The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married Paperback – Oct 2 2012
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"At first this book terrified me: another submission and sacrifice marriage manual for wives? Instead Iris Krasnow delivers astonishing candor, realistic compassion, and invaluable wisdom when it comes to how paradoxically infuriating and rewarding long-term marriages can be. The best book on marriage ever." — Leslie Morgan Steiner
“In this breathtaking book The Secret Lives of Wives, Iris Krasnow opens a window into the inner world of women whose unique courage and vision has enabled them to find relationship happiness over the long term. With wit and wisdom, she thoughtfully tells their stories and then fills the reader with brilliant ideas and concepts to apply to their own lives. This is as much of a men’s book as it was written by and for women.” — Dr. Bill Cloke
“Iris Krasnow has managed to demystify the workings of long-term marriages by confirming the mysterious uniqueness of each one. The secret, she finds, lies in the way two people negotiate their own personal amalgam of companionship and sex, compromise and disappointment, lust and tenderness, trust and lies. The challenge for the rest of us is to do the same.” — Suzanne Braun Levine
“She whips up a spirited, enlightening cocktail of comfort, support and grace. Fulfilling and well-structured.” — Kirkus Reviews
“One of Ten Titles to Pick Up Now. ‘Boyfriends with boundaries,’ separate summers, and other therapeutic strategies for maintaining wedded bliss over the long haul.” — O, The Oprah Magazine
About the Author
Iris Krasnow is the author of the New York Times bestseller Surrendering to Marriage, as well as Surrendering to Motherhood, Surrendering to Yourself, and I Am My Mother’s Daughter. She lives in Maryland with her husband and four sons.
Top Customer Reviews
This book was interesting and well written and I enjoyed it. However, I did not find in it what I had hoped to find. The majority of the women and men written about were in the professional class and highly educated. The wives whether contented or discontented could stay home and raise their childen and return to the work force not for money but for self determination. I did not find myself in this book, as I had hoped. It held no answers for the lives of myself and my friends. Read just for itself and not as a learning tool, it was good in a grass is always greener type of thing. KLS in Barrie, Ontario
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There is advice from experts, and the author and most of those that are interviewed and the views that marriage is better for all concerned. It is summed up, in many instances, "that you can have an extraordinary life within the framework of an ordinary, even mediocre, marriage." At least one knows in reading this that it is definitely not based on the fairy tale of happily ever after.
Strategies and secrets to keep a marriage going are given and reiterated in the many interviews that are contained in this writing. This can be a revelation to many who read it and a help to many. Some of the interviews can be shocking and eye opening. The basic theme is do not expect your husband to make you happy - it is within yourself.
There is little of the idea that friendship makes for a successful and happy marriage. There seems to be almost no evidence of husbands that help cook and clean... what a saint this rare find must be. It is an idea and solution that is not really brought up. It does seem at times that it rests all upon the woman's shoulders; but that is the concept that is reiterated time and time again that your happiness lies within yourself. It's a good solid idea and this is a book that shows the difference between self-exploration and self-absorption. The warnings are here - of women who now regret and utter that phrase,"if I knew then what I know now".
In total this can be a revelation and a teaching tool for yourself or others who are married or are even aiming in that direction. No matter what, it will make you think and have more of a feeling of what a marriage is and what it takes to keep one going through the years.
Throughout the book, we get glimpses into the author's own marriage and its ups and downs. Spoiler alert: Her husband even takes a trip to Israel, which she thinks is a business journey, and surprises her by converting to her religion of Judaism!
There is even a chapter on how women cope with the empty nest syndrome, one on what makes marriage last, and one on elderly women, many of who rediscover sex through vibrators!
I found the advice in this book very inspiring. Bottom line: don't rely on your husband for all your inspiration, excitement, or even finances. It underscores the idea that you have to have your own life and not have the Hollywood expectations of enduring romance, or fairy tale expectations of a prince rescuing you from a dreary life.
In our day of divorce this book brings a timely message: don't leave your man just because he's imperfect (with the exception of abuse) thinking the grass will be greener with a new man, unbruised by a relationship history. She explains that the "seven year itch" is really eight years, and if you can just stick it out, you will have the rewards that come with a long term marriage.
Susan Schenck, author of Beyond Broccoli, Creating a Biologically Balanced Diet When a Vegetarian Diet Doesn't Work
The Live Food Factor: The Comprehensive Guide to the Ultimate Diet for Body, Mind, Spirit & Planet
While some advice is not bad -- not expecting someone else to fulfill you, finding outside interests -- this book glorifies and glamorizes extremely selfish and destructive behavior -- the selfish cheaters and liars who, rather than "save the marriage" by cheating, merely keep the charade of a marriage going, presumably for their own financial benefit. Borderline cheating is also not okay, as it violates the part about honoring your spouse, and is conducted with secrecy. If you do anything that you wouldn't want your spouse knowing about, there's a good chance it is wrong. The suggestion of potentially destroying your spouse and your family for 'thrills', to 'find yourself' etc etc is bordering on sociopathic.
This is terrible advice, and this book is full of it. Here's better advice: Stop being selfish and egotistical, learn to both give and receive love, don't be afraid of true intimacy, and make sacrifices for the good of your family. If you aren't ready for that, you are better of single.
And many of the stories read like people who want to have both the comfort and financial stability of marriage to some sucker, and the thrills and ego-boosts of singlehood. This is called having your cake and eating it. Or, being a terrible human being.
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