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Monday, February 9, 2009

Review: The Husband Project by Kathi Lipp (Excerpt Included)

Whether or not you have a wonderful relationship with your husband, I encourage you to be a part of my journey over the next month or so (yes, things can happen, and it may take me longer than the planned 21 days!) at The Husband Project ~ A Wife's Journey.

Feel free to:

1. Stop by and give me some constructive feedback on how you think I'm doing
2. Help me come up with some more great activities to show my husband that I love and honor him
3. JOIN ME in this journey - what do you have to lose? Nothing! What do you have to gain? Everything!

Title:The Husband Project: 21 Days of Loving Your Man, On Purpose and With a Plan
Author: Kathi Lipp
Pages: 208
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)
Genre: Non-Fiction / Love & Marriage / Christian
Edition: Paperback - many thanks to the author for sending me a copy to review as part of the WildCard Tour!

Perfect for : Personal Use, Women's Bible Study Group, Women's Group

In a nutshell: Love it . . . NEED it! In hoping to pick up a book that would help me "fix" some things with my husband, I actually found that I needed to fix myself - starting with my perspective! After one day of reading the book, I found myself noticing things that I am grateful for, instead of focusing on the things that aren't quite right. I also realized that now that we have a toddler, I've moved my focus from my husband to our son, and it is time for me to learn to share that focus a little better so I'm not neglecting anyone. Sounds hard right? Nope - Kathi Lipp has written a wonderful book to help you show your husband that you love and appreciate him through little things you do over the course of 21 days (21 days builds a habit!). I highly recommend this book to anyone in a serious relationship - no matter how long you've been in it!

Extended Review: One thing I've learned over the past eight years of marriage - we will have our ups and downs, our days where we love each other unconditionally, and we also have some not-so-great moments where tempers flare and teeth grind. . . SO, when I heard about this great new book out called The Husband Project, I was instantly interested! Wow - sounds like the answer to my prayers. While it is not quite the project I was expecting, it is indeed something I need. I've become absorbed in daily things that get on my nerves and have stopped paying attention to the good things he is doing, and I certainly don't make the effort to show him that I appreciate him - so this book is perfect for me!

Kathi Lipp has created a project, that is meant to help you show your husband that you love and respect him, but shhhh - it's a secret. She carefully explains that you want to keep this project a secret so that expectations aren't changed (You've worked to set up a nice surprise, and if he knows you are working on the Husband Project, he may not see the surprise as anything special because he is expecting some grand gesture, so this is one of those times when it is good to keep a secret).

Content: The book has three main sections. The first goes into how to prepare for the Husband Project (why is it important, what is the purpose, what do you need to do ahead of time).

The second section covers the actual project - all three weeks are detailed with daily project suggestions which include good explanations, a daily prayer, ways to change the project, and actual feedback from people who have done that project.

The third section includes a few tools to use throughout the project. It has a great checklist/planner, two guides (guide to choosing lingerie, and some great recipes for guy food), and some information on how to contact the author.

Format: Each project is explained in detail, including why the project was chosen and what it is trying to accomplish. It is followed by a prayer for the day, some ways to be more creative with the project, and some comments from people who have already completed the project.

Readability: Very easy to read, understand and implement!

Overall: I highly recommend this book to anyone in a serious relationship, but especially for those whose relationship feels like it has hit a dull or rough patch. Give this book a chance to help change your perspective and put some fun (respect, love, laughter, etc) back into your relationship.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

The Husband Project

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)


Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking more than 45 times each year to thousands of women. Lipp is also a contributing author to two bestselling books: Humor for a Woman’s Heart 2 and Lists to Live By: The Christian Collection. She also has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, are the parents of four teenagers and live in California.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925228
ISBN-13: 978-0736925228


Why the Husband Project?

“Kathi, a couple of us need to quit the project.”

I couldn’t believe what Angela was saying. Quit the Husband Project? We’d just started that weekend.

“Ang, are you kidding me? Why do you want to quit already?” There was no way things could be going downhill so quickly.

