Will you have — is yours — the perfect marriage? Take the test!

June 10, 2009

Bobz Book Reviews

“PMAT: The Perfect Marriage Aptitude Test,”

by Mary T. Carty

Okay, I took the Perfect Marriage Aptitude Test.
I passed.

Good thing, after being married to the same beautiful blonde for 36 years!

According to my PMAT results I have an “ultimate response style,” which means I have “a willingness to collaborate, cooperate and compromise, as well as invest time and energy in taking positive actions that enhance the marriage.”

My prayer now is that that beautiful blonde I wed 36 years ago agrees!

Jesting aside, I hope Mary Carty and her publisher, Glitterati Incorporated, sell hundreds of thousands of this 144-page gem; marriages and the institution of marriage will be enhanced by what Carty teaches in her test.

As she points out, “There are no degree programs, internships, or required training for marriage,” and the quality of a marriage depends on “the choices couples make a on a daily, even minute-to-minute basis.”

Check your ‘response-ability’

Responses by both partners to those choices determine their “response-ability,” a phrase Carty uses as the focus for her Perfect Marriage Aptitude Test. There are 200 possible marriage situations and 600 multiple choice responses broken into eight themed areas. In taking the test you mark your answer on the supplied response sheet (read “scorecard”).

Add up your totals and you either join yours truly at the head of the class with an “Ultimate Response Style,” or find that your response style is either “competent,” “inconsistent” or “clueless.”

Often there is more than one good answer, and the scoring reflects that. There were only a few of the 200 questions in which I didn’t see a good answer in any of the three choices.

What the questions are doing, though, is teaching as you go, planting ideas for better ways to handle conflict, offering better approaches to those rubber-meets-the-road times that every married couple faces.

Why don’t we have any ice cubes?

What’s so good about the questions is that they are real-life situations.

I have to find out from Carty if she had a listening device in our kitchen during the mid-1970s when my spouse and I wrestled over who took the last of the ice and did not re-fill the ice cube trays!

And does every couple stress over attending the spouse’s company holiday party?

With a background in psychology and counseling, Carty frequently writes on marriage, parenting and relationships, and this book is intended to establish a dialogue between a bride and groom. But it’s also a useful toolkit for those already wed.
Carty echoes other marriage experts in noting, “Respect is the number one ingredient in a healthy relationship,” and, after the test portion, her book winds down with 28 pages of helpful material about communicating, collaborating, strategies to overcome roadblocks, and a number of useful lists that beg to be scissored out and taped to the refrigerator door.

I especially liked Carty’s A-B-Cs to keep life in perspective and the superb list of statements she advises readers review before taking the PMAT, including such simple-but-succinct thoughts as:
  • No two people think exactly alike.
  • You cannot read your partner’s mind.
  • Your partner cannot read your mind.
  • We are human and make mistakes.
  • It takes courage to forgive.
  • No one is perfect.
  • Love conquers fear.

Since acts, not just words, are so important, PMAT has a parting “gift list” of 100 ways to show active love. Some I thought were great, others not so much. Make use of the ones that make sense for you and your spouse.
And finally, answering the questions in the PMAT made me realize the difference between how I responded in these situations now — after 36 years of marriage — and how I actually ACTED when I faced some of them throughout the past 36 years. Needless to say, I didn’t always have the “ultimate response style.”– bz
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About Bob Zyskowski

Bob is the Client Products Manager for the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. A 42-year veteran of the Catholic Press, he is the former Associate Publisher of The Catholic Spirit. You can follow him on twitter or email him at zyskowskir@archspm.org.

View all posts by Bob Zyskowski
  • Antonia

    Thank you very much for your great review of PMAT. I should have taken Mary Carty's test before marrying my ex!