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Monday, February 9, 2009

FIRST Wild Card -- The Husband Project by Kathi Lipp

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Husband Project

Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking more than 45 times each year to thousands of women. Lipp is also a contributing author to two bestselling books: Humor for a Woman’s Heart 2 and Lists to Live By: The Christian Collection. She also has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, are the parents of four teenagers and live in California.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925228
ISBN-13: 978-0736925228

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Why the Husband Project?


“Kathi, a couple of us need to quit the project.”

I couldn’t believe what Angela was saying. Quit the Husband Project? We’d just started that weekend.

“Ang, are you kidding me? Why do you want to quit already?” There was no way things could be going downhill so quickly.

“I was talking to some of the other girls, and because we’re being so nice, our husbands are becoming suspicious. They think we’re all having affairs!”

Apparently, there’s a bigger need for the Husband Project than even I could have expected.


The Beginning of the Husband Project

At my busy church in San Jose, California, I serve in a variety of roles. Some of the roles I have played have been on the programming team with my husband, Roger, who is the director of the Worship Arts Ministry, leading Bible studies and small groups and taking meals to people who are sick or having babies. But my favorite role by far is mentoring women.

The girls I mentor are smart, funny, and committed to serving God. They really are amazing. However, like most wives I know, they have a tendency to “share” about their husbands.

“He’s never home. I feel like I’m single – but with an extra person to clean up after.”

“Why is it when he’s watching our kids it’s babysitting?”

“We used to be romantic, but now our idea of romance is reading take-out menus together.”

The “sharing” started to concern me. I wasn’t judging these girls; trust me. I found myself slipping every once in a while – saying something “endearing” about my husband while rolling my eyes.


A Change in Perspective

I know the importance of loving and honoring my husband, and like every other lesson in my life, I learned it the hard way. (Why can’t I ever learn things while eating chocolates and shopping…?)

I married in my early twenties’ with two babies came along shortly after the marriage vows. In retrospect, I can see that as soon as discovered the wonders of a Diaper Genie, my concentration shifted from my husband to the day-to-day care of my kids. With a full-time job thrown in, the goal of making my husband feel special dropped way down on my priority list.

After a very painful marriage and divorce, I am now remarried to an amazing guy. When new friends meet him they say, “Oh, so this is Prince Charming!” He’s a great father and step dad, and loves me and his God and indulges my passion for fat-free coconut yogurt on a regular basis. I really couldn’t ask for a better guy.

And, yet, like a great pair of comfortable flip flops, he’s sometimes easy to take him for granted. He’s always there - not demanding anything of me. He can fix his own frozen pizza when I am too busy to cook and can even wash his own socks in a pinch. When work deadlines loom and kids have dozens of activities, I sometimes let my relationship with Rog fall to sixth or seventh on my “Hey, pay attention to me!” list.

Have you noticed our culture has a one-way expectation that men should give women what they “need” (sending flowers to work, doing his share of the dirty work around the house, being a great dad, remembering and celebrating anniversaries) without asking for anything in return? But, as we know, this fantasy man isn’t real a husband, it’s a character in a dime store romance novel.

The kind of marriage I want is one in which we’re both doing all we can to honor and love each other, putting each other’s needs above our own.

Philippians 2:3-4 says it best: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

I want this for both of us. The reality is, however, I only have control over my own actions.


Enter the Husband Project

I tried different ideas with some of my friends at church – a variety of “husband encouragement programs.” Most seemed like a lot of work and not much fun. You see, I have the attention span of a third-grader who’s just spent six straight hours on X-Box. So I needed something short, doable and exciting. We, as stressed-out and over-worked wives and moms, don’t need to feel burdened by another line on our to-do lists.

So I started thinking and praying about what would truly make my husband feel loved (and maybe even lucky to be married to me.) I made up a list and began practicing on Roger. Some of the ideas (buying him a gift card to his favorite restaurant and surprising him with an impromptu date) were big hits. Others (like opening mystery clues for an all day adventure) were, let’s say, less than successful.

After several flops (hey, I thought the guys at his work would think that his lunch sack covered in hearts was adorable…) I finally got desperate. I asked him, “Okay, what would make you feel loved?” (And yes, I felt pretty pathetic to be asking.) After showing him the list, he gave me thumbs up or down on several of the items. I now had a much clearer plan in place. No, cookies in the shapes of bunnies were not necessary. Homemade raw cookie dough, however, was a big thumbs up. Yes, I asked the questions. I have gone where women fear to tread. I am in possession of the knowledge of what men (or at least my man) like.


This is how The Husband Project was born.

The premise is simple:

You, and two other friends (your accountability partners) commit to bless your husbands everyday for three weeks, in secret.

That’s it. Pretty simple, granted. But not always easy.


No Cookie-Cutter Marriages

While working on the Projects, I talked with friends of all ages, in very different marital situations.

Some of my friends were in the oh-so-romantic stage of marriage. You’re just done in by how beautifully he shaves. As you pick up his clothes from the bedroom floor, you just can’t help but giggle at how adorable it is that he never puts anything away.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have girlfriends who cannot stand to be in the same room with their husbands while they’re breathing. The “inhale, exhale” is enough to make them want to take up residence at a nice studio apartment in town.

And then, there are the other 94% of us.

