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Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age…

Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2011; vuoden 2011 painos)

Tekijä: Pamela Haag

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
737347,849 (3.24)-
Combines autobiographical detail, cultural history, revelatory first-hand accounts, and research to unravel the sources of post-romantic discontent and offers inspiration for those who want more than the semi-happy status quo.
Teoksen nimi:Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules
Kirjailijat:Pamela Haag
Info:Harper (2011), Hardcover, 352 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):


Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules (tekijä: Pamela Haag) (2011)


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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I was turned off almost instantly as the last thing we need in this world is a book that supports the destruction of the family unit – especially one that does it through pseudo-psychology. Marriage is not an institution whose outcome relies on the decisions and acts of others. It is only as good as the two people involved and when one does not take the vetting process seriously, you end up with Pamela Haag’s “Post-Romantic Age” marriage – a marriage of regret, emptiness, and personal failures. Haag misses the mark when it comes to explaining the various kinds of marriages that exist in the world. She tries too hard to put them in a box of her own making instead of allowing them to be what they are – reflections of those people involved in them.

Take her anecdotal couple “Peter and Alice” who marry not out of love but because Alice wanted a baby and Peter has good sperm. That’s right, Alice marries Peter not because she is attracted to him or because he makes her happy, but because she wanted a baby. Suffice it to say, their sex life is boring and Alice is unhappy…

Um, excuse Ms. Haag, I call foul! This sham of a marriage is not the norm nor did it ever have a chance in hell of surviving or being one of happiness. Yet, Haag blames marriage and not the shallow, stupidity of a woman who was obviously not ready to be a mom let alone a wife. And this is not the first couple she uses to further her “anti-marriage agenda.”

There is Bill who married his best friend and has been in a sexless marriage for 20 years. He tells Haag, who has met him on-line, that he is unhappy about the sexless marriage, not because he misses the intimacy and connection with his wife, but because she will not agree to an open-relationship or a swinger lifestyle and threatens to divorce him if he cheats. Again, this sounds bogus! Almost like something one would say when seeking to begin an affair with someone who has no way of verifying the validity of his words. And of course Haag takes this at face value ignoring the myriad of reasons that his marriage my be sexless. Obviously cultivating intimacy takes work and is not as simple as saying, “spread ‘em baby, I’m looking for love!”

And the book continues with these kinds of stories. What could have been an honest look at the state of marriage today is turned into a joke. Haag’s sophomoric research and failure to remove her own disdain for marriage from her writing does nothing to help her accomplish what she says is her goal. Like Manning Marable’s book on Malcolm X, too many of her assumptions are unsupported and presented for nothing more than shock value. And it’s a shame too. Marriage is complex and deserves more than a biased exploration.

Originally posted at: http://www.weofhue.com/marriage-confidental-by-pamela-haag-a-book-review/ ( )
  kristina_brooke | Apr 15, 2016 |
Overall a kind of bleak look at marriage. But very honest. People who put their children's needs over everything. People who lack sex (sexless marriages). Women who are supporting shiftless husbands. How did these couples get to these places and could they have prevented it? Interesting, but depressing. ( )
  bookwormteri | May 13, 2014 |
I disliked this book largely because it makes sweeping truth claims on the basis of very weak evidence. She does have an advanced degree; she doesn't have one in the field she's writing in. It shows. I strongly dislike pseudo-science.

The book could benefit, in my opinion, from a more open acknowledgement of its nature as an argument for married polyamory. There is a large market for it less likely to feel cheated of serious social analysis or less single-focused marital advice. The title seems to suggest broad scope, but the book is quite narrowly-focused.

I think if I hadn't gotten the impression it was about various methods used to enrich marriage, then revised that to seeing it as an analysis of existing marriage trends, I might have a slightly higher opinion of the work. I don't really understand why it wasn't marketed (or why she doesn't admit in the text that it is) a pro-polyamorous philosophy of marriage potential. It does a terribly poor job of its advertized work and a great job at something it seems ashamed to admit it is really about.

( )
  b00kish | Apr 3, 2013 |
This is the type of book that The Husband would see me reading (probably in bed, no less) and his response would be to promptly roll his eyes while making some wisecrack about why a book about the state of marriage today needed to be written in the first place.

(Actually, there's no guessing about it; he really did all of the above.)

Me, I love this sort of thing. Maybe it's the former psychology minor in me, I don't know. Doesn't matter. That's why we're still (at least in my opinion) a good match after a mere 22 years together (almost 19 of 'em in holy matrimony).

The premise of Marriage Confidential is that most of us married folk are in lackluster, ho-hum relationships. Not exactly much of a surprise there, I suppose. (When The Husband caved and asked what the book was about, and I answered with that, his response was, "No shit.") I tend to agree. Haag refers to such marriages as "low-conflict, low-stress," with the majority of us looking at our spouses at the end of our boring same-old day and wondering if this is as good as it gets. (Um ...yeah. Hate to break it to ya, but it kind of is.) As the author's best friend says, "It's just unrealistic to think that the person you talk to about hiring a plumber is going to be your big love affair." (pg. 9). I love that quote.

According to the book jacket,"Marriage Confidential articulates for a generation that grew up believing they would "have it all" why they have ended up disenchanted."

So, how did we get this way? Haag offers several theories and ideas that make a great deal of sense. And I admit, I expected the usual platitudes of "we're working longer hours than ever, we're spending more time on Facebook talking to people we daydreamed about in high school instead of connecting with the real-life people right next to us, raising kids is a bit stressful and it's hard to maintain a marriage while texting from the carpool lane," etc. etc.

