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4.3 out of 5 stars
Happiness for Two: 75 Secrets for Finding More Joy Together
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Four and a half INTRIGUING Stars!! A very interesting, approachable self-help book with lots of solid advice! Author/lecturer/interior designer/philosopher Alexandra Stoddard's latest book, "Happiness for Two", 'ups the ante' from her last book, "You Are Your Choices" which dealt with advice on individual satisfaction in living "the good life". The book on "Happiness for Two" begins with a 3 sentence dedication to "Peter" that is so heartfelt, specific, and sincere that couples who are not able to currently write such a salutation to their own lover may want to dive into this book headfirst to find out what they've been missing. And as I stated in the review of her previous book, we men benefit from hearing the thoughts of a keen-thinking woman, happily-married for over 34 years, who has already dealt with complex interpersonal relations in her own life. BTW, Peter returns the compliments with his own note, which is entirely in keeping with Ms Stoddard's approach that couples should return compliments.

Ms Stoddard uses short topical essays, 75 of them this time. Will it work for everyone? Much of it should. She maintains "Happiness for two requires two sensitive, loving souls who understand their own potential for wholeness individually". That alone may exclude some people, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't give this book & counseling & their religion & whatever else, a chance to make them better as a couple. A wide range of topics are covered in the book. From "Treat Each Day As Though It Could Be Your Last" (seems so simple but do we do it?) to "Go On Vacations Alone, Together" (great idea!) to "Assume More Responsibility at Home" (can Alexandra really spackle and tile? I'm impressed!) to "....Spirituality" (somewhat of a disappointment) to "Kindness and Diplomacy...." (spot on) and finally "Your Happiness Is Up To You" (a great wrap-up of ideas with a startling concept about happiness based on Alexandra's research). Then there are Chapters 22, 32, 44, and 52 which are 'biggies' that I enthusiastically agree with, but I'll let the reader discover them on their own. I don't agree with everything in the book, but most of the time she is on target. Read it and then pass this book on to that special person in your life and remember YMMV (your mileage may vary). This book is highly informative and may generate some controversy. Highly Recommended. "Love & Live Happy", indeed. Four and a half INSPIRING Stars! (This review is based on a secure eBook digital download)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
I bought this gem last week at Anthropologie in New York. Building on the other reviews, let me add that Alexandra Stoddard introduces and ends each small essay with quotes from famous people. Some of her essays are about others and some about herself and her own marriage.

In #33 "Write Love Notes", Stoddard writes about the happy marriage of a couple Marion and William who were so inseparable that they never sent each other cards or letters. When Marion died suddenly, William had nothing that expressed her beloved feelings for him. In this story, the author begins with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and ends with Plato, connecting her bon mots into a larger legacy of historical wisdom.

In #25 "It Feels Good to Look Good", the author stresses the importance of couples dressing for themselves first -- I, too, always wear makeup to the grocery store -- but also for each other. When you look your best, you radiate confidence. She gets just a little sexy sharing the story of wearing beautiful robes at home and admitting that she likes Peter in boxer shorts.

Stoddard quotes Colette: "The sudden desire to look beautiful made her straighten her back. Beautiful for whom? Why for me, of course." We all know that when women, in particular, nurture ourselves a bit, all around us benefit.

Bottom line, Alexandra Stoddard asks us to live every breath of life with our partners as if it could be our last. All the special little gestures add up, so one day we don't say "if only I had told her . . . if only I had shown him how much . . . "
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My spouse and I bought this book at one of our favorite boutique style stores. We have an amazing relationship already, but we know there are always ways to make it even better, especially when we easily get caught up in the daily grind of work and raising our three kids. After we purchased it we decided to read a chapter or two each night to one another while curled up in bed.

The book is insightful and inspiring. Some chapters simply confirm what we already know and do, while others have helped us to express our thoughts to one another better. In it we can see our own strengths and weaknesses and how even the simpliest thing can have a profound effect on our relationship. It's already inspired us to do things to boost our happiness both individually and as a couple. Alone, together as Alexandra would say.

For those with children still at home, it's good to keep in perspective that the book is written by a woman with children who are already grown so the author's suggestions may seem a bit 'off' at times even if we still agree with what she has to say in general.

Overall, we enjoy the book, feel inspired, and it's an easy read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 20, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I wasn't so sure about this book just based on the review. My mind was changed when I received the book and read the first few "chapters". Each section is actually an idea for activities that you and your spouse can do together. The best part is that most of the ideas don't require money. Some are pretty simple and are ideas that seem common enough that you might think, "Why didn't I think of that?". Others are a bit more involved and require a bit of prep. So far, the one I and my spouse have tried turned our very well - so-so weekends have become much more than couch surfing. We've been inspired to come up with our own versions of the ideas in the book. If you have ever read the "5 Love Languages", this book is a good way to put into practice what that book teaches.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2009
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I've been searching for a book that can be revisited throughout the course of a healthy relationship, one we can both read as a couple to remind us of what we have and to help us stay the course of our loving committment to each other. AT LAST! I'VE FOUND IT. This book is excellent. Superbly written. Thank you for such a wonderful gift!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2008
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a great book for anyone looking to improve their relationship with their spouse/partner. I highly recommend it. I especially liked the first chapter on treasuring every moment. It will make you think how much your spouse means to you when you really realize they will die on you someday.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
"Happiness for two should be a daring adventure." ~ pg. 81

If you have been in a relationship for over ten years and are fairly happy then this book may serve as a reminder of all the things you are doing correctly. If on the other hand you find yourself in constant conflict with your lover than this book may have lots to offer.

The ideas in this book are very practical. Things like giving each other enough space and learning to cook together are easy to accomplish.

Within this book are 75 short essays dealing with each topic presented. Some of the topics include:

Assuming More Responsibility at Home
Criticize with Kindness
How to avoid Awkward Surprises
Explore Your Spirituality
Work Daily on Your Character (a list of 119 ideas is included)
It's Okay to Agree to Disagree
Write Love Notes
Establish Your Own Rituals and Traditions

Alexander Stoddard is totally in love with her husband Peter so expect her to talk a lot about him. If you are in relationship that isn't as "perfect" as theirs then it might make you cringe or feel jealous each time you read about it. On the other hand if you can be a little more open minded about the subject then you may find the book to be rather cozy.

In the end I think this book is mainly about being kind to your partner. Also, if you love collecting quotes this book is filled with many original ideas. You may also find Alexander's book recommendations to be of interest.

~The Rebecca Review
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book - one copy for me, one copy for my boyfriend - when we were going through a rough patch. Amazingly he's actually been reading through the chapters. I think it's a great thinking book - it makes you grateful for what you have.. some of the chapters deal more with marriages than relationships though.. and I was also looking for there to be a chapter on being laid off. Overall good though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Excellent book for helping to understand relationships, how to improve yourself & your relationships of all kinds.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I enjoy a great book that allows me to better myself and those I card most about. When purchasing this book I was truly looking for some aha movements, perhaps m maybe even some personal stories. All of th is lacking in this book. This book has some great quotes and interesting components to live by, but makes me feel like I will never be adequate enough to meet half of what the author is suggesting. I liked many of the rules to live by and lists provided within the boos, but missed the way to live happily together in the "real" world of kids, jobs and errands.
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