Book Review: I’d Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper by Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile

Friday, August 7th, 2015 at 8:14 am

I’d Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper is a full-book expansion on a chapter by the same name in Ashworth and Nobile’s I Was a Really Good Mom before I had Kids. Since I enjoyed the former book and this happened to be the first book in my library’s Dewey Decimal system for 646.78 (a section I started reading with Gottman’s And Baby Makes Three), I figured I’d go ahead and see what this book had to say.

The authors continue their previous pattern of starting each chapter with a tongue-in-cheek quiz before addressing what they consider to be important issues in marriage. They then close out with practical steps women can take to improve their marriages in the given dimension. Call-out boxes sprinkled throughout share women’s “Dirty Little Secrets” or other anecdotes from women related to the given topic.

The title might give the impression that the authors consider marriage expendable – but this is not at all the case. They start (and finish) the book with the view that marriages are worth keeping and that a HAPPY marriage is something worth striving for – both for the sake of each party and for their children’s sake.

What the authors found, as they interviewed women across the country for this book and their previous one, is that many women rated their marital happiness around 5 or 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 – but when they were asked what they were doing to make it better, they were dumbfounded. Those that responded often replied that they figured their marriages would get happier when the kids were in school or out of the house or in some other stage than they were currently in.

Ashworth and Nobile don’t think that’s an acceptable answer – which is why they wrote I’d Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper to offer women suggestions for improving the happiness of their marriages right now.

Several of their main points for improving happiness in marriage overlap with their suggestions for improving happiness as a mother: having realistic expectations, communicating with your husband, prioritizing your relationship. Others are new – adjusting your attitude and investing in having a good sex life with your husband. In general, it’s good sound advice.

This book would be a good choice for those who enjoyed Ashworth and Nobile’s style from I was a Really Good Mom and who want to invest more in their marriage. (If you haven’t read I was a Really Good Mom, maybe you should check out my review.) I think there are probably other books that might give equally good advice – this isn’t unique in its advice, per se. But what makes this book stand out among marriage advice books is its readability and light-hearted tone, a tone which overwhelmed moms are likely to find more appealing than the clinical tone many marriage advice books take.

It’s valuable to note that this book is not Christian advice – which means it’s missing some biggies (Trusting God immediately comes to mind, see 1 Peter 3:5-6). It also means there are vulgar terms littered throughout (mostly in the interviews with other women) – and, as I cautioned with the previous book, many of the quotes from other women display distressingly poor attitudes towards their husbands. While Ashworth and Nobile’s advice is generally good, there is little worth emulating from any of the “real woman” anecdotes (The “I’d trade my husband for a housekeeper” is one of the tamer snippets from those real woman anecdotes.)

For the record, I wouldn’t dream of trading my husband for anyone or anything.

Rating: 3 stars
Category: Marriage Advice
Synopsis: Ashworth and Nobile help women learn to “love your marriage after the baby carriage”.
Recommendation: Generally good advice – and less clinical than many books on marriage, which makes it a lot easier to read when you’re in the trenches of motherhood

Reader Comments (3):

  1. Barbara H. says:

    I like the way you used the verb “littered” in connection with the vulgar words – I’ll have to remember that! Most apt!

    The readable and lighter tone sounds helpful in a book like this.

  2. What Barbara said about littering and bad words.

    Well, this book DOES sound more promising than the title lead me to believe at first. I was expecting a snarky review so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the authors have some common sense, good advice. I probably wouldn’t read it myself but it makes me sort of happy (in ways) to know that it’s out there.

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