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The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married

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Overview

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 ...

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The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

While divorce rates soar towards fifty percent, some happy couples are too placid to notice. What does it take to stay hooked in our chaotic society? To find out, Iris Krasnow (Surrendering to Marriage) interviewed more than 200 wives married for fifteen to fifty years. What she discovered is that these resilient women had maintained a strong sense of self, often in bold, sometimes secretive ways. The Secret Lives of Wives sets pointers for successful marriage often missed in more theoretical books.

Publishers Weekly
A wife of 23 years and mother of four grown sons, Krasnow (Surrendering to Marriage) advises wives that if they care about their families they "should find a way to make their marriage work." To this end, Krasnow has compiled the strategies for marital commitment of more than 200 women from across America who range in ethnicity, economic status, level of education, age when they married (from 15 to 70 years). Several know the self-affirming value of separate vacations and passions: Gail spends summers solo, painting in Italy, returning energized. Likewise, empty-nester Tracey, who has wonderful memories of her childhood sails with her father, became a yacht salesperson. Shelley turned infidelity to her advantage: her husband's affair with her best friend reinvigorated her marriage rather than destroying it Shauna compartmentalizes her life: because her husband, a good father and provider, is uninterested in sex, she has a landscaper boyfriend who loves sex. Perhaps the best advice comes from a Bengali in an arranged marriage who says women have to take responsibility for their own happiness. Although often trite, overwritten, and unfocused, this is also a spirited, frequently perceptive work that aims to fix marriages by empowering wives. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Some couples do stay hooked. Author of the New York Times best-selling Surrendering to Marriage, Krasnow interviewed women with long-lasting marriages and discovered that things work best when both partners have a sense of self separate from the marriage. Since Krasnow regularly speaks to women's groups, often addressing 1000-plus women a month, she'll have an audience.
Kirkus Reviews
Marital mysteries revealed by women who hold the keys to wedded bliss. After marriage, writes Krasnow (I Am My Mother's Daughter: Making Peace with Mom—Before It's Too Late, 2007, etc.), comes learning to live with your spouses' myriad idiosyncrasies, and later on, figuring out how to love that bloated, wrinkled oaf camped out on your living-room couch. The author's latest is an informative look into the lives of married women set alongside Krasnow's scrutiny of her own marriage. She whips up a spirited, enlightening cocktail of comfort, support and grace, in which women from all walks of life describe their relationships with their spouses both before and after marriage. Krasnow investigates how women have been able to maintain their happiness and sanity within their family lives, particularly during times of hardship, loneliness, despair and self-discovery. But marriage isn't always rosy, and its appeal can fluctuate—indeed, one of the book's most engaging passages explores why the popularity of marriage has waned over the years. When discussing marriage through history, the author cites artist and poet Georgia O'Keeffe, a woman who loved her husband, the celebrated photographer Alfred Stieglitz, but who pinned much of her matrimonial success on the fact that she was able to separate the personal and professional aspects of her life. Finally, Krasnow urges readers to remember the importance of including romance in marriage, suggesting that each romantic memory builds years onto a successful marriage. Fulfilling and well-structured.
Leslie Morgan Steiner
"At first this book terrified me: another submission and sacrifice marriage manual for wives? Instead Iris Krasnow delivers astonishing candor, realistic compassion, and invaluable wisdom when it comes to how paradoxically infuriating and rewarding long-term marriages can be. The best book on marriage ever."
Dr. Bill Cloke
“In this breathtaking book The Secret Lives of Wives, Iris Krasnow opens a window into the inner world of women whose unique courage and vision has enabled them to find relationship happiness over the long term. With wit and wisdom, she thoughtfully tells their stories and then fills the reader with brilliant ideas and concepts to apply to their own lives. This is as much of a men’s book as it was written by and for women.”
Suzanne Braun Levine
“Iris Krasnow has managed to demystify the workings of long-term marriages by confirming the mysterious uniqueness of each one. The secret, she finds, lies in the way two people negotiate their own personal amalgam of companionship and sex, compromise and disappointment, lust and tenderness, trust and lies. The challenge for the rest of us is to do the same.”
The Oprah Magazine O
“One of Ten Titles to Pick Up Now. ‘Boyfriends with boundaries,’ separate summers, and other therapeutic strategies for maintaining wedded bliss over the long haul.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592406807
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/29/2011
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Iris Krasnow is the author of the New York Times bestseller Surrendering to Marriage as well as Surrendering to Motherhood, Surrendering to Yourself, and I Am My Mother's Daughter. She has appeared on numerous national shows, ranging from Oprah and Good Morning America to All Things Considered. She lives in Maryland with her husband and four sons.
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Table of Contents

Prologue xiii

I Who Needs Marriage? 3

II Then and Now 21

III Separate Summers 41

IV Through Sickness and Loathing and Death 63

V Resurrecting Childhood Passions 89

VI Why Love Lasts 117

VII Naughty Girls 149

VIII The Man Next Door 183

IX Believe-It-or-Not Marriages 201

X Lessons from the Golden Girls 231

Acknowledgments 261

Bibliography 265

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 34 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(8)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    interesting

    Enjoyed it. Beautiful written. Great Read

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    An honest look at what it takes

    Most of the one-star reviews on this page seem to be about the size of the sample excerpt available. I agree that it's too short - especially because this is such a great book!

