Book Review: The Marriage Benefit

Book Review: The Marriage Benefit

Saving Marriage: Five Marriage-Saving Tips to Keep You from Divorce Court

Marriage therapist and Harvard psychology instructor Mark O’Connell urges struggling couples to make their marriages work, even if the unions seem broken beyond repair. Staying together, he argues in “The Marriage Benefit: The Surprising Rewards of Staying Together in Midlife“ (Springboard Press), helps people know themselves more deeply, be more generous and less self­-centered, and live richer, more satisfying lives. His five marriage-saving tips are:

1. Look inward.

Most life-expanding possibilities imaginable can be found in the lives that we already have, and . . . the mother lode of these possibilities lies in the unexplored depths of our long-term intimate relationships.”

2. Get real.

Reject the societal message that we are all entitled to perfect bodies, great sex, and endless romance.” Otherwise, our long-term relationships feel like a letdown, rather than a source of stability and love.

3. Help out.

Participating in some community service, giving to a charity and generally striving to be better people together can go a long way toward healing a fractured relationship. Keep each other grounded. . . . Ask each other to maintain a sense of humility.”

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4. Surrender your vices.

A habitual, nightly glass of wine can be a way of avoiding the very things you most need to deal with.”

5. Be fair.

Don’t assume that you are more responsible for what is good in your lives than your partner. . . . The same goes for what is bad in the relationship. Be suspicious, very suspicious, whenever you feel that troubles are more your partner’s fault than your own.”

The Marriage Benefit can be found at and in bookstores everywhere.

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