I suspect that your experience with the cookbooks has more to do with where you are in your development as a cook than with the cookbooks themselves. Keep cooking and tasting analytically and your food will improve.
Your husbands desire for simple food is not at all at odds with your desire to make the best food. When you have quality ingredients, the simplest cooking methods and seasoning are often the best way to highlight the food.
If you were to do a search on cooking steak here, you'd find lots of threads. Most of them treat steak very simply with salt and pepper and high heat.
For a change from cookbooks, read Ruhlman's The Making of a Chef. It's about his time as a journalist taking the first year courses at the Culinary Institute of America. What I remember best from the book is a discussion among the students towards the end of the book. They're talking about what most impresses them about food and cooking that they've learned. Lots of subtle nuance that can't come from a cookbook but only by experience.