All true. According to Haag, a few other interesting - and thought-provoking - factors are at play:

1. We're marrying clones of ourselves. Opposites no longer attract. We're marrying people who are, generally, from the same social class and in the same tax bracket as we are. If we didn't meet our spouse at college (as The Husband and I did), then most likely he or she attended a comparable school (i.e., one of the Ivy League institutions, a state school, whatever).

2. Compared to couples just a few decades ago, people are waiting longer to get married. In that time, they've completed their education, traveled, launched careers and businesses, had other significant love interests, bought homes. The notion of "building a life together" is very, very different today than it was for generations past. There's less that ties a couple together today in that aspect than there was in the past.

3. Women are increasingly in much more high-powered careers than men, which can rock the marital dynamic. (This is the "workhorse wives" part of the title.)

4. Approaching parenthood as profession. "I didn't absorb motherhood tricks by osmosis....What did come easily to me, almost naturally, were my good student, type A professional skills. The decline in marital happiness linked to new parenthood is probably exacerbated by the metastasized professional temperament many of us bring to it." (pg. 94)

5. Attachment parenting. If we're velcroed to our kids 24/7, that doesn't leave much space for one's spouse now, does it?

Taken all together, that's a pretty depressing and almost insurmountable list ... so perhaps, yes, this might be as good as it gets. And for most of us in "low-stress, low-conflict" marriages, they're not BAD marriages. They're just a bit ... boring. Lackluster.

So what are the options?

You can accept it, work on what you can, but ultimately realize that this is what it is. You can get divorced, which isn't exactly cheap, especially given the economy these days, and is particularly disruptive if one has kids.

But what if there was a new model, a different way of approaching the institution of marriage? Haag offers some ideas from "rebel couples who are rewriting the rules" as well as her own.

She discusses the concept of term limits for marriage. A couple would agree to be married for, say, 7 years. If things are still working out when the warranty on one's nuptials expires, great! Pass go, and continue to stay married. If this isn't what you'd expected, then fine ... move on, no harm done. Kind of like buying a new car when the old one has too many miles on the odometer, I suppose.

Think that's radical? Keep reading into the second half of the book. That's when Haag introduces her reader to more than a few couples who are engaging in "ethical nonmonogamy." These are folks who have lost that lovin' feeling for their spouses but who, for a variety of reasons (financial, children, professional, social) don't want to get divorced, as they might have in years past. They care deeply about their spouse, but things in the bedroom have gone stale. What to do?

Fortunately, there are numerous options. We're talking alternative arrangements like open marriages, swinging (in all its permutations, and apparently, there are more than a few) and "marriage sabbaticals." Websites abound for people interested in meeting similarly bored and like-minded folk. Happily-married Haag, using the alias of "Miranda" and with her husband's knowledge, signs up to take a walk through what is definitely a wilder side of many people's lives. Husbands and wives recruit potential "girlfriends" and "boyfriends" for spouses who aren't getting what they want from the marital relationship, just as if one went to a headhunter (um ... guess that's probably not the best term here) for a potential new job.

And these activities are part of more people's lives than one might imagine.

Marriage Confidential has been criticized by some on Goodreads as being a tad light on the research, and I tend to agree. (To reach the conclusion in #1, that we're marrying clones of ourselves from similar demographic classes, etc., Haag's primary research methodology seems to have been perusing the wedding pages of The New York Times and tabulating demographic information contained within.) Haag also talked with therapists and other professionals, as well as her own network of friends. She also brings her own experience as a wife and mother into the pages of the book, and even her friends' infidelities aren't off-limits for dissection here.

So, whereas I can understand how some might feel cheated (pun intended) at a book that isn't weighty enough insofar as the research, I'm not sure that's how Marriage Confidential is supposed to be viewed. I wasn't looking at this as a scholarly tome that I would have studied in my Work and Love class in college (and yes, I really did take a college class called Work and Love. One of my favorite and best classes ever.)

Rather, I looked and read Marriage Confidential as a book that is more along the lines of a casual conversation and exploration about why marriage is in the state it is. Marriage Confidential is like sitting down for coffee with Pamela Haag, being told that a friend's cousin's brother's stepsister is a) having an affair with the spouse's permission, b) taking a marriage sabbatical, and/or c) some combination of the above and aforementioned alternatives, and then going back to one's life and bedroom and saying, "Huh. Who knew?"

Or, maybe, the total opposite: going back to one's bedroom and saying, "Damn, there are way more people like us [regardless of how you define 'like us'] than I ever thought possible."

Happy Valentines Day, you crazy kids.
( )
  bettyandboo | Apr 2, 2013 |
Marriage Confidential reads as a long opinion piece. It was quite dry in spots and it wasn't what I would call cohesive. Although I wasn't a big fan of this book there were a lot of sections that made me think. And that, my friends, is one of my favorite things about reading.

Some of the things that made my mind start a'spinnin and a'thinkin:

See the rest of the review here:http://therelentlessreader.blogspot.com/2013/02/marriage-confidential-post-romantic-age.html ( )
  JenHartling | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Combines autobiographical detail, cultural history, revelatory first-hand accounts, and research to unravel the sources of post-romantic discontent and offers inspiration for those who want more than the semi-happy status quo.

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