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Good Husband, Great Marriage: Finding the Good the Man You Married Paperback – Bargain Price, March 1, 2007

36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Alter is a psychotherapist who has specialized in the treatment of couples for over 22 years. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446695254
  • ASIN: B0041T4PZ2
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,044,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on June 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is ideal for women who wish their husbands would treat them with a little more kindness and respect, but who feel too intimidated to insist on it.

After reading it, I did four things.

(1) I told my husband that I no longer though of him as "imperfect," but instead as being "90% perfect". I said he's not an abuser, adulterer, or an addict; he works hard for the family; he loves us; he would die for us; he has tremendous integrity; etc. He really appreciated hearing this from me, instead of just another bitter round of tears and "I'm so unhappy."

(2) I told him I was committed to focusing on that remaining 10%--to building a 100% great marriage.

(3) I stopped blaming myself for his behavior and started insisting on kind, respectful treatment from him at all times--not in an angry way, but in a patient, compassionate (but always persistent) way. Any time he said something casually disrespectful, I would calmly say, "I need an apology, or else we need to talk about this."

(4) For the first time in 20 years of marriage, I started using the word "man" when referring to my husband. I have always, "You are a great husband, you are a great father, you are a great guy," etc., but I am amazed at how gratifying it is to my husband when I say "You are such a good man."

Since reading the book a year ago, I have been constantly (or so it felt to me) insisting on apologies and changes in my husband's behavior. Occasionally I would hesitate before speaking up, thinking, "Can he deal with yet another of my demands for change?" But then recently, my husband amazed me by remarking, "I think the reason our marriage is so much better is because ever since you read that book, you have finally started to appreciate me." Wow!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By irmavep on April 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you are trying to salvage, jump start or just plain survive a relationship in which the man you so profoundly love and simultaneously want to beat stupid has all but driven you out of your gourd, you need to buy this book. If you're anywhere near that place I was when I stumbled across this text, you need to stop thinking you're crazy and start getting some perspective, and there's a really good chance this book can help. I would, however, think long and hard before giving it to your husband for his birthday, despite what the author advocates.

I had a profound urge to thank the powers that be for dropping this book into my hands as soon as I read it, but I am frankly not surprised by all of the venom coming from the reviewers who gave this book one star or less. Written by a man as a wake up call to men whose relationships are failing, this book contains a perspective that is not apt to reach an accepting audience, and as you can tell from the distribution of opinions, you're either going to immediately love this book or hate it ... really hate it. The middle ground is pretty arid.

One of the primary messages of the book is that most men are not cultured to do relationships very well, if at all, and hence, their loved ones and their relationships tend to suffer. It's the author's appeal to men that they realize that they may come to their relationships well intentioned but with a fundamental challenge and that they need to own up to the problem if they value their unions.

I've tried to think of all the other, more delicate ways that the author could have framed his message, and I ultimately have to side with him on most counts. Overall, the author's message may seem pretty heavy handed, but let's face it, it's a tough audience and this is a tough message.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. McCann on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert Alter explains to men exactly what I (and so many of my female friends) have been trying to express to each other and our therapists but haven't known how or been able to explain to the men we adore and who don't seem to know we exist half the time.

I told my husband I wanted him to read the book, and because it CAN be offputting to men, I included as a bookmark a love letter telling him how much I love him and want him to be happy. I also added post-it notes throughout the book telling him where he does a great job in our relationship and where we need improvement, and I threw in a lot of "I love you" post-its just to remind him that this is not about him being BAD or WRONG. In a lot of ways it is about me being so focused on making him happy that it never occurred to me to demand that he be as committed to my happiness and comfort as I was to his.

I think that is what Alter means when he says, "It's (mostly) his fault." Women tend in general to be good at relationships, at communicating, at being aware of other people's needs and feelings and at giving their loved ones what they need. We read books about relationships and try to change ourselves to be better wives and lovers. In general. Whereas men, in general, tend to feel that they are entitled to whatever comfort or luxury they want at any given moment. My husband, and I love him to bits and think he's wonderful, is happy as long as I am always available to him when he wants me and the rest of the time, he shows no sign of being aware that I am in the same room with him.

It's true, as one reviewer remarked, that there are women out there--and I have met and loathed a number of them--who act like the worst male examples in Alter's book and then some.
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