How to Avoid Marrying A Jerk, by John Van Epp, PhD (Hardcover, 2006)|
Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This is one of those books people wish they would have read, but
didn't. In my case, I probably could have saved my ex-wife a lot of
grief if I'd had this book to give her so many years ago....
Many books provide a list of "10 foolproof steps" at the one extreme
(simplistic) or an exhausting checklist at the other. Van Epp takes a different
approach. He identifies six general techniques you can use to identify a
jerk before you make the mistake of marrying this person. He also
provides a tool, called the Relationship Attachment Model (RAM), which
has proven itself over many years of application. In fact, the RAM forms the
central concept behind applying the six techniques.
One of the problems with self-help books for singles seeking a mate
is you have to remain objective to be able to apply the tools, tips, and
techniques suggested in the book. Once a relationship is underway, doing
that is difficult or impossible. We either filter out negative
information and later think, "I shoulda seen that coming" or we ruin the
relationship by constantly judging and appraising the other person.
Epps takes these issues head on. First, the RAM allows you to pace
the progression of a relationship. Without going into much detail, I'll
just say Epps makes a compelling case for the sequence of know, trust,
rely, commit, touch that the RAM is based on. And rather than leave us with
a simplistic model, he explores its application for all stages of a
Second, Epps provides several case histories on the rose-colored
glasses problem that occurs when we proceed too rapidly with our
feelings. He identifies why this happens, and provides specific
guidelines on how to handle it. I like this much better than the
standard approach, which assumes this won't happen if only you will keep
your wits about you and stay objective. Most of the self-help dating
books fall short of being useful, simply because they don't address
reality--in particular, this problem.
Third, Epps addresses the other extreme. I've been a victim of
negative assumption, myself. I've said something from which the woman
has mistakenly assumed something negative that just isn't true. Epps
gives a very good example in a case history that perfectly illustrates
how this can happen and how off base the conclusions can be. Epps
doesn't say whether men or women are more prone to this kind of
Will this book assure you of finding the perfect mate? No, and the
author doesn't say it will. Will it help you avoid wasting time in a
relationship you shouldn't be in? Yes. And it will also help you avoid
carrying that relationship to a level it should not go to.
Here's another thought on this book. It isn't something the author
decided to do on a whim, and then cranked out so he could sell books at
his seminars. It took form over many years. In fact, if not for his
wife's prodding (in a non-jerk manner, of course), he might still be
working on it.
If you're single, this book can help you prevent
grief and heartache. If you're married and having problems, it can help
you get back on track.
A final note. Form is important, as it dictates readability.
Unfortunately, this book has plenty of grammar gaffes, misused words,
and composition errors. So sometimes, the reader has to work at
understanding what the author means. In some cases, the author's actual
words state something entirely different from what the context would indicate.
Still, this book is worth the occasional struggle through such gaffes.
I hope a properly edited future edition is in the works. The wisdom,
insight, and practical advice in this book are too important to be lost
due to these problems.