Tough Marriage: How to Make a Difficult Relationship Work by Paul A. Mickey with William Proctor (Morrow: $14.95); Men and Marriage: The Changing Role of Husbands by Elizabeth C. Mooney (Franklin Watts: $16.95).
Marriage has undergone a sociological change during the last 20 years, evolving into something new and often strange. Here are two books that take, respectively, a prescriptive and descriptive look at this altered institution.
A minister with extensive pastoral counseling experience, Paul Mickey in "Tough Marriage" makes the often-overlooked point that stable marriages make for a sound economic society. The present high divorce rate, which proves terribly costly in money and human dislocation, can be reversed, Mickey believes, if people adopt the attitude that when the going gets tough, the tough stay put.
In unadorned prose, he sets down his own "12 Commandments," based on psychological truisms and homespun common sense: Practice mutual respect and admiration, break bread together, leave the "comfortable nest" by asserting independence from parents and prepare for life's "pits as well as peaks." Mickey's advice won't strike a response in all readers, but some will find this a useful book of sermons by a sensitive and savvy preacher.