isn't working for me" would end immediately--rather than spending three weeks of agonizing over what went wrong.  Could you tell these guys to "man-up" and send an e-mail!  Good Lord!  How much easier could it be?

Risa,.................................................................Tacoma, Washington

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I FOUND THE BOOK TOO LATE

I wish I had read the book a lot earlier.  I finally see what I have been missing in my relationship.  It wasn't her, it was me all along.  I was the selfish jerk.  Because of my selfish ways, I have lost my soulmate.  I can now see the things that I was doing wrong, and I can also see the things I wasn't doing. I hope this book reaches out to the men who still have a chance, who can still make a difference.  Don't let your selfish ways push your wife away.  Do whatever it takes to be a wonderful man to your partner, because she deserves it.  This book gives you all the steps; just apply them.  Trust me, you don't want to learn that lesson when it is too late, like I did.  I now know how to be a wonderful husband; I just wish I could have applied it earlier when it mattered the most.

Lawrence,.....................................................Miles City, Montana

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AFTER 20 YEARS, I COULDN'T TAKE ANOTHER MINUTE OF IT

I don't know if your book would have made a difference during my marriage, because I am not sure that my now ex-husband would have even read it, but I do know that one day during my marriage I prayed for God to take me out of this world. I saw no reason why I had to live feeling like I could do nothing right, work my *** off, and be so alone with so many other bad feelings.  Even though my divorce didn't happen right after that, I finally got to the point where after nearly 20 years of being with him, I couldn't take another minute of it.  I still to this day love him more than I have ever loved anyone, and for my own sanity I found that I cannot be in any kind of social contact with him, for it hurts.  Your book is an inspiration. I can, and I will, find someone who I can have this kind of relationship with.  I look forward to it.

Margo,.......................................Spartanburg, South Carolina

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I NEED TO STAND UP FOR MY RIGHTS AS A WOMAN, MOTHER, AND WIFE

I enjoyed reading your book Good Husband, Great Marriage.  I read it so fast.  You made it very interesting.  It really gets down where the rubber meets the road.  It shows how men are leading the homes in our world.  I think every man should read this book before they get married.  If every man would love his wife the way the Bible says a man should love his wife, this world would be a different world.  All women leave their mom and dad and brothers and sisters when they get married, thinking that their husband will love them and that they will be nice to them the rest of their life and that their life is going to be better; but these men turn into angry beasts and they blame it on us women, women who do everything for them in every good and decent way.  They also make us feel ugly and rejected, especially when they start looking at other women and start being nice to other women, and then they look at their wife like she is an old woman who needs to die so he can get a more beautiful and fun woman and that he deserves a better woman.  Yes, they become assholes to their wife in every way.  I don't like using that word, but it seems to be the perfect word in this case.  It's funny how some men can be nice to everyone who doesn't know them.  Once this damge is done, women never forget it, and the scar upon their heart seems to last forever.  If he was to change, how do you remove the scar that he has made? 

I loved what your father said [Chapter 36] about always do what is right.  This has always been my rule for living my life.  When you treat people the way you would like to be treated, you don't have as much trouble, just trouble from people who don't treat you right.  I have been humble and have overlooked a lot and forgiven a lot even when I did not get an apology.  After reading this book, I feel I need to stand up for my rights as a woman, mother, and wife. 

I don't know if my husband will read this book.  I am thinking about laying it beside his newspapers and books, and just hope he will.  By the way, I found this book at a yard sale.  Thank you for writing such a wonderful book.

Mary,..............................................Peoria, Illinois

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I KNEW DEEP DOWN IT WAS NOT MY FAULT

I just finished reading your book.  I really enjoyed reading it.  I finally have validation for what I have been feeling in my marriage!  I always knew deep down it was not my fault.  I just knew it.

My husband and I are separated, and I am not sure if I want to work on our marriage.  He has caused me so much pain and heartache that I do not know if I can get past it all. I know with all my heart and soul that I have given the best of myself to him and to my marriage. I know deep down he is a good man, he just has to sift through the garbage of his past to get to it. I have worked so hard during our marriage that I just don't feel like I have the energy to work on it anymore.  But I sure wish he would read the book to work on himself for whatever relationship he decides to have in his future.

I definitely liked the idea in the book about basing all my decisions on my own happiness [pp. 332-3]. It may sound very egotistical, but it really is not because if I am happy, I want to help everyone else with their happiness.

One of the many lines that rang true to me is, "If you think you need to go to therapy, you need to go to therapy, so go." [p. 322] I have been thinking about it for a while, but I figure since I say I am done with the marriage, why go? I see now I have things to work on for myself and for my future relationships.

Thank you for a good book. Please keep up the good work.

Mira,.................................................Denver, Colorado

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HE READ THE BOOK WHILE SITTING IN A TREE STAND

It was my great fortune to come upon your book.  I think I had read every book on marriage written for women.  Unfortunately, because of this quest to be the perfect wife, I found myself becoming not myself, but instead a conglomerate of what best-selling authors said I should look like.  Needless to say, I was unhappy, and my husband found me turning into a woman he didn't recognize.  Still, though, I was frustrated at our lack of communication and the perception that my husband just wouldn't listen.

I had found a book on marriage in my husband's belongings once.  I think he bought it because he had been on some type of men's convention with a church group and they were selling it there.  I was quite pleased that he was making an effort (although I don't know if he ever actually read it).  I read the book and was mortified.  I found it insulting in its condescension toward women and its patronizing solutions for marital strife.  I told my husband to ignore any advice he may have gleaned from the book because I am not the woman referred to in that book.

I married a good man, and I consider us to have a very good marriage. He is not selfish, so many of your chapters didn't apply to him.  But Chapter 14, Be Prepared to Process, explained a lot.  I found myself validated in my frustration, and wanted to thank you for that. I found myself urging my husband to read just Chapter 14, if nothing else.  "If you read Chapter 14, you will understand everything," I would tell him.  "You will understand why I am so frustrated."

He took the book on a hunting trip, and read Chapter 14 while he sat in a tree stand one peaceful, quiet morning. I wish I could say that everything changed immediately, but it didn't.  I can tell he's trying though.  He lets me process at least.  And sometimes months after I've "processed" something, I can tell he heard me, because he will reference it.  I know he's listening, and if he is not acting on what I've said, I no longer accuse him of being indifferent.  I've realized we both have limitations.  We both are unable to meet every need of the other.  That's okay.  Our strength is in admiring the person we fell in love with, apart from our "assigned" roles as each other's "need meeter."

Thank you for your work.  I recommend it often. 

Darcie,............................................Gaithersburg, Maryland

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I GAVE AN ULTIMATUM TO MY HUSBAND

Thank you so much for your book.  I do not exaggerate when I say that reading it constituted a changing point in my life. I expected another book teaching the woman how to change; and instead I found an eye-opener that gave me the confidence I needed to look out for myself.  I started questioning long-held assumptions of what love meant, stopped putting up with daily verbal and emotional abuse (with the occasional physical intimidation), and found the courage to create a bottom line. I gave an ultimatum to my husband, and we have started couples therapy.  His behavior has somewhat changed, but more needs to happen for me to be happy in this marriage.  In any case, whatever happens in this relationship, I am so much better now.

Sybil,.......................................................................Hansville, Washington

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WILL HE COME HOME A CHANGING MAN?

I purchased the book yesterday and read it in entirety.  I gave the book to my husband to take with him on his flight this morning.  I am so moved by this book and feel so fortunate to have found it when I did.  It encapsulates everything that is wrong with our marriage. I can only hope tht my husband returns from his business trip a changing man.  Thank you.

Chrissie...............................................................St. Louis, MIssouri

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HIGH PRAISE FOR HOW LONG TILL MY SOUL GETS IT RIGHT?

(Here is a letter that we received this week about our previous book How Long Till My Soul Gets It Right? which was published in 2001 and is now out of print.)

Dear Robert and Jane Alter:

       I have been wanting to write this letter for years because it is so important that you know how much How Long Till My Soul Gets It Right? has touched my life.  In 2004 as a sophomore in college, I discovered it unread on my best friend's bookshelf.  Immediately I felt it was an absolute treasure. The compassion and wisdom of your words has comforted me throughout the darkest moments of my life and shaped my heart and mind forever.  Over and over I turn to it: no matter how many times I read it, I always find something to heal me and speak to each unique moment.  I have given it as wedding presents and breakup presents.  I have consulted it with boyfriends and family when we find ourselves at an impasse.  I have read excerpts to friends in their times of need. I quote it often.  I think of it more often.  It is so much a part of me that I cannot imagine myself without it.

     Every page in your book has the power to take me from lost to love, from depression to compassion, from fear to hope.  It fills me with peace, and patience, strength, and self-love. It centers me.  My mother passed away when I was young, but I know that these are the lessons she would have taught me had we more time together.

     I am sorry that I waited so long to tell you how important your work has been to someone.

     I have a degree in psychology, have read tons of self-help books, and have been through my share of therapy.  I have explored many books on Buddhism and meditation.  So I consider myself somewhat of an expert when I say that this is the best book ever written of its kind.  The most concisely, beautifully crafted guide to being human I ever expect to come across.

     So thank you both, from the bottom of my soul, which I am still and will forever be working on getting right.

Danya...................................................................Fairfax, Virginia

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A MATURE MAN CHANGES FAST

     Thank you for saving my life.  I have been the guy you wrote about in this book.  A complete bum, negative, arrogant, ignorant, angry, selfish, and so on.  I just finished the book.  I have acknowledged all of my faults and have changed extremely fast.  You have opened my eyes to my own immaturity.  Thank you very much.

Brian....................................Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

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A COUPLE WORKING THE BOOK

    I first wrote to you in March of 2011, and since then my husband has made his way to Chapter 11, "Talk to Her."  We actually separated for a few months and have been working towards healing things, and he picked the book back up a couple of months ago.  I guess he is not one of the ones who gets it quickly, or should I say, wants to acknowledge all his ungentleness quickly.  He is doing this slowly, but that is okay, he is still changing slowly, so I am pleased.  I thought you would get a kick out of some of the experiences we have had so far.
      In Chapter 8, "Grow Up," the Move is to ask your wife to make a comprehensive list of all the ways she thinks you're immature. He asked me to give him a list of the things that bother me about him.  He couldn't bring himself to ask me to tell him of the ways he was immature.  I knew this was an important moment, so I just said, "Well, dear, I think that is a Move for another chapter; isn't the move different for this chapter?"  I said it very softly and as if I was only looking for the right homework for both of us.  Then he took what I'm sure was a giant leap for his ego/pride and said, "Well, I gues it said for you to tell me how immature I am!  So you think I'm immature?"  I said, "Sometimes.  You are probably more mature in a lot of ways than the average man out there, but I guess there are a few things, dear."  So he went outside to read the next chapter and I started compiling a list.  When he came back in, he said, "I read two chapters," and I said, "Wow, that is great.  Any Moves?"  He said, "Nah, just to keep some things in mind." Then he made a joke and said, "Already working on that immature list, eh?"  And we both laughed and I said, "Well, there aren't that many items on it." 
       He has praised the book, and more importantly, praised the book when I brought it up to my cousin who is having difficulty in her marriage.

        When I made the list of things that annoy me, the top two were: Please make the effort to reach your arm a little further and throw the tissues in the garbage can instead of on the floor right next to it.  I clean all day and it would be helpful if you would pick up after yourself.  And: Please wipe up your coffee spills and stains on the the table, washing machine, sink, etc.  So I am trying to be gentle when reminding him.  He is 90% better and a work in progress.  I hope I am doing things right on my end.  Patience is the big factor, but I figured I've been with him and his ungentleness for 25 years, I can wait a year to get the man I need him to be.

      We were swinging out on the front porch today as the weather here in Colorado was perfect.  A nice breeze, not many people in sight, and we were talking, sharing, cuddling, and he mentioned that he was kind of in a funk today, so I said, "I know what will get you right out of your funk: read the next chapter in the book!  Do you know what the next chapter is called?"  He joked, "Your Wife Is Always Right"? and we laughed and said, "No, it's "Listen to Your Wife," which you don't always do.  Then he said, "I always listen to you, you don't listen to me."  So we got into this debate and we ended up laughing.  He will start on that chapter tomorrow, but I can't wait for him to get to the chapter about apologizing.  I've been waiting for 25 years for a sincere apology for a few things.  What hurts is that when I bring it up, he says, "I've already apologized for that," and then I say, "NO, YOU HAVEN'T; I WOULD HAVE REMEMBERED THAT!" and then I get angry and resentful.  I told him, "You can't get away with a two minute apology after all the hurt, and be done with it while my wounds are still open."  So I am really waiting for that one.  I think that chapter will heal years of heartache and bring down some serious walls between us.

     Thank you again, Robert, for this awesome book, and to you, Jane, for being the reason he wrote it.  God bless you both.

Joline,..................................................Fort Collins, Colorado

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A MAN CHANGING HIS BAD HABITS IN HONG KONG

     Recently I read the book Good Husband, Great Marriage, and I have found it to be very useful.  I am a single male, but I have found a very quality and intelligent female whose name is Katerina.  I have known her for three years, she is a very superior, strong, and elegant lady.  Katerina does think that I am a very talented and energetic good male who strives hard toward my challenges, and thinks I am also a good chef!  Since I have finished reading your book, I have had new understandings in my mind, and I want to change and corrrect my bad habits:   
I should stop walking into toy and video game stores.  I should stop watching cartoons on DVDs and on Youtube.  I should read magazines about successful men.  I should spend less time on Facebook.  I should stop talking about other females in front of Katerina.  I should talk about things I am planning to do instead of the past.  I should stop watching porn videos.  I feel that my bad habits covered me, and it's not the way I am.  My bad habits are not healthy for my mindset; they are immature.  I do feel I have the power to fix my problems, make the changes without going back to the bad habits again.  In May, I will be taking a ten week course about image and lifestyle.  I want to commit myself to study hard enough in order to be a more attractive male.

Norman,......................................Hong Kong

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MY QUESTION AFTER READING "GOOD HUSBAND, GREAT MARRIAGE"

     I have a question after reading Good Husband Great Marriage.  What was it that made Robert WANT to become a good husband to Jane?  Did he really stick to HIS part of changing and behaving as SHE would need; not about him anymore, but all about HER?  What was his incentive?  This isn’t about how to get my husband to do the changing “first” because there is no hope that he ever will do so.  
     Because, 40 years in, my husband is on every page of the book (mostly), and I am the wife who deserved everything I was NOT getting from him, and did that nagging/demanding thing (this is revolutionary, to see in print, “Your wife is not a crazy bitch”.).  I wasn’t perfect, didn’t always do it smart or well, but the “nagging” always just produced a punitive reaction from him, whether cold-shouldering or raging bully (the latter coming on about 3 years ago, in order to “get thru to me”).  I could never get rid of the bully, and I don’t know how to live with a bully.
     And there is no way any of his treatment towards me has anything to do with feeling, caring, empathy, let alone love.  So without that, there is no incentive for him to even care if I can stand to be around him ever.  Which, now that I’ve lost all hope, I can NOT stand to be around him.  Even if he’s not being a ranting beast and all wide-eyed and innocent, he’s just sweeping his trainwreck under the rug.   
     If you’re interested in how I came upon Good Husband, Great Marriage, my husband raged at me about 5 months ago over such NOTHING that he even agreed he needed anger counseling.  But it wasn’t doing ME any good; he just continued to cross lines into inhumanity with me even when I was trying to just be a nice little mouse (I found the more I did THAT, the more respect I lost for myself, so the mouse stage is over for me!). But I found the book half hidden on his bedside table, leafed thru it, and thought, “THIS is IT!  I shall BEG him to pay attention.  Change first!  I went into the counselor with him, who obviously had prescribed this book, said I was only here because of THE BOOK (I had bought my own copy, all marked up like a conservative Christian's Bible), and ratted him out on as many line-crossers as I could, because I knew he wasn’t being honest about his “anger”.  I did this as I held his hand, frantically including that I knew he could/would do this, for me/him/us.  The counselor was not necessarily in the spirit of the book, as he took every opportunity to put into question my credibility. However, a week or so later, my husband reported the counselor telling him, “You have a lot of work to do on your anger.”  And my husband never went back, because “he can do it himself”.  Of course he can’t/won’t.  The depth of my husband’s inhumanity toward me has just continued to be more clear, including, “YOU change first, wife, and THEN I’ll be nice to you.”  I believe I am being punished at every opportunity for “demanding” the marriage I never got in the first place.  So ours is not a success story, the books have been tossed into waste baskets or drawers, and now I have to make that decision, what do I do now?  
    Your book WAS my last hope, so I want to say thank you, thank you, for your brilliant yet so simple insight on how to save marriages. Still, where is the incentive when a spouse clearly feels nothing but apathy – hostility – rage toward the other?  I can’t get my head around an answer.  Whatever it is won’t work with my husband anyway, but I’m just so curious. 
     Again, thank you for saying, “I believe the wives”.  It’s such a relief, it makes me weep.

Michele,................Abilene, Texas

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NEVER THAT TWIT AGAIN: A MAN WHO REALLY GETS IT (AND A GREAT WIFE!)

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 am having a problem about how we give ourselves to the service of another without losing our "authentic" self.  I have dreams and desires that seem to be an integral part of who and what I am.  That without them, I cease to be the true "me."  It seems that it must be an issue of trust or Ego on my part.  I wonder if in the real world that such a surrender and devotion would often lead to being used or taken advantage of.  There is old pain in us all.  We all have demons.                    So, I proceed with caution and the hope that love can truly conquer all.  I continue to learn. I will give Laura the book to read.  Then we will talk!

Jim...........................................San Diego, California

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A MERE TWIST OF MY COGNITION AND THE WORLD IS A DIFFERENT PLACE

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

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I PRAY AND PRAY HE DOES NOT CONTINUE TO MOCK THE BOOK

     My father told me about this book.  He used to be a diffciult man--very difficult--no wonder my mother drank.  He did not realize that he was (mostly) at fault for the problems in my mother and father's relationship until he filled out a checklist and realized what an asshole he had been all those years!!
       Anyway, many years later, I have done the same thing my mother did--married a diffcult man--a very difficult man--an angry, sad, hurt, and depressed man--a wonderful, loving, athletic, intelligent man--my best friend--my best friend who I hardly know . . .
          This book gives me hope, and I only pray and pray that he does not continue to mock the book and wonder if a 'homosexual' has written it.  I feel that he can change, but don't know that he has the motivation or realizes what he will lose if he does not start digging deeply within himself.  Not only will he possibly lose me and the ability to see our son every day, but will continue to lose himself.
          Thank you for pointing out that I am entitled to my anger and pain and loneliness.  Thank you for this book.  It was a gift from my parents for my birthday.  The best gift ever received.

