Friday, July 19, 2013

Review of For Women Only/For Men Only

In June I was given two books to review for The Gabby Moms.  For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti Feldhahn.  As you can see from the titles, one is for men, and one is for women.  These books are designed to help men and women understand the workings and mentality of the opposite sex.  They are based on survey questions given to men (for the women's book), and to women (for the men's book), and interviews with men and women.  Also, the latest editions include "insights from the latest brain research" in men and women.

Unlike some of my fellow reviewers, I am not gushing with praise for these books.  For one thing, Shaunti's interviews and surveys for For Women Only were answered by men, all types of men.  Christian and non-Christian alike.  I think that is a huge flaw.  This type of statistical information is not something to base Christian women's understanding of men on, if you ask me.  Of course worldly men are going to be tempted to gaze at every "attractive" woman in their vicinity (there is a whole chapter devoted to explaining this).  But the Lord is refining, sanctifying Christian men.  While I know the temptations in our culture are great, I don't think putting this information out there that every man is looking and playing pictures back in his mind of women he's seen is helpful to women and will only make them paranoid and distrustful.  If a man has a problem with repeatedly lusting after other women, he is sinning, plain and simple and needs to get help and needs to get accountable.  Jesus called these lustful thoughts sin. Shaunti seems to dismiss wandering eyes too easily as an issue that men "can't help" because they are wired that way.

Here is one of the explanations from For Women Only :
"The first fact is that a whopping 98% of men put their response to an eye-catching woman in 'can't not notice' categories (only 2 percent were unaffected by a woman with a great body).  And the results were essentially the same among happily married and devoted Christian men--since they still had male brains."
Another thing I dislike about the books is that in the For Women Only book, women are given the responsibility to change so as to not step on the male ego, based only on these surveys and interviews with Christian and non-Christian men alike.  I do not believe we should be prompted to change based on the opinions of thousands of men unknown to us, who are not even all believers, but that we, as Christian women, should base our behavior and thought processes on the word of God and pleasing Him.  While we can possibly become more appealing and helpful to our husbands, we cannot change their hearts.  Only God can do that.  Yes, we, as wives, will need to change and grow sometimes, but I don't believe that change should be based merely on statistics that include a vast number of people with different values than we have.

That is not to say that there is no useful information in these books.  You may find it helpful to learn some things about men.  Men do thrive on respect and most have a need to provide (which is good).  But I do not believe all of the information applies to all men, and certainly not all Christian men.  If you decide to get the For Women Only book, I suggest you discuss it with your husband and see if it applies to him.  For Men Only does have some helpful insights for men, but again, I don't agree that everything applies to all women, especially Christian women.

I received these books in exchange for my honest review, which I hope I have portrayed here.

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