“I was talking to some of the other girls, and because we’re being so nice, our husbands are becoming suspicious. They think we’re all having affairs!”

Apparently, there’s a bigger need for the Husband Project than even I could have expected.

The Beginning of the Husband Project

At my busy church in San Jose, California, I serve in a variety of roles. Some of the roles I have played have been on the programming team with my husband, Roger, who is the director of the Worship Arts Ministry, leading Bible studies and small groups and taking meals to people who are sick or having babies. But my favorite role by far is mentoring women.

The girls I mentor are smart, funny, and committed to serving God. They really are amazing. However, like most wives I know, they have a tendency to “share” about their husbands.

“He’s never home. I feel like I’m single – but with an extra person to clean up after.”

“Why is it when he’s watching our kids it’s babysitting?”

“We used to be romantic, but now our idea of romance is reading take-out menus together.”

The “sharing” started to concern me. I wasn’t judging these girls; trust me. I found myself slipping every once in a while – saying something “endearing” about my husband while rolling my eyes.

A Change in Perspective

I know the importance of loving and honoring my husband, and like every other lesson in my life, I learned it the hard way. (Why can’t I ever learn things while eating chocolates and shopping…?)

I married in my early twenties’ with two babies came along shortly after the marriage vows. In retrospect, I can see that as soon as discovered the wonders of a Diaper Genie, my concentration shifted from my husband to the day-to-day care of my kids. With a full-time job thrown in, the goal of making my husband feel special dropped way down on my priority list.

After a very painful marriage and divorce, I am now remarried to an amazing guy. When new friends meet him they say, “Oh, so this is Prince Charming!” He’s a great father and step dad, and loves me and his God and indulges my passion for fat-free coconut yogurt on a regular basis. I really couldn’t ask for a better guy.

And, yet, like a great pair of comfortable flip flops, he’s sometimes easy to take him for granted. He’s always there - not demanding anything of me. He can fix his own frozen pizza when I am too busy to cook and can even wash his own socks in a pinch. When work deadlines loom and kids have dozens of activities, I sometimes let my relationship with Rog fall to sixth or seventh on my “Hey, pay attention to me!” list.

Have you noticed our culture has a one-way expectation that men should give women what they “need” (sending flowers to work, doing his share of the dirty work around the house, being a great dad, remembering and celebrating anniversaries) without asking for anything in return? But, as we know, this fantasy man isn’t real a husband, it’s a character in a dime store romance novel.

The kind of marriage I want is one in which we’re both doing all we can to honor and love each other, putting each other’s needs above our own.

Philippians 2:3-4 says it best: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

I want this for both of us. The reality is, however, I only have control over my own actions.

Enter the Husband Project

I tried different ideas with some of my friends at church – a variety of “husband encouragement programs.” Most seemed like a lot of work and not much fun. You see, I have the attention span of a third-grader who’s just spent six straight hours on X-Box. So I needed something short, doable and exciting. We, as stressed-out and over-worked wives and moms, don’t need to feel burdened by another line on our to-do lists.

So I started thinking and praying about what would truly make my husband feel loved (and maybe even lucky to be married to me.) I made up a list and began practicing on Roger. Some of the ideas (buying him a gift card to his favorite restaurant and surprising him with an impromptu date) were big hits. Others (like opening mystery clues for an all day adventure) were, let’s say, less than successful.

After several flops (hey, I thought the guys at his work would think that his lunch sack covered in hearts was adorable…) I finally got desperate. I asked him, “Okay, what would make you feel loved?” (And yes, I felt pretty pathetic to be asking.) After showing him the list, he gave me thumbs up or down on several of the items. I now had a much clearer plan in place. No, cookies in the shapes of bunnies were not necessary. Homemade raw cookie dough, however, was a big thumbs up. Yes, I asked the questions. I have gone where women fear to tread. I am in possession of the knowledge of what men (or at least my man) like.

This is how The Husband Project was born.

