The Manbook by Abi Apon Fasciano

When I was 15, I was introduced to an idea that genuinely changed my life. Some friends, older than myself, were journaling sweet, loving, and open conversations to their future husbands. I was immediately interested.

 I bought the cheapest and biggest journal I could find from Barnes & Noble. I bought a few stickers and wrote the most embarrassing, innocent, and mushy love letter anyone has ever read. Of course, I had no clue about love or marriage, and that first letter proved it! I filled the lined pages with my neatest handwriting and covered any blank space with stickers. Precious. My future first letters were not much better, quality-wise, but I had to start somewhere! My first letters mimicked what I’d seen in my friend’s notebooks, but it didn’t take me long to allow my own creativity to flow onto the pages. I called this journal my Manbook.

Manbooking became a life-saver for me by the time I got to college. I’ve always firmly believed that God knows who each person will marry, as opposed to the other popular idea that there might be several options that could be right. I’m not saying that I’m right, but it did help with my journaling.

Writing to my future husband, with only him in mind, kept my girlish obnoxiousness in control. He began to form in my mind, not physically, really, but in the understanding that he did exist and was hopefully waiting for me as well. I would write almost daily, putting hours of effort and thought into every word I wrote. Manbooking became a full-fledged, time-consuming art project for me! It was calming to think that my husband, that someone whom I hadn’t met, was “listening” to the very rawest part of my heart as I shared in detail my most private feelings and thoughts. I introduced manbooking to my roommates and best friends at college and we’d have manbooking nights where we decorated the pages and sat sprawled on the floor in silence, falling in love with the man God had for us.

Journaling to my husband brought me closer to the Lord, as well. I would pray for every detail of my future husband’s life: his heart, his relationships, his temptations, his purity, his everything. I began to experience an openness with the Lord I hadn’t felt before. Of course, I had prayed to God about things that were important to me, but I’m sure any woman would agree that her heart is the most precious and protected thing in her life. Baring it before the Lord and my manbook made me vulnerable and willing for the Lord to work in me and prepare me for this man I had waited for. 

I remember the night I met Nick, I wrote to my manbook, “I think I finally met you.” Nick allowed me to read his personal journal early in our relationship so I could know all about him. There were several times when my journal entries of prayers for my future husband lined up with Nick’s prayers for his future wife. I do not believe this was a coincidence!

It was so exciting to write “Nick” in the header the night we got engaged as opposed to my normal, “dear future husband” I was used to writing. I gave Nick the first of four volumes of the manbook on Valentine’s Day the year we got married. Honestly, he wasn’t as excited about it as I imagined, but that’s okay. But over time he has enjoyed reading through the hundreds of letters throughout our marriage. By then, I had found the man God had prepared for me, the man I had waited for. God is so good.

Here are some starting tips:

  1. Start small. Don’t try to write too much or say more than you really mean.
  2. Make a point to pray for your husband and don’t be afraid to ask for the things you may think are too “big” for God to handle, for example, his purity. Even in this world, God can use your prayers to protect your husband from the temptations bombarding him every day.
  3. Have fun! I loved going to Michael’s to pick out stickers and embellishments to make journaling more creative.
  4. Wait. Don’t put anybody’s name in the journal. You will know when God answers your prayers. It is tempting to have a man in your mind when you are writing but do your best to not get carried away with emotions. Try not to have “someone” in mind when writing. You never know what God can do in the time it takes to fill these pages!
  5. Worship. This time you spend journaling can be a very worshipful experience with the Lord. Invite Him into your heart and head as you fall in love again with the One who first stole your heart, Christ Jesus.

I recommend this type of journal for any teenage girl. It kept my focus in the right place as I anticipated meeting the man God would bring into my life to be my husband.