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“The Husbands And Wives Club”: Inside The World Of Troubled Marriages

You know what I don’t get about marriage? It seems like people don’t think beyond the big, dream wedding. It’s not about the Monique Lhuillier dress or the flower arrangements; it’s about actually being together for life. I should be embarrassed to admit this, but I watched “The Bachelor: Molly and Jason’s Wedding” the other day and it made me feel a little ill. This is meaningless pretense, I thought. A wedding idealizes marriage, but, sadly, the truth is that most marriages are far less than ideal. The sickening display made me question if I even believe in the institution anymore. The thoughts that haunt me? What happens once you’re 15, 20, or even 30 years in? How do you sustain a marriage? How do you have any idea if it will last? How do you make it last if it’s in trouble? A new book, The Husbands and Wives Club, will most certainly give us a more realistic view of what can happen in a marriage once the Lhuillier no longer fits and the wedding cake in the freezer becomes inedible.The book, written by Laurie Abraham, documents five married couples for a year as they undergo an unconventional therapy program. Their issues range from financial crises, struggles with impotence, and debates over porn use and bisexuality. Aside from the day-to-day issues, the book is sure to bring to light answers to bigger picture questions about the institution of marriage. What part does neurology play in the way you relate to your mate? Does therapy really work? Is monogamy the best way? “I think that there are aspects of our culture that make it seem like marriage is the only way to find emotional sustenance in life,” says Abraham. “Our culture affirms marriage and monogamy. We haven’t found better ways to have a sustained emotional connection. You can find it through friends and family, but maybe because our culture pushes it so hard, people often end up feeling there’s a hole in their life if they don’t have some close partner as they get older.” Now this is stuff I actually want to know about marriage. Screw the dress. [Salon]

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