The premise is simple:

You, and two other friends (your accountability partners) commit to bless your husbands everyday for three weeks, in secret.

That’s it. Pretty simple, granted. But not always easy.

No Cookie-Cutter Marriages

While working on the Projects, I talked with friends of all ages, in very different marital situations.

Some of my friends were in the oh-so-romantic stage of marriage. You’re just done in by how beautifully he shaves. As you pick up his clothes from the bedroom floor, you just can’t help but giggle at how adorable it is that he never puts anything away.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have girlfriends who cannot stand to be in the same room with their husbands while they’re breathing. The “inhale, exhale” is enough to make them want to take up residence at a nice studio apartment in town.

And then, there are the other 94% of us.

We’re the ones who love our husbands but have fallen into a comfortable routine. (Comfortable often meaning, you don’t bug me and I won’t bug you.) We’re partners in parenting and contributors to financial matters. We’ve negotiated the household chores (I’ll do the dishes if you keep the car from making funny noises,) and keep each other on schedule for the dentist and the occasional oil change.

We like our husbands, for the most part. And they like us, for the most part. While this is okay, it’s definitely not what we were anticipating as we planned our weddings and dreamed about our happily-ever-after lives.

I have to admit, I’m writing this book for me and my friends – the 94% who want better relationships with our men and are willing to be creative, thoughtful, and possibly daring enough to break out some lingerie to get it.

“But He Doesn’t Even Notice”

Some women who have tried the Projects for a few days wondered if it’s even worth it. After doing several of the Projects, they complained that their husbands have barely noticed.

So, if you’re wearing your cute jeans to meet your husband in the evenings, leaving bags of gummi bears for him in his car, and wearing shorter and shorter lingerie to bed each night without comment from your man, don’t be discouraged.

Working The Husband Project is a lot like working on your prayer life. For example, I recently committed to setting aside a chunk of time daily to pray. As I devote more time to prayer and meditation, I’m realizing that my requests are less about asking God to make things go my way, and more about asking God to change my heart to follow Him and His plans for me.

This project is as much about changing our attitudes as it is about blessing our husbands. It’s great to get positive reinforcement, and when you do, write it down so you can remember it and tailor the way that you show your love in the future.

But even when your husband says nothing, you have the knowledge that you have actively shown him love and support. That’s the true gift of The Husband Project.

If you still need some affirmation (and who doesn’t?) look for it in other healthy places. In my case I have a friend, Lynn, who sends me a small gift whenever I complete a goal for writing. Even if I don’t sell an article, I still have the hope of some great Snoopy stickers in the mail.

Ask your accountability partners to celebrate your successes with you. Perhaps, if each of you does your daily project for seven days, you give each other a $5 Starbucks card, or if you do all 21 days, you all spend an afternoon together at the spa. Be creative, as it says in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” A grande latte could be an excellent way to start.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!
Click below to read more great reviews!


Pam said...

Thanks so much for linking my posts to yours. I really appreciate and plan to add your link to mine.
I have been meaning to do this before, but have not been able to be on the computer often due to my daughter being ill for the past two months.
I can't wait to read your husband challenges!

Sunny said...

Hi Wendi! This was a great review! I always like reading your reviews.

I gave you an award over at my blog!

Ginger Tate said...

Great blog Wendi. I had so much fun with the challenge. I had 11 women who took the challenge. At first, I was disappointed it was not more. But, when I started posting pictures and things they wrote it took quite a bit of my time. However, I loved it! I've been married 37+ years and it was wonderful to help women who were struggling in their marriage. I've kept in contact with this women!

kalea_kane said...

Awesome review, Wendi! I wish you the best luck in today's project! I would love to check in with you on it. I did it, and girl, it was great. I realized clearly how wonderful my husband is and how fun it is making him feel as special as he is. :)

I am happy to start up again.

Have a wonderful day!


Shelly B said...

Wonderful review! I am having so much fun following your project. I love seeing the results like the I luv u in dominoes. Too cute!

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