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Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up Paperback – December 31, 2012
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“This is the marriage book we’ve been waiting for!”
—Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, bestselling author of The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly
“Required reading for anyone hoping to interact successfully with any other human.”
—Martha Beck, author of Leaving the Saints
"If you're asking the question, "But what do I DO?" this book is for you. Marriage Rules is wise, gripping, funny, sanity-saving and above all, useful. It's brimming with Lerner's warmth, sharp wit, remarkable clarity, and practical advice."
—Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. author of Driven to Distraction
"This book is an astonishing blend of down-home wisdom and clinical experience. I can't think of a better comprehensive guide to making marriage work for today's couples. Read it for your own relationship and give it to every newlywed you know."
—William J. Doherty, Ph.D., professor at the University of Minnesota and author of Take Back Your Marriage
"Don't be fooled by this book's simplicity: Lerner, a distinguished psychologist, offers a real-life roadmap for a healthy relationship. She is an outstanding guide, accompanying us on the hard moments of the journey while escorting us firmly in the direction of love and joy and wisdom."
—Pat Love, co-author of How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It
"Open this book anywhere and you'll find a rule that will rescue you from the swamps and quicksands of marriage and couplehood. What a beautiful, smart, witty and eminently helpful book!"
—Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D., author of After the Affair
About the Author
Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist whose many acclaimed books, including The Dance of Anger and the upcoming Why Won't You Apologize, have topped six million copies in combined sales. She is a dynamic, sought-after speaker who has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, and NPR, and she hosts The Dance of Connection blog on psychologytoday.com.
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Lerner’s rules are diverse, concrete and are sure to contain advice which applies to every reader looking to improve his or her relationship. The author gives the reader ideas about how to change his or her own behaviors in ways that will positively impact both partners. She gives specific examples of how to create a more loving and positive atmosphere by pointing out things many people do in relationships that cause tension and suggests alternatives, such as only criticizing once per day or telling your partner things you admire about him or her. She points out important aspects to maintaining successful relationships over time, which most people are not aware of, such as: marriage expert Goldman says a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions are necessary for a lasting marriage. The reader may feel like he or she is doing many things wrong, or that this might lead to a break up, but Lerner has suggestions for every situation.
The author gives advice for happy couples, those who don’t get along, or those on the verge of splitting up, which is a bit unsettling, but also means any reader can take ideas from a variety of examples and apply them for his or her own purposes. By showing couples at different stages,
Lerner, gives the reader a chance to reflect on his or her own relationship, roles within the relationship, and how it might change in the future. The reader wonders, for example, if he or she exhibits the problem behaviors that lead to divorce. In allowing the reader to consider different options, for failure and improvement, Lerner literally helps the reader make better choices for his or her relationship. Her rules support and empower decisions for the reader.
No one ever says marriage is easy. We know all relationships take work. Most partnerships don’t have a guidebook like this one, with straight-forward advice. If you’re ready, use it and welcome it. No matter what the circumstance of the reader, Marriage Rules is a start to making changes from within you’ll need to improve your life with another person.
The excitement wasn't because of any big breakthroughs, but because the book offers timeless reminders delivered in an engaging way and illustrated with good vignettes. For example, in Rule #43 in the "Fight Fair" section, she tells about a San Francisco-based couple that fought viciously over just about everything. They seemed to have no control over their attacks on each other -- until a distinguished British professor stayed as a house guest for months, sleeping in the bedroom right next to theirs. Over those months, they were courteous with each other and agreed it was among the best months of their marriage. The point: you have more control than you think.
Not every rule or vignette moved me (for example, her story about communication about sex in Rule #55 seemed a bit too obvious), but the general message in that section "Forget About Normal Sex" is spot on and relieves pressure that can only make things worse in the bedroom. So overall, well recommended, especially if you're looking for a book to keep by your bedside and read a rule or two or few at a time -- and then share the book with your partner.
Other books on marriage to consider: Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, 20th Anniversary Edition (helpful for looking at the deep underlying patterns that cause disfunction) and The Couple's Survival Workbook: What You Can Do To Reconnect With Your Partner and Make Your Marriage Work (especially helpful if you're really struggling).
Most recent customer reviews
I was looking forward to this book and I only though chapter one had rules but then I glance to the whole book and I was like...Read more