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Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together

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A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was o A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was obvious, useless, or bad. Plus they were boring. But after covering the relationship beat for Time magazine for ten years, she realized there was a surprisingly upbeat and little-known story to tell about the benefits of staying together for the long haul. Casting a witty, candid, and probing eye on the latest behavioral science, Luscombe has written a fresh and persuasive report on the state of our unions, how they've changed from the marriages of our parents' era, and what those changes mean for the happiness of this most intimate and important of our relationships. In Marriageology Luscombe examines the six major fault lines that can fracture contemporary marriages, also known as the F-words: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around, and finding help. She presents facts, debunks myths, and provides a fascinating mix of research, anecdotes, and wisdom from a wide range of approaches--from how properly dividing up chores can result in a better sex life to the benefits of fighting with your spouse (though not in the car) to whether or not to tell your partner that you lost $70,000. (The last one is from firsthand experience.) Marriageology offers simple, actionable, maybe even borderline fun techniques and tips to try, whether the relationship in question is about to conk out or just needs a little grease and an oil change. The best news of all is that sticking together is easier than it looks. Praise for Marriageology "Few things are more important than the quality of our relationships--and especially the one we build with our life partners. Belinda Luscombe has written a smart and funny book to help anyone work toward a stronger and more fulfilling marriage."--Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org "I'd recommend this book to anyone who is married. Or thinking of getting married. Or knows anyone who is married. Or who is simply interested in getting along with other human beings. Belinda Luscombe combines science, memoir, and sharp wit in this fascinating and useful book. She takes on myths about everything from soul mates to finance to going to bed angry (her advice: Do it!). Skip the gravy boat and give this as a gift to all your engaged friends."--A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically


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A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was o A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was obvious, useless, or bad. Plus they were boring. But after covering the relationship beat for Time magazine for ten years, she realized there was a surprisingly upbeat and little-known story to tell about the benefits of staying together for the long haul. Casting a witty, candid, and probing eye on the latest behavioral science, Luscombe has written a fresh and persuasive report on the state of our unions, how they've changed from the marriages of our parents' era, and what those changes mean for the happiness of this most intimate and important of our relationships. In Marriageology Luscombe examines the six major fault lines that can fracture contemporary marriages, also known as the F-words: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around, and finding help. She presents facts, debunks myths, and provides a fascinating mix of research, anecdotes, and wisdom from a wide range of approaches--from how properly dividing up chores can result in a better sex life to the benefits of fighting with your spouse (though not in the car) to whether or not to tell your partner that you lost $70,000. (The last one is from firsthand experience.) Marriageology offers simple, actionable, maybe even borderline fun techniques and tips to try, whether the relationship in question is about to conk out or just needs a little grease and an oil change. The best news of all is that sticking together is easier than it looks. Praise for Marriageology "Few things are more important than the quality of our relationships--and especially the one we build with our life partners. Belinda Luscombe has written a smart and funny book to help anyone work toward a stronger and more fulfilling marriage."--Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org "I'd recommend this book to anyone who is married. Or thinking of getting married. Or knows anyone who is married. Or who is simply interested in getting along with other human beings. Belinda Luscombe combines science, memoir, and sharp wit in this fascinating and useful book. She takes on myths about everything from soul mates to finance to going to bed angry (her advice: Do it!). Skip the gravy boat and give this as a gift to all your engaged friends."--A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

30 review for Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together

  1. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Trono

    Marriageology was such a fascinating read on marriage and long term relationships. Luscombe's writing was approachable with the perfect mix of scientific research, personal stories, and advice. I found myself nodding along so many times with her anecdotes regarding her own marriage history. She shares a wonderful perspective that is relatable yet also hopeful. Her ability to share the hardships of some of the biggest stumbling blocks of marriage was super accessible. She points out the 6 major Marriageology was such a fascinating read on marriage and long term relationships. Luscombe's writing was approachable with the perfect mix of scientific research, personal stories, and advice. I found myself nodding along so many times with her anecdotes regarding her own marriage history. She shares a wonderful perspective that is relatable yet also hopeful. Her ability to share the hardships of some of the biggest stumbling blocks of marriage was super accessible. She points out the 6 major "fault lines" that can fracture a marriage and how to navigate them personally and as a couple. Like many non-fiction books, certain chapters stood out to me more and I especially connected with the commentary and research she shared in the parenting section, it was spot on. I also am so happy she talked about how helpful therapy can be, and not just at times of serious distress but also as a regular practice. I learned so much from this book and I highly recommend it for anyone that is navigating a long term relationship. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    vanessa

