There are at least one million copies of it in print, it’s been a best-seller in countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, and its author was Oprah Winfrey’s first guest when her Chicago talk show went national in 1986. First released in 1984, Margaret Kent’s How to Marry the Man of Your Choice , is a manual aimed at understanding men, finding love and leading your guy to the altar, but making him think it was his idea in the first place. The book provides quite a few laughs (intended and otherwise), and Kent says it has resulted in several walks down the isle. The revised and updated version was recently released in India. Edited excerpts from an interview:
Can you give us three tips that have worked for you on maintaining a marriage?
Maintaining a marriage is much easier than getting married. It’s worth the small effort to keep your husband content.
How to Marry the Man of Your Choice. Hachette India, 220 pages, Rs450.
• At least once a week, tell him that he is unique and special and that you are happy to be his wife.
• Sit and listen to him for 15 minutes daily, focusing on him as though he is the most important person in the world.
• Keep him sexually satisfied because the hungry man seeks a restaurant.
What has been the best anecdote from a woman who read the book and got her man?
My favourite story is the one where my husband and I were invited to a wedding because the three bridesmaids, the maid of honour and the bride had all married using the ideas in the book. The bride told me that by the time the book reached her hands, it was dog eared, underlined, highlighted—truly a ragged book!
Much of the advice in the book is simple good manners. Do people need to be told to call someone at convenient hours?
I’ve included manners because lack of good manners caused men to end relationships. One would hope that people would have been taught basic manners, but that’s not always the case. That’s true for both men and women. Bad manners have often been the cause for women ending relationships. The cardinal rule is criticize your potential spouse only in private, never in public.
Do men who have read the book find it offensive that you describe them as small boys, no matter what their age?
I find that men thoroughly enjoy the book. They’ll shake their heads in agreement as they read it. I find that women often doubt what I say and challenge me. I expect these challenges because if these women understood men, they wouldn’t need to read the book. The book is actually a manual on men, focused on the process of marriage.
I recommend wholeheartedly that the woman read the book with a man. I state that all men are small boys at heart, so ask men if they find it offensive! You’ll see that they’re not offended at all.
How do men decide this is the woman they want to marry?
Several factors influence the man’s decision to marry a woman. The woman must be acceptable physically. This is not at all difficult, for two reasons. First, women are 25% more attractive to men than women believe they are. Second, the standard for marriage is not to be beautiful but simply just not to be an embarrassment to be with. Don’t be concerned about your looks unless children cry, dogs bark and cars stop to look at you.
Next in importance is what his mother said to him, which typically was, “Ravi, some day a woman will come into your life and she will recognize that you are unique and special. This woman will make you very happy.” So, the man is waiting for some magic moment when the right woman will say to him, “Ravi, you are unique and special,” much as she is waiting for the mythical prince.
What, in your opinion, are the most common reasons for women rejecting men? Is it looks, money, being too nice or something else?
Women reject men because the men bore them. If a man puts her up on a pedestal and tells her that she is a flawless beauty, can say or do no wrong, the woman thinks the man is dumb, insecure or way beneath her. Men who are too nice often lose out to men who are not so nice.
In a marriage, if one had to choose between great companionship and great sex, which one should a woman choose?
Choosing between great sex and great companionship really depends on the person’s personal needs. Someone who has a high sexual appetite and needs sex every day cannot create a happy relationship with a mate if he or she is sexually starving. In fact, the definition of great companionship should factor in someone who meets your sexual needs.
You say a woman should be a bitch rather than a nag. Can you explain why?
A man expects certain criticism from a woman who loves him. After all, his mom loved him but often said things like, “You’re so smart, why didn’t you get 100% in math?” If you don’t criticize the man, he will consciously or unconsciously believe you don’t love him enough.
You must criticize like his mom did. Balance the praise and criticism and only criticize in private. One example is, “Ravi, you have such good taste in pants, why wear these old pants again?” Men like “bitchy” women because these women make them feel loved and also keep them out of boredom with the criticism. A nag criticizes all the time and never praises, thus, she loses out in attracting him.
Do you think men would run in the other direction if they spotted a copy of How to Marry the Man of Your Choice on their date’s bookshelf?
Men would be attracted to the woman who had a copy of the book, for several reasons. Remember, the male ego is enormous! He would want to be the man of her choice! He would feel she is choosing him, not victimizing him.