Whom Not To Marry

July 7, 2010

Whom Not to Marry, by Father Pat Connor
Publisher: Hachette Australia. RRP: $29.99

After yet another celebrity divorce preoccupying the American media, Maureen Dowd devoted her New York Times column to an unusual expert and his tips on how to spot your ideal husband: 79-year-old Catholic priest and marriage counsellor, Father Pat Connor, who has spent 40 years counselling and lecturing (high school seniors, mostly girls) on ‘Whom Not to Marry’. Father Pat’s distilled advice was the most downloaded article from the NYT that week and his wisdom quickly went viral and global.

Father Pat then charmed America with his appearance on America’s Today Show. WHOM NOT TO MARRY, based on his popular lecture, is a welcome and wise collection of time-tested advice on how to avoid marrying Mr Wrong.

Some of Father Pat’s advice includes:

Never marry a man who has no friends.

Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, who never makes demands counter to yours.

It’s good to have a doormat in the home, but not if it’s your husband.

Is he overly attached to his mother and her mythical apron strings?

Does he have a sense of humour?

Take a good, unsentimental look at his family – you’ll learn a lot about him and his attitude towards women.

Ultimately, does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being – the willingness to forgive, to praise, to be courteous? Or is he inclined to be a fibber, to fits of rage, to be a control freak, to be envious of you, to be secretive?

Extract Wedding Bells or Warning Bells

I knew he wasn’t the guy for me when….
• He was rude to the waitress

• He called me Laurie (my name is Louise)

• He showed up for our second date wearing a ‘No Fat Chicks’ T shirt.

• He left our date early to visit an ex who was ‘having a hard time’.

• He never once said please or thank you.

• He flew off the handle at the guy in front of us at the movies (a simple shh would have worked just as well!)

• He told a racist joke.

SheSaid asked Father Pat a few relationship questions…

What is the most important ingredient for everlasting love?
A sense of committment. Remember my favourite definition of marriage: an open ended commitment to an unpredictable person…

What is your advice for those couples who find the ‘honeymoon is over’ not long after the wedding?
Go for counselling.

Can your book be used by men or do they need different advice to women?
Men can profit by it…I like the quote: men are at their worst with women, women are at their best with men.

You were watching a couple interact on a tennis court, is this the only time you found yourself secretly diagnosing peoples’ relationships?
No…at any given dinner party I notice all kinds of clues about a disintegrating partnership.

Do you think counselling is important after 3, 5, 10 or 20 years in a marriage?
Very important, partly to unearth hidden resentments, causes of exasperation and other buried red flags.

How do you put the love back into stressed love?
By counseling and by consulting the myriad books and programs that address the issue…particularly the subject of stress.

What book is next to your bed at the moment?
Hitch 22, a coruscating memoir.

Who is your favorite author?
Evelyn Waugh.

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