We’re the ones who love our husbands but have fallen into a comfortable routine. (Comfortable often meaning, you don’t bug me and I won’t bug you.) We’re partners in parenting and contributors to financial matters. We’ve negotiated the household chores (I’ll do the dishes if you keep the car from making funny noises,) and keep each other on schedule for the dentist and the occasional oil change.

We like our husbands, for the most part. And they like us, for the most part. While this is okay, it’s definitely not what we were anticipating as we planned our weddings and dreamed about our happily-ever-after lives.

I have to admit, I’m writing this book for me and my friends – the 94% who want better relationships with our men and are willing to be creative, thoughtful, and possibly daring enough to break out some lingerie to get it.


“But He Doesn’t Even Notice”

Some women who have tried the Projects for a few days wondered if it’s even worth it. After doing several of the Projects, they complained that their husbands have barely noticed.

So, if you’re wearing your cute jeans to meet your husband in the evenings, leaving bags of gummi bears for him in his car, and wearing shorter and shorter lingerie to bed each night without comment from your man, don’t be discouraged.

Working The Husband Project is a lot like working on your prayer life. For example, I recently committed to setting aside a chunk of time daily to pray. As I devote more time to prayer and meditation, I’m realizing that my requests are less about asking God to make things go my way, and more about asking God to change my heart to follow Him and His plans for me.

This project is as much about changing our attitudes as it is about blessing our husbands. It’s great to get positive reinforcement, and when you do, write it down so you can remember it and tailor the way that you show your love in the future.

But even when your husband says nothing, you have the knowledge that you have actively shown him love and support. That’s the true gift of The Husband Project.

If you still need some affirmation (and who doesn’t?) look for it in other healthy places. In my case I have a friend, Lynn, who sends me a small gift whenever I complete a goal for writing. Even if I don’t sell an article, I still have the hope of some great Snoopy stickers in the mail.

Ask your accountability partners to celebrate your successes with you. Perhaps, if each of you does your daily project for seven days, you give each other a $5 Starbucks card, or if you do all 21 days, you all spend an afternoon together at the spa. Be creative, as it says in Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” A grande latte could be an excellent way to start.

My Review: Ladies, it is time to do some life changing work. Work that you will enjoy and work that will reward your partner and yourself.

When I chose to request The Husband Project I did so because I am still a newly wed. I have been married since May 20, 2007, and I waited quite some time to for God to present the man of my dreams to me. I didn't wait as patiently as I should have, but I finally got the message and did WAIT on God. Well, He rewarded me with the greatest husband ever. If you have the time, check out my previous post because that will give you a clear indicator of how awesome my guy is. Anyway, I wanted to read this book, because I ALWAYS want to treasure and appreciate my man. I figured that The Husband Project would be a great way to keep me on task.

It is a great way, and it did keep me there.

Kathi asks you to give 21 days to focusing on your husband with 21 simple projects. These are things that YOU can work into your life and honestly should work into your life. They are painless. Again...I am still a newlywed and my husband and I are THAT couple that cause others to stare and grin. Heck, we may cause some to shake their heads, but I still was able to glean so much from this book.

Not only are there 21 days with 21 projects, but their purposes are explained. Here is a little of what I learned.

STRESS BE GONE: This one is huge for me. My husband is a clutter hater. I am a clutter maker. I have improved in gargantuan levels, but I am still one who is prone to clutter. I made a point to banish clutter from every place it could gather before he came home. Does this seem lame? Probably. He loved it though. It was one of those things I could just see. Did he greet me with a bigger hug or kiss. Nope, we already have a ritual where he hugs me so tight it makes my back pop (I love it), but I could feel that he was less stressed. We all have things that stress us. This was the one that stood out to me.

What else did I learn? In order to do a plan like this, it is incredibly helpful to have an accountability partner or partners really. It is wonderful to have someone working on this adventure with you and being able to share your victories. It is also amazing to have someone give you some hints and tips. Example...one of Kathi's plans involve post it notes or texting messages to your husband. I am a freak about doing this. This may be because my husband and I had a long-distance relationship before we married, and whenever I visited him or he visited me, I made a point of writing him notes and leaving them in places where he could find them when I was gone. I was a pro here and was able to help my friend Lisa with note ideas. She was able to help me compose great prayers for my husband. It was a win win for us both.

The Husband Project helped me keep in mind that my husband is a great guy, and it is a joy to do things that make him feel special and loved. This really is not a chore. What is better than doing little things that make the man you love happy? What is better than making him feel cared for, appreciated and desired? Trust me, you will gain so much in this process.

3 comments:

Sunny said...

Hey Kelly! Sorry I've been so scarce...miss you!

Also...I gave you an award over at my blog!

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reads in Seattle said...

Kelly - what an awesome post! I loved this book as well, and have to admit, that when it comes to clutter, we are just like you guys! Hubby hates it, and I just seem to create it, no matter how hard I try not too!

Today I'm starting Project 1!!

I've added a link to your review on mine at Wendi's Book Corner.

I've also started a Husband Project blog in the hopes of successfully completing the projects in the book, and would like to invite you to stop by and say hi or join me!

(Maybe you could be one of my accountability partners and just check in from time-to-time?? I completely understand if you don't have the time!)

:) Wendi

Wendi B. - Wendi's Book Corner ~ Rainy Day Reads in Seattle said...

I hope its ok Kelly, but I added a link to your review in the sidebar of my Husband Project blog!

:) Wendi