Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? Interview with Author Poppy Smith

HH_WhyCan'tHeBe.indd“Why can’t he be more like me?”

I’m sure many of us women have looked at our husbands at times and struggled with that question. Why does he do the things he does? Why can’t he think and act the way I do? In my interview with Poppy Smith in today’s blog, you will learn her answer to that bewildering question.  It’s clear to me that Poppy feels deeply about marriage and the importance of sharing what she’s learned with women grappling with this issue, for despite a very busy schedule, she graciously worked this interview with me in between edits of her newest book and flights in and out of the country for speaking engagements.

Poppy Smith is British, married to an American, and is an international speaker and multi-published author.  Her delightful sense of humor and honest practicality is evident in some of her book titles: I’m Too Young to Be This Old; and I’m Too Human to Be Like Jesus.  I believe you will be encouraged by the wisdom she has to share with you.  If you would like a FREE copy of the book, leave a comment at the end of the blog interview to enter the drawing.

Linda: Tell us why you wrote this book. Does it come from your personal struggles?

Poppy:  Marriage is difficult for many reasons and our culture’s message is, If you’re unhappy, move on. But God has another message, use your difficulties and differences to grow closer to Him and let Him change you.

I’m from England and met and married my American husband, Jim, when I lived and worked as a secretary in Kenya. Neither of us was in ministry. I was a young, immature Christian and Jim was a doctor with the Peace Corp. Six weeks after our wedding we came to America. I was 22, an immigrant without family or friends. Jim was the only person I knew and he was buried in his studies and work. Desperately lonely, I became very angry, questioning what I had done and where God was. I wanted to run back to Kenya or England, but knew that wasn’t what God wanted.

I was miserable for many years, but bit by bit God helped me. I learned to analyze where our problems were coming from, how to adjust my expectations, and how to accept life with someone who was my total opposite. As a speaker, author, and spiritual life-coach, I’ve found that through my difficult experiences I’m able to identify with and minister to both single and married women. I wrote, Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? to help women who are considering marriage, or baffled and upset by the man they married. It is full of practical tools and quizzes to help singles and couples understand themselves and why their relationship isn’t all they dreamed of and what they can do about it.

Linda: What do you think lies behind difficulties in marriage?

 Poppy:  There are many reasons. We have expectations that we’ve never been aware of, until we find them not being met.  Often we assume we have the same ways of looking at things, same values, same tastes, and same priorities.  We think our way of thinking and doing things is normal and wonder what the matter is with our spouse. My chapter, He’s Not My Clone, deals with many of these reasons.

 Linda: Do you think that a couple’s different upbringings can sometimes contribute to difficulties?poppy-smith

Poppy: Yes, even if you marry the boy next door, you still had different upbringings that can produce conflict. I expected my husband to lock the doors at night because my father did, Jim didn’t think about it because they never locked their home on the farm.  I tackle this common source of many disagreements in We Weren’t Raised in the Same Home. We can have different values, work ethics, ideas on raising children, handling conflict, money, communication and countless other issues because we were raised differently.

Linda: What about their different personalities and ways of processing information and events?

Poppy: Research shows that the brains of men and women are wired differently.  Understanding this fact can reduce a lot of conflict.  Understanding your personality type is also extremely helpful.  You might want to be involved in lots of events, but your spouse might prefer a quieter life. He might have high energy and want to be the life of the party, maybe he is loud or dominant. You might be the opposite, soft-spoken and preferring quiet.  Opposites often attract, but unless both partners learn to accept and respect one another, their differences can often lead to attacks.   There’s no perfect match of personalities that will ensure a happy marriage. In the end, every relationship is determined by how you treat each other. Appreciate your different strengths and focus on them.

Linda: You talk about men and women having some emotional needs in common, but they also have different needs.  Tell us more about that.

Poppy: Studies show that a primary need of women is affection.  For men, it is sexual intimacy.

Most of us feel loved when our husband spontaneously hugs and kisses us.  The majority of men, however, feel loved and accepted when their wife is sensitive to their sexual needs. Both want to feel loved, but it is perceived in different ways.  God made men with a legitimate sexual hunger that we are to respect as part of His design. Other human needs we have in common are attention, admiration, companionship, encouragement and domestic support.

Linda: Learning to communicate so you both hear what the other is saying is a key part of understanding each other.  What have you found most helpful?