Carole....................................Athens, Georgia

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A WOMAN FROM FRANCE WHO CONTINUES THE TRAVEL

       Thank you for your book.  It has taken two relashionships broken and several 'psychotherapists' to finaly read your book and have the confirmation that it is not enough that I change, that I take the 100% of responsability, the mirror, etc.  I have never give up my dream to build a real relationship, and I do so!!!
        Your book is wonderful, simple, real, practicle, not "une prise de tete," as we say in French (you know, those beautiful theories but impossible to live).
          Every evening I read a few pages to my wonderful companion.  It is like a translator of women thoughts in men's words . . . :-))) It gives us joy and peace.  That's it!
           So I just thank you and your woman and I continue the travel . . .

Marie..................................France

P.S.  Sorry for my approximative English.

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THANK YOU FOR EXPLAINING IT TO HIM IN MAN-WORDS

     Last night my husband confessed that he hadn't had much time to read during the day at work (perfectly understandable), and he was a little put off by the hardback title, It's (Mostly) His Fault.  I had explained to him about the unfortunate title, and I had included in the book a bookmark in the form of a love letter telling him how much I loved him and that if he needed something from me in our relationship to please tell me, but he still found the title off-putting. Ironically, I picked up the book because I thought the title was funny and ironic.
     Anyway, instead of turning on the TV and sitting in front of the television and our laptops, I offered to read aloud to him while he ate his dinner, and we got through Chapter Four. Then we spent three hours talking.
     I noticed and pointed out to him that every time I asked him what he thought wasn't right in our relationship, he went straight to talking about money and his job and his frustration about money and his job. When I nudged him back toward talking about the RELATIONSHIP, he turned to talking about sex. When I said that I thought the reason we weren't feeling very sexual was because we had no intimacy, he got a funny look like that had never occured to him, but when I said it he suddenly saw how that could be. Neither one of us is into casual sex with strangers--which is what we have been: strangers who love each other from opposite ends of the sofa in front of the television.
     We're going to keep reading to each other in the evenings. I am a writer, and he confessed he hasn't even started reading my latest novel-in-progress, so we'll be reading that out loud while exchanging foot-rubs as well as reading about how it's (mostly) his fault (I do get a laught out of that title--I've spent so many years reading all about how it's all MY fault, and if I can only be sweet and loving and appreciative enough, he will look up from the computer screen and notice me).
     One thing that struck me is that all the time I was feeling unloved and abandoned and convinced that he resented me for not making as much money as he does, he had no idea there was anything wrong with our relationship at all. None. Not a clue. I am not a screamer or a complainer, so he figured as long as I was there and available, there wasn't a problem. When he does see a problem, it is always extremely concrete and specific: the right rear tire of the car has a slow leak, and I never remember to check it before I drive. I left my table saw outside in the rain. We don't have sex. His brain just can't process the idea that I feel tired and stressed and frazzled in part because I feel like I am asbolutely alone in this relationship. Thanks for pointing that out in your book. And thank you for explaining it to him in man-words because when I say that I need something, that sounds like crazy talk to him, he just really doesn't take it in or know what to do about it.  Your book helped him to hear me.
       Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Mercedes,....................................Roseburg, Oregon

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RESPONSE TO "WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO NOT GET SLAPPED?"  (see directly below)

     Oh, my lord!  Good for you for not retaliating when she struck you.  That shows tremendous class and self-control, but she has no more right to strike you than you do her.  No hitting.  That's the rule.  Same rule for everybody.  A good therapist could help you figure out ways to talk with her about the no-hitting rule at a time when tempers aren't high and also what to do when the situation is getting unruly.

Mercedes,......................................Roseburg, Oregon

I DESERVE HER ANGER, BUT WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO NOT BE SLAPPED?

I have an issue.  I have been abusive toward my girlfriend, and I am seeking counseling for this issue.  However, a trigger is when she slaps me.  I haven't seen it in the book, but my girlfriend has read the whole book and says that she is within her rights to slap me when I am insolent.

I accept and acknowledge that I am responsible for her anger, and I am trying to use the tools you present to fix that, even though it is sometimes hard to do effectively with a long distance relationship.  And as I said, my violence is inexcusable, I have no defense for those actions, but am I really supposed to accept slapping as a legitimate action from my sweetheart any time I anger her or she needs to teach me a lesson?  I know your accounting of your wife's overturning the dining room table [p. 160] isn't an example of justified ways to express anger, but is "taking the hit" [pp. 158-163] supposed to be literal?  I have had things thrown at me, and been slapped.  I have been bruised and had a bloody lip.  I deserve her anger, but do I really deserve these angry actions?

While my own violence is inexcusable, I have calmly put up with being slapped several times.  My only regret is the two times I did respond in an effort to get her to stop, once trying to physically drag her out of my apartment.  How many times must I be slapped without responding before she needs to stop?  I never want to touch her in anger again, so I am not looking for a countdown to allow me to respond. . . . I have never used violence to intimidate her other than in response to slapping, and I know I shouldn't have done so then, but when can I expect to not be slapped?  When is it reasonable for me to ask to not be slapped?  I am an abuser for ever touching her in anger--this is my shame.

Thank you for the tools you have provided to work toward harmony with her.  She is the love of my life, and I thank you for giving me the tools to try to show her that this is the case.

Randall,..........................................Amarillo, Texas

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RESPONSE TO "THREE DOG NIGHT" (see directly below)

     I shouldn't laugh.  I really shouldn't.  My husband and I have essentially the same dog problem you do, and it is something we need to work on.
      He wanted puppies, so we got a mate for our little boy (dog) Scooter, and we now have five precious pug-chihuahua mix darlings who run amuck. I work hard to train and discipline them, build fences to keep them in the yard, read books about dog training, clean up after them, walk them, etc. He complains about how badly behaved they are, and that, as he sees it, is where his responsibility ends.
     I have been repeatedly telling my husband that he can either stop complaining about the dogs' behavior or take responsibility for it. He can choose one or the other. He can even have both. The whole "take responsibility" concept is seriously straining his (considerable) intelligence.
     If your husband wants the dogs--which he clearly does--then it is his obligation to read about dog training or enroll the dogs in obedience school on the weekend (you could go with him) and spend time every day reaching them acceptable behavior. Anything less than that is childish.
     It will help a lot if you are both on the same page vis-a-vis taining methods and expectations: how quiet, obedient, etc. do they have to be, and what commands will you use, and so on. Try reading anything by Caesar Milan and/or watching his Dog Whisperer program on the National Geographic Network.
     Thank you for your letter. Seeing someone else in the same predicament as myself really helps me see where I let my husband get away with being irresponsible and immature.

Mercedes,..........................................Roseburg, Oregon

THREE DOG NIGHT

[This woman is asking for help and advice from other readers.  Anyone?]

     I have read your book and am wondering how my situation would fit your philosophy.  My husband was nicer to me before we were married, but I still believe he is a good man; he has baggage just as I do from poor parental role models to major depression.  But the most insurmountable issue between us is our dogs. We adopted our first dog from the pound a year ago, he was seven months old, a large dog, very hyper, out of control. I was unsure it was a good idea, but my husband insisted he could handle him.  We brought the dog home and he was a nightmare.  Tore up everything in the house every day for months when we left him to go to work.  We didn't leave him in his crate because my husband insisted he needed to learn to behave out of the crate.  I arrived home before my husband, so I was the one who had to clean up the messes and punish the dog.  It really started to get me down; I admit I am sensitive, and I really would prefer peace in my home (note: we don't have any children).  After the dog tore up every outdoor cushion and continued to chew on us (not drawing blood, but still biting), I dared to suggest we might give him away (not to the pound, but a good home), and try another dog.  My husband went ballistic!!
     He said that we had adopted this dog so we had to be responsible and keep him forever. That he loved the dog and if I ever got rid of the dog he would never forgive me. That the dog would outgrow the behavior one day, and I needed to just put up with it. That, "Why didn't I just shoot the dog now?!" (Pretty sarcstic, as all I wanted was to find him a more suitable home, not friggin kill him.)
     Every time I had taken all I could stand and tried to bring the subject up, my husband would shut down, refuse to discuss it, and insult me. I started to feel he loved the dog more than me, but when I mentioned how I felt, he denied it and got even more angry.
     Six months ago, we took in my mother-in-law's dog because she was chewing up the furniture, and my husband felt he could train her and give her a better home than his parents could. She has fewer behavior problems, but the two dogs have played and fought loudly and violently all the time.  Then, a few months ago, a rescue organization was showing their dogs, and my husband talked me into getting a third dog!  This one was only four months old, not hyper, and large enough to be a match for the first dog.  However, she has her own issues, like digging up our trees and ripping off all their bark and branches.  I thought I might be a dog person, but this experience has shown me I probably do not have the patience.
     No matter how I explain, try to be reasonable, beg, or cry, my husband will absolutely not budge on this subject. I know he has control issues, but it seems unfathomable that these dogs could mean so much to him he is willing to scream at me and risk me leaving him. I am desperate; no one I have talked to has any useful advice.
     If you post this on your website, I pray someone will have some comment that will help me. We haven't been to counseling because we have financial problems (which are less of an issue than dogs!). He has not read the book yet, as he got a new job recently and just left for a six week training program.  Thank you.

Dayle,................................Provo, Utah

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THE BOOK IS NOT A SELLOUT, AND TIGER IS A PATHOLOGY

     I have just finished reading your book Good Husband, Great Marriage for what seems like the fourth time, possibly more.  I also read the comments from readers, including some men who chose to dump on Robert for being a "sellout" to men.
     As I am sure you are aware, recently Tiger Woods was involved in what I can only call a pathological attempt to remain a toddler in his marriage by attempting to create some sort of human golf course--18 holes of golf, 18 cocktail waitresses. I feel that certain parallels can be made here. First of all, I never had a sense that the book was a sellout to men. Actually, the book hints at the very core of damaging male behavior. It forces men (if they grasp it) to view woman not as objects, but rather worthwhile, unique individuals who are very much worth loving and knowing. The danger of the Tiger Woods fiasco, as well as the incident in Los Angeles where a 15 year old girl was gang-raped while spectators watched and filmed it with their cellphones, is that the objectification of women is a dangerous trend. To a demented male mind, we are nothing more than one of 18 cocktail waitresses on the side, or merely a bag of parts.
   I don't think the responsibility for this condition can be blamed solely on men, however. Women would be better served if we remained dignified, with the knowledge that God put us on the planet to nurture, not titillate. (That is, in my opinion, unless we are speaking of an adult monogamous sexual relationship.)
     While I continue to struggle in my own marriage, (infidelity, lies, etc.), I seriously question why women would find satisfaction soliciting a married man.  I hope much more for my daughters.  I do believe with all my heart that a man will treat you in exactly the same manner that you demand.  Or, as Mrs. Roosevelt put it, no one takes advantage of you without your permission.
      This letter will probably elicit a hostile response from some people, but I sincerely hope, like your book, that people will at least contemplate an opinion outside their box.

Cyra,...............................................Gainesville, Florida

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HE WILL CHANGE OR HE WILL LOSE WIFE AND DAUGHTER

     I just wanted to take the time to thank you for writing Good Husband, Great Marriage. A good friend of mine suggested that I get self-help books to work on the problems in my marriage.  I went to the bookstore and picked yours up.
     Based on the title, I thought it would be about the wife adjusting the way she looks at the things her husband does. I thought that was what we needed. Boy, was I wrong! I just finished reading your book from cover to cover and feel so validated.
     I have been married for four years. I am 26 and my husband is 31. We have a beautiful two year old daughter. I have been so miserable and lonely for the past two years--the only thing that has kept me going is our daughter.
     Everything my husband does that upsets me is in your book--from being a workaholic, to infidelity, to not talking with me.  After him saying so many times, "What is your problem?!" I thought it was my problem.  He even went so far as to say that I am manic-depressive or that there must be something else if not that, that I am just "screwed-up."  I thought I needed to change.
     I moved out of our house last week after he grabbed me by the shoulders and got in my face, saying he wants to kill me. I am not sure what to do now. My daughter and I are at my parent's house. Something keeps me wanting to go back to him. I want to demand change in him. I believe there is a good man in there. I married him when he was a good man.
     Your book has helped me make a decision. We are going to meet at a friend's house tonight for a discussion. I am going to ask him what he thinks I need to change. And I will listen. Then I am going to tell him that he will change or he will lose his wife and daughter. I am going to demand that he go to anger management and that we go to couples counseling.
     Your book gave me the power to demand what I know is the right thing to do. Thank you! I am going to buy a copy of your book and give one to every married woman I know. I will ask her to read it and do everything in her power to get her husband to do so as well.

Antonia,......................................Erie, Pennsylvania

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   A BRILLIANT WOMAN USES THE BOOK BRILLIANTLY

  After reading your book, I did four things:

(1) I told my husband that I no longer thought of him as imperfect, but instead as being "90% perfect."  I said he's not an abuser, adulterer, or an addict; he works hard for the family; he loves us; he would die for us; he has tremendous integrity, etc.  He really appreciated hearing this from me, instead of just another bitter round of tears and "I'm so unhappy."
 (2) I told him I was commited to focusing on that remaining 10%--to building a 100% great marriage.
(3) I stopped blaming myself for his behavior and started insisting on kind, respectful treatment from him at all times--not in an angry way, but in a patient, compassionate (but always persistent) way. Any time he said something casually disrespectful, I would calmly say, "I need an apology, or else we need to talk about this."
(4) For the first time in 20 years of marriage, I started using the word "man" when referring to my husband. I have always said, "You are a great husband, you are a great father, you are a great guy," etc., but I am amazed at how gratifying it is to my husband when I say, "You are a such a good man."
      Since reading the book, I have been constantly (or so it felt to me) insisting on apologies and changes in my husband's behavior. Occasionally I would hesitate before speaking up, thinking, "Can he deal with yet another of my demands for change?" But then recently my husband amazed me by remarking, "I think the reason our marriage is so much better is because ever since you read that book, you have finally started to appreciate me."  Wow!
      It is a two-steps-forward, 1-step-backward process, but we are happier than we have ever been in our marriage. I am so grateful to the book for helping me appreciate the good man I am married to, and for encouraging me to speak up and insist on respect and kindness at all times.

"A Reader" writing a review on Amazon.com, June 1, 2008

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I WOULD TREAT MY WIFE DIFFERENTLY IF I EVER GET THE CHANCE  (A MAN WHO TOTALLY GETS IT!)

     I just finished reading the second copy I have purchased of Good Husband, Great Marriage. I drew so much from the book the first time that I read it, I gave my first copy to my marriage counselor.  It supports to much of what he has been talking to me about.  He has already recommended it to others. 
     My situation may be a little bit different than most in that my wife and I have been separated for a year now.  Because of previous behavior on my part, I have created a fear in my wife which has limited my interaction with her to emails only. Because of the reality I have created for her, I am very limited in my ability to show any of the Moves or my character changes to her.  I try to do as much as I possibly can, and hope that there will be some miracle to bring us together again.  I have not given up hope, but recognize that if things do not work out for us, this book will help me both in my future interactions with her, as well as another future relationship with someone else. 
     Ironically, I am beginning a Masters counseling program and want to focus on men suffering from anger and depression and how it affects their relationship with their wives.  I do not want other men to go through what I have gone through, and do not want other wives to go through what I have put my wife through.  I expect your book will be highly recommended often, as it is becoming a resource for my own life.  I have been able to implement many of the iterms discussed in my interactions with co-workers who have mentioned they have recognized a noticeable change within me. 
     I only wish I could I could share this with my wife.
     Thank you for writing a book that is straightforward and tells it like it is. As I read the book, I am reminded of conversations I have had with my counselor about the same topics. It has helped to reinforce what I have already learned, as well as given me greater insight into how my past behavior has screwed up my relationship and how I would treat my wife differently if I ever get the chance. Thank you.

Budd,........................................................McAlester, Oklahoma

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IT TAKES A LOT OF DEDICATION TO MAKE A GOOD MARRIAGE

     After having many marriage difficulties, I have been pushing to separate from my husband of 15 years.  The problem is my husband never really believed in improving the marriage, and would never venture into the waters of self-improvement.  On countless occasions, I begged, cried, pleaded with him to improve our marriage.  But the only response I got back was, "I am who I am, I am never going to change."  Each time he made that comment I knew he was taking away my right to a reasonably happy marriage.  I know I deserve that, for sure.  Now after standing my ground for over two years, now I want to separate and get a divorce.
     For the first time my husband bought a book--and it was yours. I spotted it, picked it up, and read a few pages, then some more. The feeling of relief that came to me was indescribable. But guess what? He only got to the third chapter, and stopped.
     I think your book reached him through. I read a lot of it. I particularly appreciated your comments about leaving the marriage if you know there is little hope left. It confirmed my feelings that I had felt on many sad days.
     But now awakened with the prospect of losing us, he wants to keep trying. But I am past trying. It shouldn't be that hard. Marriage should have its problems but should not be that difficult. I think YOU HAVE TO FEEL IT. And I'm not "feeling it" anymore. My strongest comment to him has been--If you want to take the marriage to the grave, it takes a lot of DEDICATION to make a good marriage.
     I wasn't expecting the perfect husband, just one who would TRY.  Your book has been an invaluable insight and probably confirms the feelings of a lot of unhappily married people.  Probably women more than men though. 

Karen,...............................................................Winter Park, FL

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I AM NOT YOUR MOMMY, GROW UP!

   I just finished your book.  I've also read A Woman's Guide to Changing Her Man Without His Knowing It by Michelle Weiner-Davis, and a friend recommended The Lazy Husband by Joshua Coleman, Ph.D. Both of those books advise essentially training a man the way one would train a dog, with lots of positive reinforcement. Although they're both well-written and kind of fun to read, I object to being expected to take a parental role.  I appreciate that your book doesn't suggest that approach.
     But I have to mention that your book is missing the chapter I really need most, "She Is Not Your Mother: Grow Up!" My husband needs this spelled out in no uncertain terms. I have said for years that part of growing up is learning what needs to be done and how to do it. His favorite excuse is, "I don't know how." When I asked him to change the furnace filter, he told me that it didn't really need to be done. If there is something on the floor, he will kick it out of the way and keep going. One recent morning he wanted a cup of cocoa, but I was busy and didn't get it for him, so he went without.
     He wrote me a letter a couple of weeks ago feeling sorry for himself because we haven't had sex in over a year, including our 20th anniversary (I've told him already that Peter Pan is not sexually attractive and few women are pedophiles).  He cites a book we read together years ago, His Needs, Her Needs. He's a man, so he needs sex.  Never mind that I need a few things from him too.
     He's suggested marriage counseling a couple of times. We've already been through several 'enrichment' seminars through church; he nods like a bobblehead, but doesn't follow through.
     He always has time for video games, sports, sailing, etc.  He complained that it feels like I don't need him.  "What do you want me to need you for?" I asked.  "You'll watch those last six episodes of "Cheers" for me?  Gee thanks.  That really helps."
     I'm sure that when he reads your book and gets to the chapters on how to treat his wife, he'll see that he's doing a good job. We get along fine on the surface. He lets me do whatever I like, goes on all-day shopping trips with me, will literally buy me anything I ask for and a lot of stuff I don't, gets along with my friends . . . but he wants me to call the shots. If he makes a decision, it's an off-the-cuff reaction, usually in anger. From the outside, we look like a happily married couple, and no one can tell that he's considering leaving me.
      I don't have a job, let alone a career, I feel like I've given this guy my future and all he wants is to "get lucky" (yes, he's really used that term). He wants sex and I need an income, but I don't want to reduce myself to being a prostitute with a marriage license. I want a husband I can respect.

