on December 20, 2002
My husband gave me this book as a present on my 28th birthday. I have been married for 4 years and have a 3 year old son. Prior to meeting my husband and starting a family, I was an ivy-league graduate and on my way to medical school. I had never even lived on my own. I have been struggling with such classic issues, but before reading this book, I had felt so alone and never gave my feelings the credit they deserved. Nearly every emotional, intellectual and philosophical conflict I have experienced in the past 4 years were made so poignantly clear not only with each page but with each sentence. So much so, that for the first 50 pages I could barely stand to read more than one paragraph at a time. To the reviewer who felt that this book is a sure way to end a marriage, I would refer him to the subtitle: "the journey that brings you home," and point out that communication and honesty, respect for one another's fears and needs is not only encouraged, but essentially part of C. Jarvis' argument. Before reading this book I thought the only answer was divorce. This book is a beacon illuminating concepts that are so fundamental they are not only true but as essential as oxygen. For all of you women out there who are struggling with the reality of the fairy tale, Ms. Jarvis' book IS the hope at the bottom of Pandora's box.
on November 25, 2002
I think Cheryl Jarvis needs to get a grip on reality! What kind of wife wants to take a 3 month sabbatical from her husband and family to find herself? People like her need to wake up and remember the commitment she made to her husband and children! Life can be hard sometimes, and can take us all on a ride we don't like or in the wrong direction. Women like these need to realize that they have made other commitments now and have to stick with them! Her children come to her and ask her not to leave...... doesn't that right there give her the clue that maybe her dreams and goals have changed and being a wife/ mother is what she is now! This is why you see divorces at like 60% now because no one wants work at a marriage anymore, when it gets too hard they just pick up and leave! I don't like the message this book is giving and don't recommend it to anyone! You have problems with your life, talk it out with your husband. Don't read a book from a person who doesn't know the first thing about marriage! What ever happen to talking things out?
on September 28, 2001
The last half was well worth getting through the intellectual first half. I took a number of quotes from this book to keep for myself and to pass on to others who are still in the guilt phase of partaking in a retreat or sabbatical. This is a great book for anyone who is sturggling with the decision of whether they 'should' or 'shouldn't'. The author writes about so many pieces of other books by so many other famous writers that you feel like you've gotten the best of 10 books in one. Though more intelluctual than my favorite book on retreating, A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson, I highly recommend this to those that are in advanced thought of their own sabbatical or retreat. If there is a dream that you have wanted to fulfill for years, a place you have wanted to go or something you have wanted to do for a long time but haven't - this book could easily be your defining moment to go for it! And don't we all certainly need to do that at least once in our lives?! Thanks to this author for an awesome read that you'll want to own.
on April 13, 2001
I did not read the book, (but if it is anything like the show was today, I will rate it a 4) however, the author was on Oprah today, along with 4 other women, all who have taken sabbaticals.. There stories were really inspiring to say the least, and one story really rejuvanated me! I have always wanted to take a trip alone, and I have been married seven years, and I have a 20 year old son...I raised my son as a single parent for 14 of those 20 years, and I feel now that this is a good a time as any to escape on a life sabbatical.. Just taking a day off work and spending hours in a bookstore, enlightens me and recharges my spirit, so I really look forward to taking off for a weekend or week alone....I plan to buy her book or borrow it from the library, but to the gentleman who commented earlier about this book not being for Men...My husband is about to take a long weekend away on a rafting trip, and I reallly hope he uses this time to recharge himself, and spend reconnect with his spirit....He works two jobs and I know he feels the pressures everyday and he is just as deserving as I am to escape, so do yourself a favor, forget what the book doesn't say, and if going on marriage or life sabbatical is what you need to do, GO FOR IT!!
on March 9, 2001
with or without the detail of marriage, lives join and love bonds the interests, dreams, desires and hopes that people share with their partners, their families...or nobody at all.
in "the marriage sabbatical", cheryl jarvis' approach to re-introducing the idea of sabbaticals is amiable and sensitive to the expectations of society. both MEN and WOMEN are encouraged to consider what a marriage sabbatical suggests. obviously some people will not accept this permission for time apart, I happen to think that those are the people who may benefit most from taking a sabbatical.
whether your relationship is weakened and the sabbatical is sought in counsel, or if it is stronger than ever and the sabbatical is a reward...by taking time to rejuvenate yourself, and rest your intentions, you are allowing a return to your vows and to your partner and offering it a chance to prosper.
while marriage and life-partnerships essentially are "joined-forces", we are all individual people sharing bits and pieces of ourselves with other individuals doing the same.
i am not married, but i do have a partner with whom i dare to dream and his individuality is what fuels my continued striving to constantly re-become the person I am. The more time I spend alone, the closer I get to an understanding of why it feels so right to be with him and how to effectively (respectfully) share the space that we have created for each other, together.
