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Project: Happily Ever After: Saving Your Marriage When the Fairytale Falters Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 28, 2010
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“Project: Happily Ever After will get people talking about those aspects of marriage that most couples keep deep in the vault. With honesty and humor, Bowman writes about a journey of a marriage in recovery, and wraps it all up with the rarest of outcomes--a happy ending."
Ian Kerner, bestselling author of She Comes First and He Comes Next
"Sometimes realizing you are not alone—along with having a good laugh—helps you relax a bit and see an answer that was there all along. In Project: Happily Ever After, Alisa is just the confidante and comedian you need in the toughest of times."
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., nationally syndicated columnist, radio talk show host, and author of Emotional Fitness for Couples and Emotional Fitness for Intimacy
“Much more than a relationship book, Project: Happily Ever After is a true-life love story. Join other readers in the sometimes serious, sometimes silly ups-and-downs and rebuilding of a couple. The really good news here is that Alisa has given us a road map to do the same for our own relationships. It’s never too late to have a happy ending.”
Kiri Blakeley, writer for Forbes, contributor for ForbesWoman, and author Can’t Think Straight: A Memoir of Mixed-Up Love
“Alisa Bowman gets to the funny, painful, buoyantly optimistic, scathingly truthful core of what it’s like to be disenchanted with your husband and marriage—and then tells us, in pull-no-punches prose and narrative worthy of a thriller—what to do about it. If you’d rather kick your hubby than kiss him, rather kill him than coo at him, read this book now!"
“I adore this book, and heartily recommend it to anybody whose marriage has gone from a sweet fairy-tale to a disaster drama. Alisa Bowman has a delightfully funny and honest voice, and shows how she was able to turn her own marriage around with the help of a willing partner, a lot of self-help books, and raw determination.”
Jonathan Alpert, psychotherapist and advice columnist
“Alisa Bowman’s Project: Happily Ever After takes you from the depths of a marriage on the verge of collapse to a healthy and loving relationship. Alisa provides practical and powerful tips for taking control of your unhealthy relationship and making it happy again.”
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Like many women in similar circumstances she decides she needs to educate herself and orders marriage books from amazon. I could relate to this since this is exactly the way I saved my own marriage. To be quite honest it is easier to change yourself than to change your partner and a lot of women don't realize how their actions are damaging their relationship in a big way.
In Alisa's case, she comes across as someone who can't be pleased, feels taken advantage of and feels unappreciated. To make it worse she decides to have a baby, encourages her husband to start his own business and buys a house all basically at the same time. Is this not too much for any human to handle at once? The stress this produces sends her marriage into a tailspin.
What I found confusing about the book is how Alisa gets her husband to do things like start a business only to later say she felt like he made his work too important. The man did exactly what she wanted him to do and still she felt dissatisfied. I found that frustrating. Also it seems when she had a baby she didn't consider that her husband might not want children. Looking after a baby basically all on her own turns out to be quite the nightmare for her. She also goes through postpartum depression.
While the story is compelling most of the first part of the book is about her dating life before marriage, major marital problems and stories of being overwhelmed by having a new baby. It really isn't until page 113 that she starts discussing how she saves her marriage.
If I have any complaints about this book it is that it takes a lot of patience to read through the conflicts, nightmares and daily stresses. The truth is she is living in a very typical marriage. Through reading books she is able to fix things and to make passion, communication and intimacy top priorities.
Part of me thinks that this story has a happy ending because two selfish adults finally decided to grow up and found a way to rise above the fray. There is a lot to be said about two people who mature and who find solutions to impossible problems.
If you like reality shows then I think you will like this book. Alisa holds nothing back and reveals the reality of a marriage in deep trouble. But mostly I think Alisa changed herself through reading many marriage books and applying the knowledge immediately to her own marriage. What will be helpful about this book is all the book recommendations she gives. There is also a section that details ten steps to a happily ever after. Then there is a section on advice by her readers.
