A Note of Caution Regarding Relationship How-to Books

In the short time that my husband and I dated and have now been married, I've read my fair share of relationship books. And many of them have been helpful and I'd recommend to others. (You can see some of those favorites here.)

But very quickly I learned something very important about these kinds of books: They're not always right.

For example, I was reading one book that cautioned wives about empathizing with their husbands. You have to be careful, the author said, not to "baby" your husband when he's upset or saddened by something. Instead, you ought to give him a good pep talk, tell him "You can do it!" and encourage him to suck it up and move along.

When I read that, I was disappointed because one of the things I love about being a wife is being there for my husband when he needs it. 

That night when he came to bed, I asked him (in a most unbiased effort), "When you're upset, which would you rather me do?" and I read the two options to him. He told me that (much to my relief) he'd prefer the first.

And so I've learned that though these books might offer good guidelines, if there's something I question, it's best for me to share it with my husband first before overhauling my whole approach to our relationship. Just because it worked for the author doesn't mean it'll work for us; every person and every relationship is different in its needs.

So as I try to uncover what it is that my husband needs from our relationship, what kind of wife I can aim to be, these kinds of conversations have helped us continue discussing our marriage, be wary of sweeping assumptions, and discover what works for us--and (as the case may be) what doesn't.

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photo by sarahxic 

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