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The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts Hardcover – June 1, 1995


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin; First Edition edition (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899199690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899199696
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #306,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Inspired by the hope that the experience of satisfied husbands and wives might provide useful lessons to others, Wallerstein, a clinical psychologist and specialist on divorce, and Sandra Blakeslee, who writes frequently for The New York Times, interviewed 50 predominantly middle-class, northern California couples who had been married nine years or more and had at least one child. These strong marriages flourish, they argue, because every partner confronted a series of psychological tasks including separating emotionally from the family of childhood, carving out his or her autonomy and creating an environment where anger and conflict could be safely vented. The couples reveal their interior lives in rich, explicit detail.

From Publishers Weekly

Following Second Chances, her landmark 1989 study of the long-term effects of divorce, clinical psychologist Wallerstein considers what makes marriages work in this perceptive and revealing report. Writing with New York Times science reporter Blakeslee (who also coauthored Second Chances), Wallerstein interviewed 50 predominantly white, middle-class, northern California couples who had been married nine years or more and had at least one child. Their strong, stable marriages flourish, in her view, because every partner confronted a series of psychological tasks: separating emotionally from the family of childhood; carving out his or her autonomy; creating an environment where anger and conflict could be safely vented; and so forth. Identifying four types of marriages?romantic, rescue, compassionate, traditional?Wallerstein examines the hazards and potentials of each, concluding that a good marriage is a matrix for growth whereby each partner changes the other profoundly over the course of the union. Mingling case histories, advice and observation, this study should prove a lifesaver for many couples. 100,000 first printing; $150,000 promo; first serial to McCall's, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Cosmopolitan; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

It helps us to notice the good things in a marriage no matter how small.
Kimberly J. Butts
Focusing on what works to make marriage good vs. what causes one to fail offers proven practices for marriage success.
Frederick Tilley
The interviews and descriptions of the couples were informative and useful.
Michael Felberbaum

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Kelley Hunt on October 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I think the best thing I got out of this book was the notion that happy marriages are not the exclusive domain of people who had happy, carefree childhoods. Wallerstein's message that the love two people experience in a marriage can be a healing, transforming love was a very hopeful message for those who come from broken and/or abusive homes. I also thought the characteristics of a happy marriage were nicely elucidated by the stories of the real-life couples, their good times, trials and tribulations.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Brad4d VINE VOICE on November 19, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors bring a rather unusual perspective to the study of marriage -- rather than examining how it has failed or is failing, they examine how marriage can succeed. The book provides a commendable example of a study focusing on success instead of failure. The authors first define a successful marriage, then discuss nine principles common to any good marriage and use several couples as case studies to illustrate and personalize these principles. The book uses a rather small, homogenous, and politically incorrect sample -- nearly all couples were selected by the authors and were lily-white, heterosexual, reasonably honest and cheerful Americans. Of course, many ground-breaking and valid scientific studies have successfully used such small, homogenous and politically incorrect cohorts. The book is not a cross-cultural study, an historical analysis, or a "how-to" guide for "making marriage work," and those whose marriages are in trouble may not find this book much of a substitute for self-analysis or competent counseling.
Since history began, in nearly all societies, marriage has successfully survived despite never-ending pressures from those who have sought to abolish, revolutionize, over-idealize, or trivialize it. Marriage has proven flexible, durable, and critically important to individuals and to societies. Nevertheless, individuals and societies should frequently re-examine and re-explore marriage if they are to gain the most benefits from it -- marriage and success are verbs as well as nouns. Marriage and the family certainly need attentive examination today, since they remain under tremendous stresses from those who wish to change (or destroy) them and from forces causing them to fail at an increasing rate.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Happy Girl on September 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read 10-15 books relating to marriage preparation and making sure one is ready to pick and BE a good spouse. This was by far the best. The author reassured me that people who grew up with unhappy childhoods & unhappy parents have as good a chance at a happy marriage as others. It also made me aware of many issues these couples had that I had not considered. This book prompted me to think about what I want from my future husband as a type of marriage, as an emotional partner, as a parental partner etc. MUST READ! I also highly recommend "What you Need to know before you fall in Love" as a good gut check of what is normal in a relationship and what isn't, what areas you need to check on (do you have a meeting of the minds spiritually, financially, intellectually etc), and it has a great chapter on warning signs (are you dating this person to impress your boss, annoy your parents, or get revenge on an ex?). I highly recommend Harville Hendrix's Book "How to Find the Love you Want" for a more in depth look at how our childhood affects our need for love and influences our search for the source of that love.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 30, 1997
Format: Paperback
The authors of "The Good Marriage" have broken new ground.
Instead of offering criteria on how to identify a bad
marriage, Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee have
discovered through their pilot study the secrets of a good
marriage.

In this very well written book, the authors conclude there
are four types of marriages and nine tasks that must be
completed in order to have a good marriage. The reader is
allowed inside the couple's marriages as the authors
interview Matt and Sara, Helen and Keith, Fred and Marie
and others.

I began reading this book with much skeptiscm. I was
convinced these couples were deluding themselves - no
marriage can be truly good for any extended period of time.
But I was wrong, although each couple admitted bad times
in their marriages there remained enough romance to carry
them through.

I recommend this book to any adult who really wants to know
how a successful marriage can be a dream-come-true.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
When we came upon this book, both my husband and I were in the middle of painful, long, stretched-out divorces. We made the decision to read the book together, yet independently. It was one of the best decisions we ever made. The insights gained from these pages literally pulled us through some very trying times. We both absolutely loved it! Judith Wallerstein is a wise, compassionate woman. After reading the book, both my husband and I understood (too late, unfortunately) why our first marriages hadn't worked out. Neither one of our marriages had the romantic component.
We've been together now for 6 years, and ours is definitely the "romance" marriage. What a difference! This is our second marriage for both of us, but we are determined to succeed this time. So far, excellent! We highly recommend this book to anyone considering marriage. It is important for any young couple to become aware of the consequences of not properly separating from their family of origin. A couple needs to form a new family unit without undue interference from parents.
We feel that what the book shows best is that the success of a couple's relationship has more to do with how strong a "we" they form than any other factor. Neither my husband nor I had a strong "we" in our first marriage. We also both had lousy sex lives. It was reassuring to realize that other happy couples felt that sex within a loving marital relationship is the best sex there is. We agree.
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