For Women Only/For Men Only

Ask Strings. I am the most conservative reviewer ever. Which is to say, chances are really good that whatever it is, I don’t like it. I’m a fun-killer. My response to controversy is “avoid.”

So, I was a little bit surprised that I liked For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti Feldhahn.  The books are pretty controversial. They are definitely not politically correct, but neither are they particularly biblical. They’re just important.

Wait, what?

The author originally was writing a novel and wanted to make sure to correctly portray the inner dialogue of her male characters, and so she asked a bunch of guys that she knew how they would react in specific situations. She was stunned by the results–so stunned that she went on to conduct a formal study on male thought patterns, which became For Women Only.

And therein lies the key: the study is scientifically done. The answers are statistically significant, though there is intentional bias; she specifically polled Christian males who are or have been married. While she does let her faith show in some of her solutions (and in the fact that she only polled Christian dudes), the stats are valid no matter what. This book isn’t “Is it right and good that males think this way?” It’s not “How do we help males think differently?”

It’s just a “This. This is what your man is probably thinking. This is how he would answer that trick question if he could be sure you wouldn’t throttle him.” What you do with that information is up to you, though she does provide tips for your consideration.

Similarly, after a time Feldhahn noticed there was a demand for a men’s version of the book. She and her husband went off polling Christian women, creating For Men Only, a little book that has the answers to those trick questions dudes wish they could ask their wives, but know perfectly well the answer they got wouldn’t be worth much.

It’s pretty good. I have a quibbles with the conclusions they draw from their data, but the data is RIGHT THERE, so you can, and should, draw your own conclusions as needed. I’d do the same with For Women Only, as well.

I’d recommend these books over some of the other marriage books on the market for that reason, actually. While I love some of those other books, they say the same things as these two, but the other books do it without providing much non-anecdotal support, either scientific or biblical.

These books aren’t going to change the face of feminism. That’s not their point. They are neither books about how men and women ought to feel about one another, nor are they books about how to make men and women change their thought patterns. They are books describing people as they are now, leaving the course of action up to the reader. And that’s why they are so important.

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Published in: on February 14, 2014 at 10:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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