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For Your Marriage

Join us each month for a review of a book pertaining to marriage, dating, family life, children, parenting, and all other things For Your Marriage.

The Husband Handbook

This is a book for and about husbands, though I’m certain many wives would enjoy it too. The authors of The Husband Handbook are determined to speak about marriage and its challenges in a manner designed to appeal to many men.

The authors suggest, for example, that husbands try to view marriage as their hobby. Here the authors’ point is that “husbands with a hobby they really like will give it unlimited time.” A discussion question challenges husbands to ask themselves, “Do you devote as much time to your marriage as you do to your favorite pastime?”

One of the book’s chapters is titled “Practicing the Art of Marital Maintenance.” It points out that “millions of husbands everywhere on this planet enjoy tinkering with engines of every kind and purpose. And they understand that … it’s consistent maintenance that keeps anything with a motor running.”

What, then, is marital maintenance? It means that “a husband, wife–preferably both– develop a sense of what is and what is not working well in a marriage. What needs attention?” This chapter even offers a 39-point “marital checklist for maintaining a smooth-running marriage.”

The authors of The Husband Handbook are William Rabior, a hospital chaplain and psychotherapist in Saginaw, Mich., and David Wachowiak, an educator with a focus on counseling who runs the Seton Cove Spirituality Center in Saginaw.

This book’s 16 chapters include fine discussions of communication, good fighting and bad fighting, budgeting money, dating in marriage, handling stress and other vital concerns in marriage. One chapter I found unique is titled “Attitude.” The authors state:

“If we want to achieve a lasting and truly satisfying relationship with our wife, each of us sooner or later must make an honest assessment of our attitudes.”

There are positive and negative attitudes, and attitudes of gratitude and of happiness, the authors note. “Negative attitudes draw their power from doing things like jumping to conclusions, blowing things out of proportion.” Readers are counseled that “dwelling on what is wrong with our marriage will suck up our energy, leaving little left to work on improving things.”

The good thing to realize, says The Husband Handbook, is that people can choose their attitudes and make attitude adjustments. And since “attitudes have a direct impact on our marriage relationship,” the authors state emphatically that it just “makes sense to choose the positive ones over the negative.”

What is a husband? Rabior and Wachowiak describe a husband as someone who “is called on to be a leader, protector, nurturer, guide and much more – not in competition with his wife but in collaboration with her.” They also believe that success in marriage is about “much more than finding the right person. It is also about becoming the right person. It is about transformation.”

About the reviewer 
David Gibson served for more than 37 years on the Catholic News Service editorial staff.

Disclaimer: Book reviews do not imply and are not to be used as official endorsement by the USCCB of the work or those associated with the work. Book reviews are solely intended as a resource regarding publications that might be of interest to For Your Marriage visitors.