Doing book reviews is always interesting. You never know what you’re going to get! I was definitely curious when, last fall, I was asked to review a book titled Marry Him and Be Submissive. What a title!! Controversial for sure, but a great read. Then more recently I was asked to review the companion volume Marry Her and Die for Her. I didn’t even realize there was a companion volume but was thrilled to hear it.
In her first book, author Costanza Miriano tackled what it means to truly be a woman. Go back and read my review (and get the book) to get an idea of the topics she tackles. In this second book she is focusing on men. I will admit that the title of this one tricked me a bit. I assumed the audience was male-focused and thought this might be the kind of thing that could make a good Father’s Day gift (it’s just under a month away). Boy was I wrong!! Sort of. While I think men should still read this book (and I’ll be sharing it with my husband), this is also a great book for us ladies to read.
In this book, Costanza challenges women to be of service to their husbands (continuing the challenge from the previous book) with a focus on helping them to be real men who want to protect us, our children, and be willing to die for us. She discusses standing by your man in his decision making (even if you would have made a different decision), keeping him as a priority over children and other commitments, giving him the benefit of the doubt, and much more. She does this with the same humor, tangential discussions, and bluntness as the previous volume.
The chapter set up this time is a bit different, and for me it was easier to get into the rhythm of the book. Although I liked the last book and understand why she set it up as she did, I preferred the organization of this one. These chapters are broken into two parts. The majority of the chapter is a discussion of the topic punctuated throughout with her same blunt opinions, humor, and supporting Church teaching. At the end of each chapter she offers a short letter, often a suggested letter for the female subject of the chapter to write to her husband or boyfriend.
I really enjoyed this particular book. I was pretty much hooked from the very beginning (maybe I was also already used to her writing style) and really did laugh out loud at many parts. I found myself reading selections to my husband at times and I even did a lot more underlining and took a few notes in my copy. A few times I felt convicted by her thoughts and will take that away as food for thought in my own marriage. My favorite chapter was the last one. In the last chapter she looks more at herself as she considers how she might have turned out. She does this by addressing the chapter to a single male friend of hers, focusing on men growing up to be real men rather than overgrown adolescents (not an uncommon occurrence in our highly secular world). She talks about suffering and how our personal crosses help us grow in maturity, she discusses the value of work and how work means different things to men versus women, and she focuses on how family and/or religion make us better people.
Throughout the book there are these discussions. I love how she brings in stories from the Gospels, from St. Paul’s letters, quotes saints and other Christian writers to support her objective that men should be the decisive, strong presence in the family and women should be the supporting, nurturing presence that builds up the man and gives him that desire to keep his inherent role at the top of his game. This is all very contradictory to what the secular world teaches us. Costanza acknowledges that the feminization of men is growing rapidly around us. As Catholics, we should be living lives contrary to this secular world. And in the end, we find greater happiness and greater freedom in this life.
Something about this book made me want to get to know the author herself a bit more. In the first book, I walked away kind of glad I was not friends with her. Oh, what would she have to say to me?! But with this one I started feeling warmed up to her. She seems like someone I would enjoy talking to and discussing the state of our modern world with. And her bluntness is actually refreshing. I would actually even recommend reading the Acknowledgements section (a section of most books I usually overlook but happened to read this time) at the end of the book. She obviously has a real love for all her many friendships and an authentic love of the Church and God.
I highly recommend this book (and it’s companion volume if you haven’t already read it). Read it and then give it to your husband/boyfriend/father/uncle/adult son to read as well. If you are interested in buying this book it is currently available at Tan Books for $24.95. As like the previous book, this one is also a translation. Originally published in Italian, Tan Books is now making it available in English.
Go grab a copy. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.