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Save Your Own Marriage from the Brink of Divorce!
on September 20, 2001
Think of this book as emergency room training for marriages that are about to collapse. Unlike other books on relationships, this one focuses on what to do after you spouse has moved out, taken up with someone else, or has said that she or he wants a divorce. What do you do now?
Michele Weiner Davis appears to have written this book to correct some misimpressions she left in her book, Divorce Busting (which I have not read). Here, she makes it clear that you can be your own marriage counselor, and you can succeed even if your spouse won't agree to work on the marriage. Based on her experiences as a marriage counselor, Ms. Davis feels that almost any marriage has the potential to be saved. She also points out that divorce is no bed of roses. The statistics back her up. Most people are happier, healthier, and wealthier in marriages than divorced. Children obviously do better.
Unfortunately, many friends, family, counselors, and the media encourage divorce as a way to reduce the near-term pain . . . while creating more long-term pain. Did you know that 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce? Some people don't learn is the lesson.
Only you know whether you want to save your marriage or not. This book will help you make that decision.
Ms. Davis encourages you to save your marriage unless your spouse is a chronic source of physical abuse, substance abuse, or unfaithfulness and your spouse refuses to change in any one of these areas. The end of the book has several chapters for dealing with very severe problems like infidelity ("most marriages do survive infidelity"), a depressed spouse, the classic male mid-life crisis, and having sexual passion cool to the disappearing point.
The center piece of the book is a process for going from where you are miserable, defeated, and don't know what to do to the point where you are taking action and have created a chance to mend the problem. Did you know that most people have felt miserable enough to get divorced for 6 years before they announce their intention to solve the problem or leave the marriage?
Obviously, not every marriage can be saved . . . even if one of the partners wants to do so. But these methods will help improve the odds.
Many of the concepts in the book are similar to those in Dr. Phil McGraw's excellent book, Relationship Rescue. Perhaps this book could have been called Retrieving Your Marriage after It Seems Gone.
You are encouraged to look at your marriage and relationship from a new perspective. What's going on? What do you really want? Have you told your spouse? Stop doing things that don't work or make the situation worse! Do more of what does work. Experiment. Build on positive success.
Each section is filled with case histories, including Ms. Davis's own life and experiences. Some of them are really hilarious. One couple agreed that they would change the rules about fighting. They could only do so with their clothes off. This kept them from fighting in public and in front of the children. When the husband starting taking his clothes off, the wife started laughing and soon the fight was over. Whenever another fight would begin, the memory of that episode would bring them both to laughter rather than more anger.
The key point of the book is that you have to work on yourself. Changing you will elicit an improved response from your spouse. The book is full of examples of spouses who came back to the marriage when the behavior that was driving them crazy abated or stopped.
Having been divorced, I found the book to be honest and realistic. I certainly did not know what to do to solve the problems in that marriage. Having remarried, I certainly intend to apply the lessons of The Divorce Remedy to make my marriage a better one!
I recommend this book to couples who are getting ready to marry. The section on the marriage map will be very valuable for describing what one can expect from a successful marriage. I also recommend Relationship Rescue for those whose marriages need mending, but have not yet broken down. If you are looking for a divorce lawyer, pick up, read, and apply this book!
May your marriage meet all of your goals . . . and those of your spouse! Remember to recognize what you cannot change, and be accepting where it isn't really important!