Cupid's Pulse Article: Author Tonilyn Hornung Shares Her Tips for ‘How to Raise a Husband’Cupid's Pulse Article: Author Tonilyn Hornung Shares Her Tips for ‘How to Raise a Husband’

Interview by Whitney Johnson. Written by Maria Darbenzio.

Author Tonilyn Hornung has used the 153-plus years of marriage experience accumulated by her grandparents and parents as well as herself and her husband to bring other married couples advice. Now, with five other married women, she is sharing her first book, How to Raise a Husband: A Whole Bunch Of Ways to Build A Strong And Happy Marriage, to help other wives raise not only a better husband but also build a stronger relationship. Read on for some of the advice that Hornung shared exclusively with!

The title — How to Raise a Husband: A Whole Bunch of Ways to Build a Strong and Happy Marriage — certainly grabs people’s attention. What exactly is the meaning behind “raising” a husband?

The title was really inspired by my girlfriend. After telling me a story about how she caught her husband watching television instead of playing with their child, it occurred to me that she not only had to raise her kid but also her partner. That’s when I started thinking about my relationship with my husband and of the times that I might have helped him come to a more mature conclusion about a disagreement we were having or supported him in seeing a different perspective than his own — that’s how we raise each other. One partner helps the other see a little more clearly or communicate better. Sometimes we women just happen to be wearing thicker relationship glasses than our partner. We’re more fashionable that way.

Related Link: Couples Therapy: A Way to Rebuild a Struggling Relationship

You teamed up with five married women. What made you decide to take this approach — using their personal stories (and your own) to give advice to others? While working with these women, did you learn anything that helped strengthen your own marriage?

Even though my husband provides me with great material, I decided to interview other wives because I felt that this would allow me to give a broader picture of what marriage is really like. These women were wonderful. They held nothing back and opened themselves up to looking less than perfect, and for that, I applaud their honesty.

In my own marriage, I learned that awareness is a huge component of good communication — that and a slice of chocolate cake can work miracles. If I am able to stay aware of what I’m feeling, I am better able to communicate that calmly and lovingly to my partner. Then, we can work on what we need to from a place of honesty.

Along those lines, is there one story that impacted you the most? 

There are so many stories that I love and identify with. That was one of the great joys of writing this book. I could feel each wife’s dilemma instantly and take her journey along with her, wondering what her solution would be. Some of my favorites include Gender Profiling, The Football Widow, and Not Waiting for Waits. Not Waiting for Waits has such a great message: staying true to yourself.

How has your relationship with your husband changed since writing the book?

My marriage with my husband has only grown and deepened. Some of our conflicts have found new balance since the book was written, and some stay the same, but I do know that, without his openness and support, I never would’ve been able to start a project like this in the first place.

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Now, let’s talk about a few specific situations. How can a woman approach her partner if they’re struggling with communication?

From my own experience and after talking to other wives, I know that that trying to communicate while you’re upset can be tricky; it’s not a good way to communicate effectively. The best approach is to be aware of how you’re feeling in the moment and try to share that feeling as calmly and directly as you can. Or if you only know you’re mad but don’t know why, take some time to write it down and then confide what you’ve written to your husband. Even five minutes of writing can make a huge difference.

What if the husband isn’t doing his fair share of the household tasks? How can a woman let him know that she’d like him to help out more without offending him or causing a fight?

From letting the housework pile up until he has no choice but to help to offering a specific “reward system,” this is a very popular topic addressed in How to Raise a Husband. However, I’ve found thrusting a vacuum cleaner in my man’s hand and ordering him to “suck it up” doesn’t always do the trick. But explaining to him why I’d like his help (most men seem to like things explained — a lot) works much better. If that doesn’t work, check out Sophie’s ingenious incentive in Chapter 15 (and it’s not cake).

Related Link: How Fighting Can Strengthen Your Relationship

You also have a series of blogs dedicated to your experience as a first-time mother. Do you see yourself possibly writing a follow-up book focused on motherhood?

YES! I have a baby blog for Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine dedicated to the first year of my son’s life. It has been a wonderfully crazy emotional ride. From pregnancy on, I’ve kept copious notes and and am gearing up to write a humorous book exploring the joys of elastic pants and spit-up.

And lastly, what is the best advice you could give a woman on how to keep her marriage strong?

In writing How to Raise a Husband, I learned that everyone’s key to a good marriage varies. At the core of everything, some women want a little more understanding; some need more acceptance; and some just want to be heard. That’s where awareness comes in to play. If, as a wife, you can become aware of what your key might be, that helps you communicate with your partner more effectively.

After writing this book, I know that I always crave a little more understanding. When I’m feeling misunderstood, I can tell my husband that’s what is happening before we start an argument — and that’s the first step to helping raise each other to our full potential (and getting a slice of cake).

To purchase How to Raise a Husband, check out Amazon!