SUMMARY: (5 of 5 stars) I heard an interview with the author on The Art of Charm and was really impressed with her focus on individuality and being the architect of your own joy in your relationship. This book does not disappoint one bit.
If five stars and those words aren’t enough to convince you that this is a great relationship book, I’ll add this: I can actually imagine re-reading this one.
SPOILER WARNING: From this point forward, I’m going to discuss this book without any concern about spoilers. So, if you don’t like spoilers you should stop reading now.
I really don’t need the spoiler warning, I guess, since it’s not like this is a book with a plot or anything. But I rarely ever re-read a book, so the fact that this is one I think I’ll need to revisit and actually re-read should let you know how highly I think of this one.
I just finished the book about ten minutes ago and I don’t really have a great summary to offer you beyond the quotation above. There’s just so much in it. So, instead, I’ll just give you some of my thoughts and leave it at that.
When I told husby I was reading this book, he asked, “Is our marriage in trouble?!” And I want to be clear for his sake: our marriage is not on the rocks or anything. But our relationship has definitely changed a lot since we first started dating almost six years ago.
I don’t think relationships come naturally. I’m good at dating. I’m pretty good at having weak connections with people. But I am not very good at intimacy. I feel like I struggle to find a balance between the demands of my rotten inner child who wants things only his way all the time and the demands of my misguided inner romantic who thinks everything needs to be some gesture of grand love and generosity. My subconscious often pushes me to be moody, impatient, condescending, insecure, and spiteful. And those are just the flaws I’m willing to confess here.
So, I often worry that I’m doing this [gestures broadly] wrong. Which is why I occasionally read books about relationships and psychological health. I prefer to think I’m just taking an active interest in my psychological and romantic health.
A lot of this book is a recapitulation of advice you’ve seen and heard elsewhere. But it’s packaged up and presented in a specific context and shown in a particular light that I found very thought-provoking.
It mostly boils down to figuring out what makes you happy, pursuing that, and removing the obstacles that keep you from that.
That makes it sound so simplistic and so obvious. And I guess it is. BUT IT SO IS. Having read her presentation of the issues, I feel like I’ve been walking around trees only to suddenly realize I’m in the forest.
Anyway, it’s a great book. I loved it.
A few extra bits of media for you as I close:
Here’s an interview with Winifred Reilly:
And here’s a link to her blog: Speaking of Marriage