I’ve been rather shy of putting thoughts to paper (or keyboard) of late for various reasons, so it had to take something epic to get me to put up a post. I bought Athol’s book as an ebook version a long time ago (it’s 2012!) but… epic is one word for this book!
Athol has a wonderful writing style. It’s a man-to-man down-to-earth conversation, with a playful acknowledgment that the ladies may be listening in. He goes through complicated topics with a simple, easy to understand fashion. He somehow parsed a lot of knowledge into a digestible format that can be read in practically one night. He’s also pretty entertaining, with certain turns of phrase actually making me laugh out loud.
Whilst the ultimate goal of the book is attaining a better sex life, it may be misleading to think it just talks about sex. This is not a sex manual, or well, solely that. Athol touches on every aspect of a modern marriage and what that means (division of labour, legalities, etc), because the happiness, communication and relationship dynamic between a couple is what ultimately leads to happiness within the sack.
The flow and structure in this book is pretty great for a self-published work. Any errors are pretty minor, unnoticeable and infrequent (by some sleigh-of-hand!). I feel that too great alteration to Athol’s style would actually take away from the charm of it. I might rethink the title slightly, though the advantage is it makes clear links to the blog of the same name. Whilst most of Athol’s book was very strong, I felt his thoughts on dating outside courting the wife/long-term partner were weaker, though the concepts elucidated there were important to courtship within marriage. I wonder what a 2012 revision would hold, and if there really is anything else to add to this book. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with, with reservations. Extra information might make the book much too long, or dilute its main points!
Some of the material is actually drawn from the blog and available for free, but the book is the thing to give it a narrative, holistic and coherent structure. You can come away from the book with a clear action plan (the Marriage Action Plan!) and immediately start making simple improvements.
Athol’s a pretty convincing man. One reason for that is his ensuring that he thoroughly but concisely explains the basis for his approach to marriage, repeating key concepts in a non-redundant but relevant way. He comes across as a moderate pragmatist and an everyday, approachable man who’s easy to relate to. Another reason however is his obvious love and affection for Jennifer, his wife.
I mean the moment I finished reading this book, I just wanted to give it to every man I know thinking of embarking on a serious relationship. And perhaps their women. Or even not thinking of it, but could think of it. Heck, I want to put it on the national school curriculum. Married Man Sex Life instead of utterly ridiculous Romeo & Juliet! Seriously. I’m usually highly critical of any kind of self-help book, and any claims it makes. However, this book is definitely one of those life changers and the most important book for anyone’s long-term relationship life. For $9.99 as a pdf, that’s a bargain!