How and Why Love Lasts
0urs is a culture of divorce, yet some couples have happy, long-lasting marriages. What is their secret? When so many marriages fail miserably, why do others succeed?
This remarkable book has the answers. Judith Wallerstein, coauthor of Second Chances, the landmark bestseller on divorce, now turns her attention to marriages that work. Based on a groundbreaking study of fifty couples who consider themselves happily married, The Good Marriage offers an entirely fresh vision of that most complex of human relationships. Wallerstein describes what she considers the four basic types of marriage: romantic, rescue, companionate, and traditional. She identifies the natural stages of a marriage and explains the nine psychological tasks- including separating from the family of origin and making a safe place for conflict-that must be undertaken by anyone committed to having a good marriage.
Wallerstein and coauthor Sandra Blakeslee introduce us to a number of couples who speak honestly and eloquently about the intimate interiors of their marriages. We meet Sara and Matt, whose passion for each other still burns strong many years after their first electrifying encounter; Helen and Keith, who discovered that marriage can heal the wounds of an unhappy childhood; Ellis and Janet, who each brought two children to their second marriage and made it work. Thanks to the astonishing candor of these couples, we learn a great deal about how partners in a good marriage overcome difficult obstacles, resolve the conflicts that come with parenting, and keep love alive despite the myriad pressures of modern life.
The men and women interviewed by Wallerstein readily admit that even the best relationship requires hard work and continuing negotiation. But they also convey an inspirational message, for almost all of them feel that their marriage is their single greatest accomplishment. The Good Marriage explains why, and its lively mix of storytelling and analysis will challenge every couple to think in a profoundly different way about the most important relationship in their lives.
The Good Marriage:
"With extraordinary skill and compassion Wallerstein and Blakeslee take us inside the lives of fifty American couples and find that a good marriage still provides the best framework for enduring love and intimacy."
- SYLVIA ANN HEWLETT
"This is a wonderfully readable and immensely valuable book, full of wise and original insights about the many, many roads to marital happiness."
- JUDITH VIORST
"The Good Marriage should be required reading for all who are interested in marriage - clergy who counsel those about to marry and the persons who are getting married; couples newly or long-time married; and clinical professionals who work with troubled marriages."
- W. WALTER MENNINGER
"This book's most important finding is that even those with unhappy childhoods from unhappy families can form good marriages. Full of richly evocative descriptions of enduring love relationships, The Good Marriage is ultimately about human resilience and generosity."
- NANCY J. CHODOROW
"With wisdom, humor and sympathetic understanding, Judith Wallerstein helps us recognize and rediscover the good marriage. In Second Chances, she brilliantly described the problem. With this important book, she shows us the solution."
- DAVID BLANKENHORN
"Miss Manners is scandalized to read about people who dare to defy modern convention by brazenly carrying on happy marriages. It is high time that they were made to explain themselves."
- JUDITH MARTIN
"Historically informative as well as profoundly wise psychologically, brides and bridegrooms of a new century."
- JOAN M. ERIKSON
"I have read The Good Marriage with real pleasure. All of us - parents especially - lead terribly stressful lives, and we are often dogged by the feeling that nothing works anymore. But this book should inspire people with the conviction that a good marriage can succeed. Bravo!"
- T. BERRY BRAZELTON