Behind Every Good Man (Paperback)
“Behind every good man is a good woman,” the old saying goes. How can a wife help her husband grow and progress and be a priesthood leader in the home without criticizing, nagging, or making him feel like he’s not measuring up?
As a result of some wide reading, pondering, and research, John Bytheway attempts to answer that question in this book. With his trademark humor and unique insights, the author shares experiences from his own marriage, practical counsel from several marriage experts, and inspired statements from Church leaders.
Simple tools such as “praising betimes with sharpness” and “making requests with an exit strategy” will bless marriages and help husbands and wives fulfill their roles as they try to lead their families in the latter days.
- Pages: 96
- Published: 2009
- Size: 5" x 7"
About the Author
John Bytheway is an instructor at the Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center. He served his mission in the Philippines and earned a master’s degree in Religious Education at BYU. He has published dozens of books and audio programs and lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Kimberly, and their six children.
Men Are Simple Creatures
As I type those words, I can almost hear a female chorus respond, “You can say that again.”
As a husband of thirteen years, I think I can speak for many men when I say that what I really want from my wife is simply to be respected and admired. Personally, I crave that.
The famous actress Katharine Hepburn once said, “If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.”23 That’s a humorous statement with a sad aftertaste. Is that what marriage is? Trading the admiration you received from many people, when you were single, for the criticism of the one person you chose to spend eternity with? Yuck! What kind of arrangement is that? Why would anyone want that? For eternity?!
If home is just a place where you are constantly reminded of your shortcomings, why would you want to be there? You might be tempted to work late if you knew that when you got home you were just going to get hit with a list of all the things you hadn’t done and all the ways you were inadequate.
Although most men would not admit it or talk too much about it, the respect and admiration they desire are under continual attack—sometimes by themselves!
Most husbands are under constant economic pressure to support a wife and children. . . . Such husbands are faced not only with the daily realities of being able to provide food, clothing, and housing for their families, but with the knowledge that in a society in which many are reasonably well off, they are not.
A man’s self-image in our society is deeply affected by his ability to provide for his family. Many times, the self-image is not too positive.25
One morning, I had an early appointment to keep, and I had to get up when it was still dark outside. As I walked into the bathroom, I noticed that my wife had taped a note to the shower door. It wasn’t a “be sure to . . .” or a “don’t forget, you promised to . . .” note. It was short, simple, and amazingly powerful: “I just hope you know how much I love you and how much I appreciate these heroic lengths you go to to provide for us.” The impact of those few words was immediate. I felt appreciated, I felt respected, and I felt admired. I also felt motivated to work even harder to make myself the man of my wife’s dreams.
My wife knows my faults. She knows my shortcomings. She could have reminded me to work on any one of them that morning. But I left the house feeling like the luckiest man alive because I have a wife who admires me. (She even used the word heroic—did you notice that?) And rather than dreading coming home at the end of the day to face a tired, frustrated-with-all-the-kids wife, I couldn’t wait for my hero’s welcome.
Roy, a caller to the Dr. Laura radio program, commented:
If you can’t accentuate the positive, at least acknowledge it. The world is full of messages to men that there are standards we don’t meet. There is always another man who is more handsome, more virile, or more athletic than we are. None of that matters if the most important person in our life looks up to us, accepts us as we are, and loves us even though we aren’t perfect.
Maybe there is a part of the small boy that never leaves the grown man, I don’t know. All I know is that the husband who has a wife who supports him and praises him for the positive things he does is the envy of all the other men who have to live with criticism, sarcasm, and constant reminders of their failures.26
If it’s really true that men simply want to be admired, and I believe it is, then we have another key to blessing your marriage. If every wife, before engaging in a conversation or making a request of her spouse, could ask herself, “How will this help my husband feel respected and admired?” and then adjust her approach appropriately, it could have a huge impact on the health of the relationship.
Now, here’s the kiss of death: One father, in a sincere effort to help out his wife, dressed the children and got them ready for church. He didn’t do the girls’ hair perfectly or match their clothes just right, and he later learned that the Relief Society had been told, “My husband dressed the kids today, and do you know what he did?” Question—would this make him feel respected and admired? Or did he feel like a laughingstock? Perhaps some husbands could laugh such a thing off, but this one didn’t. Would he ever want to risk helping out again? Probably not.
Once again, men are simple creatures. Like all of us, they just want their efforts to be respected and admired, even if they don’t do things perfectly.
This book gave me some really practical ideas
by Customer - reviewed on March 31, 2009
A lot of insight into the way men think and how to help encourage and build them.
So worth your time!!
by David - reviewed on April 05, 2009
I was looking for a good book on men, written from a man's perspective so I was pleasantly surprised to see this new book by John Bytheway. This was so well written, fun to read and so very practical. Brother Bytheway really sends the message home on the most important things to remember about men and your marriage. I loved the gospel perspective mixed in with general information and understanding. A must read for all women.
Such a great read!
by Customer - reviewed on April 20, 2009
I was so excited to see this book from John Bytheway, he was always a favorite of mine growing up as a youth. So when I saw this book I had to have it. It was exactly what I was looking for and I have already implemented the ideas (and they are already making a difference in my marriage). The message is so simple and doable. It has really changed my outlook, which is what I really needed.
by Cierra - reviewed on December 09, 2009
This book is not what I expected it to be… it is even better than I could ever imaged! The book has changed my perspective. I have read it twice now and each time I have, it has given me new incited on how to be the best wife I can be for my husband and how to properly lift him up to be the husband of my dreams.