"Not His Mommy,"................................................Little Rock, Arkansas

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DO HIS FAIR SHARE

     I enjoyed the book, which I found thoughtful, readable, sensible, and, no doubt to most men, radical.  I have handed it over to my husband and suggested he read it.  We will see where that goes.
     In any event, a subject that I suggest you address directly in an updated edition is the issue of assuming a fair share of the work of home and family. It is indirectly addressed in a number of ways but not taken on with full force, as it should be. I think this is as contentious a subject as sex and money in most marriages and a place where misogynistic ("old fashioned") ideas about gender roles are played out daily.
      Perhaps it would be good to appeal to a sense of fair play (would an honorable man want to be seen dumping on colleagues at work? cheating at a game with friends? not paying his fair share when he goes to lunch with colleages? or any other good example you can devise). Fair is not 10%. Fair is not doing a "favor" by cleaning up the kitchen.  Fair is not taking the garbage out once a week and doing nothing else.  Fair is not saying, "We have a cleaner every week so you, wife, are being foolish/perfectionistic."  Fair is not saying you are not interested in housework.  Who is?
     Men need to recognize that they own half the relationship, but they also own half the house and half the family. And that takes daily work. Figure out what it takes to run the household and do half. One way to know if you are doing your fair share is to figure out what your wife is doing when you are on the sofa in front of the TV with the remote.  If she is reading a novel or out with friends, great! If she is doing something in the house like laundry or picking up your children's toys or cleaning the kitchen or paying the bills, guess what? you are not doing half.
     Travel is not an excuse to avoid housework, but should be a recognition that whenever you are gone, you are doing 0% and that doing 50% when you are home does not add up to half. Do the math. My husband travels for several weeks every other month, so he not only avoids any housework or childcare when he is gone, but he plans his travel without regard to my work and need to travel. Usually he books his travel without mentioning any dates to me.  On the occasions when he asks me if the time is okay for me and I find that it is not a good time because I have a conflict, he almost always gets grumpy and goes anyway with some excuse about how important his work is (we are both business executives with highly responsible jobs--my job may actually have more responsibility than his.  He has missed holidays and on several occasions forced me to miss meetings I should have attended because we have two small children, so someone must be available.  And at the end of the day, mothers can always be victimized in this fashion because we will not allow our children to suffer.  When he returns from his trips, he is jetlagged for another week, so, again, zero participation.  Then in the remaining few weeks he says that he will not "commit" to any specific schedule of participation because "we need to work it out and be flexible."  This translates into, "I will do what I want and if it works out I will 'help out' with picking a child up from school as a favor--and for anything I do, I should get a gold medal."
     Needless to say, men have evolved excellent avoidance strategies.  For housework: Don't do it at all........Say you will, then don't........Say you are too busy..........Say it is not your priority.....
Bellow that you won't be ordered around.  For childcare, you can be even more unpleasant because you hold the trump card: The mother will always put the child's well-being first. When you care for them, make sure to undermine the wife's parenting as much as possible. If your wife limits TV watching and videos, then buy videos and let your child watch when you are "babysitting." Never feed them anything but Burger King or Dunkin' Donuts if your wife spends a lot of time and effort to ensure that your child has well-balanced, healthy foods daily. Make sure to tell your children that mom is unbalanced and "nutty" about these things.  That way, by spending almost no time with your children, you are still assured that you will be seen in a favorable light by them, and your wife will soon learn that asking you to help with childcare comes a very high cost indeed.  If she dares to confront you, all you can do is throw down the gauntlet and tell her that if she does not like how you do it, then she can do it herself, or that as a parent you can do whatever you want and she has no right to tell you what to do.  Voila!--less work for you and a wonderful chance to undermine the mother in the children's eyes!
     And my husband? a well-loved, successful guy whom business associates and employees think is one of the kindest, most considerate men to have walked the earth--he'll volunteer to help almost anyone . . . outside the home.

Brenna,...............................................San Francisco, California

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A MAN WHOSE HEAD IS SCREWED ON RIGHT

      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."
       Next, our daughter is going through a nasty divorce process. The husband will NEVER look at himself honestly, and he needs to. In particular your paragraph at the bottom of page 245 dealing with how kids can get "hijacked" (your wonderful term) is so true in this case, with three kids caught in the meat grinder.
       Now to my personal reaction.  While I am often a good husband, there have been plenty of times whem 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 means 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.

Ian,..........................................................Chatanooga, Tennessee

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MY EXACT THOUGHTS IN PRINT!

Just a short note to say thank you so much for writing this book!  I just finished reading it after it caught my eye yesterday on the way out of the bookstore. . . . I have four very important people I would love to read this book.  First, my husband of course.  But I also have three boys (grown) either married or contemplating starting a serious relationship.  I feel this is a must-have book for all men!!!  It just feels so good to finally see my exact thoughts on this subject in print!  You did a great job with this!  And God bless you for it!  Tell your wife, Thank you too for teaching us that we really can teach our husbands all this wealth of information.

Phebe,................................................Paonia, Colorado

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THE IN-HOUSE DIVORCE?

     I am 49 years old and have two teenage children.  I read your book last year before Christmas.  It is truly a great book, as well as a very important book for the present time!  I felt so empowered and acknowledged after reading it that I purchased a copy to give to my husband as a Christmas gift.  However, for some reason I felt very uneasy about this, so I decided to wait a while and give it to him on our 25th anniversary the following March, or for his birthday in April.  Again I felt this 'huge wall of resistance and apprehension.'  I read through the book again to see why I was holding back.  The answer came when I experienced a huge resonance in the section Closing Message to Women Readers, with Point 5: "The In-House Divorce" [pp. 333-4], and even more so with the woman whose situation you described in this section.
       To cut a long story short, I believe that my husband can be quite adequately described as "narcissistic/self-absorbed/self-centered/etc." He is my age and very psychologically dependent on his (how shall I put it?) rather "controlling/powerful" mother. We have been having longterm problems in our relationship, and I have been feeling very alone in my distress and sorrow.
      I am writing to you because I am thinking (for all sorts of practical reasons) about doing what this woman decided to do when she came to her realization about her husband and her marital situation.  I would like to know how she got on.  Just like her, I too am feeling "there's very little of me that feels married to him."  However, I am finding it very difficult to deal with my husband because of the way he just is, and at the same time keep myself essentially undisturbed and psychologically intact until I am ready and able to make a move one way or the other.

Rhama,.................................................Brooklyn, New York

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SHAME ON YOU

     I would like to offer my opinion of your book.  I was going to wait until I had read every page, but after reading Chapters 17 and 18, I can no longer wait.
     How can you say that her anger is okay and appropriate because "it's coming from about ten thousand years of women getting pushed around and mistreated by men, and all the women are furious," and then say your admitted double standard that men need to "cut the shit." Your cookie cutter view of male-female relationships is ridiculous and obviously intended to SELL books to women. Come on, Dude, you are a sell-out. Grow some balls, and get a clue, but then you're laughing all the way to the bank, aren't you?
  I do admit there is some good common sense, logical stuff in your pages, but . . .
  It just is not cool what you've put out there, especially because there is zero consideration that people are individuals.  Your assumptions that women are always good noble creatures that should be worshipped and men are all self-centered idiots is at best a stereotype and at worst fraud.  Shame on you.

Vince,...............................................Red Wing, Minnesota

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BEYOND VALIDATED

     After having read at least thirty marital "self-help for couples" books over the past fifteen years of marriage, I literally bumped into yours (I realize now it was such a blessing!), and stayed up until 4 AM last night to read it.  I plan to reread it tonight and then again the following, and hope for the opportunity to share it with my (estranged) husband as well.
      I finally feel as if I've met that "little voice inside my head"--and it is you! :) The word "validated" cannot do justice to the way I felt reading your words.

Lena,..........................................Shenandoah, Iowa

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MY WIFE HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO CHANGE TOO!

     Just finished Good Husband, Great Marriage , and I feel similar to Quentin from Florida [see below]--there are some marriages where the wife has a responsibility to change, and I see no acknowledgment of that possibility in your book. [Not true: see pages 48-60]  
      I believe this because I am in this type of marriage.  We begin counseling tomorrow.  Contrary to your advice, my wife has her session tomorrow, and my session follows in a week.
       I'm glad that your book has proved helpful to many readers.  I plan to use it as a resource as we work on our marriage.

Steady in San Luis Obispo,................................California

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AND I KNOW NOW . . . I ONLY PRAY THAT I'M NOT TOO LATE

      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

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BEFORE YOUR BOOK I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I HAD

     I read your book and thought it was wonderful; it has given me the tools that I was in need of to change.  For some reason, my wife has been telling me the same thing that I just read; however, I could not understand her; it was like she was speaking a foreign language!
      Since reading your book and my therapy sessions, I have begun to change. You see, my wife left me three months ago, but she hasn't divorced me as of yet. We have been communicating, and she has noticed some change in me. I guess I was one of those husbands who had to be given a swift kick in the pants to get the message that I needed--to change or lose the love of my life. Is there still hope for our marriage even after she has left?
       I will let you know what the outcome of my situation is--for others like me who want to save their marriage by changing.
      Again, the book was a godsend, and I will continue to use it to keep the change going. We've been married for fifteen, going on sixteen, years, and before your book I didn't know what I had.
      Pray for me.
      P.S. I got the book myself; it was not given to me by my wife to read.

Cliff,...........................................................Ludington, Michigan

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       REVELATION:  I AM NOT TO BLAME FOR HIS POOR AND UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR!

          I am emailing you from Geraldton, Western Australia.  Despite being a full-time stay-at-home mother to a three year old, running a business, and maintaining a home and four pets, I found time to read Good Husband, Great Marriage from the time I got it home from the bookshop at noon till ten PM last night.  What an amazing read.  I want to buy EVERYONE a copy! 
          My husband Sam of nearly three years and I became unstuck after our son was born (my low libido sent my hubby into a spin), and we went into business for ourselves.  To cut a long story short, the pressures of all of this led to unhappiness, plain rudeness, extreme tiredness, too much awful bitter arguing and aggressiveness on his part, not mine, he being jealous, paranoid, and more recently my discovery of his infidelity and confirmation he is in fact a sex addict.
           To cope in the short term I was put on anti-depressants, and for long term results referred to an amazing psychologist (a male). That has been a real god-send in helping me survive and cope with the "not nice stuff" in our marriage day by day.
            However, browsing the bookstores for a gift for a friend on parenting, I stumbled across your book (no accident, I am sure!). Well, what a read. I turned each page with YES! YES! THIS IS US!  I cried my heart out on the section on "Gentleness," especially on the issue of a wife/mother feeling confident to leave our beautiful (gentle, happy, and very sensitive) son in the sole care of my husband (I rarely do for fear of his sarcasm and gruffness towards Tony), and I am forever checking on the two of them that Tony is emotionally safe.  I pay a baby sitter during the week rather than leave Tony on the weekend with Sam when I need to get a haircut, go to the dentist, etc.  It was a RELIEF to read your words and know for sure, be really convinced, that I was not going CRAZY despite his ex-wife (fantastic woman and mother to her and Sam's other child) telling me over and over it was him and not me (and surprise, surprise, this was history repeating itself ten years down the track!).
           I placed the book on Sam's side of the bed, and he seemed interested to hear what you had to say. I know it will be a case of me reading it to him (I don't mind) as he works 15-16 hour days six days a week in an effort to get this business off the ground and running. He is quite anti-counseling, branding it a waste of time and "they're just after our money." So this book, I know, I just know, offers real hope for us as it reinforces exactly what my psychologist has been trying to get through to me all these months: that I am not to blame for his poor and unacceptable behaviour. I have another session with him today and can't wait to show him the book.
            I am looking forward to reigniting the flame and being the wife I know I can be and am to a GOOD HUSBAND, and the ultimate will be getting our intimacy back again, where I feel safe and secure and nurtured, where I really do lust for my husband again.
         Thank you from many, many miles away. The book is an inspiration. Thank you.

Leonie,...................................Geraldton, Western Australia

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AN EXCHANGE BETWEEN ROBERT AND A MALE READER RECOVERING FROM ADDICTION TO PORNOGRAPHY

THE READER:

Dear Robert,
      I have read your book and am in the process of reading it again. I am highlighting and underlining and writing notes to myself all over the place. I have started implementing several of the Moves and actions and lifestyle changes, for myself, into my own life. For the past year and nine months my wife and I have been seeing our own therapists, and we meet twice a month together with all four of us for combined marriage counseling.
      I have been addicted to porn for about forty years, online porn for about eight or nine years. Haven't sought after or pursued porn for one year and nine months since I came clean to my wife of twenty five years.
     This is the way I kind of see it. I have been on a pursuit to change myself, both morally and in my marriage. But it doesn't seem to me that Good Husband, Great Marriage addresses me in my situation.  I know that I am the offending party in this relationship, I am the enemy, the "Vietcong" in my wife's post-traumatic stress syndrome, but it seems to me that no matter what I do or say or am trying to become, it just doesn't seem to break through to her.  She can't even be intimate with me for fear of what comes into her mind of what I may have seen online, in the grocery store or check-out line, or even walking through the mall.  A Vietnam vet is set off by loud sounds or fireworks going off or a kid throwing firecrackers in his backyard, but that isn't happening everywhere, ALL the time.  Pornography, soft as it may seem to be, is EVERYWHERE. 
      I've really messed my wife up.  According to your book, I'm looking for rewards for my "Moves" or actions that never seem to come because of my wife's PTSD.  I need help!  Is there any resource you can suggest for me?  Thank you in advance,

Glen,...........................................................Freeport, Illinois

ROBERT:

Dear Glen,
      It's good you're writing in seeking help, and doing therapy. When we're dealing with sexual addiction, marriage, and wives who have been hurt, betrayed, humiliated, and violated by the addiction, we need all the help we can get.
       As far as resources go, look up Patrick Carnes on Amazon, scroll down his list of books, and start reading his stuff. He's kind of the national expert on sexual addiction, and I'm sure will have good things to say about the problem you're dealing with. Also maybe take a look at the book I wrote before Good Husband, Great Marriage, which is called How Long Till My Soul Gets It Right? (paperback, HarperCollins, 2001); in it there's about thirty pages on addiction, and one particular chapter  called "The Seven Circles of Sexual Addiction."
      And remember that PTSD is a very real thing and lasts a very long time after the initial trauma.  Remember also that one year nine months clean and sober, while great, is a very short time compared to twenty-five years in the addiction.  Patience is what's required her. Your wife, by virtue of the fact that she is still with you, is being patient with you, and you must be patient with her.   Keep enlarging your heart and your understanding to be able to sympathize with your wife's state right now.  As my wife, who works in the field of addiction, is fond of saying about these PTSD matters, using the analogy of an amusement park ride, "The ride is over, but I'm still nauseous."  This sexual stuff that we men have done is, in Bob Dylan's terms, "like a corkscrew to my heart" for a woman.  See my "Fidelity!" chapter for a very graphic example of that one.  Think of it like this: Your years of sexual addiction to pornography have, like an axe in wood, created a deep cut in your wife, and, like with a cut in wood, all we can do is pick up our sandpaper and sand and sand and sand until we get to the bottom of it and it's not there anymore.  The sanding you are doing is your clean and sober behavior, and you just need to keep doing it.  Don't put time on this one.  I'll repeat that: Don't put time on this one.  And don't put "seeing results" on it either.  Just enter into a state of selfless service to your dear wife and perform right behavior for its own sake without thought of reward.  This is actually the highest form of action--right action done for its own sake with no thought of reward or result or outcome.  No matter what we've done, as it says in an Indian scripture called the Yoga Vasishtha, "There is nothing more powerful in the universe than right action rightly performed in the present."  That means, I think, that we can overcome our past, and win our wives back, when we perform and keep performing right action.
     And whenever your heart moves you (read: often!), apologize to your wife, and apologize again, and again, for the lost and addicted soul that you were and how much that hurt her. Remorse is good here, both for your relationship with your own heart and with your wife. And remind her that you've come clean, and for love of her and love of yourself and love of righteousness, you will stay clean for the rest of your life.
      Good luck. You sound like a man in transformation. There is nothing better than that.

Robert

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RESPONSE TO AMITY FROM BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA

(See below the letter entitled "Could You Imagine How Awesome the World Would Be If Ran By Women?")

     It takes maturity to both stick with and end marriage. Both take work. If it has to end, your marraige seems to be concluding in a manner that leaves you intact. Maybe you learned and at least if you are not embittered, you can "live to love again."  So congratulations on that!
     When you said, "We did not have a foundation of love for one another," I silently nodded. This can go both ways. A marriage with something to work with, some feeling that the husband knows he has business to finish, and both partners will sacrifice, that kind of marriage can lead to more and more love.  It is not linear--"I love you" increasing at an incremental amount with each year--instead, the experience I have had is the sacrificing, the emotional growth, propels the love to increase in more-than-proportional amounts.  But then there are cases where love dries up. 
    Elarnor Roosevelt said this wonderful thing after Franklin passed away and she was mourning (not a direct quote).  Amity, what you wrote is close to what the first lady said:
     "We had respect, but this marriage did not have love. We never had any firm foundation of love to go on as we lived together."
      She seems to be saying that with FDR's death, she had lost something, but because their hearts were not bound by love, she had not lost or broken her whole heart.
       For you, Amity, you might try learning about Elarnor Roosebelt and Franklin Roosevelt and his affair with Lucy Mercer.  In easing how you process what has happened to you and getting a divorce, you can use her as a model.  Look at the time she had with Franklin, an amazingly gifted man, at how she survived serving with him in the White House, at what happened to her later.  Who had maturity, Eleanor or Franklin?  This woman has been a strength to me. She suffered by herself.  After ending one partnership and admitting that there never was that firm foundation of love, she went on. She shaped America, and in her unknown, unsung way, she helped the modern world in hundreds of ways.
        I think this illustrates the timeless message in Good Husband, Great Marriage, in that the growth of Eleanor, her readiness to take on challenges, was incompletely met by an egotistical man.  He was beloved and he will go down in history as a brave and great leader, but he was also clueless about women!  Like the ways so many men start out--but I'm saying this in the Nicest Possible Way. . . . When I look at marriages of today, and of our parents' and grandparents' times, I see the book, over and over, its power--the power of loving someone for years.

