I should warn you from the outset that this is not a self-help book. The kind of people who read self-helps books would not, I imagine, wish to be more like me. You will also note that the book is pointedly not called How to Be a Good Husband. The ‘Good’ was the first thing to go.
This all came about because some years ago I was asked to wrote a book called How to Be a Man. I’m sorry, I said, but I don’t know anything about that. ‘Husband’ is different; I am definitely a husband. I have all the paperwork.
Twenty-four years ago I met an English girl in New York, and my life jumped its tracks. Just two years later we were planning our wedding with the resigned determination of two people plotting to bury a body in the woods. Twenty-two years on (actually it might be twenty-three now; I should definitely check) I am still here, still married and still surprised, every day.
You can’t be married for that long without other people thinking there’s some trick to it you can pass on. While I can’t pretend to offer much in the way of solid advice, I can at least point out some detours around the pitfalls I was fortunate enough to overstep, as well as telling a few cautionary tales about the ones I fell into.
How to Be a Husband is part memoir, part pitiless examination – with a few nuggets of hard won wisdom about marriage and parenting thrown in. It’s basically a long list of mistakes. My highly successful marriage is built of mistakes. Every day is a lesson in what I’m doing wrong.