I deeply recommend that both men and women consider reading "The Marriage Sabbatical"...like the real sabbatical - whether you are married or not, it offers a wealth of life.
cheryl..."Thank you" :)
on February 13, 2001
Jarvis has outdone herself with a tremendous first book that somehow manages to be gripping, heart-warming and informative all at once. This is a book that every married (and unmarried) woman should read.
In it, Jarvis recounts the adventures of herself and other women who embark on a daunting spiritual quest: taking "sabbaticals" from their marriage- i.e. their husbands and children- in order to do something they've always wanted, such as travel, take a class, hike a mountain trail, or even join the Peace Corps, as one woman did. Jarvis herself spent three months in the Pacific Northwest living at artist colonies. All of the women, Jarvis included, returned home to find their marriages not only still intact, but revitalized. In their cases, absence indeed made the heart grow fonder.
The idea of a marriage sabbatical is a bold one that challenges the norms of a cherished tradition, and Jarvis will inevitably receive criticism that women who take sabbaticals set themselves up for divorce, or at least open the door for their husband to have an affair. In response, Jarvis points out that husbands can just as easily have affairs even when they're sleeping in the same bed as their spouses every night. After all, men have been taking business trips and weekend fishing expeditions for decades; what is it about women doing the same thing that causes some people to squirm so uncomfortably? Just as husbands come home with a renewed vigor for their spouse, so do women. After learning to survive on their own, however briefly, many of Jarvis' case studies came home with a startling revelation: they're married because they choose to be, not because they have to be. In other words, marriage doesn't have to equal loss of freedom. I couldn't agree more.
To her credit, Jarvis is quick to point out that sabbaticals are not for everyone. Plenty of women work full-time and taking time off for personal growth is not an option; others raising small children will be reluctant to leave them. Moreover, if there are serious issues within a marriage, a sabbatical is more likely to highlight them than wipe them away. The decision to take a sabbatical is not to be taken lightly by any stretch, for which Jarvis breaks down the fears, concerns, and risks chapter-by-chapter, using dozens of personal accounts as well as allusions to everything from the Bible to Greek mythology. As an added bonus, Jarvis paints beautiful portraits of women throughout history who took marriage sabbaticals long before the term existed; their testimonies prove the issue is both current and timeless.
Although nonfiction, The Marriage Sabbatical is written with a literary flair that often feels more like a memoir than a how to. In the age of celebrity publishing and Harry Potter, it's refreshing to read a book that aspires to be a true work of art- and in my opinion nearly succeeds.
on September 10, 2001
I almost passed this book up at the library because, for some reason, I didn't like the title. Once I started reading the text, though, it was like my life was unfolding before me--right there on the pages as I turned them.
I think Cheryl Jarvis makes her point towards the end of her book when she says, "...I'm not advocating a one-size-fits-all solution [referring to a sabbatical from marriage]. I'm advocating a broadening of our ideas about what's possible in the marriage of the future" (p. 287). Certainly the roles (based on your sex) that both women and men have been boxed into by our society have not worked well for most of us. Both sexes have suffered a diminishment of potential; however, that diminishment has hit women harder than men. Jarvis shows through her own story and the stories of several other women how we can reclaim our power and become more effective people in the long run.
on April 7, 2001
After attempting to do what Jarvis recommends - taking a trip to to the other side of the world alone - but not having the courage to complete my journey, I found her book encouraging and honest.
I only wish I had read it BEFORE I left on my trip, only to return home after a severe case of fear got in the way.
It's nice to hear from someone else that my inner drive to follow a dream was not foolhardy or stupid; but one of the best things I could do for myself at 39.
Now, after reading her inspiring words, I am working up the courage to take a marriage sabbatical again. It may be the best thing I've ever done for myself - and my marriage. What great advice!
on June 13, 2002
Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you Sharon Jarvis. Until I found The Marriage Sabbatical sitting on a shelf of books at the checkout counter at my local library, I didn't know anyone else had ever even thought of doing what I was contemplating. From page one I saw my motivations, fears, guilt, mirrored back to me through the myriad of real life stories you share about your own and other women's (and their families', friend's and partner's) experiences. Once I completed the book, I searched for an address or some way to contact you to thank you, my gratitude overflowing.
on August 15, 2001
Follow the author's advice: Make a list of all your dreams and pursue them all: the time is now because there is never a perfect time anyway. This book validated all my feelings and thoughts. When you read it, you will feel invigorated, alive and grateful. Rest asure: Taking a sabbatical is not a threat to a marriage nor will motivate a husband to have an affair. As a practicing psychoterapist, I hear countless of personal stories and affairs take place in parking lots more often than on "vacation/sabbaticals"!