The Good Husband Guide: Secrets from the Silver Screen

It’s a real honour and a privilege to have another person accept your hand in marriage and to share their life with you. However, if you want to be a great husband, you can never take your wife for granted. You need to keep your lady feeling cherished and engaged with you – so don’t think you can drop your game just because she’s said ‘yes’.

Story by Simon Lewis. Photo: Getty Images /

Act as if

Ben Affleck – The Boiler Room

There’s enough testosterone in this movie for an intergalactic teen convention, but Ben Affleck’s character, Jim Young, has one pearl of wisdom for his greedy young recruits that should serve any husband well.

Act as if.

Jim Young: “There’s an important phrase that we use here, and I think it’s time that you all learned it. Act as if. You understand what that means? Act as if you are the fucking President of this firm. Act as if you got a 9-inch cock. Okay? Act as if.”

That’s big advice for anyone in any line of work, but it’s equally important for husbands to think, process and act upon. I’m not referencing the nine-inch analogy, as emotions can crumble and people can get hurt in the face of such high standards. But, here’s the message: act the part! Act like you know what you’re doing.

Stop worrying about “is she interested in me”, or “is she still attracted to me”? She committed, she loves you and, in her eyes, you’re the man. Say it with me. “I am her man!”

Now… act like it and don’t give her reason to think otherwise.

Such confidence will fill you with an energy that she will find compelling and attractive on a whole lot of levels. A whole lot of levels. Ya!

At the same time, be a strong presence in her life. Be her rock, then top it off by treating her like an angel.

Just keep swimming

Ellen DeGeneres – Finding Nemo

Where would humanity be without Walt Disney and the Pixar movies? Such beautiful, heart-warming entertainment combined with great depth of understanding about our lives and the challenges we all face in the world. Everyone has their favourite animated movie, but Finding Nemo certainly struck a chord around the world, with Ellen DeGeneres’ character Dory proving the star turn. It was a performance that earned the regal blue tang fish her own sequel: Finding Dory.

The loveable (but short-of-memory) Dory had her own mini-anthem to guide her safely through life and, boy, it’s an anthem that will serve us husbands well when it comes to manning up to the challenges of marriage.

Dory: “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”

Simple and straight to the point, making it hard for even Dory to forget that one. Most married people you meet are lightning quick when it comes to warning you about all the trials and tribulations of marriage and, to be fair, there are many, many, MANY of them. But these jaded, married folk appear to have the same mental recall as Dory: they forget to mention the wonderful and amazing parts of being able to share your life with someone special through a marriage.

So, when times are tough and you feel challenged (or ready to throw in the towel), just dig deep, wrap a smile around your face and keep on swimming.

As Winston Churchill famously said, “if you’re going through hell, keep going”. Even if your marital challenges don’t quite measure up to ‘hell’, building the courage to swim through the tough waters is crucial… and it is something your bride will thank you for after the rough waters have settled.

Oh, and, while you’re about it, park the Blame Game and rather take ownership of any problems as they arise, or even just avoid trying to pin the blame on the proverbial donkey. After all, that only makes an ass out of both partners.

Someone to believe in me

Robin Williams – Good Will Hunting

In this Oscar-winning performance, the late Robin Williams produced one of his great dramatic roles, including this poignant line for his young patient/mentee, a 20-year-old South Boston labourer (and an unrecognized maths genius) Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon.

Aside from his iconic, turbo-charged humour, Williams’ work almost always includes great depth and understanding of the human spirit. Think Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King and Good Morning Vietnam. That’s why this quote is so powerful in the stunning human drama written by Damon and his buddy, Ben Affleck (see The Boiler Room, above).

Sean Maguire: “Some people can’t believe in themselves until someone else believes in them first.”

That’s such a great secret to marriage, and especially to a great marriage – which is what Williams’ character had with his late wife (even though she occasionally farted in her sleep!). You’re together to help each other grow, develop and realise your full potential. Just remember that growth often means in new and different directions, so you need to go with the flow of your partner.

Anyone who has achieved something of value in their life has, almost certainly, been blessed by having someone who believed in them. Behind every great man or woman is a great man or woman, and that’s what a marriage is setup to do for all of us.

One of the iconic songs of the late Freddie Mercury (Queen’s lead singer) was “Find me somebody to love”. It might be the anthem of many single folk but, hang on a sec, Freddie – we don’t need just anybody to love: we need someone special. We need that someone to love who is also someone who will believe in us, and who we will believe in. After all, that’s what we all need to survive and thrive.

Beauty is found within

Narrator – Beauty and the Beast

It’s a tale as old as time: the oafish man and the gorgeous princess.

In the era of the hipster, however, this quote is a little outdated considering the newfound male grooming and manscaping regimes of the day. Nonetheless, most guys probably still feel this way in the face of a beautiful lady. Women are, quite simply, the fairer sex!

The timeless story and characters that audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the recent live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told… and with dancing candlesticks instead of swinging chandeliers to complete the fun.

Beauty and the Beast is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Sound familiar?

Despite her fears, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior, which gives her a window into the kind heart of the true Prince trapped within.

Sounds pretty much like an arranged marriage to me, but at least there is light at the end of her tunnel.

Narrator (in the 1991 version of the movie): “She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.”

Aaaaah, the sign of true love, so fear not, chaps, when you find that special person she (or he) will find the beauty within your beast. In the meantime, work on leaving the toilet seat down and up your game in terms of personal grooming and not farting in the presence of your beauty. Remember: you’re wanting her to see through your beast… so give her as much of a helping hand as you can!

But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances,

He had us all at ‘hello’

Renée Zellweger – Jerry Maguire

I admit it: I cry in sports movies. I tear up a tad even listening to the theme tune to Chariots of Fire. Sports movies? Pass the Kleenex.

Jerry Maguire is a sports movie with a tear-jerking, touchdown moment for Cuba Gooding Jr… but that’s not all. When Tom Cruise’s Jerry Maguire bursts into the house of his then-estranged wife Dorothy (the girl-next-door-with-extra-WOW Renée Zellweger) in the middle of a support group for single gals and grans, he lays it on the line. Exposes himself… reveals himself to Dorothy, the gaggle of gals… as well as to himself. He realizes… she realizes… and everyone in the room seems to fade from view as they fall into one another’s arms. Cue the spectacular Hollywood smooch.

And… Kleenex.

Jerry: Hello? Hello. I’m lookin’ for my wife. (Blah blah blah blah blah pitch blah blah rhubarb blah blah etc.) I’m not letting you get rid of me. How about that? (Blah blah blah blah blah)

I love you. You — complete me. And I just had —

Dorothy:  Shut up. Just shut up.

You had me at hello. You had me at hello.

If that scene doesn’t make you want to forgive and forget whatever’s gone wrong between you and your lover (with certain obvious exclusions), then you’re in need of professional help and guidance. Otherwise, say the damn words, kiss, stop sweating the small stuff… and let’s get the show on the road again.

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