During university, I usually hung out with a group of girlfriends in the cafeteria between my classes. Sometimes, various guys we knew (including my husband) would join us, teasing us or looking for study notes for classes. One of these was Don, a married man in his thirties who was taking the church leadership course. Often, my girlfriends and I approached him with guy questions because it was safe to ask him—he was older and married, so he could give us good, practical advice about the opposite sex without thinking we might be interested in him.
Sometimes, married women need a man like Don to help them understand the man in their life. Rick Johnson is that sort of man. In his book How to Talk So Your Husband Will Listen: And Listen So Your Husband Will Talk, he shoots straight about what goes on in a man’s head—and how a woman can positively influence her man to be the best he can be.
Johnson uses the analogy of a horse whisperer to show how a woman can positively influence her man. A horse trainer gives orders and demands obedience; a horse whisperer “gets a PhD in the animal, studies the animal, and communicates in the animal’s language rather than trying to get the animal to become more like a person.” Throughout the book, Johnson returns to this idea of understanding rather than controlling. He shares from personal experience how his own wife had a positive impact upon him and helped him to make positive changes in his life just by her respect, understanding, and belief in him.
Johnson discusses how our culture has very few good role models for men. Movies and the media glorify violence and sexual gratification and make light of divorce and addictions. With a culture like that, he asks, “Is it any wonder we are creating young men with a skewed perspective of what behaviors constitute healthy, authentic masculinity, and young women who can’t spot a good man among all the posers?” He spends the next two chapters discussing Nine Qualities of Good Men and Nine Traits That Hold Him Back. While Johnson says these chapters are for married women, I thought they would be more appropriate for young women still looking for a good man.
Johnson gives wives concrete tips for communicating with their husbands, explaining the differences between the way men and women think (and talk) and how we can overcome those differences. In some places, I felt like he generalized things too much. For example, he assumes that women have superior verbal skills than men, but I’d say that isn’t true of my husband and I. Johnson talks about respecting and validating your man, believing in him and forgiving him—and gives some tips on communication strategies that won’t work with your man.
Overall, Johnson provides wives with practical, humble advice for positively influencing their husbands. Just as Don gave my friends and I straight answers to our guy questions, Johnson will give you straight answers about your man—and how you can have the relationship you’ve always wanted.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Very insightful Bonnie. Those two chapters were actually written for my unmarried daughter. 🙂 Thanks for the nice review.