“Making Marriage Work” by Lynn Toler
c.2012, Agate Bolden $15.95 224 pages
One of your friends dropped a bombshell the other day: she’s getting divorced.
You almost can’t believe it. She and her man seemed like the perfect couple, always so sweet together, always so understanding. It’s sad, and it’s scary because she’s not your first friend to announce a breakup.
So what’s going on? More importantly, how can you make sure it doesn’t happen to you and your beloved? In the new book, “Making Marriage Work” by Lynn Toler, you’ll find some tough words on a tender situation.
“Why can’t people stay married anymore?”
That’s what everybody asks Toler. As the star of TV’s Divorce Court, she sees a lot of broken marriages, so it’s a good question.
To get an answer, says Toler, we must understand that the “marriage” we idolize and hold as ideal never really existed. We’ve romanticized unions that endured without understanding the real reason for the longevity. Furthermore, marriage itself has changed and “what worked 50 years ago won’t work now.”
The thing to remember, says Toler, is that you can look at the divorce rate and shake your head, but the problem is local. You don’t have to “fix the world.” You just have to fix your marriage.
To do that, you need to know the rules. Decide, first of all, to consciously be married.
Don’t have a “Plan B” in your relationship.
Find reasons to stay together, and nurture “common passions.”
If you’re not yet married, but want to divorce-proof your relationship, spend time learning about one another. You put months into planning your wedding, so put months into learning who you are and who your spouse-to-be is.
Know the “Red Flags” and the reasons not to wed. Learn what your “Odd Things” are, and decide if you can live with your partner’s oddities. Lastly, wait. What’s the hurry?
If you’re already married, practice your communication skills. Be kind, don’t use sarcasm and watch for things that “don’t get said.” Never say “okay” if you don’t mean it. Become financially literate and don’t “let your money leak out.”
Toler also recommends: Remember that marriage counseling is not just a “last-ditch effort” because, when it comes to marriage, “a check of it for the heck of it” is never a bad idea.
Common sense? Yes, no and probably. But when a relationship is frayed at the edges, “Making Marriage Work” is a good reminder.
Using her own marriage (and its troubles) as example, the author subtly lets readers know that having marital problems isn’t anything shameful or abnormal, and that it is fixable.
In this book, Toler looks at how a marriage bruises, then she offers solid advice for newlyweds, golden anniversary celebrants and everybody between. Toler then hints that the work is never done but that the rewards can be worth the efforts.
Never preachy or holier-than-thou, I think “Making Marriage Work” is good to read whether you’ve put a ring on it recently or decades ago. If you want to glue your “I do,” get hitched to this book soon.
The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. Her self-syndicated book reviews appear in more than 260 newspapers.