Most helpful critical review
54 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2000
I work as a divorce mediator. I have never taken a class in MBTI, nor am I a therapist. I have read all of the other books by these authors, and have loved them. So much so, that I bought 5 copies of NURTURE BY NATURE to give to teachers, family members and friends.
But I was disappointed with this book. It appears to skirt the underlying issues, that the Quenks are brave enough to address head on in their book TRUE LOVE: FINDING THE SOUL IN LOVE RELATIONSHIPS; as John Keirsey also attacks in his book PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME II.
I also believe that they rushed this book to print without doing a thorough job of researching their topic from the perspective of others in the field. They mention both the Quenks and Kiersey, but not these authors latest books in their bibliography.
Furthermore, in their first book, DO WHAT YOU ARE, they state that an ISTJ parent with an ENFP child is one of the worst combinations. Yet as a couple, they give a list of do's & don'ts that I could never see an ISTJ partner doing. Avoid making judgements? Like asking a cat not to chase mice. Why can't the ENFP develop a thicker skin? Again, you might as well teach a pig to sing.
From my experience mediating divorces, I feel that the recommendations the authors recommend are superficial bandaids, focusing on behaviors, instead of a humanistic transformative approach. I may be able to get any personality to go through the motions of any particular behavior, but instilling the desire is another question. How do you get an ESTP to enjoy and desire and pursue an emotionally deep relationship? How do you get an ISFJ to love being flexible and living on the edge and taking risks? How do you get an ENFJ to enjoy never being emotionally intimate with their ESTP. The authors seem to think that we are robots that if we go through the motions, and act interested the marriages will work. They are confusing social skills with emotional skills.
For if you read John Keirsey, SPs love their freedom, and NF's desire emotional intimacy depth, the very thing that SPs try to avoid. These are mutually exclusive goals, as each struggles in opposite directions. One of the recommendations for an ESTP & an ENFJ: the ENFJ should do more activities with the ESTP. The Quenks point out that this is exactly what an ESTP wants to avoid (look under the Mercurial Lover). An ESTP in their search for freedom wants a variety of casual friends, and expects that their mate will have many separate friens too. So the best that an ENFJ can learn to do is find romantic connection elsewhere (an affair?), accept being lonely, or look for someone else. The best that an ESTP can expect is feeling smothered and tied down, living in denial about a lonely depressed spouse (everything's ok, he's alway morose), or look elsewhere.
And another trait they skirted, which I have seen in action is when one spouse intimidates another. As Judith Viorst says in her book, NECESSARY LOSSES, .."One person without any hostility, aggression or intent to hurt-- merely through the xpression of is existence--may be damaging for another." (pg. 204) I tend to see this between INFJ's who scare ESTJs or ESTPs; ISFJs who stress ENFJs, and ENFPs who throw off INFJs -- all through no fault of their own. Although these are merely my own observations, and I'll be the first to admit are anecdotal, there is another book CRAZY TIME: SURVIVING DIVORCE AND BUILDING A NEW LIFE that describe that most marriages have a "kisser" and "kissee" who accomodates them (by Abigail Trafford).
And so it is with disappointment that I read this book, and was very frustrated. I still want to know WHY people marry not bad people, just the wrong people.