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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Uncovered...Review by the Doctor and Me

About the book:
They say a good marriage is a lot of work—but Susie Davis says it can be a lot of fun. In
Uncovered, Davis shares the secrets of understanding a husband's needs and meeting them using biblical wisdom, practical sense, and a bit of feminine charm. With wit and realistic advice, she shows women how to: -understand the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of their husbands -find lasting fulfillment through loving their man -maintain an enjoyable and stable relationship -prioritize their marriages Focusing on areas such as sex, desire, money, dating, and self-image, Davis shows women how a happy and sexually satisfying marriage is not as much work as they might think. Each chapter also includes a section called The Male Room in which married men discuss their feelings about their wives and marriages.

My husband and I read this book together. Here's our conversational review:

A: So my first thought when Holly suggested this book was “oh my – what kind of book is this, and what is she trying to suggest by suggesting it?!”

H: I had no ulterior motives in suggesting it. I had the opportunity to review it and it looked interesting.

A: Yeah – because every husband knows that wives never ever have an ulterior motive, or an underlying thought :). So I read the book first, and was honestly rather surprised. Not knowing the author or having read anything from her previously, I was rather concerned that this was either going to be a man-bashing book, or something rather tawdry, more of a Dr. Ruth than a Dr. Laura-type of book. Thankfully it falls more into a Dr. Laura mold.

H: Why does there have to be an ulterior motive to everything? Honestly, the book looked interesting. That’s all. I wasn’t sure either, if it would be a how-to type of book or a relationship book. I was quite pleasantly surprised as I read it. True, it did have Dr. Laura-type tones, but, for the most part, it was more a book on how to communicate in a marriage, more than anything.

A: True, there was a lot on communication, but there was also a great section at the end of each chapter where a group of men got to comment/answer questions about that chapter. I found this really interesting because it confirmed for me a lot of what I was thinking, both from the good point and from the occasionally concerned point.

H: I liked the 'Male Room' sections too. I found them rather enlightening. Somewhat predictable, but enlightening.

A: Predictable to you maybe, but as a guy (hopefully a decent one) we don’t sit around discussing our thoughts and feelings about our intimate lives, so we don’t often really know what is normal for a guy’s thoughts, and what is just us! It’s good to hear the perspective of other men and realize that the little voices inside your head seem to be in their heads as well.

H: Fair enough. Do you think the book was geared more towards female readers or was it written for both men and women?

A: Definitely both. I think, and I’m guessing here, it was probably written more for women than men, because I found myself quite often being in agreement with the concepts presented. That said, I also found out things that I didn’t know, and some of these were really surprising.

H: Like what?

A: That at a biochemical level men and women have a different chemical reaction to stress. I don’t think it’s news to anyone who has been married for a while that when life gets stressful men want intimacy more, and women want it less, but actually finding out that this is due to testosterone chemical bonding differences was an eye opener for me.

Basically, when men are stressed testosterone floats around more freely, and so we want intimacy more. When a woman is stressed, the testosterone gets bound up to another chemical (can’t remember which) and so a woman’s desire for intimacy goes down. So just when life is stressful, we end up being at two different ends of the spectrum!

H: I thought her solutions to that particular issue were logical/obvious: try to get more sleep, say no to outside obligations, try to want intimacy anyway, etc. In theory, that is easier said than done, but it is definitely something important to think on and to work towards. I think I found the “Difference Between Cats and Dogs” section most enlightening. Her descriptions were dead on and while the information wasn’t new, it was certainly presented in a way that made me think more.

A: Care to illuminate on that???

H: Just that she compared men and women to dogs and cats, which sounds really bad when put that way. Mostly, the comparison was that women are hard to read and can be prickly and finicky in their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, especially when dealing with intimacy. Whereas, men are loyal and willing and always ready for intimacy. I think one of the phrases is “Women need a reason, men just need a place” or something like that. I’m probably not expressing it well, but it was a great chapter and one that I found illuminating and quite true.

A: I agree. I think most women would say that their husbands are “always ready” which isn’t necessarily true, but compared to women I think it’s a fair generalization to make. There was a great answer in the ‘Male Room” on that section , where one of the men answered that for women “intimacy is an idea” where for men it’s a “biological necessity”. I like that way he phrased that, because often in popular culture a man’s need for intimacy is seen as pestering, or is couched in a derogatory tone, but for men intimacy is something that’s wired into us.

Imagine if society started treating a mother’s desire to comfort her crying child that same way that men’s desire for intimacy is treated. Women are biologically programmed to have maternal feelings and to them, the sound of their crying child flips switches in their brain that are very hard to ignore.

A husband watching his wife get undressed (not necessarily for intimacy, just at the end of the day) flips switches in our heads, and yet that’s often treated as ‘nasty, base or just being a man’ by the world in general. A woman who can understand that about her husband, and treat that with respect is a blessing to her husband, and a wonderful wife to have.

Note that I said ‘respect’ – that doesn’t mean to acquiesce every time her husband wants intimacy (because otherwise nothing would ever get done) but to understand it from the viewpoint that men are who we are, and you can either work with that, or fight it.

H: I can’t disagree. (And, note that I am not asking you to clarify where I fit into the ‘respect’ part of that response!) I think that there is too much man bashing in our society today, especially in the media and every time I see a commercial or a film that puts down husbands and fathers, I get angry.

One of the things that I appreciated about Susie’s book was that she talks often about the differences in men and women. Differences that are good and necessary and put into us by God. Society gives such conflicting messages to both men and women and what our roles should be.

A: I totally agree. If you look at half of the shows out there, women are encouraged to look sexy, to have great make up, dress like they are walking the streets and act provocatively to attract men, but then when we as men react to that, our desire is despised as debase, despicable and downright disgusting. Talk about mixed messages.

A: So do you think the book is worth buying?

H: I do. I think the book is definitely worth buying and I think that it is a book that should be read as a couple and then discussed. You?

A: Yes – the discussion part is the most important one from my perspective. I would suggest that as a husband and wife you read the chapter separately, then find time to discuss it together in a way that is not judgmental and allows each side to express their thoughts without having to defend them.
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Available May 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Thanks to Donna Hausler of Baker Publishing for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Susie Davis here.  You can purchase your own copy here.
Read 6/10

* * * * *
5/5 Stars


2 comments:

  1. Great review - I loved seeing this from both of your points of view. I think I'm going to have to get this and share with my husband. It's fascinating to learn about the stress reaction and it being chemical - I'll have to share that with my dear husband.

    Thanks for your honesty with this review - it sounds like a great book for discussion.

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  2. Sounds like a good one. And I love that way you and your husband both participated in the review.

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