Top critical review
29 people found this helpful
on April 16, 2009
Some relationships in this book appeared healthy. For example, the guy who defied his mother by marrying his fiancé. He was quite young at the time, yet had the maturity to choose his own path, even if that meant upsetting his mother.
However, I questioned the healthiness of others. For example, one couple felt that without each other, they'd panic as if being sucked into a black hole. Feeling emotionally incomplete, they latched onto their partners hoping their partners would save them...kind of like a drowning victim clutching a floating device for dear life.
But a drowning and desperate person doesn't make a good partner. I've been on the receiving end of a relationship like this & it felt very suffocating. I eventually left this relationship and am glad I did. The author may view this type of relationship as good, but I saw it as suffocating.
The chapter that completely turned me off, though, was the one on infidelity. The author asked "good marriage" couples their views on infidelity. These couples said they'd be okay if their partner cheated as long as the affair was brief and resulted out of loneliness - like being apart due to a long business trip.
So, sneaking around, breaking mutually agreed upon vows, and lying to your partners face is okay as long as you invent a good enough excuse? That sounds desperate to me.
I believe good character should matter more than good excuses that disguise poor character.
Take one woman who cheated on her husband. When asked if she felt any remorse, the woman LAUGHED and replied, "Not at all."
When asked how the marriage was going at the time, she replied, "It was fine. But the moon was full, and my husband was 5,000 miles away."
Now, I've heard some pretty lame excuses for cheating...but blaming the moon?
I wonder how casually this woman would've reacted if, while she was away, her husband had an affair, too. After all, he was also 5,000 miles away. Would she find HIS infidelity funny enough to laugh about? More importantly, if he knew of her affair, would he find it funny? Would he still consider the marriage a good one?
In another example, a wife feeling depleted by her husband's breakdown and depression said, "I gave myself the present of a brief affair with a much younger man."
I wonder, though, if this generosity extended to her husband, too...allowing him to also seek out "presents" whenever he felt drained by his wife. I'm guessing like the previous example, this marriage was "good" based on how ignorant the husband was.
Both of these women, as well as other women in that chapter, spoke of committing adultery as a perfectly normal way to treat someone you love...but it's not normal or loving.
Trust is a precious gift someone can give you. Instead of handling that precious gift with care, they took advantage of it for their own selfish gain. If people can behave this selfishly and still be considered a "good marriage" couple, that's setting the bar pretty low.
On the bright side, the author does advise against cheating., however, I disagree with her reason. She says marriage involves sacrifice and one sacrifice is settling for a tamer sex life. Well, if you phrase monogamy like that, who in their right mind would choose it?
Monogamy doesn't have to be tame. On a surface level, you can add excitement with different positions and locales. On a deeper level, you add excitement by being vulnerable enough to trust your partner with your deepest desires.
So monogamy is as tame or as creative as the couple who makes it.
As a single person, I like reading self-help books that model healthy behavior for long-lasting relationships. Unfortunately, this book wasn't helpful.