Dinah,....................................................Utica, New York

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AN EXCHANGE BETWEEN A READER AND ROBERT

THE READER:
       Hello, and thank you for your book.  I am not married to the man I am about to illustrate to you, so I do not know if am worthy of your time.  Nonetheless, here it goes.
      We've known each other for three and a half years.  He was drunk when I met him at the local coffee/jazz house on a Saturday night.  I enjoyed telling him how grotesque I thought he was.  He was outrageous.  I was outraged, and playfully we began our dance.
       For one year, he went to a local bar-restaurant for the entire afternoon.
       For one year, he stood me up a couple of times.
       Has never stopped hanging up on me.
       Has called me every name in the book and every part of me a name as well.
       First year, on my birthday,, he told me about another girl he had a crush on.
       First two years, stayed drunk all of the time.
       Has not stopped asking me to leave when he doesn't hear and get what he wants.
       Does not lower the volume on the TV because he says he can't hear.
       Goes to the coffeehouse every morning. Says "Sometimes" when I ask him if he looks at other women.
        Answers honestly that he does flirt.
        Gave me a ring and told me he is committted to me, but talks to other women on the phone.
        Just last week he described a woman's nipples he saw on the bus.
        He has pushed me several times, once tossed a hot potato at me, and I had three painful blisters on my stomach.
       When I asked if he and this woman had kissed, he turned beet red.
        I loved your chapter on "Fidelity" because this is what is most important to me. Without that, there is nothing!
        My question is: Should I continue to try?  If you were me, would you continue to try?  Thank you.

Peggy, .......................................Tupelo, Mississippi

ROBERT:
       Dear Peggy,
             First of all, you are completely worthy of me.  You are completely worthy.  Your thinking that you're not worthy is a big part of the problem here, because if you think it, others around you will think it too, including any partner you might have, including this guy you describe.  So the real work here is on your coming to know how valuable a person you are, worthy of all the love, respect, honor, and reverence that any woman and any human being is worthy of.  The two long sections in the book written to women are really about that, so perhaps you should re-read them, and keep doing that, until their message is really imbibed.
         For legal and ethical considerations, I cannot do therapy or offer advice via this website, so I can't directly answer the questions you ask at the end of your email, I can't tell you whether to stay or leave, but I can, drawing off your list, tell you some things I think a good husband, or good partner, or any lover of a good woman, should and should not do, in my opinion.
       He should not stand her up, and if has to because of some emergency, he should apologize.  Her time is as important as his time, bigtime.
        He should not hang up on her. That is disrespectful, rude, and contemptuous.   A man should treat a lady like a lady.
         He should not call her derogatory, insulting, or foul names, and without her permission he should not refer to any part of her anatomy with a crude name.
         He shouldn't have crushes or anything like that on other women.  He should for god's sakes grow up!
         He should deal with his addictions, including drinking, so they're not taking him away from the woman he's with.  He should be with her, not with his addictions.  It's good if he is in any way cutting down on his drinking, but if his drinking is in any way negatively affecting his behavior to his partner, he should be a man, step up, and get himself to AA.
          He should grow the hell up and realize that a relationship is sometimes about getting what you want, other times about your partner getting what she wants, other times about neither of you getting what you want but compromising, and that's just the way relationships are and life is. He should listen to the Stones--"You don't always get what you want!"
           He should adjust the volume on his audio/video equipment so that he can hear but his partner isn't going out of her mind with noise.
            He shouldn't be looking at other women, and if he is, he should be seriously working on that, reining in that temptation, because his partner doesn't like it.   Get a grip, man.
            He should not be flirting. See my previous book How Long Till My Soul Gets It Right?, the chapter called "The Seven Circles of Sexual Addiction."
             He shouldn't be talking to other women on the phone, unless it's his mother, sister, dear old grandmother, aunt, daughter, or customer service representative for the cable company, or your mother, sister, dear old grandmother, etc.
            He should not be describing other women's nipples to his partner! Dear God!
            He should not physically hit, strike, slap, push, or in any way intimidate his partner.  He should not throw hot potatos or anything else at her.  That is called patriarchal terrorism.  It is also called abuse.  When you do it to someone who is physically weaker than you, it is called cowardice.
            He should not be kissing other women.  Dear God!
             He should read my book and believe every word of it and change according to it and find in him the core of goodness and respect and love that's in him and find it in him to be that man and spend the rest of his life being that man with the woman he's with.
          Thanks for taking the time to write in, Peggy.   This took me about 45 minutes to write.  What does that tell you about your worthiness as person?  All I ask in return is . . . nothing.

Best Wishes,
Robert

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WHAT IF EVERYBODY ALWAYS DID RIGHT?

     I read your book and loved it.  I think it's as much for woman as for men.  Unfortunately, I read it too late to save my marriage.  Our divorce was final in August, 2006.  I wish I had read it earlier, and it may have saved our marriage.
     I loved the words your father told you--"Always do right." [See the chapter My Father's Teaching, pp. 248-251]  I think if people stuck to those three simple words, there wouldn't be divorce and the destruction it brings.  Those three words just keep ringing in my mind, and when I feel frustrated or sad about my situation I just say those words over and over.  The strength in them gives me peace of mind.  I made mistakes in my marriage, but I did "always do right."  I never betrayed his trust, and that's more than I can say for him.

Michelle,.................................Columbus, Ohio

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COULD YOU IMAGINE HOW AWESOME THE WORLD WOULD BE IF RAN BY WOMAN?

     I really loved the book.  It was truly written in a way that most men can relate to, and your honesty was helpful.  I do hope (if you haven't already) you got on the talk show circuit--Oprah, The View, Larry King--to share this incredible message to men.  The most valuable piece of information that I think you can and should run with is the fact that men and their issues are the reason our country is in the state it is.  Could you imagine how awesome our country would be if ran by women? :)
     Anyway, for me personally, I think it is great material to use as a counselor, which I am, but mostly try to stick to coaching, mentoring, and consulting these days because people are just so hardheaded! I also think as a Christian a book like this from a Christian perspective would be wonderful and much needed, and I am glad you added in some scriptures and mention of God.
     As for my marriage, it will be ending soon because I finally figured out I am paddling against the river of life, not with it.  I think one very crucial piece you forgot to mention was the fact that there needs to be a foundation of mutual love for each other (not there in my case, and therefore I know this to be true--I thought "love, shmov, we don't need no stinkin' love, we'll just "do the right thing").  I don't believe any of the techniques will work if there is not a foundational love between two people. It would be nice to say it could work and someone could be that much of a person, but the reality is that love for others (our spouse in this case) is what makes us (man or woman) able to strive towards improvement, sacrifice, commitment, and the ugly word--change. :)
     I look forward to seeing these guys who learned how to be a better man from your book wear the shirt. :) Blessings.

Amity,....................................Bakersfield, California

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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 (a "reformed husband"),............................................Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

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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.
     Through all of the blatantly honest conversations with my wife, we keep coming back to it's (mostly) my fault. For everything I think she did wrong she has ten that I did wrong. All true.
     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 us 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

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A FATHER'S ODD BIRTHDAY PRESENT TO HIS DAUGHTER

     I just finished reading your book and wanted to let you know how great it is.  First of all, I should tell you that I'm not married and never have been. I was given this book by my father a few days ago for my birthday with specific instructions to read it, make my boyfriend read it (we've been together for 3 years), and then give it to my younger brother to read (he's 17).  Luckily, my younger brother had already started reading my father's copy, and so I've had the past few days with the book all to myself.
     Although I'm not married, this book helped me/is helping me a lot. It's giving me a clear idea of how a husband should treat his wife, how a boyfriend should treat his girlfriend, how a gentleman should treat his lady. My father wanted my brother and I to read it precisely for this reason; he wanted to show us what he'd learned from your book so that we could have the kind of wonderful marriage he is just now getting to have.
     My parents have always been a little rocky, but I never really understood it. I always thought they were fine. However, after two separations, the last one resulting in his actually getting an apartment, I think he's finally figured out how my mother should be treated. So I'm really glad you wrote this book. It's helped my whole family.
     Not only do I now know to expect better--because I deserve better--than what I've seen, but my younger brother will be a better husband one day. And later my youngest brother will read it too when he's older, and you will have helped two boys become two great husbands.
      I hope that my boyfriend will read it and our relationship will get better. I think he will. I'm really into this whole preemptive strike against bad husbandry my dad started when he gave me this odd birthday present. So I just wanted to write you this letter and thank you.

Kimberly,......................................Macon, Georgia

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THREE DOG NIGHT

[This woman is asking for help and advice from other readers.  Anyone?]

     I have read your book and am wondering how my situation would fit your philosophy.  My husband was nicer to me before we were married, but I still believe he is a good man; he has baggage just as I do from poor parental role models to major depression.  But the most insurmountable issue between us is our dogs. We adopted our first dog from the pound a year ago, he was seven months old, a large dog, very hyper, out of control. I was unsure it was a good idea, but my husband insisted he could handle him.  We brought the dog home and he was a nightmare.  Tore up everything in the house every day for months when we left him to go to work.  We didn't leave him in his crate because my husband insisted he needed to learn to behave out of the crate.  I arrived home before my husband, so I was the one who had to clean up the messes and punish the dog.  It really started to get me down; I admit I am sensitive, and I really would prefer peace in my home (note: we don't have any children).  After the dog tore up every outdoor cushion and continued to chew on us (not drawing blood, but still biting), I dared to suggest we might give him away (not to the pound, but a good home), and try another dog.  My husband went ballistic!!
     He said that we had adopted this dog so we had to be responsible and keep him forever. That he loved the dog and if I ever got rid of the dog he would never forgive me. That the dog would outgrow the behavior one day, and I needed to just put up with it. That, "Why didn't I just shoot the dog now?!" (Pretty sarcstic, as all I wanted was to find him a more suitable home, not friggin kill him.)
     Every time I had taken all I could stand and tried to bring the subject up, my husband would shut down, refuse to discuss it, and insult me. I started to feel he loved the dog more than me, but when I mentioned how I felt, he denied it and got even more angry.
     Six months ago, we took in my mother-in-law's dog because she was chewing up the furniture, and my husband felt he could train her and give her a better home than his parents could. She has fewer behavior problems, but the two dogs have played and fought loudly and violently all the time.  Then, a few months ago, a rescue organization was showing their dogs, and my husband talked me into getting a third dog!  This one was only four months old, not hyper, and large enough to be a match for the first dog.  However, she has her own issues, like digging up our trees and ripping off all their bark and branches.  I thought I might be a dog person, but this experience has shown me I probably do not have the patience.
     No matter how I explain, try to be reasonable, beg, or cry, my husband will absolutely not budge on this subject. I know he has control issues, but it seems unfathomable that these dogs could mean so much to him he is willing to scream at me and risk me leaving him. I am desperate; no one I have talked to has any useful advice.
     If you post this on your website, I pray someone will have some comment that will help me. We haven't been to counseling because we have financial problems (which are less of an issue than dogs!). He has not read the book yet, as he got a new job recently and just left for a six week training program.  Thank you.

Dayle,................................Provo, Utah

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I'M JUST AN AVERAGE GUY . . .

[Actually this guy's a genius.  Read on, see for yourself.]

     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.  (I only add this statement so she'll know for sure it's really me writing this, should you post this letter on your website....LOL).  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

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THERE'S A "BEFORE" AND "AFTER" IN MY LIFE NOW  

[The following are three letters from a woman in France.]

Letter #1:      I'm 32 years old.  I bought your book two weeks ago in the French translation, and read it within less than 48 hours.  It made me laugh, smile, cry, it gave me warmth and when I finally closed it, I felt somehow new.  Because I had understood in a short time many things I was wondering about for years.  I have to say I recognised myself and my partner in almost all the chapters.
     My mother was alcoholic during more than 25 years, as I grew up with two elder brothers and one younger sister. My mother probably wasn't aware of it, but she always put men on a pedestal, and was giving me negative feedback on my being a girl instead of a boy. She did not behave the same way with my sister because my sister was born after a lost baby after me: she came as what my mother wanted most on earth, also because her marriage had gone so bad. The thing is, my father didn't want her to have a fourth baby after me, probably because of financial reasons. My mother had to abort (against her will), and it created a big shock. She deeply desired my sister after that abortion.
     When I became a teenager, my brothers and my mother always reacted to my attempts to be feminine by depreciating it and by making fun of me, when not insulting me. Interestingly enough, my sister and I were always kind of tomboys when we were kids, except that I changed during teenage.
     My mother was seriously ill. I understood it a few years ago and I can dissociate the look she had on me from the person I actually am. My father has an important role, because although he was not at home very often (he was working a lot to support us and to ensure our material security, and certainly also to avoid as much as possible the contacts with my mother), he always gave me a very positive feedback about my personality, intelligence, and physical appearance.
     I grew up putting all the focus on my studies, and I was usually the best one--if not the first, then the second or third best student of my class. I now have an interesting professional career that really fits my personality, working in an international office. But I always had difficult relationships with men, deeply lacking of self-confidence and having difficult to trust them (my mother used to say, when she was drunk or angry, which was quite often, that they were all jerks). I had met a fantastic man when I was 23, and he helped me to reconciliate with myself and believe in a man's true love. Unfortunately, I was not ready to hold the pressure of this man who believed in me, so when I traveled to Belgium for a year, we broke up. I was not able to love him well because I was still too wounded inside, and feeling too inferior to trust him. I regretted it a lot, especially when he came to drive me back to France and told me that it was over because he had suffered too much with me.
     I met another great man 1.5 years ago who is full of qualities: sporty, very clever and fast-minded, cultured, with a good critical sense, great sense of humor, very sociable, having a good job and earning enough money for his happiness. He's good at everything he does, when he decides it. He seems to be truly faithful, which is so important to me. When we met, he told me he was in love with me after only one week. I was enchanted, and deeply touched, because I had the feeling we could have a great life together. I told him he would have to wait a bit because I could not tell the same after only one week, but I was pretty sure I would say it soon because I was falling under his charm. Actually, he seemed to be the man of my dreams, which was a bit scary because I was afraid he would quickly be disappointed by me. After 2.5 months dating each other, he proposed me to come and settle with him, 60 kms away from my town of residence. The problem is that I had fought for years to find my place (in all senses) and the meaning of my life, and that I really like the city where I live and where I have my friends. I hesitated for a month, and finally I decided that I would not do it. I told him that it had nothing to do with my feelings for him, but that it was too complicated and that I wanted to keep some parts of my life. I also thought it was really too early to live with him, because we had difficulties sometimes, and it was too risky to leave my apartment and my security for a man that I was falling in love with, but who I also didn't know so well. I also had the feeling that he himself was not really looking at me; I had the feeling he was in love with an image, not the true me.
     But then things changed: I reproduced a negative scheme and accepted things I should never had accepted from him, just not to lose him. Currently I am the one doing all the efforts to meet. But on top of that, his job takes a big part of his life, and he even seems to put it before me. What he doesn't understand is that since I started to take the train to come and see him, I have sacrificed a good part of the time I used to spend at work or for my social life.  What he sees is only that I did not accept to settle with him.
     Sometimes he gives me positive feedback, giving me the impression that he wants to fight for our relationship: he does what I ask him, such as taking me into his arms, kissing me, showing me a bit of tenderness. But too often he reacts exactly as you describe it in many of your chapters: distant, not accepting criticism, not doing any effort to keep his own house clean but expecting me to clean it for him, having great difficult to communicate about his feelings, not even being aware of his reactions and of how I could feel about it.
     I still don't know if he loves me--we attempted to break up several times, and I tend to think that he actually doesn't really love me. But he has started to show me some of his weaknesses, and I know that he's asking himself certain questions. . . . He had only one relationship before meeting me that lasted almost ten years, with a girl with whom he was about to buy a house and have a baby. We are also very different, him and I, and I think that it scares him, as everyone around him tell him that he should choose someone more similar to himself . . .
     All this was to say that your book helped me to understand that I was right to be demanding. I wanted to deeply thank you because whatever should happen between me and this man that I actually love, and even if he should decide to break up with me, or if I decide it myself, I will know I was right to have high expectations. I truly believe that he is capable of great things and great changings, because he has this sensitivity that he tries to hide to his his friends and family. Whether he will choose to do it for me or not, I will be able to go through it despite the pain.
    One more thing: after reading your book and understanding so many things about him and understanding that I should dissociate it from me, I started to feel more confident, safer. I could better accept some things. And this already helped our couple and gave it more chances to live.
    I will certainly pass your book to my boyfriend. I left it on his pillow this morning when I left, with a message. Thank you for having the honesty of writing it. For me, I know that when I look back in my life, there will be a "before" and an "after" reading your book.

Letter #2:  The man I told you about, unfortunately, didn't love me, as I feared it.  I had to face it and decided to break up.  He had started to read the book, though--next to me, actually; I think it was the first time I saw him reading a book since we had been together.  He found it funny too, and said "some" things were true. I think he was willing to do things well, recently, but he was not driven by his heart, and when I told him I was really tired of the situation (his not showing his feelings, not making many efforts for me), he recognized he didn't know what he wanted.  And at the end, didn't do much to convince me to continue together.  He didn't fight for me. Which is a very painful experience, especially as I did so much for our couple to work.
     But I know I am also responsible, as I am not very self-confident. I accepted things I should never had. Sometimes we come to behave exactly the way we should not behave, even if we know it, just because we cannot get rid of the present feelings. At least his conclusion was, "I'm sorry if I was not able to love you as you deserve it. I will probably regret it afterwards. I wish you to be happy."
     Anyway, your book was a real help for me. I will keep it with me and I hope I will find the man who could follow your advices and turn into the partner every woman longs for. Now I have got the instructions for him :-).

Letter #3: The story is going on.  I wanted to try again with my boyfriend, and he has made up his mind.  I was away for ten days, and when I came back, he had changed.  He invited me to a very good restaurant he had told me about ten times without ever bringing me to it, came to see me in my city, told me nice things, made efforts not to get angry when we were having a discussion.  He has even recommended the book to two of his male friends and told them there were interesting things in it!
     I hope I will be able to give you further positive news in one or two months, but I thought you should really know that . . . miracles can happen, and mine has really happened, thanks to the book :-)!
    Sunny greetings from France,

Ophelie,.................................... Reims, France

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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

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A SUGGESTION FOR MY NEXT BOOK

     I loved your book.  I just finished it, and my husband is going to read it next.  I have a couple of comments:
     In Chapter 29, "The Gauntlet," under "Here's the way I see it," you should have included: "Any woman who never got the 'birds and the bees' talk from her mother and who had to figure it all out by herself has been sexually abused.  Any woman whose parents treated sex as a bad thing has been sexually abused.  Any woman whose mother or father has in any way verbally or emotionally mistreated their spouse has been sexually abused.  Any woman who has never (before marriage) been with a man who cared about her (sexual pleasure) has been abused.' (Yes, that all comes from experience.)
      A suggestion for your next book (again, from my and my friends' experience) would be something along the lines of Great Married Sex for Woman Who Didn't Have Much (Or Any) Sexual Experience When They Got Married and Have Now Been Married for 10-20 Years and Have Hit Their Sexual Peak at 38-40 and Are Starting to Check Out the Eye-Candy at Clubs.
      Laugh if you want to, but it's sooooo true!

