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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In 'The Three Marriages', author and poet, David Whyte says, "Most marriages are dynamic, moving frontiers, hardly recognizable to the participants themselves, moving frontiers that occupy edges of happiness and unhappiness all at the same time." (pg. 241). This is the kind of intelligent and useful insight one finds throughout Whyte's most recent book. What is unique about this statement, and many of the ideas developed in this work, is that you could apply this idea to any of the three marriages, the marriage to another, the marriage to one's work, and the marriage to oneself. I believe this is a unique and very helpful way to imagine the relationships in our lives. It is not a question of balance or choosing, but a question of seeing each of our 'marriages' as love affairs in their own right, with all the ups and downs one experiences in a love affair with another person. The way that he illustrates his ideas is not only through is own life experiences, but through the lives of great writers, spiritual teachers and ordinary brave people, such as Jane Austen, Dante, Emily Dickenson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Pema Chodran and JK Rowling to name a few. This makes for a lively, interesting and adventurous read. In the final chapter, "Not a Question of Balance: A Marriage of Marriages", he gives us some new ideas about how we can bring it all together. I won't spoil any secrets, but leave it to your own enjoyable read.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
David Whyte weaves the stories of Dante and Beatrice,Robert Louis Stevenson,Jane Austen and others to illustrate the interconnections of relationship with self, work and marriage. I used to think these worlds were separately spinning spheres but each is informed by the other with the relationship with self providing the clarity for the others. Whyte takes the idea of work life balance and turns it on its head to get us to someplace where we understand connection. It can be dense to read at times but he has done a great job of breaking the book up into chapters, sections and reviews at the end of chapters to capture the salient points.
I highly recommend the book to gain insight into personal relationships(I was wondering why I was stuck in a lousy job and a lousy relationship), to discuss as a work group or to discover with a loved one.It would also be a great book group discussion.
Also discover (or rediscover) how poetry can put into words these complexities, particulalry David Whyte's poetry which can be found in other of his books.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
David posits that we have three very important marriages in our lives: marriage to a partner, our marriage to our work, and that ultimate marriage we should be having with ourselves. He says these things are so closely tied to who we are, that we must look at all three. (probably OFTEN.) He also says we can't expect a perfect balance, and explains why that just doesn't work in the real world. (what a relief!)

I downloaded the audio version and listened to it twice. He addressed so many important areas, using wonderful stories and poems, that finally, after listening to it twice, I ordered a copy of the book so I could highlight all the good stuff I wanted to remember. I'm a happy camper.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This is a review of the CD audiobook version and has nothing to do with the content. Each of the CD's has something like a hundred tracks; each approximately 40 seconds long; some only 20 seconds. And the tracks aren't even divided in logical places; some end/begin mid-sentence! Whomever produced this audiobook did the worst job I've ever experienced and I have hundreds of audiobooks.

Most CD audiobooks are like music CD's - each track is in the five minute range and it's easy to find specific sections of the book by hitting the chapter forward/reverse buttons. It's even better on a computer where I can title each track to reflect the content of the track. I can't do that with this audiobook. There's way too many tracks and they're too short. I chose (and paid extra), for the CD version over the MP3 CD and the Audible versions so I could listen in my car without the hassle of making my own CD's.

I'd definitely recommend purchasing one of the other formats.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
David Whyte takes you on an in-depth journey to what you are really about and establishes the words to define how committed we can be to our work. I find I am a sponge just soaking up what he is laying out before the reader. Examine it, see what fits for you, how you define yourself for all 3 levels. I never thought of a marriage to "self", but that is part of our journey throughout our lives. The exploration and acceptable of ourselves does take a commitment - a marriage of sorts. Then there is the "self" that is defined by work, our careers, the companies we work for and colleagues we spend so much time with during the work day. We are always asked "what is it that you do"? at parties, the hairdresser, at a church meeting - every where! I feel I have made my marriage to work my own path. Yes, I followed the rules, but added in what I like to do to make things better, with my colleagues and being true to myself along the way. After 30 years of working, I find this book bring me to a new horizon. How can I re-commit myself to all three and how do I shape the years ahead for me and those I mentor? Enjoy the journey for we are always growing up!
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
David Whyte's The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship is insightful and useful. I'm struggling in a doctoral seminar with students who are overburdened, stressed-out, and occasionally melting down. I've recommended Whyte's Three Marriages to help them gain perspective on this everyperson's tri-focal balance challenge. Whyte's experience and his examples are really supportive of his argument. Overwhelmed professionals and doc students really need a catalytic reason to take a deep breath and reconsider life priorities and how they are so intricately interwoven. David Whyte's book helps. In addition he uses language like the poet he is and this not only guides his point home but guides it beautifully.
Leonard L. LaPointe, PhD
Francis Eppes Distinguished Professor of Communication Science & Disorders
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL USA 32306-1200
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2010
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
All through this tape, you feel the presence of a true poet who is sharing his poetic, painful, joyful, rich and the inseparable mundanity and magicality of his encounters with people, moments, sceneries, nature, words and in short Life.

David Whyte is a beautiful piece in the enigma of existence. His presence and the flow of this rich dimension of his beautiful inner world is rich enough that you can take this tape, or book, be in a small room, on top of a mountain, a crowded place, a hospital bed, in a train cabin, a small café, facing the ocean or....and be inspired endlessly.

His work is a gift. A gift that never stops giving,

May his work reach the searching souls who seek poetry, beauty, accepting, fighting, surviving, thriving and beyond.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Whyte, a poet, applies his poetic insights to the whole of life, seeing it as three marriages: to a special person, to one's work, to oneself. Rather than talking about balancing these parts of one's life, he sees each "marriage" as "a core conversation with life that seems necessary for almost all human beings," even if the conversation is carried on unconsciously. He uses the life examples of writers like Jane Austen, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling, and spiritual teacher Pema Chodron to illustrate his points. Here is a nugget for each of the three marriages: The marriage to another person is a place to discuss one another's three marriages. The marriage to work involves deciding what we want to bring about in the world. And silence of one kind or another is necessary to come to terms with the marriage to self. This book has some stunning stories and good resources for deepening your life.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The book gets off to a slow start and I had only moderate hopes for it. But it picks up speed and delves deeply into the significant "others" of our lives. Ironically, I found myself reading slowly and rereading sections to be sure I was giving adequate consideration to the ideas shared, and I bookmarked more than a dozen passages for further reflection. This is a book I plan to read again in a few months to see what I might have missed on the first pass.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audible Audio Edition
I've been a fan of David Whyte for quite a while now, since at least the late '90's when I really began to look at my place in the world and how I belonged (or didn't). A "corporate poet", he uses poetry, both his and others, to show how we should approach life, being bold and vulnerable, willing to fall and get hurt in order to grow.

In THE THREE MARRIAGES, he follows several poets, writers, and historical figures through their lives to show how they tackled life in regards to a work or vocation, relationships with friends and specifically a husband or wife, and the most intimate marriage of all, the one with ourselves. Instead of finding balance between the three, finding an equilibrium that keeps them separate, he suggests that they feed each other, blending to create a full, satisfying life, and that to diminish one for the sake of another actually diminishes both or all three.

I read the hardcover when it first came out, and found it a bit obtuse and hard to fathom. The audio book I found much easier to absorb, a chapter here and there read in Whyte's slight Welsh accent much clearer to understand what he is trying to say. There is very little poetry in this book, but plenty of philosophy and material to contemplate and consider, including more than a little Zen, but no matter your religious tradition this is a great book for trying to come to terms with how full your life can be if you pay attention to all aspects, and keep the conversation between the three marriages flowing and involved.
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