While 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands may not be the first choice of many men when entering the local bookstore, it should be high on their list. Unlike some “other” marriage books, this one isn’t shame-based telling you why your wife is a saint and why every problem in your marriage is your fault.
Jay Payleitner, author of 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, turns his attention to marriage this time around in what sounds like a huge book, but is actually a very easy read. Each chapter is another “thing” for guys to know from a guy who has learned from experience. He’s made the mistakes, so that you don’t have to.
Payleitner says, “You’re the expert. Nobody knows your wife like you do. You’re the guy who can make her day or break her heart. The choice is yours.” As we all know, marriage isn’t easy but the key to a happy marriage is actually quite simple. This is Payleitner’s approach to this book as well. He calls it like he sees it. Short, simple lessons. Many chapters are only two pages long. With 52 chapters, you can work on one each week for a year if you’d like. Payleitner also has a good sense of humor, which can take the bite out of some of the more difficult lessons.
Some of the best “things” in this book include:
#4 To Buy Two Jars of Peanut Butter: “Do you really need to argue over crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter? Buy two jars.”
#7 To Be Sane on Valentine’s Day: “Don’t miss it. Don’t go overboard. Find a nice middle ground. And for heaven’s sake get all shopping and ordering out of the way a week before February 14.”
#25 To not be a Jerk in the Stands: “I’ve spent thousands of hours in bleachers, lawn chairs, and leaning against fences. And I can’t bear to think how many of those hours members of my own family have been regretting that I was there. How stupid am I?”
#28 To Do More than Nod and Smile: “But more than half the time, you really have no idea how to respond. What are your choices? “Yes.” “No.” “Let me think about it.” Or tap dance.”
Perhaps my favorite chapter was #29 – “To Stir Her Pots” where Payleitner tells about a time when he would walk in the kitchen and stir whatever was on the stove. For some reason, this irritated his wife, but instead of stopping this behavior, he just kept doing it. Eventually, the annoying habit became an endearment to his wife. The lesson? All of us have our quirks and just as we need to accept our wives as they are. They too need to accept us.
Payleitner doesn’t get too hung up on the traditional roles of husbands and wives. Instead, he focuses more on to be more like Adam and Eve – helping couples learn to be each other’s helpmate.