Looking for a

Looking for a ‘forever’ valentine? UST psychologist’s book explains married life, love to men

Dr. John Buri, a longtime psychology professor at the University of St. Thomas, a high-school basketball coach, a father of six and someone who’s still married to his first wife nearly 35 years after the wedding, knows a thing or two about marriage.

And he’s shared much of it in a new book, How to Love Your Wife (Tate Publishing & Enterprises, 2006), an advice book for young men looking for love (and older guys trying to keep it alive).

Apparently, they’ve been looking in all the wrong places. “The last 20 years of teaching a marriage and family course to university students has been an education for me into the ways in which love, romantic relationships, marriage, sex and family are viewed by a growing number of young adults,” Buri said. “Things that people my age may think of as ‘So, what else is new?’ are quite novel, even eye-opening at times for young people who have grown up in a relationship-transient, hang-out-and-hook-up, serial marriage culture.”

Buri offers an intimate but practical guide and loads of encouragement to men who want a relationship for the long haul. The book’s contents are based on research, counseling and writings by marriage and family therapists as well as Buri’s personal experience. Also sprinkled throughout the book are quotes about love and marriage from authors as diverse as Nietzsche and Miss Manners, chapter-by-chapter “rules to love by” and checklists for “sensible effort by reasonable people.”

“In this day when young men and women desperately want to avoid divorce and find lasting love, Dr. John Buri lays down a roadmap,” said Maggie Gallagher, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Marriage and Public Policy.

How to Love Your Wife tackles questions men should ask themselves before popping the question, the realities of every marriage’s defects, and the need for expressing affection -- even when they don’t feel like it. A chapter on dealing with conflict yields the “Five Deadly ‘D’s of Disputation,” in which Buri cautions readers not to be “dictatorial, defensive, demeaning, disrespectful, disregarding.” The book culminates in a chapter on what Buri calls the “heart of intimacy,” communication. “Indifference is one of the most destructive routine acts in a marriage,” he writes. “For each of us men, if something is important to our wives, then it should be important to us as well. … And feigned interest will seldom suffice -- most of our wives can spot a fake a mile away.”

The book has been well received so far, according to the professor. He especially liked one female reader’s comment: “What would wives want for Valentine’s day more than flowers or even a trip to the spa? That their husbands would read How to Love Your Wife.” Buri’s favorite response came from a 22-year-old St. Thomas coed, who said “Dr. Buri, I have been reading your book, and one thing is clear: My standards for what I am looking for in a man have just gone way up. You have made me realize that it is not unreasonable to have a man who treats me like he loves me.”

The book is available for $13.99 in the St. Thomas Bookstore, at local Barnes & Noble bookstores, at St. Patrick’s Guild in St. Paul and via amazon.com.

Buri will discuss, read from and sign the book at noon Tuesday, Feb. 13, in St. Thomas’ O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. Everyone's welcome, and refreshments will be served.