Merle,.............................Grand Junction, Colorado

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AND LIBBY RESPONDS TO QUENTIN
            (see below:   "QUENTIN RESPONDS")

     Quentin must have really changed, because he seems like a gem, not a selfish person as he says he used to be.
      One part of the book that made me cry was about understanding what a woman has experienced in her life in regards to sexual abuse.  I by no means have been "sexually abused" as one would think, but Robert mentioned subtle things that can affect a woman [see "The Gauntlet," pp. 213-216).    I was twenty when my husband and I got married.  We dated for about four years and were sexually involved from fairly early on.  When I moved in shortly before we married, I realized I was a work-first, play-later person, and my husband was a play-first, maybe-work-later person.  Sex was no longer something fun to do, but an expectation and constant conflict.  I withdrew in some ways. 
     Fast forward about eight years, things have improved, and we are having a baby.  After I conceived, sex slowed down considerably because I was sick to my stomach and tired a lot of the time.  My husband sees it as: I got what I wanted--pregnant--and then cut him off from sex (in reality, it just slowed down).  By the way, I made sure he really wanted a baby before we decided to conceive; I did not talk him into it in any way.
     Our kids are teen and pre-teen now, and I have worked full-time throughout, taken care of the kids, our home, our yard, taken care of the birthday and holiday stuff, etc. with very little help from my husband. He has had a flexible work schedule since we have had kids, and has done remodeling projects as part of his income. A lot of the time he works until late at night, and then sleeps late in the morning. I am left home with the kids and chores to take care of. It's much easier now that the kids are older, but was very difficult when they were young.
     He would come home late and expect me to be ready to roll, if you know what I mean. Or, I would come home from work and change into comfortable clothes, and if he would come into the room, would want to have sex right then, even though I had dinner to get on the table, laundry and chores to do, and he would go off to work at some point in the evening after relaxing for a while. If I were changing clothes and would hear him come home, I would finish changing real fast.
     He does have some physical problems, so I realize he needs to rest. I mow and do chores so he won't have to strain himself. That is fine. I just wish he would respect my need for some down time. He often says he will do something, and then not do it. He also can be unreliable and late for things when I need him to be there. He constantly makes sexual remarks, sometimes silly or stupid stuff. I have made extra effort over the past year for us to have more sex and to be more flexible, but we can have sex three out of five days, and if we then go three to five days without, he will sometimes berate me because I could not make time for him. We have had discussions that have lasted hours where he has gone on and on about how disappointed he is with our sex life, and how he does not think that he is a priority to me. I just don't understand.  I have worked full-time since we have been married, and have made more money than him for the past nine years, plus, my job has all the health benefits.  I take care of the kids (my pleasure), cook, do the laundry, clean, take care of the yard, but he doesn't see that as doing it for him.  Intimacy is all he seems to recognize as being for him.  I've told him that I believe a good relationship makes good sex.  He believes good sex makes a good relationship.
    On the plus side, he has always recognized my birthday and our anniversary, gives nice massages, and likes for us to go out together, though we don't get to very often because of money reasons. But he also said that one reason he likes to go out is because we are more likely to have sex. Another positive note: he attends the kids' school, sport, and other events, and loves to spend time with them. He likes to joke around and have fun with them, but can also fly into rages (not physical). He used to yell at me in front of the kids, but I made it clear that this was the deal-breaker and I wouldn't live with our kids thinking it was okay to let someone treat them that way, and he has gotten much better.
     We are just very different people, and I guess the key to dealing with that is respecting each other's feelings.
     Thanks for opening my eyes to something I never felt was quite right. And for a great book.

Libby,........................................................Dover, Delaware

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QUENTIN RESPONDS

[Please see below:   "A TIRED GUY WANTS HIS WIFE TO READ THE BOOK" and   "QUESTIONS FOR QUENTIN"]

     I do little and big things.  I've supported my wife for the last fifteen years (with a heavy dose of support during our dating period too).  I work full-time.  But I believe I spend almost as much time with our daughter as my wife--I'm on tap getting her ready and taking her to school three days a week, and I'm the first one that wakes up with her on the weekends.
     My wife, on the other hand, has only recently begun working full-time. She was "consulting" for the six years before that, which really amounted to nothing in 2001, had our daughter in 2003, then started sporadic work in 2006. She had a full-time personal assistant before the baby, and a full-time nanny after (who is wonderful and handles most of the household chores like clothes, cleaning, cooking, and shopping). For the stuff the nanny doesn't do, I honestly believe I do as much, if not more, than my wife. Dishes. Vacuuming (I bought a robotic vacuum cleaner!). Taking care of pets. Outside sweeping. Making the bed on weekends. Playing with our daughter, getting her ready for bed, etc. That stuff.
     We don't watch as many movies as we used to, but I can't remember the last time I got a "guy's movie." (Oh, and I'm the one who has to go get the movies.)
     I am responsible. I do what I say I'm going to do. If I don't, I apologize for not getting it done and try to reset expectations. I'm definitely not perfect here (I always try to wedge too much stuff in), but contrast this with an event that sums up my wife's attitude: I was going to do something, but my wife said she would--I told her it was important to me and she promised to do it. She never did it. When I asked her why, she said, "Because you made me promise you; that's your thing."
    Honestly, I can remember very few nice things my wife has done for me--would go out of her way to do just for me--to make me feel special.  Big or little.
     Sex? Fergetaboutit. There are very few of us monogamous guys left in the world. It's killing me.
     I was a selfish person, an asshole. I'm not perfect, but I'm a heck of a lot better than I was. I'm sure my wife asked herself about a zillion times over the first eight years of marriage, "Is this guy worth saving?" I now have asked about two zillion times, "Is she worth saving?" over the last eight. You are right--there has to be something I'm not considering. She is a loving mother to our daughter and a loving friend to her friends. I've seen it firsthand. What I am afraid of, though, is something I don't want to acknowledge: Maybe she just isn't the person for me.

Quentin,.................................................Deerfield Beach, Florida

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A GOOD-HEARTED MAN, BUT HE DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO CONNECT WITH ME

     Thank you for your book.  I just finished reading it, and I do plan to write a letter to my husband  [see p. 342].  We have been married for 19 years, and I feel like it's been a struggle (for me) for most of those.  Although he is a very good man, with a good heart and good intentions (who even cooks and cleans and helps out with the kids), he really does not know how to relate to me in a connective way.  We have spent time in therapy over the years, but none has really been effective, in that I always felt like it was about me changing.  Interesting how much our culture really embraces the old ideals of the woman needing to please the man (and that a married man has a "right" to have sex with his wife); even though all our therapists were women, I felt as though there was a bias.
     I have spent over eighteen years in therapy on my own, and have worked on many of my issues, and am much more available to be in relationship as a grown up.  I have changed, and now I believe as I am coming into my own power, I finally understand.  I felt incredibly validated by your book, and appreciate it coming from a man who understands and has done the work.  I also believe it is written in terms that my husband can understand and relate to.  Although he is very intelligent, his emotional IQ is substandard.  I even laughed at (most of) your jokes.
     I have renewed hope that I can find a way to be in partnership with my husband, and I thank you for offering that hope.  As I don't yet know whether that will work, I also appreciate your "Closing Message to Women Readers."  I am grateful to find wise guides on this journey of marriage in both you and in Jane.

Paula.........................................Elizabethtown, Kentucky

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IT WASN'T ABOUT THE MARRIAGE, IT WAS ABOUT HIM

Thank you for your book!!  My husband walked out on me and our two children eight months ago.  He sees the kids every other weekend, and not much more.  Thanks to your book, and How to Survive Your Husband's Mid-Life Crisis and Passionate Marriage, I didn't take it personally.  I thought I was going crazy at first because I believed we had a great marriage, but now I know it wasn't about the marriage, it was about him.  I really felt like he projected so many issues onto me for years.  The grief/pain is hard, but I know we will be better off in the long run. 
     It is amazing to me, though, how many people, especially women, will try to figure out, "What did you do to make him run?" 
     Thanks again, and I love your sports analogies.

Terra,............................................Great Falls, Montana

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I THREW THE BUM OUT

     I cannot thank you enough for the validation.  My power has been a ghost: always there but constantly torn down, disbelieved by my husband.  But now my power is solid and unchangeable . . . timeless, I suppose.  I read the book.  No, that isn''t quite true.  I devoured the book rapidly.  I finally know what I should have known for 16 years.  My wants and needs were; not only reasonable, they were what everyone needs.  Respect, kindness, compassion, love, and understanding.  Simple, simple things.  I gave the book to my husband, and he gave it 20 minutes.  I threw the bum out.  My children, my beauties, are happier and better for it. I hope one day to show them what a healthy relationship looks like.
       I am battling a life threatening disease.  With him gone, I feel like I can be a true warrior and fight for my life.  Wish me luck.  My children are watching.  I want them to see their own power in their mother.

Lynne,.................................Ruston, Louisiana

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A NEW UPLIFT OF HOPE

       My husband is serving in the United States Air Force.  Before he joined, and before he got married, he was sweet, kind, caring, and overall a nice guy.  Then BAM! once he was in the Air Force, I now have a total jerk of a husband.  We have been married for a little over three years, with problems ever since we got married.  We are stationed overseas, which makes it that much harder for me, not being around anyone I love and trust.
      Well, recently I prayed for a solution, any solution, it didn't matter.  Well, I work in a bookstore, and I looked down and there was your book.  I flipped through the first couple of chapters to see what it was all about.  I nearly cried with joy.  Everything that I have been trying to tell him the last three years is RIGHT THERE.  He's promised me that he would read it.  I've already gotten through the first seven chapters.  Thank you so much for this new uplift of hope.  I'm really counting on this.

Giselle,.............................................Amesbury, Massachusetts

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TWO KINDS OF HUSBANDS

1.     Well, I have to tell you, my heart is broken.  I hve been married nearly 50 years to a man who has not spent more than maybe five evenings in my company watching TV or talking, etc.  Literally.  He is OC, OCD, probably depressed, and as a therapist he saw years ago said when I was called in to see how I was affecting his life, "How long long do you think you can go on living with this man?"  Oh, yes, they also said he had narcissism.
     I have begged and pleaded for attention, for him to sit and talk to me. Eighteen months ago, I dragged him to a marriage therapist, and he cheerfully agreed with all I said. He never gets me presents. He said to the therapist, "She doesn't ask, she doesn't get." After years of a mundane sex life, I finally came alive on a vacation, read and studied about sex on my return (I was 20 when I married), and for a year, our sex life was unbelievable. Then he did it again: cut me off of sex to punish me for not doing what he wants, just little things around the house, or whatever. I am not allowed to move furniture, not even a chair. He got upset half an hour ago because I am home today from work, and in a cleaning mode. Took a pair of his pants that have been hanging in the powder room for nearly a year, and said, "Okay, just what is the matter with these pants?" They have a tiny smudge of oil on them, and it's not my business to interfere with his pants. Yadayadayada. I told him I am doing it, cleaned them with cleaning fluid, and washed them. Whether they will come clean or not, they're gone from the bathroom. But he was getting threatening again about my tone of voice. I am not to sound even a tiny bit annoyed or I'm (as you said in the book) a "nagging bitch." I have been told for years that I am impractical in my wants, and that's not real marriage, wanting attention, wanting to talk or watch TV, etc. Now I find that your book is talking about EXACTLY what I wanted.
     I have a few good friends who invite me to their homes, although they are not to come here. We have entertained two couples, apart from my family, in over 45 years of marriage. He has never given me money--I either earn it or go without. . . .
     Women don't want a lot of things--they want consideration and attention and affection.  I don't want to show him the book--I just want out.  I am younger than he is, and hope I have at least a few years to myself down the road.  I have wasted my entire life hoping for something I was told was just my own fanciful ideas.  How very, very sad.  I wish every couple could have this book to read before they get married.  It is a wonderful book, and your wife is a lucky woman.

Gaye,....................................Union City, Tennessee

2. I am well-loved wife with a husband who (mostly) gets it.  Still, I have always loved reading what I call "relationship books," and this one is destined to be a classic.  I laughed till tears ran down my face, read aloud to my patient husband, called my girlfriends to read aloud or laugh together, and passed my copy on to my daughter.  Brilliant!  Thank you so much.

Myra,........................................Palo Alto, California

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FINDING THE BOOK, LOSING THE BOYFRIEND

     How I came to finish It's (Mostly) His Fault [the hardcover title of the book before it was changed to Good Husband, Great Marriage] is kind of a funny story--well, a sad story which I'm learning to re-tell as a funny story.  I had invited my boyfriend to move in with me, and after the first month, I was terribly disappointed with him.  I was struglling with how to express my concerns; I was afraid to "nag" him.  So I browsed around amazon.com and found It's (Mostly) His Fault.  I was fed up, so I thought it must be the book for me.  But I didn't buy it. I checked it out from my local library, just in case it turned out be a bunch of crap.
      I started reading it and was initially disappointed that I was supposed to get the man in my life to read it.  I thought I was the one who needed to change, and he seemed to think so too.  A week or so later, after a big fight, I requested that he read a little bit of the book.  He read a little, enough to tell me that he did, in fact, need me.  We patched things up enough to go on.  He refused to read or talk about any more.  Then he lost the book.  After a couple of months, I decided that finding the book was a lost cause, so I went to the library and paid for it. It felt like a stroke of cruel irony; it was (mostly) his fault that the book got lost.
       Things continued to go badly in the relationship, and we finally decided to call it quits. A few days ago, while I was helping him pack the last of his things (which, as you can imagine, was not a fun experience), I found the book, buried under a pile of odds and ends in a box in the closet. The library had told me that if I found the book, I could bring it back for a refund, so I was planning on doing that. But last night, I thought, "Hey, maybe I should read the rest of the book before I take it back." So I did. I couldn't put it down. I was much more receptive to it now, having just gone through an experience of reclaiming my power and getting an unappreciative live-in boyfriend out of my life. He wasn't even willing to be my husband, let alone a good husband!
       I appreciate the validation more than I can say. It's hard to admit how disempowered I've felt in most of my significant relationships, not just with boyfriends. I want to work on that. I want to raise my expectations for how people should treat me. It's about damn time. I'm very glad that I came across this book before getting married; I think it will save me a lot of heartache. I just hope that I can find a man who's willing to be the kind of good husband the book describes; at this moment in my life, I have to tell you I'm skeptical. Well, I'm skeptical, but a little hopeful too--hopeful that if I come into contact with such a man I'll have a better chance of recognizing him.
     I think I'm going to keep the book. I think I'm also going to send a copy to my best friend. I hope that my library has already replaced the copy I "lost"!

Bernadette,..................................................West Lafayette, Indiana

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HE HAS REALLY TAKEN IT TO HEART

My husband picked up the book with kind of a harumph, but then quickly got hooked and devoured it.  He's not a self-help-book kind of guy, so I was surprised, but I wanted to tell you that he has really taken it to heart. We were in a pretty good place in our marriage, but suddenly we're in a GREAT place.  I can really see him working on our relationship and attending to me in a renewed way, and it has increased the degree to which I feel connected and open and giving.  I'm pretty impressed.  The book has really made a difference for us at a time when I wouldn't even have gone looking.  It was good timing, too, because there have been a number of stresses lately, so I can't for a minute minimize the importance of having our marriage in a really secure, supportive place.

Hannah,..............................Storrs, Connecticut

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LOST IN A BOOKSTORE, FOUND IN TRANSLATION

[The following letter is from a Spanish-speaking man living in France who read the book in its French translation (the book is also going to be translated this year into Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Arabic).  Though his English is not perfect, it is wonderful, and I post it as he wrote it.]

Dear Robert.
     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

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IF I AM NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON TO HIM . . .

     What Moves would you suggest for a couple who are already living apart but haven't used the word "divorce" yet?
     I left my husband of 19 years and our two boys in his country, and have returned to the US. I started trying to explain to him over a year ago what Moves I needed to feel loved and prioritized over basically everyone in the world, including the handyman who does work for us in the summer.  My husband is such a nice guy, trust me, EVERYONE says so because he is always willing to bend over backwards to do nice things for them.  Except when I asked that he please say "I love you" because once in eight years wasn't enough, once a week would be better, and please take me out to dinner more than once a year, like once a month (money is not an issue) because he knows how much I enjoy eating out even though he loves my home cooking six or seven times a week (he does do the dishes), and please offer me a drink when he pours one for himself, especailly when I make coffee for the two of us.  Five months later he finally took me out to dinner and still hadn't said "I love you" of his own accord, although initially he said that those were reasonable demands and easy things that he understood he should be doing if not doing them made me so unhappy.
       A few months ago I totally lost it. He had asked me to make us coffee after dinner. I sat down to read while it brewed.  Then I noticed he had gotten himself a cup and not even offered me one.  I just went to bed and cried a flood.  A few times over the last year I had explained how bad that made me feel. Normally, I pour the coffee and fix it the way he likes it and bring it to him wherever he is. I have explained that we only have the kids home another six or seven years and when they are gone, it will only be us two.  If I am not the most important person to him, I don't know if I want to spend another 20 years with him.

Alana,...............................West Simsbury, Connecticut

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QUESTIONS FOR QUENTIN (see the sharing just below)

My husband does a lot of the "little things."  It's the big things that are a problem.  I was very interested to read the message from Quentin from Deerfield Beach, Florida.  Sounds like his wife is unhappy about something.  Something for him to consider.  Is he doing his fair share in providing the family with an income (if he is able to do so)?  And helping with the household chores?  Is he generally responsible and someone his wife can count on?  Unfortunately, sweet nothings can really mean nothing to a woman who is exhausted from working full time and doing way more than a fair share of the domestic duties.  I've heard in various wordings something like: "I know I don't give him enough thanks for those little things he does because I can't get over all the things he doesn't do.  I wish I could be a better person, but that's how I feel a lot of the time."  Quentin's wife might feel insulted by him wanting "bonus points" when she feels she gets very little for all she does.  Maybe this is not at all an accurate portrayal of his situation.  I know this isn't a chat room, but I just can't help but wonder if Quentin is not getting the love he wants because of some issues he is not considering.

Libby,..............................Dover, Delaware

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A TIRED GUY WANTS HIS WIFE TO READ THE BOOK

Problem is, I did not identify with your book--at least, not in the way you intended.  A decade ago I was your target male.  Dead on.  Through introspection, the birth of our first child, reading, therapy, and love, I've spent the last six years--to be consistent with the message in your book--becoming less of an asshole.  I am less of one every day.

My wife, on the other hand, has spent the last eight years becoming more of one.  It's killing me.  I identified more with the woman in your book than the man.  I'm tired of my wife not wanting to discuss things.  I'm tired of feeling alone.  I'm tired of our daughter growing up with disconnected parents, no warmth, no affection.  I'm tired of feeling like I'm the only one trying.  Heck, I'm tired of reading most of the Moves and thinking to myself, "Yep, I do that one too."  I'm tired.

