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5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great Hardcover – October 27, 2009

32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"For couples in search of a relationship roadmap, this invaluable guide could well make the difference between a marriage that fails versus one that succeeds."—Ian Kerner, Ph.D., sex therapist and author of She Comes First

"After 20 years of researching relationships and marriage, Dr. Terri Orbuch has put pen to paper to write 5 Simple Steps. I only want to know: What took her so long! She takes cutting-edge research from the halls of academia and applies it to the homes (and bedrooms) of married couples. She has produced a brilliant guide to marital happiness with humor, warmth and a personal touch that will inspire couples for years to come."—Scott Haltzman, M.D., clinical assistant professor, Brown University Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and author of The Secrets of Happy Families

"Here, in a practical and inspiring book, Dr. Terri Orbuch shares her considerable wisdom and insights with couples who want to transform their marriage into the partnership they always wanted. Dr. Orbuch blends scholarly research with clinical sensitivity to provide couples with specific guidelines for reinvigorating closeness and rekindling their marriage. There are simple but powerful suggestions here for couples to follow, to benefit them at every stage of their relationship."—Thomas Bradbury, Ph.D., professor and co-director, UCLA Relationship Institute

About the Author

In addition to her role as the project director of The Early Years of Marriage Project, Terri L. Orbuch, Ph.D., is research professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan and a professor at Oakland University. The host of the weekly “The Love Doctor®” radio show” on, she’s been a marriage therapist for more than twenty years. She lives in Michigan with her husband.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; 1 edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385342861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385342865
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By PGB on January 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Marriage doesn't have to be hard work! This is one of the first messages that popped out at me while reading Dr. Terri's fantastic new book on how to have a happy marriage. She sustains that hopeful, upbeat attitude throughout the book. If you're tired of the negative, tough-love relationship advisors from TV, you will love this book by one of America's most esteemed relationship researchers and marriage experts. I was impressed not just by the practical tips and senseible strategies, but by the fact that Dr. Terri bases all of her advice on findings from the landmark NIH-funded marriage study that's been ongoing for nearly 25 years. In other words, this is credible science backed up by years of researching and observing real married couples.

I had a recent experience where I shared some of Dr. Terri's marriage tips with my book group ladies. They were riveted. For example, they were as surprised as I was by the finding that men need more compliments and small shows of attention than women do. (That's because women get lots of attention from people other than their spouses--girlfriends, family, even casual acquaintances, so they don't need as much from their husbands.) Men, on the other hand, experience real distress if they don't get this from their wives, and it can lead to marital unhappiness. So, I said to the ladies, tell your man he looks sexy in his jeans, or that he smells great, or that you love the way he smiles. WATCH WHAT HAPPENS! Could it really be that simple to make your marriage great? All I can say is, try it. It's like an instant happiness potion. Who knew it took so little?

I also loved Dr. Terri's 10-Minute Rule (talk to your spouse every day for 10 minutes about anything other than the household, money, work, kids, or relationship).
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By John H. Harvey on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Orbuch's new book is filled with advice about concrete steps to take to enhance the quality of a marriage. Orbuch herself is a leader scholar of close relationships, being a university professor (Oakland University and University of Michigan), and having directed for over two decades the Early Years of Marriage Project begun in the 80s by the late Joe Veroff. She is a distinguished researcher, therapist, teacher, and national media personality (known as "The Love Doctor" on her syndicated radio show). So she knows this subject matter very well, and in this book presents her knowledge in an extremely lucid and compelling manner.

The book is made more credible by the judicious use of reports of relevant research (many of which are thoughtfully set off in boxes from the text). Central to the lessons taught in this book is that every little act counts in a marriage. The reader learns to be more aware and to appreciate the dynamics of closeness that are on display in almost every marital situation. The reader learns about the importance of routinized acts (such as a short getting to know your partner) each and every day. The book is a well-written,-edited read and is so engrossing and challenging (can all these marriages really be saved?) that it could be read in one evening.

Overall, what one comes away with from reading this book is the author's abiding hope, passion, and desire to understand the processes that affect long-term closeness in relationships. Orbuch strongly communicates these qualities and in so doing tells a number of interesting, instructive stories about persons whom she and her colleagues have interviewed, and even about events in her own marriage of almost twenty years. Early on, she notes her position that most marriages can be preserved and made better.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lance Peterson on March 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have had the pleasure of working with Dr. Orbuch on various projects (including my dissertation) and familiarizing myself with her data. She draws her conclusions from a rich data set, consisting of both qualitative and quantitative data. As one who personally knows her and her work and has extensively studied the subject of marriage, I can say without equivocation that she knows her stuff! Moreover, in this book she has a keen sense of knowing how to use humor, quotes that emphasize her points, and a writing style that is both simple and captivating. As someone who has both studied marriage and had a successful marriage 15 years running, I especially appreciated her point about the normality of romance fading in the early years of marriage. Our individualistic culture inundates us with messages about how marriage should be romantic and passionate all the time. If spouses accepted her wisdom in debunking this myth, I believe their marriages would have a far better chance of being successful.

Lance Peterson
Case Western Reserve University
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joanne E., Reger on February 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am a colleague of Terri Orbuch and I am so impressed at what she has done with this book. She has taken years of scholarly work and her own studies and compiled them into a book with sensible and encouraging advice for people interested in bettering their relationships.

This is a book for people who want to move their relationships in a positive direction based on a lot of careful thought and analysis by the author. Too often these types of relationship books are penned by people who have only their opinions to go on. This book based on more than opinion, and as a consequence, is more meaningful and valuable.

Terri has done what few academics can do - make their work approachable and applicable to all. I applaud her and encourage everyone to buy this book for all the relationships around them (not just the married ones).
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