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For Better or for Best: A Valuable Guide to Knowing, Understanding, and Loving Your Husband

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  356 ratings  ·  38 reviews
So you want your husband to: - be sensitive to your emotional and romantic needs? - comfort you when you're down? - spend more time with you? - listen to what you have to say? - appreciate you? - do more around the house? - spend time with the kids? - be your most intimate friend? Gary Smalley explains what motivates men and how women can use their natural attractive quali ...more
Paperback, 169 pages
Published November 26th 1996 by Zondervan (first published 1982)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  356 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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Oct 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book is more about manipulation techniques rather than helpful marriage and communication principles.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2018
To quote Friends: it's not that [the book] is bad. It's - it's that [it's] so bad it makes me want to push my finger through my eye, into my brain, and swirl it around.

This book is so demeaning towards woman. It also says that manipulation is not manipulation if it's for the man's good. But actually, manipulation is manipulation. How about I tell my husband that what he's doing is hurting me and he listens because he loves me?

This was a frustrating, disturbing read. My counselor recommended I b
Ellen Chesser
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It made me cry, it made me nod my head furiously...but most of all, challenged me!!!

As a very headstrong, outspoken wife of a very laid back and timid husband, we find ourselves at odds often.

But this ball put the ball in my court and showed me how I was messing up disastrously in many areas of our marriage as well as my high expectations of my husband. I can't tell you how many times I bawled through chapters just hoping that my tears were not founded in conviction...well they surely were. Tha
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok

Blerg. Started out as a good read but quickly became a typical ultra conservative viewpoint of marriage & the role of wifey to nurture & elevate her hubby while lowering her expectations & removing part of her brain so she can have a happy & satisfying marriage.
Emma Maher
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Gary Smalley is a wonderful person. He has now gone home to the Lord a few years ago, but his son Greg Smalley is also a very talented, honest, kind-hearted person and a wonderful marriage counsellor. This book was practical, thought provoking and I've heard many things discussed before e.g. the I feel statements instead of you did this or that statements. Its good that authors rehash and explore familiar points to strengthen and help relationships, friendships and of course marriages from hards ...more
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was highly recommended to me, and I am sad that it did not deliver. There is some redeeming advice (i.e. commit to your marriage, love your spouse even when you do not feel loved, etc.). But most of this book's tone directly contradicted it's brief moments of good advice.
Manipulation is peddled as a tool to build a happier and healthier marriage throughout. This book encourages a wife to act and appear certain ways in order to gain her husband's [fill in the blank] (attention, help,
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was quite old-fashioned. It often talked about the woman taking care of the house and kids and men working. It also occasionally talked about sex being used to motivate men. A lot of things he said were good but the whole book was written in a do this don't do that kind of way which i didn't enjoy throughout. i underlined some things i'd later refer to but the rest of the book i wont read again. the first chapter shared several examples of marriage problems and each paragraph had me th ...more
Cosa Walsingham
Jun 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is horrible. Only a few good points about how men deserve to be respected and praised. The rest is simply about how to manipulate your husband into doing the "honey do list". there are much better books out their on how to love and appreciate your husband without having to read on "keeping yourself fit because it is important to maintain attraction so your husband does not get bored" and "how no husband wants a depressed and unfit wife."

Not worth your time.
Aug 13, 2020 rated it did not like it
Whew. This gem. I was recommended to read this book when I got married. It’s all about ways to trick your husband into treating you with any respect or care with manipulation. It also suggests ways you can mold yourself into something he might find lovable. Barf.
Jaymin Ewens
I have many feelings about this. Some good, some terrible. I think a lot of the advice is practical, but at the same time, this book feels like it was written for housewives in the 50's. I have a lot to think about, and even more to pray about.
Kayla Willis
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Great book
Davis Haguma
Excellent work. Recommended to all the ladies.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Overall an enlightening read for wives or anyone wanting to love and respect a man better. A lot of practical and straightforward ideas set within a Christian worldview (although I think anyone who desires to live a good life and have healthy romantic relationships would find this book to give helpful advice). I most appreciated Smalley's emphasis on personal responsibility: marriage is hard work and you can do quite a bit yourself to improve problem areas and strengthen love.
You can tell the b
H.M. Chambers
Mar 31, 2013 rated it liked it
This book had some rather helpful information, especially the reminders that we have to tell men what we want from them instead of leaving them to guess. I also found interesting and useful the explanation of the "salt principle". However, this book has a depressing affect on even a woman completely in love and just now planning her wedding with her wonderful man - it speaks of all these problems as if you will inevitably develop each and everyone of these problems in your marriage no matter wha ...more
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
every time i pick up this book and open it, i learn something new, even if i already knew it, there is just something about refreshing my memory concerning my husband-to-be. i love this book, and i bought several more other gary smalley books because of it. of course it is a companion book for your hubby to read "if he only knew" at the same time, its a book of understanding the wife. if you want your husband to read it, you need to "salt" your conversation and you learn that from this book. it ...more
Lauren Voeltz
Sep 15, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: Married Women
Shelves: alreadyread
It really teaches about the difference between the way women percieve what men do and what men are actually doing. It clarifies a lot, expecially if you have no idea what is going on in your husband's mind or if he just drives you crazy (in good and bad ways). It really showed me where he was coming from.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best book on marital relationships I have ever read, and it really helps. This book was recommended to me by a woman who almost left her husband, but changed it by reading Gary Smalley's books. I love his biblical approach to changing your relationship for the better with your husband. I highly recommend it!
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women in relationships
If you have problems understanding men, THIS is the book to read. This book brought my fiance and I so much closer together. It helped me to understand his needs and how I could help him in his wants.
Victoria B.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Has some hokey old "Leave-it-to-Beaver" stuff, but I liked finding out that "Men are buffaloes; women are butterflies." I felt like the book kinda said men were jerks, though. Luckily, I don't find that that's the case with my fiance.
Tammyribbey ribbey
Apr 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Gary Smalley really has done his homework on relationships and how woman can turn theirs around. When these principles are applied, you will get results. Even the most hard headed prideful man will melt.
Dec 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A decent book with some biblical approaches to one of life's most important relationships. There were some good reminders, but the book format seems to oversimplify. (Is it the format? Or the message?)

The best thing I took from this book? Happy families are camping families.
Helen Hanna
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of practical information. Lots of things sounded good and increased my understanding of the way men think. Just not sure how much I'll try and put into practice. The last chapter in itself was great.
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
how to be more patient with my fiance. to understand his needs and to have him fulfill mine without arguement. i've also learned many things that i do that are upsetting to him.
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the very good resources my wife and I use when we counsel with couples regarding their marriage.
Yuna Sanli
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Yuna by: Rudolf Ritonga
GOOD!!! Very good. I recommended to all of you if you want to simplify your heart. (for woman).
Jo Klemm
Reading this for a Bible study/book group. Just started. I like Gary Smalley, though.
Sep 11, 2009 is currently reading it
Gives some thoughts on how to understand and relate with one's spouse.
May 23, 2010 added it
Shelves: amway
He solves every - wait... Every problem a woman can have in a marriage....

Interesting... Probably won't be re-reading this one.
Oct 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very Accurately written, our pastor had us read this book before we were married.
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every Married Woman
Shelves: read-2012
This was a great book. By just applying a few things I found in this book it has done transformed my husband and I's marriage. Would recommend to every married woman.
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Gary Smalley was one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships. He was the award-winning, best-selling author or coauthor of sixteen books, as well as several popular films and videos. The Blessing and The Two Sides of Love have won Gold Medallions, The Language of Love won the Angel Award as the best contribution to family life, and his other titles have received Si ...more

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