I received an ARC of The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married, by Iris Krasnow, a few months ago. I only just got around to reading it now, after clearing a few books off my TBR pile. I have to say I'm glad I read it.
While I'm not married, I can still appreciate the advice, and certainly the sentiments. I've been in a relationship with the same man for the last six years, and anyone who's been in a long term relationship knows that being with someone that long can feel like a marriage, even without the formality of it.
This book provides a variety of views on marriage, some happy, others, not so much. Of course there are all kinds of different marriages, some things may work for some couples, that may not work for others. For example, there is a couple in this book who are swingers. While many people would not be able to handle the thought of their spouse being with someone else, this couple seems to thrive on it, and it brings them closer together.
One of the greatest things I took away from this book was the advice on how to keep your marriage working well. These ideas deal a lot with independence and self reflection, which I feel are important life tools, not just important marriage tools.
First, have your own time and space. People who spend too much time together will get annoyed with each other. It's like those times when you have a friend stay over with you for a week in the summer as a kid. The first few days are great, but everyone gets on each others nerves eventually.
The second is to always explore your own passions. Don't let them be swept under the rug, or outdone by the activities of your spouse or children. When people have something they feel passionate about they feel better about themselves and can bring more the relationships in their lives. And added to that is the idea that one should always be exploring new things. Getting stuck in the same boring routine, can be hard on a person.
The third thing that I took away from this, is something that I want to work on myself. And that is to always continue to make new friends. It can be easy to stick with the same circle of friends, because they're familiar and safe. But if you stick with the familiar who knows what you could be missing out on?
This book, while mainly composed for women, by women, does offer some male perspective, which gives it a nice balance. If more men read books like these, they'd have some insight into women's thoughts and just might be able to make their marriages a little happier.
This would be a nice companion to a college course on marriages and families or a course in women's studies. It has enough statistics to be informative and enough personal stories not to make you want to fall asleep reading it.