Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel: How to be a husband your wife won’t throw out of the window in the middle of the night, by Peter Davidson (Sweet Memories Publishing, San Bernardino, CA, 2018, 137 pages).
Book Review by Dennis Moore
February 8, 2018 (San Diego) - Where was this book by Peter Davidson some 40 years ago, when I first got married, as I possibly could have avoided the angst and pitfalls so many encounter in marriage? Davidson gives whimsical and sage advice to all men contemplating marriage, and those hoping to maintain and survive it, in this thought provoking book; Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel.
Davidson dedicates this book to his grandson, Joel, and his wife, Abby, in honor of their marriage, by specifically stating: “Abby – you’re perfect as you are – don’t change a thing; Joel – you’re a guy, you can use all the advice and wisdom you can get.”
Peter Davidson is the author or co-author of twenty-nine books including fiction, non-fiction, college textbooks, and children’s books published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Perigee/Putnam Publishers, Sweet Memories Publishing, Haworth Press, and others. Davidson also writes songs and one of his songs was used in a television series in The Netherlands. For more than two decades, Peter Davidson was one of America’s most active writer’s seminar presenters, having presented over 650 one-day seminars in a 15-state area from Minnesota to Tennessee and Colorado to Illinois. Davidson has been a professional recording studio owner, college professor, real estate owner, and real estate salesman. Davidson trained more than 700 real estate agents, something he undoubtedly will have to answer for on Judgment Day. Davidson and his wife live in the Lake Okoboji resort area of Iowa in the summer and live in Arizona in the winter.
This warmhearted book is definitely movie material, one in which I can easily envision Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz (“There’s Something About Mary”) starring in. Throughout the book the author provides us with anecdotes and humor that keeps us from taking ourselves or the subject matter too seriously.
To borrow from Pastor Shane Idleman, Pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, who states: “Those who succeed in marriage, for example, are those who prepare for the ups and downs. In essence, they’re ready for the obstacles; they have a plan, yet remain flexible; they have expectations, but they also brace themselves for the unforeseen challenges ahead. In short, they are committed to the success of the marriage. Marriage never works out; you have to work it out.” By that definition, I have been a failure at marriage!
Davidson states in his book that when his grandson, Joel, got engaged, he decided to jot down a few words of marital wisdom for him, based on his vast experience as a husband. I could have used some of that same advice myself! Then, Davidson thought, why share this wisdom with only one person when he could share it with the whole world. So, he started a blog, listing new marital advice every week. As the popularity of the blog grew, people suggested that the material should be turned into a book and, well, here it is!
Sure, much of the advice is off-the-wall and wacky, but it’s also an upbeat look at married life that any engaged or married person can relate to and find insightful and fun to read. Even unmarried people can enjoy the book and, who knows, it might convince some of you to take the plunge, or perhaps confirm your belief that being single is a blessing.
Advice to Joel, and to any man, includes: make sure that you buy a roll of electrical tape before you volunteer to do the vacuuming – and why, how to deal with your wife’s steely-eyed, clinched-jaw scowl, known as “The Look,” how to answer your wife’s questions such as, “Does this dress make my ass look big?,” the warning that your mouth will get you into a whole lot more trouble than your Willy ever will, and how to create the world’s most powerful anniversary card for your wife.
Virtually all of the material in Davidson’s book is presented in the form of upbeat stories, scenarios, and examples. This is not the type of advice that you’ll find in a textbook on marriage or in a book on marital relations written by some psychiatrist. This is the real stuff for real people!
Typical of the anecdotes and sage advice by Davidson in this well written book; “Here’s a simple idea that will save you a great deal of grief and misery: Buy a large twelve-month calendar, the kind with a large square for every day of the month. Then, jot down on it your wife’s birthday, your wedding anniversary, and any other special days. Oh, and then look at the calendar every once in a while.”
Another anecdote and bit of sage advice by the author in Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel, comes in the form of a quote from British statesman, Winston Churchill; in essence, Winston Churchill said, “Never give up, never give up, never, never, never, never quit.”
Davidson followed that up, by stating: “Sure, you and Abby are in it for the long haul, you may as well make some long-range plans. How about buying a home! How about becoming rich! How about surviving those inevitable spats that occur in marriages! How about fostering a supportive and loving marriage!
The author further states in regard to his grandson’s wife; “At some point, Abby and you will probably get the idea that you should buy your own home. This idea could evolve naturally on its own, but the thought often intensifies shortly after your wife’s sister and her husband or some good friends buy their first home. You and Abby look at each other and say, ‘Why not us?’ And the idea is born.”
Perhaps the most profound and whimsical passage in this book, is Davidson stating: “When God created man, He gave him two ears and one mouth for a reason – that he should listen twice as much as he talks. We have it on good authority that He was specifically thinking of married men when He did this. When Abby talks, listen intently so you do not misunderstand or misinterpret what she is trying to tell you.”
This is a warm and fanciful book that is sure to inform and delight all those contemplating marriage or those still in it. This book resonates with me for so many profound reasons, and I am sure that it will for other readers of Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel. Again, where was this book and the author when I first got married?
Dennis Moore has been the Associate Editor of the East County Magazine in San Diego and he is the book review editor of SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego that has partnered with the East County Magazine. Mr. Moore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.