Did you expect to grow up, get married and live happily ever after? Are you having second thoughts about that now?
Are you contemplating marriage and worried because in the US at the beginning of the 21st century more than half of all marriages end in divorce?
You’re not alone. Hundreds of women who have shared their lives, their hopes, their dreams and their marriages with me have faced similar struggles. In over four decades of practice as a psychotherapist, marriage counselor and coach, I’ve been privileged to help these women face their challenges and move on with their lives.
I’ve used my experiences with these women, my own life experiences and my recent unscientific research to help create this book as a resource for you.
In gathering information for this book, I’ve asked many women to answer the question, “What is the most important thing you wish you had known before you were actually married? This can be about your husband, what marriage is like, health, history, yourself, expectations, families, children or anything at all.” Women on my mailing list, women I’ve encountered at the local YMCA, women standing in line at the post office, women in a discussion group, women in a sewing circle, women attending parties and networking events—all have given thoughtful answers to this question, either face to face or via an online questionnaire.
More than fifty women have participated in this project. They range in age from their 30s to their 90s. Nearly 80% of them are between the ages of 36 and 65. They’ve all been married at least once, and 90% of them have at least one child. Surprisingly, women from eight different countries responded to my online questionnaire. Answers that came from outside the US and Canada were indistinguishable from the others.
I married a month before my 21st birthday and have been married to my husband for over 58 years. We’re both relationship coaches and marriage counselors, and together we have spent over forty-five years studying, practicing and teaching relationship-building skills. We’ve focused our work on helping clients create dynamic, effective personal and working relationships.
Our own marriage has often been our laboratory. Because we’ve worked together as psychotherapists, practicing and teaching in an international community, we’ve had unusual opportunities to develop an awareness of many things that enable people to discover the richness that it is possible to have in a long-term relationship. But it wasn’t always this way.
Like everyone else, I grew up with a very limited view of what marriage could and should be like. My own parents maintained a traditional marriage for 58 years—until my mother’s death. Before I got married it never occurred to me that I could or should know anything more about what to expect after I said “I do.” Looking back, though, there are a lot of things I wish I had known ahead of time.
Almost every woman I’ve worked with throughout the years also needed the kinds of information the contributors to this project are sharing here.
I couldn’t have done this book alone. Women who came from environments very different from mine shared issues I may not have thought to include. The things they wish they had known are not the same as those I have identified from my own experience and the experiences of my clients, relatives and friends. I’m grateful for the wisdom, eloquence, and broader perspective these women have brought to this book.
Most of the names of the contributors to this project have been changed to protect their privacy. A few of the women have given permission to be identified, in which case both their first and last names have been included.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish