Book Review | How to Marry the Man of Your Choice by Margaret Kent

how to marryThis book is strictly for women who want to be married now. It’s not for women who are holding on tight to the strict dating codes that they have been practicing for all of their lives. After all, if those practices were working, then these women would be married.

Margaret Kent offers a step-by-step plan for getting women from flirting to the alter, and covers many of the follies that women make in between, such as refusing to take the initiative (waiting for him to call), not smiling and speaking to people on the street (MANY of us are guilty of this), and simply being too picky (logically, this cuts down on the number of men available for you to marry). Kent points out that many women behave as if there are an infinite supply of men to choose from (the bus mentality – when one passes you by, there is a another one coming). The reality is that at there may not be another man coming. If this is the one you want, you have to make it happen.

What I liked about this book, however, is that Kent makes it clear that it needs to be the man of your choice. You don’t have to settle simply because you are ready to get married. You only have to work to convince the man that you want that he needs you. Kent provides a complete how-to, including what to do to keep your engagement from ending. For example, you should be willing to marry your mate with or without a wedding. If you want a wedding more than you want a marriage, then you just might get your wish.

Even though I may not be ready to be married, per se, this book also made me think about how I speak to and relate to people in general. The dating techniques that lead to marriage are closely intertwined with persuasion skills, and those are skills that can be transferred to other relationships besides just romantic ones.

Many reviews that I read on this book criticized Kent for encouraging women to give in to their men’s fantasies and desires. I don’t promote any type of promiscuity or doing anything to put your health, safety, or personal comfort in danger. However, if this is the man that you are about to marry, then you should have some level of trust. Kent also encourages living together first. Some people are bothered by this. However, almost all the twenty and thirty-somethings that I know who married, actually did live together first.

Like any dating book, you need to tweak the advice to be in line with your own personal moral code. You can read more about the author and how she nagged not one, but two husbands (her first husband passed) by picking the book up on Amazon, or checking out her site at www.margaretkent.net.

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Christian Book Review | The List by Sherri Lewis

the listOne of my latest reads was The List by Sherri Lewis. When I saw the title on the shelf, I quickly picked it up and purchased it. I have read two other titles by Sherri Lewis – Dance into Destiny and My Soul Cries Out. The title “The List” caught my attention because making a list of all the qualities one wants in a partner is something that is often suggested, especially by older women to younger women. “Do you know what you want in a man?” people often ask a young lady who says she is searching for a mate. After reading the back of this book, it seemed like I’d get some answers about what this list-making is all about! The bright yellow cover with the picture of a pretty black woman with a cute curly afro were simply adorable.

So, how was the book? Well, I certainly enjoyed reading it. Basically, the lead character, Michelle, is a divorced young woman who is focused on her career, but longing for companionship. She suffers from a terrible case of hormone surges that seemed to be slightly over-dramatized as she continued to have emotional outbursts throughout the book. While it isn’t uncommon for women to suffer from terrible hormone issues, this is something that it seems like she would have gotten under control sometime in the past, even if she was suffering from a disorder. Instead, popping a few St. John’s warts suddenly helps her regain control.

Anyhow, she and her close friends go through several highs and lows, including weekly meetings and trying out online dating services in their quests to find a soul mate. One of the best things about this book was the variety of the characters. Michelle and each of her friends are dealing with unique circumstances. One friend’s husband had died, another is a middle aged virgin, and one is newly reformed from living a life of sin.

If you’re struggling to find the right man, and trying to go about it in a Godly way, this book may give you the tools you need to do some self-reflection, to help you think about what you’re really looking for, and to focus your efforts in the name of God. It won’t, however, teach you how to “make a list.” The story does remind those who are searching for a soul mate to thinking deeply about what they are looking for.

However, if you’ve been searching for a very long time, you may find some parts of the cookie-cutter ending for Michelle and her virgin friend to be quite unrealistic -or, maybe you’ll find it to be hopeful. The author almost implies that if only you live a Godly life, have faith, and try, then a Godly man will fall into your lap. That’s simply not the case for many of us. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep hope alive. Just recently, a woman at my church who is over 40 found the man of her dreams. She’s been faithful to God and, even though a long time passed, in her words, “There’s hope for all of us.”

The author made many references to pop culture, natural living, and other popular themes. One reference that I didn’t like was that a light-skinned long-relaxed-head ex-wife in the book was characterized as an evil golddigger, while Michelle whose hair was natural and was a brown-skinned Bohemian beauty was somehow the ideal woman. Is this really a big deal? For me, I found that some of the references to natural hair and living threw me off from the message. Maybe you should read the book and decide for yourself…. Overall, it was a very entertaining book and I enjoyed reading it. Sherri Lewis remains at the top of my list of favorite Urban Christian Fiction Authors (along with Mimi Jefferson – Mimi, I’m eagerly awaiting your second novel!)

