Sometimes I read marriage books because it’s part of my job. Other times I read them to help provide recommendations for premarried and married couples. But my favorite times are when I read marriage books because I need to get my butt kicked and grow in my own marriage. The Dude’s Guide to Marriage: Ten Skills Every Husband Must Develop to Love His Wife Well by Darrin Patrick accomplishes all three of the above. I am so glad I read this book. Patrick helped me learn more about marriage, I have a great book to recommend to couples, and I have grown in my own marriage as a result of reading this book.
The Problem and The Premise:
Men (Dudes) tend to be much more neglectful of their marriages than their wives (per Paul Tripp in the book’s forward and by my own observation in 10 years of marriage ministry and 14+ years of my own marriage).
Patrick wrote this book for guys who want to grow, and does so by providing concrete steps to become better men and husbands. Specifically, he addresses 10 skills every husband must develop. I will not list out all 10 below (because I think you should read the book), but will highlight a few of them.
- I read a lot of marriage books and many of them say the same things. Patrick addresses a few topics I never read before in marriage books, including chapters on worship, rest and mutual submission.
- He spends a full chapter on the husband’s need to “grow” in marriage. He addresses the husband’s need to grow intellectually (i.e. reading), socially (friendships), emotionally (heart), and spiritually.
- I love the way he challenges men to lead and provide for his family. He challenges the often-passive man to take the intiative to lead well.
- The discussion questions at the end of each chapter are very solid. It’s not easy to write good questions for a book, and Patrick nails it with each chapter.
- His wife Amie contributes throughout the book by writing from her perspective. She definitely adds a different voice throughout the book.
- He is authentic and practical. When you finish this book you have no excuse to not know what to do.
- Excellent chapter on how the husband is to pursue his wife. He is to initiate and pursue his wife physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- He ends the book with the right chapter: worship. If a Dude is going to love his wife well, then he needs to start with worshipping God, not his wife, his job, his family or anything else.
A few critiques:
Three very brief/minor critiques to help round out the review.
- He often quotes from another one of his books, The Dude’s Guide to Manhood. Understandably there is a lot of overlap between manhood and marriage. I have not read his manhood book and would probably guess I don’t need to read it since I was exposed to so much of it through the marriage book. A minor flaw in the big picture.
- A few times he tends to speak in gender stereotypes: men are like this, women are like that, etc… I tend to be hypersensitive to gender stereotypes, simply because we break a lot of them in our marriage.
- He talks a whole lot about going to a counselor and even devotes part of the appendix to counseling. I have zero issues with biblical counselors and have benefitted immensely over the years from my time with a Christian counselor. But, I think sometimes in the church we are too quick to run to a counselor instead of leaning on community in the church. Patrick is clearly pro-community, but I certainly hope the reader relies on God’s plan A of community before he runs away from community and the church towards a counselor.
Who is this book for?
Married men, single men who want to get married some day and definitely for engaged men. I also think a women could benefit from this book. Although written to men about men, a woman would benefit by walking away with a better understanding the role of the godly husband. I have already suggested this book to several premarried guys and will continue to recommend for all couples. For an additional resource from Patrick, check out his interview on the 5 Leadership Questions podcast with Todd Adkins and Barnabas Piper.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255; “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”