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The Marriage Book: A Must-Read

One of the best books I can recommend for all of you about-to-be wed couples is The Marriage Book: Centuries of Advice, Inspiration, and Cautionary Tales from Adam and Eve to Zoloft by Lisa Grunwald and Stephen Adler (Simon & Schuster, $35).
This 514-page tome, filled with fascinating comments, observations and advice about married life, will keep you thoroughly engaged. The authors have done extensive research and cite historians, politicians, philosophers, playwrights, celebrities and more on the state of matrimony. There are references to TV shows, movies and plays. Love letters from the famous and not-so famous are included, as well as beautiful illustrations and photographs. The chapters include categories such as Children, Fidelity, Friendship, Jealousy, Passion, Secrets and Sickness and Health. It is, in turn, enlightening, humorous and incredibly moving (read "A Miner’s Wife Letter, 1914," written after a mining accident in Whitehaven, England, page 96).
According to the authors — married since 1988 and “planning to stay that way” — one of the most important things they learned about marriage is, as stated by Lisa Grunwald, that “couples have faced so many of the same issues through time — fidelity, honesty, independence, fights, in-laws, keeping passion alive, or letting it go.” And, as Stephen Adler notes, “We also saw that marriages don’t fare well as love affairs when they become too routine, domesticated, comfortable…couples need to bring freshness, distance, even wildness to their relationships in order to remain lovers as well as friends.” But above all, the authors say, there has to be respect. “Marriage is a long conversation,” says Lisa. “And you have to be prepared to talk to one another for the rest of your life.”
One of my favorite sections is a 1939 “Marital Rating Scale” for husbands and wives listing “50 Demerits” and “50 Merits” for each. Check out some of the demerits for a wife. You’ll be grateful that you’re a 21st-century bride!
  • Fails to sew on buttons or darn socks regularly.
  • Wears red nail polish.
  • Squeezes toothpaste at the top.
  • Eats onions, radishes or garlic before a date or going to bed.
  • Is more than 15 pounds overweight.
  • Shoulder straps hang over arms or slip is uneven and shows.
  • Wears pajamas instead of nightgown.
  • Visits mother too often — a spoiled child.
  • Insists on driving the car when husband is along
  • Walks around the house in stocking feet.
(Well, I think I’ve earned just about every one of these demerits!)
Treat yourself to this fabulous new book and give The Marriage Book to friends or family members. It’s a keeper! Available at book stores nationwide and amazon.com.

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