The Husbands and Wives Club: A Year in the Life of a Couples Therapy Group

Overview

Starting in spring 2006, journalist Laurie Abraham sat in with five troubled couples as they underwent the searing process of group marriage therapy. Published as "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" the resulting article generated intense reader response. While space limitations allowed Abraham to focus only on one couple in her article, this book, which grew out of it and the reaction it inspired, tells the moving, fascinating story of all five.

Writing with the narrative dexterity ...

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The Husbands and Wives Club: A Year in the Life of a Couples Therapy Group

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Overview

Starting in spring 2006, journalist Laurie Abraham sat in with five troubled couples as they underwent the searing process of group marriage therapy. Published as "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" the resulting article generated intense reader response. While space limitations allowed Abraham to focus only on one couple in her article, this book, which grew out of it and the reaction it inspired, tells the moving, fascinating story of all five.

Writing with the narrative dexterity of a great novelist, Abraham recounts the travails, triumphs, and reversals that beset the five couples as they work with their therapist—and each other—to find out whether they can attain the satisfaction in marriage they originally sought. At times wrenching, at times inspiring, the sessions bring out the long-hidden resentments, misunderstandings, unmet desires, and unspoken needs that bedevil many an imperiled couple. At the same time, these encounters provide road maps to reconciliation and revival that can be used by anyone in a relationship. Along the way, the author draws on her explorations of philosophy and literature, on Freudian theory and modern science, to decode the patterns and habits that suggest whether a troubled marriage will survive or die. The fact that the five couples are ultimately successful makes this not only an important look at the state of marital dysfunction in America today but a reaffirmation of the enduring bonds of love.

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Editorial Reviews

Pamela Paul
Toggling between cynic and romantic, Abraham is fluent in both the wonky and the fuzzy-wuzzy language of marital therapy. She bandies about a dizzying assortment of competing therapeutic philosophers and distills their approaches with aplomb. She also has the restraint and fortitude to endure 10 people's harping on the petty hurts and resentments, the drudgery of punctured hopes and accumulated disappointment, the miscommunications and fumbled makings up, and the inevitable tussles over laundry, without walloping anyone on the head or, worse, falling asleep.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher
"Merlington portrays scenes of long-hidden childhood hurts and marital resentments, awkward attempts to right power struggles, and angry needs for intimacy. Intense and brutally honest revelations about sex, love, and money are sometimes uncomfortable and upsetting, sometimes inspiring and uplifting, always illuminating." —-AudioFile
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416585503
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 5/4/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 882,487
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Abraham is a freelance writer and senior editor of Elle magazine and the author of Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America (University of Chicago Press). Formerly the executive editor of Elle, she’s written for New York Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Mother Jones, and many other publications. Her work is also included in Best American Essays 2006, as well as the original collections The Bitch in the House (2001), Maybe Baby (2006), and The Secret Currency of Love (2008). Laurie has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s in law from Yale University.

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