According to market research, men rarely buy into self-help books. It is likely that mostly women have purchased our book so far (and we’re super excited they did!) but I want to make sure the dudes know that they may actually ENJOY the book that Kim and I co-wrote. Let me give you a theory why, based solely on my own feelings and opinions.
A while back, I saw a self-improvement book about relationships on my wife’s bedside table and she asked me if I would read it. My immediate out-loud reaction was “I’m good, I kind of like to decompress a bit and read something a little more escapist, like sci-fi.” But in my head, a totally different reaction was happening. I was terrified.
I saw that book she was reading, and my mind raced: “I THOUGHT WE WERE HAPPY. WHY IS SHE READING THIS? SHE IS NOT HAPPY WITH YOU. SHE IS NOT HAPPY WITH THIS MARRIAGE. I HAVE FAILED.”
Going All Out
So, how in the hell did I get from Kim reading a book to me thinking that I have failed at marriage?
First, I have a deep-down feeling, a voice that says “I am the head of the household, I must be the strongest. I must be a rock for them. I must not show weakness.” (It’s stereotypical, yes. But it’s how I feel.)
Second, I have a substantial amount of pride when it comes to my marriage. Like work or when I’m playing sports. I have one goal and one goal only: I want to be CRUSHING IT. I want to be the best at it, and in those endeavors, I do everything I can to ensure that I am the best at it. In every other area of my life, I would go to job seminars, take classes in editing and writing, and spend extra hours on projects to make sure they aren’t just good, they are great. I would take tennis lessons, practice my golf swing, and do garage workouts 3x a week to keep up my cardio strength.
But here’s the revelation I had about three years ago… why, in the name of all that is holy, don’t I work just as hard on my marriage? Or, at the very least, why don’t I provide some basic maintenance on my marriage to make sure it doesn’t go to crap?
Doing The Work
After that revelation, I agreed to go to counseling with Kim so we could communicate better. After one hour with Christopher (our counselor who helped us write this book) I wasn’t sad, my pride wasn’t hurt, and I didn’t want to run for the hills. I wanted MORE. I didn’t feel like I was being blamed for anything. Actually, I felt heard. And I heard her. It was exhilarating and inspirational… and even romantic.
I want to yell on the top of a mountain: “HEY GUYS! IT’S NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK IT IS! GIVE IT A TRY, YOU WILL LOVE IT!” But I don’t know if that would work on dudes. Instead, I settled on this from the first few pages of the book. It’s a car metaphor. I feel like it’s a good way to describe why I think you’ll like the book:
You know how when you get a new car, it’s perfect? It looks good. It smells good. It makes you feel good about yourself. But after a bit of use, even the best car starts having issues, and you need to take it in for little maintenance—an oil change, brake pad replacements, new tires. Maybe the A/C is making a weird noise like there’s a dead rat stuck in there. It’s still a great car; it just needs care to keep it from exploding into a glorious fireball.
When we notice something going wrong with a car, we take it in to the shop. We drink terrible coffee and wait in a filthy room for two hours, because that’s what it takes to fix whatever is wrong. We do the work because we know that ignoring a problem could lead to bigger troubles down the road. Our question for you is—why don’t we do that kind of maintenance on our marriages? Surely our marriages are as important as our cars, aren’t they?
Not one single marriage in the history of marriages has run perfectly all the time. We have fights, but we just keep driving down the road. Philosophical differences grow over time, but we figure out ways to avoid them, and we just keep driving down the road. Intimacy issues crack open, but we keep driving down the road. As long as things don’t break down completely, we keep driving down the road.
Is it our pride that makes us terrified to admit our marriage needs a tune-up? Are we afraid that when we take it in, someone will open up the hood and say, “Oh, man, you have a lot more problems than you thought! That’ll be $4,264”?
So guys, if we can all put our pride aside for a few hundred pages, I feel like we can all learn a lot – not only about our partners, but ourselves. I should note, the way we wrote this book, it’s funny in parts, and it’s nerdy in parts. It’s not all feelings. There is science, there is math and statistics, and there are tarantulas and bras and wiping your butt with paper towels in an emergency. We really cover it all.
If you buy the book (or even take it off your partner’s bedside table) thank you in advance. I really, sincerely hope you enjoy it and you get a lot from it.