    A light and humorous take on communication in marriage, with topics like money, children, sex, etc. The author uses her experience as someone who has been married for 25 years to share her communication woes and how her and her husband fixed them. This comes from a very specific perspective (hetero, monogamous, white, middle class) but I still learned some tips and liked the perspective of the author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This is an interesting catalogue of a bunch of other marriage advice books. I always think it's better to go to the source. In this case, try Esther Parel, Gottman, Alain Botton, etc. This is an interesting catalogue of a bunch of other marriage advice books. I always think it's better to go to the source. In this case, try Esther Parel, Gottman, Alain Botton, etc.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Leah Hester

    Got the audiobook on Audible, and deeply enjoyed the book and its authors fun, interesting take on marriage, how its changed, and how to make it last. I'm probably still considered a newlywed by most people (at the time of reading, I've been married for two and a half years) and I come from a family with a lot of divorcees. It's literally always felt like my job to have a damn good marriage lol. Luscombe is fantastically entertaining while also sharing real situations that spouses go through and Got the audiobook on Audible, and deeply enjoyed the book and its authors fun, interesting take on marriage, how its changed, and how to make it last. I'm probably still considered a newlywed by most people (at the time of reading, I've been married for two and a half years) and I come from a family with a lot of divorcees. It's literally always felt like my job to have a damn good marriage lol. Luscombe is fantastically entertaining while also sharing real situations that spouses go through and the research behind why those situations happen, as well as the best tools to fix them, or potentially recover from them. I listened to this super quick, and plan to incorporate some of her tools. She notes, and I will also note, that this is not a source for therapy help, but gives advice and tools for, largely, keeping communication up in the changing and unique relationship that is a long term marriage. This was entertaining, insightful, and thought-provoking, and I recommend for anyone who is married, wants to get married, or isn't married but just wants to learn about marriage in a fun, interesting way. I highly recommend the audio version, as the author herself gives the reading in the best possible way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    AJ

    I love reading books on romantic relationships because a lot of the tips and tricks offered can be applied to nearly any sort of relationship (familial, platonic, et al.) This, like most books I encounter on the subject of married/long-term committed relations, unfortunately falls into the hetero-centric, monogamy-biased, childrearing-aimed trap as the rest of them, which made much of this book unrelatable to me. However, that's a personal gripe. I do admit that I learned quite a bit and applied I love reading books on romantic relationships because a lot of the tips and tricks offered can be applied to nearly any sort of relationship (familial, platonic, et al.) This, like most books I encounter on the subject of married/long-term committed relations, unfortunately falls into the hetero-centric, monogamy-biased, childrearing-aimed trap as the rest of them, which made much of this book unrelatable to me. However, that's a personal gripe. I do admit that I learned quite a bit and applied the knowledge gleamed from these studies onto my own parents' marriage and went, "Oh! So that's what fucked up. That's what fucked me up. This is illuminating." so on and so forth. Spoiler for those who prefer a TL;DR: There's no fool-proof secret to obtaining and maintaining a long-lasting partnership, but these things can certainly help.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jacquelyne

    This book is solidly sourced with evidence-based research, but it isn't dry by any means. Luscombe has a great sense of humor that had me nodding my head and chuckling throughout the book. She helps break down the fault lines in a six-part alliteration that is easy to follow. I appreciated the marriage of a sociological and therapeutic approach, as well as her personal anecdotes relating the science to her her marriage, which helped tie in the research and advice to real life examples. Her crede This book is solidly sourced with evidence-based research, but it isn't dry by any means. Luscombe has a great sense of humor that had me nodding my head and chuckling throughout the book. She helps break down the fault lines in a six-part alliteration that is easy to follow. I appreciated the marriage of a sociological and therapeutic approach, as well as her personal anecdotes relating the science to her her marriage, which helped tie in the research and advice to real life examples. Her credentials speak for themselves and allow you as a reader to relax into the material trusting the advice is coming from a true expert, and Luscombe, I'm totally on your side about Armstrong! [I received an Advanced Readers Copy from Random House Publishing for my honest review.]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vlad

