Last Tuesday, I went to the OMF Lit bookstore (it’s got a brand new building) in Boni Avenue corner EDSA to look for a copy of Dannah Gresh’s book on sexual purity before and during marriage entitled “And The Bride Wore White,” I have been told several months before that the book would be available by June at a price of three hundred fifty pesos, but the girl at the counter said that OMF didn’t have copies of the book yet. So, I just browsed through the books on bargain sale. I saw the book “The Art of Understanding Your Mate” by Cecil G. Osborne and didn’t really hesitate buying it since it was priced at only a hundred fifty pesos.
Coming home after that, I got caught in a heavy downpour so I again browsed through the second hand bookstore at Ever Gotesco Ortigas to avoid the flash floods. There I bought the books “Aftershock: What to do when leaders and others fail you” by Ted Kitchens (priced at Php 90.00) and “Discovering The Heart of A Man” by Ken Nair (priced at only Php 60.00). Summing up the costs, 150 + 90 + 60 is three hundred pesos. Hey, I was within my budget!
Osborne’s book (by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan) was published way back in 1970, some 36 six years ago! Back in 1970, bell bottom pants and long hair were the norm for men; the rock group Led Zeppelin ruled the airwaves; martial law had not yet been declared; and I was a second year high student in Rizal High School in Pasig. Those were the days, my friend! As the song went, “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun …”
Proof of the book’s antiquity was Osborne’s statistics on divorce in the USA found in page 9. Osborne says, “Yet ninety percent of Americans marry, and the divorce rate is less disturbing when we remember that only a small fraction are repeat divorces, that two out of three divorced persons remarry, and nine tenths of those remain married.” Well, 1970 was only a year after California enacted the first no-fault divorce law in the US and since then almost all the states have passed similar no-fault divorces. Needless to say, the divorce rate has zoomed and today is at a far greater rate than the statistics provided by Osborne.
(There is a controversy as to exactly what the divorce rate is in the US, with figures ranging from a low of 25% to a high of 50%. Here in the Philippines, it has been reported that some 400 annulment cases are filed every month all over the country, with presumably a lot more people simply splitting up without going through judicial proceedings because of the high legal costs. The DSWD has reported that in the CALABARZON area, some 40% of couples are merely living in. The percentage translates into some 90,000 couples. Either these couples are first timers who simply do not believe in legalizing their marriage, or they are previously married and because of the legal impediments, are now just living in with their present partners.)
Nair’s book, on the other hand, was published in 1986, or some 20 years ago. That year saw the first EDSA Revolution which ended the Marcos dictatorship. Nair narrates one incident where he asked a friend (a radio announcer) to air some special greetings he had for his wife and children. He narrates that one of his children wasn’t tuned in to the radio and so missed his heartwarming greetings.
Well, in 1986, people didn’t have any e-mail, SMS, Instant Messaging, and 3-G cellphones. You might remember that IBM had just introduced the personal computer in the early 1980’s and the operating system was MS-DOS version 2, I think. Windows was then just a gleam in Bill Gates’ eyes. My very first computer was a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A which had 28K memory. My journalism students from Rizal High School back in 1987 and I had to hook up that computer to a color television set to learn some BASIC programming. From time to time, the students had to manually fan the TV so it wouldn’t overheat. Those were the days, my friend!
I have been told by publishers and editors that books only have a lifetime of about five years or less, and after that, have to be rewritten in order to incorporate new information and research. But to my mild surprise, browsing through Osborne and Nair’s books, the things they said in their books seem to be up-to-date and quite relevant, even in 2006. As the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Or could it be that human nature being what it is, Osborne and Nair’s observations and conclusions remain substantially valid even up to this day. As Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
Probably the most interesting parts of Osborne’s book are the Ten Commandments for wives (Chapter 8) and for husbands (Chapter 9). Here are Osborne’s commandments for wives:
 Learn the real meaning of love.In case men have puffed up feelings and a smug attitude about themselves, Osborne follows up immediately with his Ten Commandments for men. Here they are:
 Give up your dreams of a “perfect marriage” and work toward a “good marriage.”
 Discover your husband’s personal, unique needs and try to meet them.
 Abandon all dependency upon your parents and all criticism of his relatives.
 Give praise and appreciation instead of seeking it.
 Surrender possessiveness and jealousy.
 Greet your husband with affection instead of complaints or demands.
 Abandon all hope of changing your husband through criticism or attack.
 Outgrow the princess syndrome.
 Pray for patience.
 Treat your wife with strength and gentleness.Except for Osborne’s constant use of the term “neurotic,” his book has, as you can see from the commandments above, a lot of valid things to say to husbands and wives today, despite having been written some 36 years ago. As the saying goes, it’s an oldie but it’s also a goodie.
 Give ample praise and reassurance.
 Define the areas of responsibility.
 Avoid criticism.
 Remember the importance of “little things.”
 Recognize her need for togetherness.
 Give her a sense of security.
 Recognize the validity of her moods.
 Cooperate with her in every effort to improve your marriage.
 Discover her particular, individual needs and try to meet them.
Nair, on the other hand, discusses certain facts about men throughout the twelve chapters of his book. These facts are:
 When it comes to being a truly Christian husband, most men honestly are not aware that there is a difference between their own ideals and those concepts set forth by God.You have probably heard the statement, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Nair’s observations about men are basically true, no matter what decade we may be talking about. His “facts” are repeated in some other form in recent books by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, Willard Harley Jr, Gary Chapman, and other experts in relationships and marriage. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun, the leopard can’t change his spot nor the Ethiopian his skin. Human nature (or men’s outlook and behaviors) have remained the same despite the advances in technology and the changes in society and culture.
 Blaming his wife, even for his own faults, is normal for the average man.
 Most men have an ungodly natural disposition towards women that is basically negative and suspicious.
 In most cases, men do not have the slightest idea how they are emotionally affecting their wives.
 Many men think they are very tolerant and should be commended for exercising so much patience in the face of their wives’ continuously trying and disagreeable natures.
 It is almost unheard of for men to naturally identify with the emotions of others.
 Men do not seem to know that God created women to enhance each man’s life.
 Most men think that survival is based only on protecting the body.
 A wife is usually much more in touch with her husband’s spirit than he is.
 Marriage relationships, directed by natural-to-human tendencies (without God’s direction) will naturally get worse.
Before you get the idea that Nair is into bashing his own gender, he also wrote a book entitled “Discovering The Heart of A Woman” where presumably he discusses the “facts” about women. Hey, I’d like to get my hands on this book! But it’s got to be priced at only fifty pesos or less. That’s all the money I have left from my original Php 350.00 I had last Tuesday. Hmm, let me see, what other second hand bookstores can I go to?