Monday, August 22, 2011

8 Books That Could Save a Marriage

These 8 Books Could Save Your Marriage
Iris Krasnow

What does it take to stay married to one person, under one roof, for the rest of your life?

I was so interested in that question that I wrote a book attempting to answer it. Over the course of my research, I interviewed 200 women who had been married 15 years or more -- sometimes many, many more -- about how they sustain their relationship. Though these wives came from diverse backgrounds and described themselves in varying stages of marital joy or distress, the strategies they shared for going the matrimonial distance were strikingly similar:

-Have close women friends and men friends with whom to vent (and drink).
-Have a strong sense of self beyond your marriage. Longterm bliss is possible if each partner is blissful apart from the other.

Through their raw, real reflections, the women I spoke to helped me better navigate my own 23-year-old marriage, and I'm proud of the book that emerged from my interviews with them, 'The Secret Lives Of Wives.'

But I also appreciate what good company the book joins. I am continually inspired by the works of other authors who attempt to unravel the mystery of what love really is, and how to make it last.
Here are 8 books that have changed how we talk about marriage -- and could very likely change yours for the better:

By Stephanie Coontz

Coontz exposes the 1950s happy-housewife and the bygone traditional values we revere as illusory nostalgia. With astonishing research and sharp insights, she parts the curtain on the inequities that restrained the moms of the Boomers, revealing a picture that bears very little resemblance to the Ozzie and Harriet idyll. 

Takeaway: We are lucky to live in a time when the most successful marriages are those where the spouses are equals.

By Thomas Patrick Malone, M.D. and Patrick Thomas Malone, M.D. 

A father and son team of therapists has written a beautiful book on how to craft intimate relationships and surrender to the vulnerability that comes with love. Using case studies, the Malones take readers through the triumphs and fears that come with opening oneself fully to another. 

Takeaway: Intimacy takes hard work and artful attention to achieve.

By Diane Ackerman

What does it mean to love? We come to understand the answer to this elusive question as Ackerman walks us through history, starting in ancient times. Though she writes that "love is the great intangible" we realize that the heart of love, from "wolflike" passion to "the thick tangle of feelings" that it inevitably involves, is unchanged through the ages. 

Takeaway: To know true love is what every human lives for.

By Erich Fromm

The best part of this iconic book is that it stresses the importance to know-ing oneself in order to create an enduring love partnership. As Fromm writes, "If a person has not reached the level where he has a sense of identity ... he tends to idolize the loved person. In this process he loses himself in the loved one instead of finding himself." 

Takeaway: Mastering the art of loving requires that you first love yourself.

By Helen Fisher

Fisher, an anthropologist, answers centuries-old questions like why we love, why we stay and why we stray from a view that is biological, cultural and bracing. We learn that the infatuation stage of love, which we hope will last forever, is chemically impossible to sustain, and that the attachment stage that follows may not be as sexy, but that it's the real thing. 

Takeaway: Hot passion comes and goes; comfortable love lasts.

By Erica Jong

I was twenty when Erica Jong's steamer was flying through our college dorm, transfixing us with her erotic and breathtaking "zipless" adventures. The women's movement was surging, and so were our hormones as Jong wrote of being "possessed" by free love, taking many of us along with her on her wild ride. 

Takeaway: Remembering the confusion and heartbreak of the zipless revolution will make you newly appreciative of your trustworthy, aging marriage.

By Dr. Connell Cowan and Gail Parent

This book enlarges Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu's wisdom on mastering the art of war to mastering the art of winning at love. The authors give readers spiritual ammunition to achieve victory, not through brute force, but with intelligence and emotional fortitude. 

Takeaway: Love, like war, takes patience, stealth and tenacity.

Edited by Richard Whelan

This distillation of sixteen of Emerson's principal essays on the power of individualism show us what it takes not only to succeed in relationships, but also to succeed in life. On every page, Emerson, who wrote these pieces in the mid 1800s, reminds us of the timeless importance of humility, integrity and most of all self-reliance. 

Takeaway: Be true to yourself, and the relationships you form will be true to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment