Remember last year when some publishers/publicists/agents had contacted me asking me to do book reviews? And I had said “of course” and then I received free copies of their books? Well, I’ve been *procrastinating*…but am now giving them the attention they deserve…
This book is one I wish I had in hand as I began thinking about my marriage and divorce. Not because it would have changed my decision, but because it would have helped me move forward with more determination and confidence. Why? Because this book explores what characteristics make a marriage or a relationship foundation-ally solid. And understanding those characteristics is worthwhile, whether you are hitting a rough spot or not.
I was hooked from page one, as a woman named Ann experiences one sleepless night after another and finds herself in a fantasy: leaving everything behind and running away from her broken marriage (that’s exactly what I did; actually, I went beyond the fantasy and moved out with babe in hand, in just an hour). I found myself constantly nodding at so many of the anecdotes presented in the book; and, when it came to the stories of couples who really worked together to fix their relationship, it was wildly apparent that mine was black where there’s was white.
The book is organized into three main sections:
• Defining an unhappy marriage and understanding the implications for you and your family of being in one.
• Coming to grips with your fears about divorce and uncovering the myths.
• What to expect if you decide to go.
How to Know If It’s Time to Go presents a comprehensive look at what emotions and fears you may have (i.e. how will the kids react? How will my extended family feel? Can I support myself? I think my marriage is good enough.) as well as how to work through them. It also pushes the reader to think about ways to save a marriage – and really explore whether all options have been exhausted.
How to Know If It’s Time to Go includes a couple of lists I plan to keep on hand for my personal relationship well-being. The first list is the “Nine Areas of Marriage That Couples Must Come to Agreement On” (based on research conducted by James P. Peterson and Nicholas Zill). The nine areas are:
– Relationships with extended family and friends
– Household responsibilities and roles
– Substance usage (alcohol, drugs)
– Leisure time
– Career and job-related issues
The researchers found that if you are in a marriage where only one or two areas flare up every now and then, you are one of the elite with a healthy marriage; failure to create “mutually acceptable” agreements in three or more of these topics means you are probably in a “high conflict” marriage. What I appreciate about this list is that it can be used proactively to build towards a healthy relationship – and it’s not overwhelming.
The second list I am keeping on hand (because I am an optimist) is the “Marriage Bill of Rights.” It’s a list of “Rights” that each partner should be able to expect from each other, such as loyalty, partnership, companionship, caregiver, and mutual respect. I think this is a good list to use in a marriage – but also before you step into one (I’m happy to report that I feel good about these Rights in my current relationship).
Some facts I found particularly interesting:
• Five years after divorce, 75% of women feel better and are financially stable; the same is true for two-thirds of men.
• 2.5 million adults and 1 million children live through divorce every year in the US.
• One study followed 15,000 children of divorced couples. Two-third of the children fared better behaviorally and academically two years after their parents’ separated or divorced in comparison to the time period before separation (i.e. it’s not a great idea to stay in an unhappy marriage “for the kids”).
The practical tone of this book, coupled with its well-timed questions, and poignant, relationship-focused anecdotes gives this book a thumbs up in my view.
by Expert Mommy, Swati Bharteey
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