While I was returning the audio book version of “How Not To Hate Your Husband After Kids”, in Libby, the eBook app interestingly recommended this book to me: “This Is How Your Marriage Ends”. I was like uh-oh, is their algorithm IDed me as high risk for a divorce? I quickly looked it up on amazon, and checked the # of reviews and stars. Not bad, at 4.5 based on 567 reviews (as of Mar 14, 2023). So it’s legit, so I borrowed it and read it in a day.
Matthew Fray’s book focuses on providing insights and guidance specifically for men who are struggling in their marriage and seeking to improve it. In a way it’s like Jancee’s book, but for men. Sorta like “How To Make Sense of Your Wife After Kids” if that makes any sense.
Anyhow, so here’s my review of “This is how your marriage ends” by Matthew Fray.
Based on Fray’s personal experiences and his learnings from his divorce, the book provides practical advice and guidance for men experiencing similar challenges in their relationships. Fray cautions husbands to pay attention to seemingly trivial issues in a marriage, as they can be symptoms of much larger problems. For example, Fray wrote a blog on “She Divorced Me Because I left Dishes by the Sink” in 2016, demonstrating this seemingly trivial action to her ex-wife as disrespectful and a lack of caring. (Keep in mind Fray is a marketing professional, so he knows how to use compelling titles to trigger his readers’ emotions) Fray suggests that men often fall into the trap of being overly focused on being right or proving their point in an argument, which can lead to a breakdown in communication and a lack of emotional connection with their partners. Instead, he encourages men to focus on being empathetic and caring towards their wives, listening to their perspectives and working together to find solutions to problems.
Here are my top 5 takeaways from Fray’s book:
- Practice active listening: Fray emphasizes the importance of active listening, which involves paying close attention to your partner’s words and thoughts and responding with empathy and understanding. This means not interrupting or getting defensive but instead taking the time to really hear what your partner is saying.
- Avoid blame and criticism: When discussing sensitive issues, it’s important to avoid placing blame or criticizing your partner. Instead, focus on how the two of you can work together to find solutions to problems.
- What is water?: “What is water?” comes from a story by David Wallace, in which two young fish swim past an older fish who asks them, “Morning, boys, how’s the water?” The young fish swim on, and one turns to the other and asks, “What the hell is water?” The point of the story is that we often take for granted the things that are most fundamental to our lives, such as the water that we swim in every day. Similarly, in relationships, we may take for granted assumptions about our partners or our roles in the relationship without questioning them. Therefore it’s important to question our assumptions and to be aware of the water that we swim in, both in terms of our individual lives and our relationships. By recognizing and questioning our assumptions, we can build a stronger sense of self-awareness and become more respectful of our partner’s difference.
- Be intentional about how you deliver the message to your partner: Fray suggests that it’s important to be intentional about how, when, and where you deliver your message in order to maximize its effectiveness. This may mean waiting until you have your partner’s full attention, choosing a location where you can have a private conversation, or picking a time when both of you are calm and able to communicate effectively.
- Be mindful of societal expectations: Fray suggests that men face a range of challenges in today’s world, including difficulties in forming emotional connections, balancing work and personal life, and navigating traditional gender roles in a relationship. By acknowledging and addressing these challenges, men can work towards building stronger, more fulfilling relationships with their partners.
Here are three actionable things you can do to repair your relationship with your wife, based on Matthew Fray’s book “This Is How Your Marriage Ends”:
- Practice active listening: Fray emphasizes the importance of active listening in building strong and healthy relationships. To practice active listening, make an effort to really hear what your wife is saying, without interrupting or getting defensive. Focus on understanding her perspective and feelings, and respond with empathy and understanding.
- Express gratitude: Fray suggests that expressing gratitude can be a powerful tool for building stronger emotional connections in a relationship. Take the time to express appreciation for the things your wife does, no matter how small they may seem. This can help her feel valued and appreciated, and can build a stronger foundation for your relationship.
- Making an effort to seek out mental health support: I will make an effort to find a therapist who specializes in relationship counselling via Wellness Together Canada (Completely free for Canadians) or Telus Health (Might be covered by employer benefits or your provincial health system). By being open to seeking help and working on my personal growth and development, I believe I can improve communication, build trust, and strengthen my marriage.
Questions? Send them my way