    Married for more than two decades herself, Krasnow interviews two hundred of her fellow "oldyweds" and combs their stories for the best insights about how to make marriage work. The most important insight is this: a happy marriage is between two happy and fulfilled individuals; it can't be a source of happiness and fulfillment in itself.

    How the individuals in a marriage achieve fulfillment differs wildly from couple to couple. Women in this book talk about things as diverse as rediscovering childhood passions, spending more time with girlfriends, and yes, having flirty friendships with men. Krasnow presents it all in an even-handed, nonjudgmental way. Her mantra: it's their marriage, not mine.

    A fascinating look at what marriage *really* looks like today.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2011

    Highly recommended.

    I thought this book would make me smile. I was a paradigm shift for me. I'm so glad I read it. I have recommended it to 2 of my friends.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2011

    Sample

    The book may be great, but this so-called sample will not give you any idea because it is nothing from the book,but one paragraph for 17 pages??

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Hmmm don't judge a book by its cover.....errr sample

    Giving a book a bad review based solely on the sample because you're too cheap to buy the whole book is really not fair. How dare you lower the score of a book because you didn't get enough for free.

    This is a great book that inspires you to push through when you're feeling like its time to throw in the towel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    This was one book that I did not want to end....that's how AWESO

    This was one book that I did not want to end....that's how AWESOME it was!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Sample!!!!!!!!

    This is the worst sample ever!It dos not even show you a whole paragraph!You do not get the story line at all!!!!!

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2011

    Sample

    This is the worst sample I have downloaded! The book starts on page #16 of the 17 page sample and it isn't even a complete paragraph.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2012

    I expected something different

    I have to say that I went into this book expecting something very different.

    I am glad to know that my married life is pretty much the same as all the other women - but I couldn't get over how in each woman's story I read over and over that the woman just 'submitted' or 'accepted' her life and then went on...

    There were not 'secrets' that I haven't heard myself saying.

    Maybe I interpreted it wrong, but it did very little for me or the growth of my married life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Not much here

    Very hard to get thru and the message is repetitive. Could have been written in 25 pages or less.....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Life altering!

    I am still young at only 27 but I have been with my husband of 2 years for nine. I never thought marriage would be easy but I have to tell you, this book made a world of difference in the way I view all the years I plan to be with my husband. It is a must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Repetitive

    I liked the concept, but the format was very repetitive. Every chapter goes a little like this: Introduction with flashback of authors life, followed by brief introduction of the person interviewed with a story, reflection of random memory by author that may or may not be relevent to the story just shared. Save some time by skipping over the flashbacks and read the stories of those interviewed. Which coincidently have the theme of "times will be tough, get a hobby and everything will be okay when you reflect on it later."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Wonderful book

    I found this book to be a well written and interesting read. As a woman married for 16 years, I found alot of the stories in this book entertaining and the advice offered by other married women to be useful.

    I think this is a must read for all married women.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    loved it

    This is a great book...I'm a young woman and hope to be married in my not too far future. This book is relevant to my life and makes me think about marriage in a little bit of a different light. I'm thankful for seeing the next step in my future through an alternate lens then the same one I've known for a long time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

    Phenomenal

    A must read for anyone who is in or plans to be in a relationship.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2011

    Fascinating Read

    This is an interesting look into real lives, some extreme, and what they do in order to keep it going.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    Highly Recommend!

    ¿The Secret Lives of Wives¿ pulls back the blinds as well as the sheets on real marriages, some blissful, others rocky, still others outrageous.

    Regardless, these well-told stories prompt the reader to assess their own marriage, and for that the reader will be grateful.

    Iris Krasnow offers an entertaining, informative and thought-provoking read, one that should be welcomed in any bedroom, one that could generate plenty of conversation and even activity there ¿ under the sheets and behind the blinds.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2011

    I did not agree with any of these woman.

    Many of the woman in this book decided to be with bad company rather than by themselves. I am married, never would I or my husband take trips without each other. I stopped reading more than half way through this book because it was upsetting and unbelievable.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    eye opener

    i love how the author told the women's stories in such different examples. both enlightening and entertaining it was hard to put this book down






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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Stupid sample

    I am not buying because the 17 page sample revealed nothing about the book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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