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Dating advice for traditional men and women
on January 28, 2003
I borrowed this book from my brother about four years ago. Four years later I have been married for three years and decided to finally read the book.
The basic idea of the book is that there are five stages to the dating process:
The rest of the book is a collection of insights on how to make relationships successful or how to recognize when it is time to end a relationship.
First, I must admit that being involved in a traditional relationship (I am a married heterosexual) the insights in the book seemed fairly relevant and well designed. But, this is also one of the problems I see with the book. The book is designed exclusively for traditional, heterosexual relationships. If you are not a man or a woman looking for someone of the opposite sex to marry, then this isn't the book for you. The ultimate goal, as defined in the book, is marriage. If you are not looking to get married, then this isn't the book for you.
The book is written from a very traditional perspective. With the increase in non-traditional relationships (homosexuality, bisexuality, cohabitation, etc.) this book could alienate a lot of people. Also, there are continual references to God throughout the book. These references often coincide with a concept the author calls 'soul mates'. There is a trend in American society away from the traditional view of God, specifically seeing God as an active force in people's lives. As a result, this book could also alienate those people that don't believe in God or don't feel that God is active in their lives. And the idea of soul mates (as Dr. Gray outlines it in the book it is the idea that there is one special person for you out there) is, in my humble opinion, very outdated. Perhaps Dr. Gray isn't arguing that there is only ONE person that you could marry, but he seems to think that there aren't very many - if there is more than one - and that they are hard to find.
Another major problem with this approach to relationships is that Dr. Gray presents relationships in a very functional sense. Let me explain... Instead of saying that perhaps the way people approached romantic relationships in the past (pre 1990) may not have been the best way to do it (men calling women, being responsible for everything that takes place, women being receptive rather than aggressive, etc.), Dr. Gray incorporates all of these things into his theory about how relationships and dating are supposed to work. He seems to argue that because these behaviors exist they must be necessary. This is a circular argument from which one cannot escape. They are necessary so they must exist. They exist because they are necessary. I would argue that the traditional dating patterns of bygone ages are outdated and anti-modal. Sure, he offers ideas and thoughts where men and women can change, but he also seems to be arguing that a lot of things should just plain stay the same. I disagree out right with this idea. We live in a different time.
I should also mention that the version I read is 370 pages long. It could have been condensed to about 150 pages and still covered everything he wanted to say adequately.
On the positive side, because I am in a heterosexual relationship, I did find some of Dr. Gray's insights helpful. However, the one's that I found applicable to my relationship I found by sifting through the broad, sweeping claims he makes about genders and in between comments about how God will help us find our partner and how we can find a soul mate; all of which I thought was worthless trash.
Overall, this book would be useful to someone that firmly believes in God, wants a traditional relationship with a woman, and believes that the old way of dating/courting is still the right way. If this describes you (it probably describes over 60% of the U.S. population, meaning Dr. Gray understands there is a market for this type of stuff) then this would be a good book. If you don't meet this criteria, look elsewhere.