Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Review: Imperfect Mates, Perfect Marriage

Title: Imperfect Mates, Perfect Marriage

Author: Diane Hampton

Publisher: Whitaker House

Date: 1985

Length: 120 pages

Quote: “Begin to memorize fond moments and store precious treasures.”

In 1985 some people wanted the concepts of marriage and family life to have become obsolete, in a Brave New World of lonely nomads whose loyalty was to the state. People my age were being told that nobody really stayed with one mate for life, that previous generations got by without no-fault divorce because people died earlier. Nevertheless there were quite a few people out there who had made marriage work for twenty or thirty or fifty years. Every Christian publisher wanted to print a book of their advice. Imperfect Mates Perfect Marriage is one of those books.

Will it work for you? Probably some of this advice will work for you. Then again the ideas that work for you might be the ones you're already using.

“Men care about the tires on the car because they're concerned about the safety of the family.”

“When a man is very tired and very hungry, he is also likely to be very grouchy!”

“If the woman who made an effort to keep her house neat had been looking to the Lord for her reward and not her husband, she would not have been disappointed.”

“He showed no sympathy and little concern when I wasn't feeling well...Today, I enjoy excellent health.”

“Spending time with your husband is more important than the laundry.”

“It used to bother me to hear people in mental hospitals quote from the Bible with great accuracy...They always directed the verses at other people in a negative way.”

“Learn to desire your husband, to wish for, crave, and want him.”

Notice something missing...yes, this is another book about what wives can do, with little attention given to what husbands can do. Men, beware! Once women start thinking it's up to us to make ourselves feel loved and appreciated, we have no further use for men.

Diane Hampton is obviously a wife, who is best qualified to advise wives. So far, so good...but the one-sided quality of the advice to wives Christian publishers were printing in the 1980s was a leading reason why young women were rejecting the whole idea of Christian marriage at this period. I did eventually settle down, and I'm glad I did. But I'm also glad I settled down with a man who understood that if he wanted the kind of wife people like Hampton wrote about, he had to become the same kind of husband. A man can't just pick a church, walk in, pick an attractive woman, and take it for granted that she's going to encourage and support him in every way. He has to offer the kind of support and encouragement he wants. Not only that, he has to go first.

Women who've been happily married for a while are likely to read Imperfect Mates Perfect Marriage and feel validated, which is pleasant, but they're not the audience to whom I most enthusiastically recommend this book. I think the people who really need it are men. You guys want somebody to do this kind of thing for you, right? Well, then, you have to do it too, not even “back,” but first. When women say we want men to be leaders, this is the kind of leadership we have in mind. The only way anyone who is able to do a job, or even fit to bear children, is going to meet you in the door and wash and massage your feet after a long day at work, is if you do that for her first.

The biorhythm chart on page 96, all by itself, would have been worth the price of this skinny paperback book when it was new. However, in order to enjoy the full benefit of the biorhythm chart, men still need to read the text and ponder what Hampton describes as a “perfect marriage.” Yes, this is what millions of women want to give. It is also what we want to get back.

Diane Hampton is still alive and writing (diet books, these days), so Imperfect Mates Perfect Marriage is a Fair Trade Book. Although Hampton seems to preserve her privacy on the Internet, which is fine, if you pay $5 per book + $5 per package for shipping we'll take the time and money to send a real letter in care of her publishers so that she or a charity of her choice will receive $1. (If you buy eight copies of this small book, you send us $45 and we send Hampton or her charity $8.) Payment may be sent to either address at the bottom of the screen.