What It Means to Be a Good Husband in the 21st Century

Feb 9, 2015

Dowling's new book is part 'how-to' guide, but also part memoir.
Credit Blue Rider Press / penguin.com

If you’re not familiar with writer Tim Dowling, he’s someone to look up.

Dowling has written a very funny column for Britain’s Guardian newspaper for the better part of a decade, chronicling his domestic life as a stay-at-home husband. 

Dowling is American-born, but has lived in the UK for a quarter-century, and in this age where we can all read anything written anywhere, his column has fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Which is why his book, How to Be a Husband, published by Blue Rider Press, just came out in the U.S. in the last week.

Tim Dowling joined Lake Effect's Mitch Teich by phone from the UK to share his life as a husband, father, columnist and what it's like to live his life on the record.

You'll note the title doesn't read "How to Be a Good Husband."

"It sort of dawned on me that 'husband' was one of those sort of titles that you can't really take away from me (you know, I have all the paperwork and stuff). As many things as I've failed at masculinity-wise over the years, I have been married for 22 years. People look at a 22 year marriage and they think that there's some kind of trick to it. I suddenly thought at least I can explain how I got here, and maybe show people that there is no trick to it," Dowling said.

One key lesson: married people, you don't need to take your spouse out on Valentine's Day.  "You’re married.  It’s not even a holiday for you," he says. "You’ve got your anniversary now. Valentine’s Day is amateur night, and  you’re a professional.  My suggestion, basically, is to go out on the 13th.  Book a table on the 13th, and you’ll have the restaurant completely to yourselves."