Although marriage is for grown-ups, very few of us are grown up when we marry. Here, the bestselling author of Suddenly Sixty and Necessary Losses presents her life-affirming perspective on the joys, heartaches, difficulties, and possibilities of a grown-up marriage -- and no, that's not an oxymoron!
Featuring interviews with married women and men, the findings of couples therapists, the truths offered by literature and movies, and a bemused exploration of her own marriage, Judith Viorst illuminates the issues couples struggle with from "I do" through "till death do us part." Examining marital rivalry, marital manners, marital sex (extramarital, too), marital fighting and apologies, what kids do for (and to) marriage, and the boredom and bliss of everyday married life, Viorst leaves no marital stone unturned. From the early years when we wonder "Who is this person?" and "What am I doing here?" to the realities of divorce, remarriage, and growing older (and old) together, Viorst offers insights and advice with honesty, humanity, and humor -- all the while recognizing how tough it is to be married and, when it works, how very precious it can be.
Viorst's comprehensive exploration of all things nuptial should be required reading for any betrothed who don't have a plainspeaking veteran to give them the lowdown on what happens when the honeymoon is over. Some of her topics sex, in-laws, fighting are standard fare for a book like this. Others, such as a look at the ho-hum ordinariness of daily married life and an overview of how kids change a couple, are more renegade in their honesty and clearly the product of Viorst's own 42 years of married wisdom. For example, how many matrimonial neophytes are truly honest about feeling competitive with their mates? "Such competition necessarily happen only in troubled marriages," writes Viorst. "Just as brothers and sisters vie with each other to be their parents' best-loved child, so may husbands and wives in their wish to be best or first or most engage in a marital version of sibling rivalry." Readers should be warned that the author is, in some ways, a product of her generation. It's not hard to detect Viorst's disdain for newfangled practices like living together before marriage and attachment parenting, but for the most part she presents an evenhanded picture of the choices modern couples face.