Discerning Reader Editorial Review
Reviewed 02/05/2008 by Leslie Wiggins.
Recommended. A book that any woman will be able to appreciate.
Initially, I picked up this book because the cover caught my eye: a young woman screaming through a megaphone into the ear of her handsome, but befuddled, husband. “This is probably another one of those men-are-idiots and women-are-geniuses books. I’ll do the world a favor and write a review,” I thought. This turned out to be a lesson in not judging a book by its cover.
Nancy Cobb and Connie Grigsby have coauthored several books for wives, including The Politically Incorrect Wife and How to Get Your Husband to Talk to You. Both women testify to the power of God in their lives as they decided, relatively late in life, to do things His way. Nancy Cobb is the director of women’s ministries for Christ Community Church in Omaha, NE. She and Connie Grigsby have taught “The Wife Class” for ten years. They are popular speakers and frequent radio and television guests of shows such as Revive Our Hearts and Life Today. They also host a weekly radio program called Lifewalk which airs every week on KGBI, an Omaha Christian radio station. Though they say they are still learning, Cobb and Grigsby bring seventy-five years of marriage experience to the table. One of their goals is to help wives understand how men communicate so that women feel more fulfilled and less frustrated in their marriages.
Cobb and Grigsby organized this book into four parts: “Why Is This So Hard?,” “How You Shoot Yourself in the Foot,” “Opening His Heart Opens His Ears,” and, “Aha! Moments.”
In the first section, Cobb and Grigsby discuss the most common expectations husbands and wives have that can eventually cause problems in any marriage. Women want and expect men to listen and respond to them just like their best friends do, but as we all know, men do not respond that way. Why? Men and women are different. “We may be tempted to ask, ‘Why can’t a man be more like a woman?’ There is a simple answer: men don’t want to be more like women. They’re born male, and they’re hard-wired to grow into men. Such behavior would be completely unnatural and foreign to them.”
Without slowing the book with scientific jargon, the authors share recent research on the differences between the brains of men and women. The good news is that our differences are not obstacles to overcome, but God-given characteristics we need to seek to understand and accept. Our differences make communication more difficult, but they ought not drive a wedge between husband and wife.
Cobb and Grigsby also share how they came to realize that their unhealthy communication habits made their husbands want to tune them out. They gently address a wife’s tendencies toward nagging, jumping to conclusions, and overthinking, to name a few. In addition, Cobb and Grigsby emphasize positive habits wives can develop to help untangle the lines of communication.
The third section includes admonitions from Scripture regarding how wives are to treat their husbands. Encouraging reminders to be respectful, to speak kindly, to give special honor to husbands, and to overlook minor offenses abound. Cobb and Grigsby do not exegete passages nor do they build arguments with one point on top of another. Instead, they gently remind us that the scriptures do hold specific words to wives that we would do well to obey. They offer more of a “That’s the way it is” explanation. This may turn many female readers away, but I rather enjoyed it and found it refreshingly short and to-the-point.
I enjoyed reading this book for several reasons. First, their writing is succinct; not a word is wasted. Trimmed of any extraneous information, it is as if Cobb and Grigsby are demonstrating for the female readers how to communicate like a man. Each chapter ends with the “Bottom Line.” If I had a dime for every time I heard my husband ask for that…
This book is fast-paced, easy to read, and humorous. They both share from the difficult periods of their own marriages and how God helped them change without becoming preachy. They emphasize how important it is that we wives accept the fact that we cannot change our husbands. Rather than daydreaming about trading in our husbands, Cobb and Grigsby say it is better to become “what God intended us to be within the marriage relationship. Trading our old habits for godly ones is always a good trade.”
Nancy, in particular, is profoundly grateful she traded her ungodly communication habits. She shares that the final week they were writing this book, she shared the gospel with her husband Ray. He became a Christian. She believes that had she not learned how to be straight with him, he may not have listened to her.
I asked my own husband about Cobb and Grigsby’s assertions regarding the male gender and how he communicates. I realize he is just one man, but he agreed with them. I found myself laughing aloud at several points just because they were so right in their understanding of how the man’s mind works. On the other hand, I found myself having to come to grips with the consequences of my own sinful ways of communicating and misunderstanding my husband if I refuse to repent.
Without a doubt, the reader should not judge this book by its cover. I expected a book describing men as Neanderthals and how to best manipulate them. Instead, I met two wives who have been where I am and who want to share how God helped them change their unhealthy communication habits. I think any woman, married or engaged to be married, would appreciate this book.