She says she loves me and to-her-bones wants it to work out.  She's a loving mother and friend, someone worth fighting for.  But positive reinforcement, appreciation, sometimes even simple acknowledgment of my effort is (mostly) zero.  It's so disheartening.  I feel like I've tried everything.  Serious stuff.  Fun stuff.  Lots in between.  Her response?  Well, here's an example: Whenever I smile and ask about getting "bonus points," she looks at me with disdain, like I'm making a game out of it.  (By the way, the was quite surprised when I said you and your wife have a bonus point system.)

I am at my wit's end.  So I've asked her to read your book too.  Unlike many of your female readers, I hope she considers (recognizes?) the possibility of a "switched" perspective.  So in a weird way, thanks for writing the book.  Fingers crossed.

One other comment: In general I wholeheartedly agree with "Jeff from Phoenix, Arizona" [see below], both his positive and negative comments, but especially his last sentence: "If I could add anything to it, I would only add that I think you now owe the world a similarly thoughtful, compassionate book on mistakes women commit in relationships."  Included somewhere in this is how to talk about finances and/or a woman's addictions.  In my case, the two are related: I believe my wife has a spending problem.  Rather than debate this, I hope we can agree on the following statement: "Women sometimes have bad habits too, which they don't always acknowledge and which aren't good for relationships either."  You don't really discuss this kind of thing in your book.  You should.  Or rather, maybe Jane can write the "We Women Sometimes Have to Call a Spade a Spade Too" chapter?

Quentin,........................................Deerfield Beach, Florida

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THE RETURN OF THE FEMININE

I am grateful for the opportunity to thank you for your book, and Jane for all her hard work.  I am surprised, amazed, and so thankful for what you are saying there because I know in my being that the earth/we are going through a transformation at this time, and that the return of the Feminine is essential for our world to move forward as it needs to.  So you gave words to what I have been doing in my relationship with my husband when at times I thought I was crazy to keep at it.  The fact that he loves your book is also testament to why I'm doing it.  Thank you for the validation, guide, and humor.  May your work flourish.  We will do our part.  Blessings.

Alexandra,.......................................Williamsburg, VA

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YOU CAN NOT LOVE THAT WHICH YOU DO NOT RESPECT

I found your book today by accident or by Providence, whichever one prefers.  It was sitting in the wrong place in the bookstore, next to exercise books.  I've read it through already and have so much I'd like to say, but one thing I have learned from overcoming the many issues with my husband is to keep whatever it is short and offer it in pieces small enough to mull over. 
      So, if I have to pick only one thing to say, it would be THANK YOU for using the word "respect' in reference to my  gender.  So many times over the past two years of "reconstruction" in this marriage I have heard from professionals and laypersons that men and women are different in that men want respect and women want love.  How dumb is that?  You can not love that which you do not respect.  I'm not the alien, nor the irrantional or "too emotional" one, or worse, the family pet that a need for love, not respect, implies. 
     The timing for this book is uncanny.  My mindset is solid and your words have validated everything I feel. . . . Thanks so much!

Faith,............................................Bridgeport, Connecticut

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I DESERVE HER ANGER, BUT WHEN CAN I EXPECT TO NOT BE SLAPPED?

I have an issue.  I have been abusive toward my girlfriend, and I am seeking counseling for this issue.  However, a trigger is when she slaps me.  I haven't seen it in the book, but my girlfriend has read the whole book and says that she is within her rights to slap me when I am insolent.

I accept and acknowledge that I am responsible for her anger, and I am trying to use the tools you present to fix that, even though it is sometimes hard to do effectively with a long distance relationship.  And as I said, my violence is inexcusable, I have no defense for those actions, but am I really supposed to accept slapping as a legitimate action from my sweetheart any time I anger her or she needs to teach me a lesson?  I know your accounting of your wife's overturning the dining room table [p. 160] isn't an example of justified ways to express anger, but is "taking the hit" [pp. 158-163] supposed to be literal?  I have had things thrown at me, and been slapped.  I have been bruised and had a bloody lip.  I deserve her anger, but do I really deserve these angry actions?

While my own violence is inexcusable, I have calmly put up with being slapped several times.  My only regret is the two times I did respond in an effort to get her to stop, once trying to physically drag her out of my apartment.  How many times must I be slapped without responding before she needs to stop?  I never want to touch her in anger again, so I am not looking for a countdown to allow me to respond. . . . I have never used violence to intimidate her other than in response to slapping, and I know I shouldn't have done so then, but when can I expect to not be slapped?  When is it reasonable for me to ask to not be slapped?  I am an abuser for ever touching her in anger--this is my shame.

Thank you for the tools you have provided to work toward harmony with her.  She is the love of my life, and I thank you for giving me the tools to try to show her that this is the case.

Randall,..........................................Amarillo, Texas

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I NEVER THOUGHT OF MYSELF AS A HUSBAND UNTIL I READ YOUR BOOK

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

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I DIDN'T KNOW SOON ENOUGH

I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful book.  I wish I had found it two years earlier.  Sadly, I found the book too late to save my marriage, but it is giving me the insights into at least the breakup being friendly at last, and hope that the two of us remain friends.  We were married for twenty years, and I never knew how much fault could lay with one person.  My wife had to be a saint to have put up with me for all those years.  Again, thank you, even though I will be getting divorced, you have saved mine and my wife's life with this book.

Chet,....................................Tulsa, Oklahoma

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WHY WON'T HE HEAR IT FROM ME?

After twenty years and several ultimatums from me, my husband took it upon himself to ask a bookstore clerk for assistance in finding a book that would "help him get in touch with his emotions."  After her disclaimer, "I hope that you won't be offended by the title" and his response, "I'm not easily offended," she offered It's (Mostly) His Fault, which she confided in him that she had given to her recently divorced husband and "he really liked it."

Well, my husband is halfway through it and is enjoying it very much.  I just finished it and have found it to be the most validating piece of work I've ever had the privilege to read.  Thank you!

I do have several questions for you:

1. I'm tired of being angry.  I know my anger will serve a purpose in this process, but I'm tired of anger.  As you state, it's a woman's nature to give.  I've done anger.  Good anger.  Bad anger.  Now I want peace.  Being angry, even productive anger, at this point, is hard on me physically and emotionally.  Not because I don't believe that I deserve my anger, but rather because it takes me from my natural state of nature to give.  As a social worker, giving is who I am.  I can only give, though, as long as I know it's having a valued effect.  If the person I'm giving to doesn't value what I'm giving, in this case myself, it's very hard to continue.  I can do anger to serve the higher good, but at this point in time I'm just ready for some peace.  How do I cope with the exhaustion I feel around our relationship and still use anger productively?

2. Secondly, I am so angry because after twenty years of him "not getting it," I could have written the book you wrote.  I think I probably have written the book you wrote in letters to my tremendously thick-skulled husband.  I can't tell you how many times I've begged, pleaded, educated, dragged him to counseling, screamed, cried. After reading half your book now, it's news to him!  Now he gets it?  (The jury's still out in my opinion; the proof's in the pudding and all that.) I'm angry as hell about that.  I feel so undervalued, unheard, and disregarded.  I guess my question is, Why?  Why won't hear it from me?  If as you state in your book he's going to have to start hearing it from me and in pretty short order, how do I make sure he gets it from me finally?

3.  What's your opinion about finding a couples therapist who works exclusively with your book?--as in taking each chapter per week or two or however long it takes to sink in and work it through completely.  I believe that it would make a great workbook and would like to use it as such. . . .

My husband is the king of false starts when it comes to our relationship.  The picture is this: I get so fed up that I have to "discuss things," which usually means me giving a diatribe regarding his recent reticent behavior.  He is truly moved after he becomes angry, then of course he sees where I'm right, and then he's very sincere in his commitment to change, which last for 3-4 days.  As long as I stay angry at him he toes the mark, but when my anger subsides and there's not that pressure on him, then we're back to his disregarding me, emotional isolation, and lack of connection.  Until I once again have had enough and say something.  Being the eternal optimist, I hold on to that line of change he feeds me.  At this point, it's become a sick game for me.  I stay at this point because I have been ill, no doubt resulting from the stress of this marriage.  I also stay because I see the potential in him that you describe in the book (and his frequently stated desire to make the changes that will make him a good husband).  He is a wonderful man in many ways.  He'll work to the death to fix something for us, to build a cottage for my daughter to stay in, to build a garage goom shop.  He's not lacking in the hard work department, and he often does things for me that he'd rather not.  And besides working at a stressful job, he does manage to help around the house when I'm ill.  I know he truly loves me.  Disconnection and neglect are our biggest issues, as he is never abusive.

Liz,.....................Pendleton, Oregon

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YOUR BOOK GAVE ME INSTANT HOPE, AND THE PROOF IS IN THE HAMBURGERS

Your book is great, the the proof is in the hamburgers!

I was in the bookstore Christmas shopping when I saw the book and picked it up.  The title It's (Mostly) His Fault summed up my wife's opinion of me throughout our marriage.  My assessment was different.  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).  Thse 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.  It was mostly my fault.  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!

Merrill,...................Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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TWO VERY DIFFERENT REACTIONS OF MEN TO THE BOOK

1.  Dear Mr. Alter,                                                                                                                                              I read your book, "It's (Mostly) His Fault."  What a terrible mistake you have made.                                                                                                                                                                      While there are some good women, many are just plain stupid.  Some are meaner than hell.  Many are immoral.  . . . Female alcoholics are everywhere.  I know a couple of female child abusers.  Many women don't love or care for their children.  I know a few that have left their children for the wild life.  But to hear you tell it, women are the only ones that ever get it right.                                                                                                                                                                                    You have joined the ranks of those who would emasculate men.  And there are many out there working hard at it.  Lesbians were the first, but many softheaded idiots have taken up their argument.  . . . Do you honestly believe that boys dream of growing up to be nice guys?  Normal males dream of being a Marine, or a cowboy, or a fireman.  . . .                                                   Narcissism is the most prominent disease in this society.  You have just contributed to the females of the bunch.  No one can tell them anything.  They know it all. . . .                                                I suppose you mean well.  You have touched on some truths about inconsiderate husbands, but you have poisoned the water.  You have sat with narcissistic women in interviews too much, and then went home to a dominating wench.  You poor bastard.  You have been castrated!  Study the truth and write another book after you get it straight.

D.F.,........................................El Dorado, Kansas

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2. Dear Alters,                                                                                                                                                   I found your book in the local bookstore as I was browsing the self-help aisle in despair.  My dear suffering wife of twelve years told me right before Christmas that she is leaving me, possibly for a divorce and shared custody of our ten year old sweet daughter.                                                                                                                                                                                           What a revelation your book provides!  It's as if you somehow crawled inside my evil little mind and offered me hope and a way back to the man I knew was always there.  I actually wept as I read several pages, knowing I had done those things to the woman I had promised to love, cherish, and obey.  I am going to suggest that she take the book to read, but I want it back.  I am going to read it over and over and never subject another woman to my flaming asshole tendencies again.  I pray that she'll come back one day.  Thank you!  Thank you!

Lloyd,.................................Nashua, New Hampshire

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WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CAN'T STAND LIVING WITH THE PERSON YOU TRULY LOVE?

Although I have held out hope for ten years, I am at that breaking point--the verge of leaving.  I saw your book while at the bookstore and the title caught my eye.  I picked it up, read a bit, and was blown away at the stance you have taken.  Very cool--a MAN "gets" women!  I ordered it with some hope he might read it.

But my man is not only a childhood sex abuser survivor, a pot/alcohol addict, and sex addict (he thinks he might be incurable), he cheated on me with a prostitute last year and he was recently diagnosed with ADD.  And before that we had already been in therapy for six years over the porn/alcohol/drugs stuff.  Early this year he saw a very expensive sexual compulsion specialist, but quit after a few months--(he wasn't having problems anymore, according to him, something I never for one second believed and bugged him to keep going).  The lies have been going on since day one of our relationship.

For the past few months he argues that he is growing and I just never recognize it, he wishes I could finally just trust him, it's my fault for always being discouraged, he wants to be different but doesn't think he can, and ultimately, "Maybe I am incapable of being the man you need."

Then I found out again that he has been lying about his obsession with porn again, claims he hasn't done anything, just can't stop thinking about it.  And he has smoked pot within the last few weeks--after a year of sobriety.  This after hundreds of hours of counseling, thousands of dollars, dozens of self-help books/CDs.  I didn't even cry this time when I found out because I guess I just knew by his distant behavior, grouchiness, and blame that there was something.  Been through it before--and every time with promises of change from him that last a few months--just enough charm, charisma, and openness to keep me hooked.

Then your book arrives in the mail.  When I read "Her Introduction" and skimmed the book, it just painfully reminds me of all the things I've spent the last twenty years learning.  I read the part about patience and acknowledging even the teeniest things, and then I cried.  I can't fathom going through all the trust building stuff again.  Perhaps our relationship is just a very extreme case in comparison to most who will read the book.  I've probably read ten books on sex/alcohol addiction, sexually abused boys, trauma and addiction, etc., and probably a hundred books on relationship, growth, spirituality, etc., and asked him to read only one book on the subject of ME (David Deida's "Dear Lover"--a fantastic book).  Did he ever finish it?  NO.

This morning he is desperate again--the old pattern--shit hits the fan, realization, "Don't leave me," "I'll change this time," "My brain just doesn't work right," "It's my childhood," "I'll read anything you want," "I'm a piece of shit," "I don't know why I can't stick with a program," blah blah blah.  How many times do I have to hear it?  I have done all your suggestions for strong women, forgiven, acknowledged, tried and tried and cried and loved and forgave some more and understood and stood my ground and changed the words and respected myself and supported his growth and helped him, and . . . the only step left now is out the door.

Only problem is . . . I really do love him.  Something deep behind those eyes that is amazing and authentic, but he can't seem to hold on to it.  And as much as I get the idea of being his teacher, ten years is exhausting.  I want romance, fun, tenderness, care, and most of all INTEGRITY!

Sigh.  What to do when you can no longer stand living with the person you truly love?

Britta,..............................Spokane, Washington

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THE PROBLEMS WERE WITH ME!

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.  The title alone made me feel very uncomfortable.  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

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MR. NICE GUY SYNDROME vs. BEING A MAN

My husband brought your book home from the library two weeks ago and left it lying on the floor.  I picked it up over the weekend and nearly couldn't put it down.  Yes, it was such a validation.  All I could say to my husband was, "If you've been trying to understand what I've been saying all these years, just read this."  He is halfway through it!

My question, though, is that unlike many of the descriptions of men in the book, he actually for years has been trying to avoid rejection by always following my lead.  Those around me think he's a doll, but really he is "absent," . . . trying to find love through me.  He sticks me with all of the responsibility and then uses the excuse that he's just being nice.  "Mr. Nice Guy Syndrome," which really is just him being immature and non-manly so he won't get rejected.  Does this make any sense?  We both acknowledge it is a total manipulation and he can't seem to find himself.  It's clear to me that what you're trying to say is from a secure place make the choice to be in relationship with your wife, but for some men, they use us to validate themselves.  He wants me to provide his self-concept.  In the end, I feel just as lonely and angry.  He is always saying I'm right and leaves decisions to me, but not in the way you speak of, not from the standpoint of being a man.

I applaud your book because it challenges all of us, wives and husbands, to honor truth, individuality, love, and the abundance of goodness that we have been gifted.  When we know ourselves and choose to honor another, it is beautiful.  I pray for us and all the other couples who are seeking the truth and beauty of their marriage.  Thank you for writing this labor of love and sharing it.

Beth,............................Lincoln, Nebraska

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IT'S NOT TOO LATE!

[This is a follow-up letter from "Ben" from Euclid, Ohio, below: I LOVE HER TO THE DEPTHS OF MY SOUL, I ONLY HOPE IT'S NOT TOO LATE]

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 wll be forever grateful.  This will be the best Thanksgiving ever.

Ben,..................Euclid, Ohio

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AN ANSWER TO BOBBY

[See below, the questions posed by "Bobby" in DO YOU WANT ME TO LOSE MYSELF IN MY WIFE?]

I have read the piece by Bobby, the man who read the book in three days after his wife suggested it.  This seems like a hard one to answer, and the concerns he had might occur to many who read this book.  (And not just to guys!)  I feel many men might, at first reading, think they are being asked to surrender too much.  Even a very secure and oh-so-enlightened guy (especially a younger guy) could be excused for feeling threatened.  And for people with here-and-there patches where they do not know themselves well, the threat is bigger.  You could almost make an equation: The more chance you've had to come to know yourself (your soul, or psyche), the better use you can make of these ideas, and indeed, the more natural it will be for you to get to know your wife! 

This is what I'd like to say to Bobby: This is a method which only looks like giving up your self.  You have a self, and short of death, it is never going to be taken from you, with or without permission:  IT IS YOU.  But to get to know another (not just your wife, but any friend) takes some risk, a hint of daring, some self-extension--yet after that, you go back to being who you are.  You are stretchier than the most elastic bungee cord--you always will be able to snap back!  Getting better at liking, knowing other people is what these chapters are about.

I see the process as one of growing.  The changes a man or woman goes through in trying these steps, thinking about the book, are going to have great side effects: close relationships with lots of other people can happen, not just with your spouse.

I have extended myself more in just the few weeks since reading this book.  The feeling of change is . . . well, scary, yet when I think and ponder it, inside I know it is not, as Bobby worries, "unhealthy"--no, it is good.  You do not need to do the whole thing, Bobby, if you honestly don't feel comfortable, but I implore you to give some of it a try.

Which parts to try?  Maybe a first step would be to sincerely ask the one who gave you the book where to start?

Tracy,.............................Brattleboro, Vermont

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DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE YOUR BOOK WILL HAVE A VAST AND SIGNIFICANT IMPACT?

My good wife read your book and then gave it to me to read.  I enjoyed perusing your creative writing, using simple language, examples, advice, and counsel that you offered (as a professional) for men to change and "worship" their wives.  I also enjoyed you sharing your own personal life and marital experiences that you described--they are exemplary, very good indeed.  So as a reader I cannot remark for "holier than thou" preaching.  However, overall, I felt that you are taking a very simplistic and optimistic line of argument that most fault lies with the men (and not the women) and that by following your reasons of arguing and persuasion, many marital problems will dissipate. . . . This may be an ideal to aspire to, but do you both, as American husband and wife, really believe your book will have such a vast and significant impact on the present day society?

Hailing from the eastern (Indian) culture, traditions and attitudes where marriages are arranged and where the parents and joint family system play such important roles and where the English word "divorce" has no equivalent word in Hindi/Sanskrit (as far as I recall), I find some of your statements and examples a bit out of place or at times annoying.

Sanjay,.........................................Los Angeles, CA

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DO YOU WANT ME TO LOSE MYSELF IN MY WIFE?

