I am going to share some tidbits that I found in the book that I think are especially interesting. I am not saying I agree with everything; I am the messenger here! This book is focused on heterosexual marriages, so I will write about it in that way.
I'm going to start with the conclusions he's reached, and then go back to certain points made earlier in the book.
1. Chethik points out that in early in the book that husbands are often judged based on the female style of loving -- sharing of feelings -- and that men's style of loving is sharing space.
Sharing of space, for example, can be a husband wanting his wife to be there while he's doing a home improvement project. (p.231)
2. The female style is to talk through improving the relationship, while the male style is to do something to improve the relationship. Certain husbands said that staying late at work is viewed by them as showing his wife how much he loves her. Then he is surprised by her reaction when he gets home of 'What have you done for me today?' (p.232-233) [This is a huge issue in Silicon Valley.
3. There is a lot of research to support that women are raised for face-to-face interactions and that's what many women experience as intimacy; and that men's intimacy is side-by-side, playing or watching sports together, working on a project or hiking together. Chethik goes on to say that for many men, eye-to-eye contact is considered aggressive and perhaps even a challenge. Husbands reported that they like to go for a walk with their spouse, so they are side-by-side. (p.233-234)
Chetnik said many husbands feel to blame for what is wrong in their marriages, and that may be based on the bar being set at the female style of loving.
I will note, that I tell clients they are both responsible, and both must work to heal the relationship. I'm not interested in blame . . .
Anyway, back to the tidbits that caught my attention (all a verbatim from the book):
- A husband's relationship with his wife remains the most important aspect of his life. (p.2)
- . . . most husbands are keenly aware of, if at times utterly perplexed by and chagrined about, the state of their unions. (p.2)
- They recognize that marriage takes work, and work pays off. (p.3)
- A man that knows with a month of meeting a woman that he wants to marry her is likely to be happier in the marriage than a man that takes longer to decide. (p.22)
- . . . Men and women in today's marriage market would be more successful if they focused 'less on finding the right mate than on being the right mate.' (p.25)
- The goal of having a soulmate is a good one, but it's a 'lifetime goal.' It's not a realistic goal in pursuit of a spouse. (p.25
- Michael Meade says marriage is the . . . promise to sacrifice their personal needs and desires to something greater than themselves. The struggle to follow through on that promise is the challenge of virtually every married man. (p.53)
- For many husbands, success at work remains the greatest, and clearest, measure of their worth . . . willing to work harder and longer . . . and fulfilling their 'duty' as a husband. (p.63)
- . . . the fact of being married, not the amount of time spent with their wives, that gives them a sense of security and satisfaction. (p.63)
- Regarding arguing: Many men said the best strategy for them was to give in to their wife's wishes. (p.68) [Therapist here: ?????!!!! Not usually a good long-term strategy for either spouse.
- One reason many women cite for not wanting sex with their husbands is that men are not adept at arousing and satisfying them. And on this point, men tend to agree. (p.136)
- Terrance Real, a marriage counselor told Chethik . . . Men can be most effective in expressing anger with their wives by using words . . . e.g., "I'm angry because" and that yelling is a boundary violation. (p.180)
- On repairing after an argument: One husband says 'I apologize, ask her how she's doing, and tell her I love her. It doesn't matter who is right or wrong. You have to reach.' (p. 182)
I think this is a book worth, the read, Couple's Net says, Check it out!