Fans of Rick Johnson, founder of Better Dads Ministries, will be familiar with his no-nonsense style, which is equally warm and filled with comical asides from real life. Johnson knows how to write for women, and he has proven he knows how to write for men. But writing a text that gets the attention of both sexes in equal measure (and sustains that attention) is tricky at best. Yet both married men and women will pay attention to his newest work, and everyone will be gaining insights and plenty of “ah-ha” moments.
Johnson opens this manual with the frank admission that marriage is tough. End of story. As he writes, “Anyone who says it isn’t is either a liar or a fool.” Johnson notes that, even after 28 years of marriage, trying to understand and satisfy his wife’s needs is still a daunting challenge to him --- and she must feel the same way about him. He continues to lay the foundation for this text by underscoring the facts. Men and women are unique individuals with frequently opposing personalities and habits. And yet it is because of these marked differences that, when viewed rightly, they can become tremendous sources of strength, balance and the foundation for a strong team mentality.
First off, Johnson tackles the perspective of marriage from “Men’s Modes,” which includes seven specific areas that define men and the way they view life and relationships. Number one is the amorous side of man, followed by his work, play, sustenance, protector, connection with God, and guy time. In each of these chapters, he does a thorough job of explaining how guys look at each compartment of their life. Johnson then offers readers things to consider and think about and bolds the heading “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” facts about how God created men (so women will see and understand that this is how men are made to function). Closing out each chapter is another bolded text, “Get Inside His Head,” which contains more plain-spoken truths about the way men think and suggestions for offering “words that heal” as opposed to “words that hurt.”
Section two is entitled “Women’s Moods,” and Johnson again offers seven specific areas of interest that define women and the way they view life and relationships. Included here is the woman’s take on romance, nesting, playfulness, nurturing, cycles, spiritual and girlfriends. Presented in the same format as “Men’s Modes,” Johnson does an excellent job accurately defining women’s internal needs and decoding such in a way that men will appreciate and understand.
Wrapping up this work with an enthusiastic “can-do” with Christ attitude, married couples (and singles) will find great value and wise counsel on learning to accept, embrace and delight in the differences between men and women.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on January 1, 2010