[If any readers want to address the questions in paragraph two of Bobby's experience below, please write in, and we'll post some of the sharings here in the next week or two.]

Okay, I just read the book.  I thought it was well-written.  I certainly got through it quick enough.  Believe me, 344 pages in three days is a quick read in my book.  My wife read it, gave me the book, and asked me to read it.  We've been separated for a couple of months. 

I completely agree with the fact that I'm not communicating/connecting with my wife, and I could be a better father.  In fact, at some level, I could stand improvement according to all your chapters.  My question is this.  Let's say I surrender as you suggest.  Do you want me to lose myself in my wife?  Do I have to give up who I am as a person?  Is there a point where my surrender becomes unhealthy?

I called my wife last night and told her that I finished the book.  We agreed it would be a good idea to have our counselor read it as well, so we can have a starting off point.  My wife seemed so distant and unhopeful that during our conversation I was struck with a stark fear.  What if she never forgives me?  How can I live with that?  What then?  I guess that's something we're going to have to work out in therapy.

Bobby,................Muskegon Heights, Michigan

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A LETTER FROM A MAN ON A JOURNEY OF SELF-AWARENESS

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 cliches 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.  (Is there room or need for more of this acknowledgment as the text moves along?)

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

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I LOVE HER TO THE DEPTHS OF MY SOUL, I ONLY HOPE IT IS NOT TOO LATE

I am a 62 year old retired husband and father of two wonderful sons. About five weeks ago, when I got back from a fishing trip, my wife unilaterally decided we needed time apart, and she rented an apartment in the city for ninety days. The deal is, neither of us is seeing anyone else, and we are trying to do our own work on ourselves and our relationship. I am also a recovering alcoholic and am eleven months sober. At first I was overwhelmed and tried to talk my wife into a different approach--i.e., therapy and commitments to change, etc. She felt smothered by me, as I have been dealing with a mild case of post-retirement (was a CEO of a large corporation) and post-alcohol-rehab depression. She felt I had become way too dependent on her, which I agree with. The timing was lousy, as I had just had surgery, which complicates things a bit, but I am now able to drive and no longer housebound. Anyway, I found your book while looking at lots of self-help stuff, read it in two days, and recommended it to my wife, who finished it yesterday and was thrilled that I actually found it and read it on my own. She told me she feels validated.

We have been married 24 years, and I love her to the depths of my soul. I know she loves me too. I only hope it is not too late. At any rate, I am well on my journey and have two therapists, one here, and one in Florida, where we have our winter home. I am hopeful and optimistic while I practice my Moves. I am probably the "slow-burning log" type [see p. 310: RMA], so while I get the issues immediately, changing behaviors will take longer.

I thought your book was wonderfully written and exceptionally actionable. Guys need to be told what to do, as you well know, and I am hard at work doing it. My wife also acknowledged that the advice is good for her as well. . . . I am glad my wife had the courage to do what she had to do, which lit a fire under my ass to change, and your book is helping me immensely in the "How-to" part.

Ben,.........................Euclid, Ohio

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I FOUND YOUR BOOK APPALLING: AN EXCHANGE

Dear Robert: As a male psychologist and a husband, I found your book appalling. I have no doubt that if men were to behave in the manner you advocate, there would be less friction in the relationship. But your solution to marital conflict is simplistic and detrimental to the men you claim to be helping--just do what your wife tells you to do, is what you are telling hapless husbands everywhere, or, as Gottman put it years ago, just say, "Yes, dear," and everything will be fine. The advice you give men is emasculating and has the potential to wreak havoc on marriages. Talk about gaslighting! Women in unhappy marriages can now deny that they have a significant role to play, and instead use your book as a justification for why they and not their partners should change.

As a marketing ploy, the book is brilliant--as you say yourself in your book, most relationship books are read by women, and what better way to sell books than to tell your target audience, "You're perfect, the problem is that you're living with an asshole." Definition of asshole by Robert Alter: A man who does not comply with his wife.

As an aside, I have a wonderful marrige, my wife and I respect each other, and yet we know that gender roles are important if a relationship has to be peaceful, happy, and fulfilling for both partners. Redefining a man's role, as you have done, is not a solution to an unhappy marriage. But I bet it will make you rich.

Sincerely,

Dr. G.,....................North Adams, Massachusetts

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Dear Dr. G.: Thank you for taking the time to write about your experience reading the book. It's amazing to me how different people can have such different reactions to the same thing. One woman wrote in saying that the more she reads the book, the more she realizes what deep respect I have for men, and as the mother of two adult sons, she appreciates that, and another person writes in saying he thinks the book is "dangerous," and you find it "emasculating" and "appalling." People (both men and women) write in saying that the book has literally saved their marriage, and you think it has "the potential to wreak havoc on marriages." There's a sutra I love from an Indian scripture called the Yoga Vasishtha that says, "Dhrishti shrishti"--"The world is as you see it," and in hearing people react to my book, I am constantly reminded of that. I think it all depends on the actual life experience a person has had: Our ideas and theories grow out of our experience. As the poet-saint Kabir says at the end of one of his poems (I paraphrase), "Kabir writes only about what he has lived through. If you have not lived through something, it is not true."

FYI: The negative title, subtitle, and cover of my book--so insulting to men--and all the references to "fault" in the text were not of my choosing. The publishing house, hoping to stimulate controversy and sales, insisted on it. For the paperback, which comes out in March, 2007, there will be, at my insistence and their seeing their mistake, a new title: GOOD HUSBAND, GREAT MARRIAGE: Finding the Good Husband . . . in the Man You Married . . . with a great new cover.

What is truth? I think these days, given the perilous state of the world, truth is just trying to stay connected to and respectful of each other while we all collaborate in trying to figure all this stuff out for the good of the world. It's important. So, again, thanks for your thoughts, and for caring enough to send them in. They give me the opportunity to keep looking deeper for the truth of things.

Sincerely,

Robert Alter

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AT THE BRINK (Part 2)

[The following was sent in by "Laura" from Nome, Alaska in a second email to this website]

I did hand the book to my husband last night and said only, "Please, read this book. It's an absolute must if you wish anything good to come out of this relationship. It's a no-nonsense approach in words that have baffled me for years, that have made me think I was crazy, but I know you will relate to it, I know there's a wonderful man in there wanting to come out. But after you've read this book and you still don't 'get it,' then all I have to say is, I'll be happier growing old alone."

He put the book aside, went to his baseball game, came home from work, and lo-and-behold, he actually kept the TV off tonight, read past the title . . . and then proceeded to read through 100 pages in one--count that--one sitting! I'm speechless. That's the longest he's EVER read at one time, not being the sports section. I know it must mean something hit close to home. He even mentioned--almost begrudgingly--"Well, maybe this old dog can learn a new trick or two." Praise God there just might be light after this looong journey."

Laura,..............Nome, Alaska

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AT THE BRINK (Part 1)

I laughed, I cried, and I wanted to jump for joy tht finally, finally, a guy can relate to what I'm talking about. I want to shout, "I'm NOT crazy!" My husband and I recently separated. All these years I spent frustrated, resentful, and angry. Feeling trapped. For years I couldn't get the words right on how I was feeling; it would somehow leave my lips perfectly, but when he said it back to me, it didn't come out that way, he'd twist it around. I'd be perplexed: that's not what I said, or what I meant. . . . I knew in my heart there was something terribly wrong all these years. . . . He doesn't "get it."

I recall coming in from the grocery store one night. It was 7 PM, and I felt grumpy when I walked in, no dinner was started, he was watching TV, drinking a beer, he didn't even bother to get up and help get the groceries from the car. My daughter still had homework, which I help her with because he's too busy, too tired, too whatever, so I help with the homework, begin dinner, and ask my husband to put away the groceries. His response? "I don't want to." So I did it, in silent rage. After all "my" chores were done--homework, dinner, dishes--I sat down and asked him why he couldn't take five minutes and help me put the bags away. He said "No reason, I just didn't feel like it." Well, that was an eye-opener because I had always felt everything was "my duty," and he pretty much confirmed that that's how he saw it too.

After eighteen years of marriage, I couldn't take it anymore. It constantly fell on deaf ears--everything, from being non-communicative to pawing all over my breasts. Lots of frustration and resentments pushed me to the brink. . . . Then lo-and-behold I found this book at my bookstore. It took me two days to read, and now I'm meeting with my husband to give it to him. The choice is clear in my mind. I've already walked out the door, the choice is now his. I absolutely love being married, love family life and everything it offers; what I don't love is thinking it was only me all these years. They somehow have a way of convincing us they are right, even though you know otherwise.

Laura,..................Nome, Alaska

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WHAT DOES A WOMAN WANT?

I've been married for just over two years, we have an eight month old baby, and my husband is, to say the least, a piece of work. Your book jumped out at me on a table at the bookstore while I was just browsing around. Thank God it landed in my hands!

One of the things from Chapter 2 made me think. The big question from the chapter is "What does a woman want?" Well, you say that we want the power to choose. Yes, after reflecting, it's very true. We definitely do want what we want, and we want to choose that. But I've done enough workshops and seminars to realize that for some reason a lot of women out there, at least in Baltimore, don't know what they want. I was one of them. A lot of women don't know how to be instantly connected to their desires. And a lot of women not only don't know their desires, they don't even know how to express them. Have you noticed this?

Allie,........................Baltimore, Maryland

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JEKYLL AND HYDE

I can't say enough about your book. It put into words what I have been getting at for years. Like me, it cuts to the chase! My husband has not read it . . . yet . . .

My situation is that my husband "gets it." He does all the things and says all the things a "good husband" is supposed to. He fully believes in your concepts without even having read your book . . . until his other side takes over. My husband is a Jekyll and Hyde. The same wonderful man can turn without warning and say horrible demeaning things, pout, roller-coaster moods. I never see it coming and it keeps me from feeling safe. I always have to decide if the good outweighs the bad. I hear this from so many women. What is this "evil twin" thing going on with men and how do I make it stop?

Eden,....................New Rochelle, New York

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A WOMAN TRIES CAREFULLY TO SHARE THE BOOK WITH HER HUSBAND

What an epiphany! A lot of it is what I have been trying to say to my husband for years. So I decided to write down and organize my thoughts as I completed each chapter, and then decided to sit down for a review with my husband when he got home. Not wanting the conversation to be negative, I carefully planned my words. He really is a sweet guy (not an asshole, just clueless sometimes), and much further in being the type of husband your book strives to help develop. However, there are many places in the book where he perfectly fits the type that needs to change, if only he would listen!

So I prefaced my review of what I read by saying, "You are so close to perfect . . . this would make me perfectly content." I then proceeded to highlight and discuss the areas I felt needed improvement (in both of us) and the areas of the book that I felt did not describe him or our relationship. I even referenced page numbers for him to look at while we talked, but his contact lens was bothering him and he could not see to read (hmmmm). Careful pauses were made to allow him to have input, no words were spoken. I promise you, I did my best to be tactful, logical, and caring too, but the only words he heard were considered criticism.

When I finally asked for some response, he said, "How do you expect me to feel, when I come home and this is what you say?" Huge argument. Naturally, and typically, we both ended up defensive and ticked with the other one. He said the usual "Where do you come up with this stuff?" We made up the next day, but never discussed the prior evening (unfinished business in my mind; we don't have enough time in our life to "process," as it states in Chapter 14, all that needs processing from the past), but I do actually see him trying to implement some of the suggestions I listed as the result of your The Move suggestions.

I am grateful for your book because now I know it is NOT ME, I am not crazy. Do I have things I need to work on? Definitely. How scary it was to relate so deeply to many of the chapters, especially what I have been doing to myself with food to compensate for what I have not been getting from my husband. But do I now feel empowered and reassured that what I am asking for is not insane? MOST definitely! I am continuing to read the book and am almost done with it. At this point, I am not sure how to present the remainder of what I am reading, perhaps a book study together, but whatever we decide, I know it is worth the fight, no matter how difficult it is or resistant he gets!

Miranda,.......................Rio Rancho, New Mexico

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ROBERT'S NEXT BOOK?!

I loved your book. It's both a great cover-to-cover read as well as a wonderful reference to keep reviewing. My experience is that I've lived through the tough choices you outline toward the end. I've both ended a marriage and continued one, facing the facts realistically in therapy.

So I'm looking forward to your next book, and here's my request. I suggest that you empower young single women to look at the men in their lives in order to evaluate them realistically as potential husbands, the idea being, the best health is preventive. And while I think of it, counsel men to father their daughters to prepare them adequately.

This idea came about as I was observing my niece socializing with her friends and later asked her privately whether she was interested in a particular young man in her circle. She said, "Oh, we love him, but he's not husband material." I thought: Wow, her generation must be so much wiser than mine was. But I was wrong. I have since observed how naive and sexually misguided most of her generation is. Haven't young women advanced at all since I was their age?

Also, with the rise of mass media pornography, I wonder about the state of young women today offering men unearned rewards. I suspect it fuels the acting out of sexual rage in both men and women.

There are pieces of wise counsel out there, but I haven't seen a systematic approach nor a popularized version which would have bestseller potential. One item of suggested reading, He's Just Not That Into You, by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, is a book I think has popular appeal. I wish you'd consider applying your wisdom to these matters. Thanks.

Penelope,.................Montgomery, Alabama

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HE CAN'T GET PAST THE TITLE

I just finished your book and I feel so liberated and validated. I see so much of my husband in this book. The trick now will be to get him to read it. I read the quotes about how husbands react when asked to read it, and my husband responded verbatim with all of your quotes. My husband can't get past the title and becomes angry when he sees the book lying around. He is very stubborn, but I will keep trying, for awhile yet. We have been married for ten years, and most have been a struggle.

Leanne,....................Missoula, Montana

[Note from Robert: A mistake was made by the powers-that-be in titling and subtitling this book, and when the paperback comes out in March, 2007, it will have a new title and subtitle and a great new cover (with no doghouse on it!). The new title and subtitle will be: GOOD HUSBAND, GREAT MARRIAGE: Finding the Good Husband . . . in the Man You Married: A Relationship Revolution. Hopefully, that will make it easier for you wives to get your husbands to read it, and make it easier for you husbands to read it without feeling blamed, criticized, or put down.]

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WHY DID SHE GIVE ME THE BOOK?

I'm not married. My ex-girlfriend gave the book to me as a birthday gift: "It's all the rage, it'll help you out," she said. I must admit, I find this choice of gift rather perplexing, as I don't have a particularly close relationship with her . . . and she refused to discuss our relationship after our breakup, an exception being this encounter where I picked up her gift.

I'm pondering the fact that she may actually have read the book, rather than relying on a girlfriend's advice, before deciding to give it to me, meaning that she recognized my perceived behaviors in the book and thinks I'm a rather lost soul! . . . Interestingly, in your messages to women in the book, you don't address the issue of a woman giving this book to a non-husband. Any thoughts on what might have been her expectations by doing so?

Reece, .......................Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

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SAME PROBLEMS, WHOLE MARRIAGE

Our marriage of 39 years is once again on the brink of divorce. Despite therapy. The therapist states she doesn't understand why he acts the way he does since he comes to therapy, takes notes, then goes home and doesn't do the work; that she's never run into this before. So I just bought her a copy of your book. I don't know whether to be angry or feel sorry for him, that he just doesn't get it. Same problems, whole marriage. He says he wants me to stay, but acts as though he's the only important person in the marriage. We have two different ideas of what a good relationship means. The therapist even told us what qualities we should each look for in our next partners! She repeatedly questions why I stayed so long. . . .

No empathy at all from him. It's always, "You shouldn't feel that way," and "You don't know how good you have it." I gave him your book, he's reading it, says it's everything I've been telling him and he wants to "try again," for the umpteenth time. I told him that his time I really am leaving. If I don't leave this time, he'll never believe me. Do I believe his promises now even though he's broken them many, many times before? I don't want to fall into the same trap I did before of believing, staying and being disappointed, and I feel stupid for staying as long as I have.

Kirsten,.....................................Hagerstown, Maryland

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AS I'VE MATURED AND HE HASN'T

I stumbled on your book at the bookstore and have to believe it was fate that led me to it. Everything in it is right on the mark. I have been married for twenty-five years and I have to say my husband is a great guy but as I've matured and he hasn't, it has become difficult to accept some of his behaviors. Part of the problem that women need to address is that it is often the very things that attracted us to our husbands that end up being bad for us later.

Your book is so wonderful and so easy to understand. I gave it to my husband, and he is reading it in small installments. I've tried to tell him it is as much about women as men because I feel it is important that he get the part about how our culture has created much of what we feel and do with each other. . . .

I have avoided reading the "Moves" so that if my husband chooses to implement them they will feel more sincere to me.

The one thing I haven't read [in the book] is about how men behave toward their wives in front of and with OTHER MEN. That is a huge problem in my mind. None of them want other guys to think they like and respect their wives. . . .

I plan to give this book to each of my three children (two are male) when they get married. . . . The world needs your message to get out there loud and clear.

Angie,..........................................Warwick, Rhode Island

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ABOUT TO EXPLODE

As I sit here at the computer, my eyes still hurt from getting caught off guard on p. 328 and bawling so hard that my face became a sticky, black, mascary mess. I loved your book--so direct, so crap-free. You write like I think in my head. . . . I've been married for 13 years to a big, self-absorbed baby. When people ask me if I have kids, I joke and say, "Yes, one big one--I'm married to him." But it's not a joke. He has refused to become a dad; doesn't want it. I'm 37 and don't even have a family to keep me company. There is a huge hole in my heart that goes along with my empty arms. . . . Hence, the sobbing. Anyway, thanks for your book. Thank you for validating my immense, burning, red-hot anger. My husband said he would take the book along on his business trip this week. I feel like it's my last hope. I'm about to explode.

Helen,...........................................................Lockport, New York

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OH TO BE LOVED LIKE THAT!

I absolutely loved the book. I thought it was right on. I believe this is exactly how a man should love his wife. . . . I wish every woman would read this book. Oh, to be loved like that!

Becca,......................................................Athens, Georgia

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HUSBAND, YOU HAVE MY WHOLE HEART

I received an email from my wife. Without any prompting from me, she sent this note. I just finished the book, and along the way I made some Moves that must have caught her attention. Most of what you preach in the book is what she has been telling me for years. I want to thank you for opening my mind to the truth that it is mostly my fault. I am now striving to become a better husband and person. Here's the email from her:

"Jesse, I just heard from my friend, and everyone is bringing spouses to the reunion, so will you go with me in September? I just wanted to write to you and say everyday I wake up now and I look forward to being with you another day, another month, another year, and for the rest of my life. I am almost scared to say we've conquered the rough spots and have smooth sailing ahead. I truly hope for that with all my heart. I do believe that can happen if we continue to make each other our priority in the respect and kindness and understanding department. I wake up each morning now and hope that we both will continue to work on our relationship and not take each other for granted. It's a wonderful feeling, isn't it, to be in a committed and respectful and loving relationship. Beats the heck out of waking up or going to bed mad. I like the alternative so much more. For today you have my whole heart, and here's hoping for everyday forward. I love you."