Poppy: I took it for granted that my husband would know when I wanted attention and affection. That he’d know the sweet, soothing words I needed when I was upset. When this didn’t happen, I was hurt and wallowed in disappointment and negativity toward him.  I’ve learned that I need to adjust my expectations of him, because he just doesn’t think or respond as I would. He’s not bad, he’s a man. He’s not a woman and he’s not my clone.  I now explain my feelings and needs to him and ask for what I want at that moment. In addition, we’ve both learned to speak up when we feel hurt by the other. This enables us to apologize and grow closer as a couple.  

Linda: How can a couple find healthy ways to deal with conflict.

Poppy: I give many steps to defuse conflict in He Handles Conflict One Way, I Handle It Another. Four simple tips are: Learn to stop and ask yourself: what is this conflict about? Sometimes you’re reacting to different issues and don’t realize it.

Listen to each other’s reasoning and feelings without interrupting.

Decide what’s best for your relationship, not who is right.

Practice taking turns with who gets their preference.

Linda: Where can people find your book, Why Can’t He Be More Like Me?

Poppy:  You can order it anywhere books are sold. I’m delighted to send a signed copy if it’s ordered from my website: www.poppysmith.com  Your readers can find more at my website about my other books and the various topics I speak on—including marriage, domestic violence, the power of our words, and how to thrive no matter what.


To enter the drawing for a chance to win a FREE copy of Why Can’t He Be More Like Me?, leave a comment below.





  1. Shaun Ardemagni says:

    Thank you for sharing this interview. It sounds like this book is worthy and useful as a wedding gift to couples as they embark on a future that will expose their differences over time. I could have used such a book years ago.

    • Linda Rooks says:

      It really does help to understand the differences in the way men and women think and feel, Shaun. This is one of the things that helped me a lot when my husband and I were separated. I thought we felt the same way about things. It was a shock to find out that wasn’t true and one of the reasons for our problems.

  2. Barbara Klein says:

    This was really helpful to read; I hope to read the book soon! 🙂

  3. I would love to be able to understand men more. I was married and divorced and have not done well dating. Still praying one day………….God will still have someone for me and I want it to go well! (For both of us!)

    • Linda Rooks says:

      Pam, it really does make a big difference when we understand the difference between men and women. We really do think differently. We can be a really nice person, but because we don’t understand how a man feels about things, we can send him the wrong message, which ultimately causes problems.

  4. I want a free copy I believe this book could help me deal with my frustration and anger towards my husband better

    • Linda Rooks says:

      Oh, I’m sure it will. Understanding why men do some of the things they do that sometimes drive us crazy can lead to a lot more forgiveness and grace in the relationship as well as help us to make better choices.

  5. Yes, I would love to receive a free copy of your book. I’m personally trying to decide if we should divorce or not. I know that it is not God’s perfect will and is not fair to either of us in this season of life. We need all the help we can get.

    • Linda Rooks says:

      Donna, I will certainly enter your name in the drawing. Sometimes it’s difficult to see through the maze of problems and find a way out, but understanding things from the perspective of the other person (which sometimes means men/women issues) can really help. The most important thing though is to go deep into God and seek His perspective–which is the best perspective of all. God bless you.

  6. Karlyn Dagraedt says:

    I would love to read you this book!!! So much going on in our marriage and my husband’s life. I am believing in Him to restore and heal!

  7. Very good article. Something I wish I understood before my divorce. Something I’m trying to share with others before it’s too late. Thank you.

  8. Robyn Lawrence says:

    This was awesome to read through! My husband & I have been married 20 years and it certainly hasn’t all been easy. I wish I had known alot of this before I was married! But at least you learn along the way, and taking responsibility for your needs & asking your spouse for what you want really does help. They can’t read your mind. My husband & I have a communication book downstairs where we write encouraging messages etc to one another. I wanted him to write something to me the other day so I wrote in it & said I loved it when he wrote to me. And he wrote back, like I asked!

  9. Linda Rooks says:

    Congratulations, Karlyn! You are the winner of Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? I am sending you an email to congratulate you. Please respond and send me your mailing address so we can send you the book.

    Thanks to the rest of you for making your comments and entering the drawing. I pray God’s blessings on each of you. I will continue to have blog interviews each month, and often the author is willing to offer a free book. So stay tuned. More free books may be available soon. I hope you will each win one that blesses your life.

  10. So blessed by Poppy when I was able to sit in on one of her sessions last year. She is full of Godly wisdom which she freely shares. Her personality is fun, refreshing and full of hope! I have no doubt the book is a must read. I mentor so many gals struggling with these exact issues and think they are the only ones! Glad to be able to suggest this book! It’s on my bucket list of books to read to help other dear sisters.

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