A bestselling, groundbreaking author investigates successful long term marriages, interviewing wives and their uncensored strategies for staying married.
America's high divorce rate is well known. But little attention has been paid to the flip side: couples who creatively (sometimes clandestinely) manage to build marriages that are lasting longer than we ever thought possible. What's the secret? To find out, bestselling journalist Iris Krasnow interviewed more than 200 wives whose marriages have survived for 15 to 70 years. They are a diverse cast, yet they share one common and significant trait: They have made bold, sometimes secretive and shocking choices on how to keep their marital vows, "till death do us part," as Krasnow says, "without killing someone first."
In raw, candid, titillating stories, Krasnow's cast of wise women give voice to the truth about marriage and the importance of maintaining a strong sense of self apart from the relationship. Some spend summers separately from their partners. Some make time for wine with the girls. One septuagenarian has a recurring date with an old flame from high school. In every case, the marriage operates on many tracks, giving both spouses license to pursue the question "Who am I apart from my marriage?" Krasnow's goal is to give women permission to create their own marriages at any age. Marital bliss is possible, she says, if each partner is blissful apart from the other.
A fascinating window on the many faces of modern relationships, The Secret Lives of Wives brims with inspiring and daring examples of women who have it both ways: a committed marriage and personal adventures in uncharted territory. For anyone who wants to stay married and stay sane, this is the book to read!
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September 29, 2011
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Excerpt from The Secret Lives of Wives by Iris Krasnow
8 Tips on How to Stay Married Forever
*It's okay, even healthy, to have secrets. It's your relationship, not anyone else's, and there is no gold standard marriage. Everyone has issues, problems, and most importantly, their own secrets, so don't worry that your marriage isn't measuring up. No one knows what's really going on in a marriage except the two people in it. That gives each of us the freedom to write our own rules and keep our own secrets.
*You don't get it all it one place. Staying married takes bold creativity, a variety of sideline adventures. If you depend on one person in one house to sustain you until death do you part that's a ticket to divorce. A marriage that runs on multiple tracks makes for a happier wife who gets to have it both ways -- a committed marriage and adventures in uncharted territory.
*Resurrect childhood passions. Those hobbies and sports you loved to do, and excelled at, as a child bring raw primal energy and invigorated self-esteem. Take up surfing again, become a potter, get back on a horse, go back to school. Too often those hobbies of childhood get left behind as we sit on benches and watch our children race around playing fields and accrue academic kudos. Getting back out there yourself and re-engaging with the best of the old brings on a re-birth of youthful optimism and vigor.
*Hang out with outrageous girlfriends. The wives with the highest marital satisfaction have a tight circle of wild and warm women friends with whom to drink, travel and vent. With women in their early 90s comprising the fastest growing segment of the aging population, and many marriages lasting more than 50 years, we're going to need all the laughs and support we can get! Our girlfriends, ever-forgiving and always empathetic, provide the escape hatch from the inevitable storms and challenges that come with long marriages.
*Take Separate Vacations - or Separate Summers. You like to camp and your husband likes to golf? Spend a month in the Adirondacks while he goes with his buddies to Scottsdale or better yet, Scotland. After some weeks apart from each other, removed from the grind of ordinary life, marriage seems way hotter than the tepid state in which you left each other in. Couples who allow each other to grow separately are the ones with the best chance of growing together and staying together.
*Indulge in boy-best-friendships. Platonic friendships are a sexy pick-me-up without the complications of adultery. Women who love the company of men shouldn't have to eliminate male friends from their lives; these extra-marital males who always think we're smart and beautiful (because they don't live with us) are actually a relief for any smart husband. Benign boyfriends that offer manly insights and advice means less work for the man you are married to.
*Lower your expectations. It's a dangerous fantasy to think marriage really means happily-ever-after. Expecting perfection in a marriage or a mate is a fast ticket to divorce. This realization forces women in aging marriages to be urgent about creating their own purpose and passions outside of their relationships. Marital bliss is possible if each partner is blissful without the other.
*Be grateful. In between wifely gallivants and self-exploration, remember to love the guy you're with - kiss him hello and goodbye, and make time for conversation and intimacy, no matter how crammed your schedules are. Remember to thank the confident and flexible husband that allows you to have an independent and fulfilling life beyond your marriage. Don't try to win every fight; give in, surrender and say "I'm sorry" (even if you're not sorry one bit) instead of holding onto snarly anger that forms toxic wedges over time. Demonstrating ongoing vulnerability and compassion definitely makes spouses behave better. And the ability to bounce back from strife and arguments is the real secret that makes marriages last forever.