Book Reviews

Book Review: The Complete Husband, Revised and Expanded (Lou Priolo)

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book review the complete husband revised and expanded lou priolo

“I wish she came with a manual.” The title of Priolo’s first chapter is also the thought of every husband. What does she mean when she says this? What does she expect? Doesn’t she see how hard I’m working? I’ve done enough. It’s her turn to do something.

Priolo wants to guide husbands from fear and selfishness to love. Fear is more concerned with what you might lose than what you can give. Selfishness is more concerned with what you can get than what you can give. Love is more concerned with what you can give than what you can get (23). Just as AIDS blinds your body’s autoimmune system from seeing and attacking any illnesses, so “pride blinds you not only to itself, but to every other sin tucked away in the recesses of your heart and life” (24). You must know that God has provided all the wisdom you need in his word, through counselors, and through books (like this one) to change and obey God, and all the grace you will need (and you will need it) to learn who your wife is for the rest of your life.

I need to figure my wife out for the rest of my life? Yes. Priolo writes, “Revelation is a prerequisite for any relationship. The more you reveal yourself to your wife, and the more you can encourage your wife to reveal herself to you (by asking the right questions and creating an environment around her that she knows is safe, i.e., one that is free from judgmental attitudes, ridicule, and harshness), the greater the intimacy you will achieve” (36).

He then lists eleven questions you can ask your wife to get to know her better. These aren’t questions like “What’s your favorite color” or “Which soda do you like best.” They are questions revolving around your actions: what could be changed about you to make you more Christlike (and thus, more pleasing to be around); what are some annoying mannerisms; how do you feel when I do or say XYZ; what are some of your personal goals and how can I help; etc. Besides giving you the questions, he explains why they are important. (He lists them all again at the end of the chapter.)

Priolo gives you  “a crash course in biblical communication.” Men aren’t always the best communicators. Some are of the opinion that because they said I love you at the altar, why do they have to keep repeating it? Other don’t say much, causing the wife to have to assume what they’re thinking. Other are often angry or bitter. Others communicate with non-verbal passive-aggression or sarcasm. Priolo wants to get to the heart of the matter. What does your wife say that angers you, and why does it make you angry? Do you use sweeping generalizations like “you always” or “you never”? Do you blame shift (“Well if she would only do ABC…”)?

Priolo provides questions a biblical communication inventory where both you and your wife can rate how you respond to your wife. If marriage is for life, and if she is your sweetie, then you need to look at yourself and consider your actions and responses to her. Marriage is between two sinners, but it doesn’t need to be unnecessarily difficult. You are not perfect. Should your wife have a similar book? Perhaps, but you are the leader of the home. As you read this book and learn how to ask her good questions about herself and about yourself, you are setting an example on how to care for your spouse. She will see it, appreciate it, and do likewise.

Despite the popular advice that to love others you must first learn how to “love yourself,” Priolo shows how that flies in the face of the Bible’s teaching. It’s actually rooted in pure selfishness. He lists evidences that a husband has grown bitter towards his wife and asks you to see if you can identify any of them in your own marriage (123). He later provides a list of what you want from you wife that, when she doesn’t respond accordingly, you become upset (131-33). Once you’ve figured out your hot buttons, Priolo says you “must work on dethroning your idols” (133).

One cannot cover all the personality types of either men or women. Some men and women may think they are falsely represented in this book. Perhaps your wife wouldn’t storm out of a room crying because of how cheap you are. Perhaps she isn’t the big spender, but you are. All Men and women are different, and there are millions of combinations when Man X is put with Woman Y. Take Priolo’s principles and apply them to your specific situation.

Recommended?

I highly recommend this book. Priolo gives tips on what do do when conflicts arise, how to think about sex, how to “wash” your wife with God’s word, how to protect your wife from danger (not just physical danger), how to serve your wife well, and plenty more. This is a thick book with a lot to chew on, including 10 appendices such as common ways husbands sin against their wives, things to say to diffuse an argument with your wife, ways to show love to your wife, and how to gently instruct her. No man is perfect, and all can learn more on how to be gently and loving toward their sweethearts. You might not be a reader, but if you read this book (you can do it slowly) and humbly apply Priolo’s teachings, your marriage will grow. You will be a better husband and father because of it.

Lagniappe

Buy it on Amazon or P & R Publishing!

Disclosure: I received this book free from P & R Publishing. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html.

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