Ms. Lewis has an adorable website! Check it out at: http://www.sherrilewis.com/. You can read excerpts from all three of her novels, and connect with her on social networking sites.

Novel Review | Married Strangers by Dwan Abram

Married Strangers

Married Strangers is the first title that I’ve read by Dwan Abrams. I had high hopes for the book. I hear so many married people talking about how they feel like they no longer really know the person they are married to, as if they married a stranger. So, I was eager to jump into this book and find out what this “married strangers” business is all about.

Rayna is a newly wed who finds out that she barely knows her husband. He seems to have a jealous, possessive nature and he’s not very good in bed. On top of that, he’s white and she’s black. However, the interracial marriage theme is not prevalent in the book. It seemed strange to me that that author decided to make the man who was bad in bed white, but chose not to discuss the more material difficulties that may actually arise from an interracial marriage. I got the impression that the only reason why the author made him white was so that it would “make sense” that he was bad in bed. That part kind of threw me off.

Another character, Aja, is married to a man – this time, a black man – who is a great lover, but not great with finances and full of baby mama drama, or so it seems. Again, I was bored by the cliché – a black man who is good in bed, but not into the church, full of drama, and bad with finances. Okay…..and of course, Aja is the strong black woman who owns her own business, and is great with money. She’s had thoughts of sneaking around on her husband, which also seems strange because her husband was very loving. When they get into a heated fight and Aja ends up injured, she forgives her husband very quickly. Again, the author missed an opportunity to discuss domestic violence issues. Instead, Aja is more concerned about her husband’s baby mama than her own broken arm.

Lastly, there’s Shania. She is perfect and godly and her man is too. Shania lost her parents at a young age and her worries revolve around her baby sister. Her sister wants to drop out of college and, guess what….she’s dating a thug! You’ll have to read the book to find out more about how that turns out.

I really had high hopes for Married Strangers, but it didn’t hold my attention very well. I mainly finished reading it in order to review it for this blog. Like many other Urban Christian Fiction novels, problems were magically solved, and there were quite a few cliché moments. I really like a lot of the titles, but others could have used a lot more work before hitting the shelves. If you’re debating buying this book, I  would suggest that you try out a few other titles from this publisher first, then get back to this one when you get a chance. Maybe I’ll try Dwan Abram’s next title….

Married Strangers on Amazon.com

Book Review | Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey

steve-harveyThis has to be one of the hottest relationship books out right now for women!!! When I was in the salon a few weeks ago, I saw 3 women carrying it around and reading it under the hair dryer! Of course, I jumped on the bandwagon and purchased the hardback book for about $25 from Barnes and Noble (You can find it cheaper on Amazon.com).

Although it is a relatively short and easy read, I must say that it was worth every penny. Steve Harvey qualifies himself to write this book based on his experience as a divorced man, a happily remarried man, currently in a long term marriage, his work helping women with relationship problems via “Strawberry Letters” on his morning show, and all of his time dating, traveling, working, and observing people as a comedian. This book is different from a lot of relationship books, first, because he keeps the premise of the book simple. As a man, Steve recognized that men are simple creatures and that women can basically be in control by setting certain standards, communicating them from the start, and acting like ladies as we communicate with men. The Three P\’s (Profess, Protect, and Provide) are how Steve describes what men are motivated to do for the women that they love, and how they use the three P’s to communicate their love. A lot of the information consists of basic truths that many of us feel, but don\’t recognize. Ladies, if you’ve ever had that “something is wrong” feeling while in a relationship, this book will help you identify and clarify what he is thinking during different phases of your relationship.

If you are a man, you may benefit from this book as well. It might help you recognize why your communication with your woman is failing. This is definitely a good read, infused with comedic relief to soften the harsh blows of reality. After you reading this book, you may find a way to make things work….or let things go.

A recent criticism that I heard about the book is Steve’s advice on sex. He advises women to wait three months to have relations with a man – and only if he has met the standards that Steve lays out. A Christian writer criticized the book for going against Christian values and “okaying” pre-marital sex, while making references to finding a man that loves Jesus. However, when I read the book I felt that Steve was saying to wait at least 3 months, not that women had to wait only three months. In reality, three months may actually be a lot longer than many men and women date before becoming intimate.

If you are looking for a guide to help you better understand the differences between men and women in relationships, you should definitely check out this book. If you are looking for a Christian dating book or advice on how to remain celibate, you may want to pass on this read for a more traditional title; however, you’ll be missing out on a lot of practical dating advice from a pretty credible source.

If you found this review to be helpful, please leave a comment below.