Jesse,.................................................Tulsa, Oklahoma

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I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHO HE IS WHEN HE IS FULLY FREE

I have just finished the book. My heart is full. I can't remember when a book has meant so much to me. I laughed (and cried a little) and was stunned and unburdened when I recognized my marriage in the pages of this incredible piece of writing. I wish I had had it 5 or 10 years ago.

We have been married 21 years. Courtship and the early years were terrific. As we went from zero to four children, the man I married disappeared and was replaced by an alien. I have spent the last 10-15 years trying to figure out a way to explain this. A year ago, with the help of a friend, I decided to listen to what my self was telling me--and flatly told my husband I thought it was (mostly) his fault, that I knew this was radical but my powers of reason, my frontal cortex, insisted this was so. It sounded egotistical, judgmental, and self-serving, and flew in the face of most psychological counseling--but there it was. I was thunderstruck when he did not deny it (my husband is constitutionally unable to lie) and from there, progress. He acknowledged his alcoholism and entered rehab and the receovery process. He is in weekly therapy, alone. When I get hold of my anger, we might even enter couples therapy.

Your counseling about the nature and purpose of anger, and especially the section about what to do with it (p. 316), was an incredible gift. As I read the book and laughed out loud and kept saying, "This is awesome," my husband became quite interested, and instead of being put off by the title, seems intrigued that it was written by a man, and eager to read about the fact that others are similar to him, and to his wife. I think it will be a liberation of sorts for him. I can't wait to see who he is when he is fully free. After finishing the book, I have decided that my husband is not a flaming asshole, but maybe just an ordinary asshole; and I know too that he is a hero, a god, and someone I can admire and love, when he embraces and becomes his true self.

Thank you for giving me the courage and strength to move ahead with what feels very true to me. I think there is good reason to hope for the future. Meanwhile I continue my own work on myself. Best of all, my children will be blessed by the positive effects of the greater clarity and motivation the book has brought us. Thank you for helping me to laugh about the most painful thing in my personal universe, and by laughing at it, greatly diminishing its power to hurt me. Instead, I am empowered.

Thea,.......................................................-Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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CAPTAIN OF THE CRAZY SHIP

On page 320 of your book you say, "When you use your anger like this, it is good for you to remember that on the deepest level of your husband's being, in his soul, he married you for many reasons, and one of them was to receive this anger from you because it corrects behaviors of his that are not in harmony with his soul. So you're spiritually okay to direct your anger at him for good use."

That's my marriage in a nutshell and the core of my resentment and exhaustion. To be continually responsible for the spiritual health of another person's soul, to abide a lifetime of relating to your partner as an adult to a child, to be the captain of the crazy ship, holding it together for everyone--this is why a woman even thinks of infidelity: The unmet need of relating to another human being adult to adult.

Gwynne,.........................................................Bakersfield, California

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I DO NOT LIKE IT

I really wanted to share what's going on because of your work. Good things, bad things, things that will work out. Because of your work. Thank you!

After a very unpleasant argument with my husband, I wrote him a brief letter and gave it to him this morning. Here's what it said:

"First of all, my apology for snapping at you on the phone. I'm writing this instead of talking to you in person because I truly want you to 'hear' this and take it to heart, and I believe that sometimes you hear my feelings better on paper than when spoken. And what I'm about to tell you is very important to me. I'm your wife and my feelings should be important to you. Prior to snapping at you, I was making a suggestion for discussion, not argument. For your consideration, not an attack. And I was not trying to tell you what to do. It was the beginning of a suggestion--big difference. You interrupted me--twice--by raising your voice and in a tone that was both angry and defensive. Yes, I realize now you were stressed and frustrated after I learned later how much time you'd spent on the issue. At the time of our phone conversation, I did not know that. I'm your wife, not your adversary, and trying to engage me in an argument because I have something to say, regardless of wherher it's a good idea or not, is unacceptable. Furthermore, being argumentative with me and especially in that tone of voice is also unacceptable. I've never liked it and I'm letting you know now, I DO NOT LIKE IT.

These are my feelings, and I'm respectfully asking you now to please make the effort to refrain from doing that in the future. I deserve, as your wife and partner, to be treated with respect when we communicate. Being polite in our conversations and being considerate of the other person's feelings should be high on our list of priorities with each other. I love you."

He read it while I took my daughter to school. Upon my return, . . . not once in our hourlong discussion did he raise his voice or get pissy! I know this is the good fight right now. . . . I've stood up for myself for probably the first time in a very long time. I did it with style, logic, and true concern and care for what I want most--a good husband! And a great marriage. Who could ask for anything more?

Molly,......................................... Lynchburg, Virginia

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AFTER HIS CONCERNED LOOK PASSED

I have just finished your wonderful book and I don't think I've ever cheered, cried, and laughed so much in one book. The way you explained a bad husband's behavior throughout the book has really opened my eyes. I've always felt that that is just how men are, and a good wife's job (one of a trillion) is to keep the peace. Smooth things over when he screams at the kids and try to explain to them why he treats them the way he does. Male bad behavior is my source of mistrust that started as a child. I have never been able to count on any man, nor can I trust them fully, so I became independent--fiercely independent.

I finally asked my husband of 19 years why he hasn't asked me what I'm reading, and he said he just assumed it was for school. He is not a reader and I am usually not without a book. I told him that it is a book that I hope will save our marriage, then asked him if it would be okay if I read it to him. After his concerned look passed, he smiled and said he'd like that.

Wish me luck as we process his infidelity that just makes me boil inside, and his addiction to pain killers. I don't want our children to ever have to say that their parents are divorced since I know firsthand what that does to a kid, BUT I will not live like this any longer. It is not good for me, and I'm tired of doing things that are not good for me, and I thank you for making me realize that. You both have created a great service to man/womankind and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Nicole,............................................. Washington, D.C.

 

POEM FOR HER DAD

Three weeks after reading your book (fully digested and pretty much implemented in two afternoons), my 9 year old daughter wrote this poem and presented it to us.  I have to thank you for the approach as it has made a very real difference in my marriage as well as the rest of my family.  There is so much more I would like to include here, but this poem from the other most important young woman in my life speaks volumes to me as I hope it does for all you other husbands and fathers trying to be as successful as you can.
"Daughter and Dad,"  by Caddy
As she sits in his arms, waiting to fall asleep, she realizes how much her Dad loves her.
She knows her Mom is not her only parent
Now she knows she does not have to worry about her Mom when she is gone
Because her Dad loves her and will take care of her.
He will not hurt her or let anybody else hurt her.
He can be in a bad mood sometimes
But he would not stay like that forever
Now she realizes she loves her Dad too.

Ron,...............................................Sioux Falls, South Dakota 

F YOU LOVE ME, YOU'LL READ THIS BOOK

IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU'LL READ THIS BOOK

My husband and I have been married 19 years this year.  I picked up It's (Mostly) His Fault at my local library, and what can I say? WOW!Through our many years of marriage, we have experienced and survived being separated due to military deployments, alcoholism (his), and affairs.
My husband is a wonderful person and we enjoy each other's company.  He is a great provider, ensuring our family needs are met, but he has never connected emotionally--and not sure he ever will--with me or his children. 
I just finished reading your book and have mentioned to him over the past few days that I would appreciate it if he read it as well.  He said he would skim through it, but that is not good enough for me.  I told him that if he loves me, then he will do this for me and read the book.  He has conceded to do so.  I hope the book truly opens his eyes to changes that he must make in order for us to "grow older together living life together" and not "just growing old," as I can grow old on my own.  Thank you so much!
Loretta,..................................................... San Diego, California

AN OPEN BOOK

I've been reading your book; so has my hairdresser Don.  He's really into it, as is his wife.  He told me that they had had an argument over the phone last week, and when he got home that night, he found the book prominently displayed on his pillow, opened to the chapter "How To Talk With Her."
Elise,...............................................Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

IT'S THERAPY IN A BOOK

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 3-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

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NOT OPEN FOR DISCUSSION

A couple of days ago my husband started to drink around eight in the morning. When I started to give him the silent treatment, he asked me what was wrong. I told him that nothing was wrong except for the fact that my husband thinks that he needs alcohol to function. He told me that I was blowing things out of proportion, which reminded me of the ways men try to take away our power.

I finished your book around two o'clock this morning, and today when I came home from work at lunchtime, he was drinking again. I went directly to our bedroom, got your book, and handed it to him and told him, "Now it is your turn to read this!"
I did not leave it open for discussion.

I truly believe that this book is our last chance to save our marriage, so I hope that he "gets it" and gets it real soon! Thank you so much for giving me back my power!

Eliza,.......................................... Buffalo, New York

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I KNOW IT'S MOSTLY MY FAULT

I'm one of those "dozen or so men scattered around the country" who actually found your book and bought it. I bought it because I liked the portions I read at the bookstore, and it is the right book at the right time for me and hopefully my wife of 35 years. In October of last year, I realized that I needed to change because I started looking back at my life and realized that I had not been the husband and father I always thought I would be. I had a bad temper and was not a very affectionate individual. My wife is the most beautiful person in the world, both inside and out. I cherished her more than anything, but failed to show it and fulfill her needs.

We have been experiencing a poor relationship for a long time, and I know it is mostly my fault. I started seeking self-help books, guided meditation, etc. to change my life and began to like myself again. But I didn't start the changes soon enough because in January my wife said she was fed up and was unfulfilled in our marriage.

She questions that my change is for real because she says you just can't change overnight and now I'm not the man she knows. I told her that I didn't want to be that angry man anymore and I'm not. I show more affection and emotion now and no longer get angry or yell like over the past 35 years. . . . My wife says she loves me and will never love anyone as much, but doesn't know if she wants to stay married to me. She constantly says she is very confused because of how I've changed and it would be much easier to leave if I was still an asshole. I can't change the past, but I can move in a positive direction into the future. . . .

Kevin,..................................................Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

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THE SENTENCE I READ FIVE TIMES

Thank you for the validation. My marriage of 15 years ended 11 years ago, and I believe, no matter what anyone says, that I did the only thing I could do, given the situation. My ex-husband was the chapter entitled "Grow Up!," and he was not going to change. I read books, I tried loving confrontation regarding his unacceptable behavior, and I encouraged him to talk about his abusive childhood hoping he could deal with it and get past it. I could not win the fight.
"Your circle of power is your absolute conviction that you're right and your adamant inistence that he change." Thank you for that sentence that I read about five times. I had two young sons and I was absolutely not going to live with three! . . . My family thought I was just being mean to the poor guy who wanted to stay married. I thought, "What?! But he doesn't even try to be a good husband and father!"

I was interested in reading your book for additional insight and a man's point of view. I initially felt I had failed in my marriage, but I know I did all I could. I ended the fight when it was clear I could not win. My sons and I no longer have to endure his moods, his complaining, or his tirades on a daily basis. I believe many people can benefit from your book. Even if you lose the fight, you win your life back and the chance to be happy again.

Natalie,.....................................................Norwood, Ohio

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THE DEEP RESPECT AND LOVE YOU HAVE FOR MEN

It is a wonderful book and thank you for writing it and for all the years of personal work and transformation and courage that went into it. . . .
I have been reading it with my partner Barry and he keeps saying to me, "You wrote this book under a false name, because this is what you have been trying to tell me for years!"
Your book has given me more confidence in experessing myself, and I thank you for encouraging women to stand behind ourselves and what we know.
Your description on pages 7-8 about the nature of women and how we love moved me to tears.
I have read excerpts of your book in my women's group. We have been focusing on the importance for women in understanding male oppression, and your book, coming from a man especially, has stimulated great discussions.
The more I read the book, the more I understand the deep respect and love you have for men, and as a mother of two adult sons, I really appreciate that.

Sandra,..................................................... Portland, Oregon

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MY DARLING WIFE DIDN'T DESERVE IT

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

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I HOPE I READ IT IN TIME

I've been married to my wife for four years. We were 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 harnd 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, or anything else. . . .

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 crystalizing and communicating what I should've been able to see for myself.
Howard,...................................................Birmingham, Alabama

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A REACTION FROM AN ACTUAL MALE

I just finished reading your book and would like to offer my reaction to it. . . . Please understand that I have been divorced for several years, so my reaction does not have to do with implementing your approach in my current marriage. Nevertheless, the ideas you discuss are quite familiar, and are the same things I tried to implement in my marriage, even though I hadn't read your book at the time. So here's a reaction from an actual male: Your overall message, as I understand it, is obviously correct. Of course, all women need to have the power and the authority to decide for themselves how they wish to be treated in their marriages, and then expect that treatment from their husbands. Of course all women want their husbands to treat them with love and understanding and respect and appreciation, and be able to make their wives feel it. As you said in your book, duh. My reason for agreeing with that position is simple--it's how I myself would like to be treated in any relationship. Any man who tells you that he isn't the slightest bit lonely, or that he doesn't believe he needs to give love in order to get it, is either lying to you or to himself. . . .

These are all ways in which I agree with your approach. Now, briefly, let me give you the other side of my reaction. . . . You make some strong generalizations about most or all men, and most or all women, based primarily on your wife and your therapy clients. While I don't doubt for an instant the truth about how you describe them, I respectfully suggest that you are making sweeping generalizations from a somewhat limited and biased sample. I don't question what you say, for example, that 95% of your therapy contacts are initiated by women, and 95% of the problems in those patients are caused by the "relationship incompetency" of the men as compared to the women. However, I again respectfully suggest that you will never see among your clients those women who genuinely do not care what their husbands think, or who are already genuinely satisfied with the way they are treated by their husbands. You will also never see women who, in this relatively enlightened modern age, have claimed for themselves the right to not be in a relationship at all. So, to say that most of all current adult women are skilled, compassionate people who care deeply about relationships is a generalization that does not seem to be suported by your sample. And to generalize that most of all current adult men are selfish, emotional simpletons also does not seem to be supported by your sample.

Please do not misunderstand me. Contrary to what you said in your book about anyone who disagrees with it being in denial, I am not dismissing what you say out of hand. I am simply disagreeing with part of it. To put it yet another way, I will even agree that the majority of marital problems are caused by men, and that the majority of men could use a little growing up and relationship skill training. However, that is not the same thing as saying MOST men or ALMOST ALL men need it.

For example, your book seems to imply that all or most women already know exactly what they want out of a relationship. Like it or not, I have found this not necessarily to be true. I have known more than one marriage to fail because the wife simply decided that she didn't want to be married anymore. And, more than one of those women specifically told me that they had no complaints about their husbands. They were not leaving because their husbands were abusive or even indifferent. . . .

Overall I enjoyed your book. Even though I disagree with parts of it, I think it is well written and thoughtful , and even in places very wise. If I could add anything to it, I would only add that I think you now owe the world a similarly thoughtful, compassionate book on mistakes women commit in relationships.

Jeff,.......................................................Phoenix, Arizona

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THANKS FOR THE EMPOWERMENT

My first fan letter ever! Finished the book at 2 AM today, found it to be the right book at the right time for me. Separated after 43 years (yikes!) of marriage to what I believed to be an honorable good man and he was. But he had no responsibility to the marriage and me personally. I now realize that I deserve more and I am better off alone than with a man who feels no responsibility to make me as happy as he does his customers. Thanks for the empowerment tool.

Rita,.....................................................Great Barrington, Massachusetts

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A NEW TRICK FOR AN OLD DOG

I finished the book this morning and my husband started reading it the other evening. We have been married for 31 years this fall. He has been a good husband in most areas for most of the 31 years. He does not listen well and in some areas will not do what I ask. We have been in a rough patch for the last three years and I hope that you can teach an old dog a new trick. I must admit that what we have been dealing with these last three years is my fault also. This book may just be the best one I have ever read. I plan to pass it on to our two married daughters. Thanks so much.

Emily,.....................................................Gainesville, Florida

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THE NEXT PHASE OF THE JOURNEY

When my mother asked me to read your book, I have to admit, I was extremely put off by the title. After all, 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, communicate, 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, It’s (Mostly) His Fault 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 (pulled directly from Chapter 39, as I have paternal issues similar to Tomás’s), 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

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JUST READ THE BOOK

Wow, I feel like a new woman this morning. My husband and I are taking a break after twelve years together. He is to say the least an asshole, but I’ve let him be an asshole, and I just gave up and we have lived like roommates for years. I’m close to fifty now, and I realized that I want more, I want to be loved and respected, and I thought I’m gonna have to go somewhere else to get it, and had given up hope of finding it with him. Now I think there may be hope. Today I know that either he is going to be the husband that I need, who treats me with respect, or I’m done. Don’t get me wrong, he does have some great qualities. I would not have hung around all these years if he did not, but being a good husband is not one of them. Thank you for the book. I bought two copies and we are both reading it.

Belle,........................................................Shreveport, Louisiana

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EPIPHANY

Wow. . . . I get it. . . . Finally.

James,....................................................Reading, Pennsylvania

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NOW THAT I KNOW

I just finished reading your book, and I loved the style. I do not have an experience yet because my partner has yet to read the book or know that he needs to, but I know. Just think of all the money I could have saved in therapy now that I know that I am right!

Amy,...........................................Bakersfield, California

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Your book is already starting to change my marriage. My husband and I have been married nineteen years, with three kids, and most of the time get along okay, but the thing about him is that you can never call him on anything he does. He’s got this wicked temper which will just suddenly flare up at me or the kids, and whenever anything is wrong around the house, he’s always looking for someone, like me or the kids, never him! to blame, and he treats me sometimes like I’m his servant. Get me this. Do this. Buy this. I hate that, but the thing is, whenever I try to tell him to stop, he gets this hard look on his face and does everything in his power to argue me down until I give up. Sometimes he won’t even answer me, actually turns the volume UP on the TV, until I leave the room. You say that a wife should bring stuff up with her husband, but I’ll tell you, you can’t bring anything up with my husband.

Then I read your book. He hasn’t read it yet, and he’s certainly not changing yet, but I’m changing. The big change that’s happened in me is NOW I KNOW I’M RIGHT. He shouldn’t be like that. He should change. It’s funny, the idea that I’m right never even occurred to me before. I really like that part of your message to women, that we’re right!

I haven’t really figured out yet how to get through to him about the way he is, but I’m feeling a lot better about myself. For the first time in my relationship with him, I’m beginning to have faith in myself and what I feel about things, and what I know is an okay way for him to be and not to be. And I’m starting to realize that my anger is not that I’m a bitch, no, I’m just ANGRY. And I’m starting to let him know what I feel, to “Bring It Up,” like you say in your book, and not to give in even when he’s trying to argue me down. It’s not that I get through to him yet, but at least I’m staying with it. I’m feeling stronger.

It’s like you say in your Woman’s Proclamation of Power (p. 340): “It’s the power to believe in yourself—that you are connected to truth, that what you think and feel and say is true, and that you know the difference between truth and untruth.” I do know that difference. I like that, that’s helping. Thank you.

Tina,....................................................Scranton, PA

 

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