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Every Man A Hero, Every Woman A Coach: How to have a joyful, satisfying, and completely fulfilling marriage! Review by Dena Wood

By Joel N. Orr
Solomon & Seigel Publishers
315 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014

Every Man A Hero, Every Woman A Coach is a unique book based on the premise that women have unique "world-building skills" and are especially equipped to coach their husbands to reach their full potential and that men, when responding to their "coach", will move beyond their natural tendencies into greatness.

In all honesty, I had a few preconceptions when I picked up this book. As a Christian woman I've read my share of "how to be a good wife" books and fully expected this to be more of the same. (Not that that's a bad thing!) My first surprise came when I realized that the book is written by a man! The second was that the author does not place the responsibility for the state of the relationship, as so many marriage books do, most heavily on the wife. The third surprise was that, while written by a Christian and based on Christian principles, the book is written to be effectively used by non-Christians as well.

The layout of the book is ideal. It is divided into several sections; Your Self, Your Destiny and Your Relationships, Married Life, Family Life, Your Child and Your Children, And In Conclusion. Each section is divided into thought-provoking two to three page chapters, each followed by a series of Key Points to be discussed by the husband and wife. Key Points are broken down into; Think About, Talk About, and Take Action. The brevity of each chapter makes it easy to focus on one concept without experiencing information overload. The book suggests working on no more than one or two sets of Key Points each week, the goal of which is to clarify and practice a wide range of new behaviors.

This book covers an extremely wide range of elements and approaches toward relationship. From getting on the same page by determining your life purpose and priorities to keeping love alive with the Five Love Languages to understanding your differing aptitudes and personality types, this book offers resources and suggestions for learning to work together in the most effective, uplifting and encouraging way possible.

One of the main messages in the book is that of husbands being open to listen to the coaching of their wives or in Mr. Orr's words, "Take advantage of your wife's special abilities to help you achieve your dreams." He encourages husband to remember that, "Your wife is meant to be your Coach-not your contender, competitor, or critic...She is part of you and you are responsible for keeping her in good working order. In fact, in a larger, deeper sense, your wife is you."

While geared toward both partners and intended to be used jointly, Mr. Orr is especially hard-hitting on the husbands. The following example is from the chapter on responsibility. "Men, here is a liberating revelation: It's all your fault!...Here's how it works: If you - at least within yourself - assume at least some portion of the responsibility for every unpleasant situation that arises in your life, that means you can do something about it! You can change it. You have empowered yourself. You are not a victim, but a victor!" This is definitely a compelling point of view, but one that will likely be uncomfortable for many. Mr. Orr leaves no room for whining or victim hood in his description of what a Hero should be.

The one area of struggle I had with the book was the absence of God from the marital equation. Personally, I believe that marriage is nigh impossible without His participation. Though the author shares that God is his (and his wife's) number one priority and encourages seeking Him for direction, the book doesn't speak on God's empowering us to fulfill our marital roles or our need to depend on Him. I say I struggle with this rather than seeing it as a complete negative because I recognize and appreciate that the book is geared to the secular as well as Christian market. I DO think we need more books calling men and women to fulfill their responsibility to the marital relationship, whether Christian or not. In that aspect I understand the purposeful omission. As Christians, we should be able to use the information presented to our benefit while remaining aware that God is our ultimate enabler and guide.

I found this to be an interesting, enlightening and encouraging book and intend to share it with my husband so that we can work through it together. Any woman reading it should do so in a spirit of love and not use it to "bash" or criticize their husbands (as any good coach would know). For men, be prepared to be challenged. I think any couple genuinely intent on improving their marriage and willing to set "self" aside will benefit from sharing this book and working through the key points. In fact, I'd practically guarantee it.

-- Product Review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2006