In the end, Alisa Bowman admits that marriage is an ever evolving miracle that needs constant care and attention. She explains that she still has fights with her husband but that they are not as damaging as before. Throughout the book you can see how the relationship progresses from infatuation to real committed love. In that there is some beauty.
~The Rebecca Review
I pretty much marched through the book. It's certainly entertaining, but often I would ask myself what I learned in the last few pages that would actually be useful, and would come up blank. However, I stopped reading it after reading Chapter 12, the happy ending description. I took me months to shake it off and finish the book--an exercise to make sure I heard everything she wanted to say.
In Chapter 12 she summarizes much of what she learned. For example, to speak up for herself and to "ask and ask and ask." She learned to tell him no (I want it my way). She explained how hard life is for a mother and that she deserves what she demands. For example, can you imagine that he was at a holiday party and did not leave and return home so he could, having anticipated the author needing help carrying in their daughter after a long drive, be there to assist. In discussing this with a male friend, he challenges her to which the conclusion is that she is complicated and her husband is clueless. Fortunately, "each fight shows me that he is willing to do whatever I want and need." Doesn't something sound wrong here?
Many times she describes being overwhelmed and ultimately it is the fault of her husband that he was not there to rescue her. "Some mothers could entertain a young child for an entire day without losing their minds or wearing themselves into exhaustion. I wasn't one of them." I just don't know where to go with this one. Many parents (both men and women) have had to deal with much more, not to mention more than one child. But let's say you are overwhelmed by caring for a child for a day, and unable to master any skills to help, and feel your spouse should just break off from work whenever you say enough, what's the lesson? You conclude with "It means that I love myself. I love her (daughter), but I love me more. That's not just normal. It's healthy."
Forgive me if I want to suggest that with children and with spouses, there are a lot of sacrifices to be made. Can we stop talking about your needs and start talking about how you might better fulfill the needs of others. Okay, I'll give you credit for your sex fantasies and waxing in trying to interest your husband, but then again, wasn't this done so you could have more sex?
Toward the end of Chapter 12 you talk about what you learned: "how to ask for what I need and how not to take no for an answer (when you demand it)". A bit further on, "I can't change who he is, but I can change how he acts," which is justified moments later by declaring her spouse to be clueless ("was and still is").
Alisa Bowman is very articulate and has read a lot. Her background in writing self-help books comes through loud and clear. There are a lot of good points sprinkled here and there, which is why I give it three stars. But there are times when it sounds like a "how to train your husband" manual.
In fact, I don't know if there were any really serious issues between her and her husband other than the normal challenges that face most everyone. If she was less self-centered and he, well he was probably an unbelievably flexible and trainable guy, there is no reason their marriage should have been in such trouble. Another reviewer wrote about the lack of discussion of "real" problems (e.g., abuse, addiction, mental health issues, etc.) and I agree with this person.
Finally, Ms. Bowman, you said (page 237) that you would cry big fat girly tears at every negative statement put in a review on Amazon. My experience in life is that the positives give you emotional energy to push on, but it is the negatives (constructive criticism) from which you learn and grow. So please don't cry, and good luck with your marriage.
Everyone who has been married, even for a year, deals with these normal annoyances "works too much" "works out too much" "doesn't talk to me enough" "sex drive is low", etc. To me, that's natural and normal and you have to learn to LOVE beyond those. Yes, if those are HUGE deals to you, then this book will help, but...
...if your marriage has struggled from pornography, adultery, extremism, addictions, violence, abuse, control [or other "real" problems] I think you will find this book to be not deep enough or helpful.
I appreciate her venerability and honestly, and maybe her 10 tips work for some, but holding hands in public more is a surface thing to me if deep down I don't love my husband because he lusts after other women on a daily basis.
I think the problem with our divorce rate in this country is that we see these "little" annoyances [hills] as mountains. People try to fix their marriage with 10 surface steps instead of digging deep, and even down on a spiritual level.
I'm not trying to be rude, but it's not very helpful to me. I wouldn't recommend it to a friend on the verge of divorce. However, I give it a 3 because possibly there are people out there that it would help.