    Hilarious, frank, reasonable. A bit broad, splashing about in the shallows rather than going deep on any one of its topics, from sex to child-rearing to arguing well. Good survey.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Forbes

    Best book on marriage I’ve read to date.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Casey Frank

    Thank you Random House for gifting me a copy of this book. As this book points out, marriage has changed over the years, and what was once more of an economical decision- a necessary choice in financial stability and family-rearing, is now one that comes with greater expectations of happiness and emotional intimacy. Which is why books like this are nice, concise way of shoring up those emotional needs. And it's done with a degree of humor. I liked that the book cited a lot of other studies and tex Thank you Random House for gifting me a copy of this book. As this book points out, marriage has changed over the years, and what was once more of an economical decision- a necessary choice in financial stability and family-rearing, is now one that comes with greater expectations of happiness and emotional intimacy. Which is why books like this are nice, concise way of shoring up those emotional needs. And it's done with a degree of humor. I liked that the book cited a lot of other studies and texts, allowing for a greater sample of information without needing to sit down with each academic piece. Though I am reading Come As You Are at the moment, and appreciated the brief summary of accelerators and breaks included in Luscombe's book. The only section that I personally didn't find to be helpful was "Family" because it was focused on raising children, which thus far, my husband and I have continued to choose to not have. I think one of the pieces that should have been included in this section is parents as establishing communication about expectations in handling aging parents is also a big component of many marriages, if not to the same degree of complications as raising children. The familiarity section was probably the one that held the most new material for me, or rather I may have felt more attuned to the idea as my husband and I have been in a relationship since I was 19 years old, and of the almost 15 years we've been together we've been married for six of those years, which means we're definitely living in some familiar territory and could benefit from tools to best navigate this familiarity. Overall I think this book could be a great book to give newlyweds to help set some expectations, and to help build the idea that it's better to do the maintenance work along the course of the partnership than to have to go and seek outside help once everything has gone wrong.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelli Oliver George

    This was a really nice read -- it was quick and easy to read. The author provided some specific ways to increase communication and she did it with a sense of quirky humor. I'm not sure how helpful this would be for a marriage already in crisis. If your marriage is fine and you are just looking for "maintenance" reading, I would recommend this. I picked it up primarily just to learn some techniques for better communication in my own marriage and that's exactly what I got. This was a really nice read -- it was quick and easy to read. The author provided some specific ways to increase communication and she did it with a sense of quirky humor. I'm not sure how helpful this would be for a marriage already in crisis. If your marriage is fine and you are just looking for "maintenance" reading, I would recommend this. I picked it up primarily just to learn some techniques for better communication in my own marriage and that's exactly what I got.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I am a big fan of reading about marriage (and other topics) while things are going well. I feel like at moments like these, I am open to learning and receiving because I am not constantly triggered by what I might be upset about. So all potential ideas feel like options I can try out and use to strengthen my marriage. This book has both anecdotal stories and academic research and statistics. I would say that if your marriage is in trouble and you're reading this book for ideas, the tone might th I am a big fan of reading about marriage (and other topics) while things are going well. I feel like at moments like these, I am open to learning and receiving because I am not constantly triggered by what I might be upset about. So all potential ideas feel like options I can try out and use to strengthen my marriage. This book has both anecdotal stories and academic research and statistics. I would say that if your marriage is in trouble and you're reading this book for ideas, the tone might throw you off a bit. It's funny and jokey, not in a bad way but it might rub you the wrong way if you're hurting or angry. For me, I enjoyed this reminder of several different areas to pay attention to in my marriage and to always keep working on it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elo-Mai Mägi

    Loved it, and can't wait for all my keeper-kind of friends to read it. It's positive and gives new reason for enduring hardships together. I read it out of curiosity, and just those who believe that being a couple could be their thing, surely could find it useful. Loved it, and can't wait for all my keeper-kind of friends to read it. It's positive and gives new reason for enduring hardships together. I read it out of curiosity, and just those who believe that being a couple could be their thing, surely could find it useful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kayle

    Wish I had read this before I got married, but glad I discovered it when I did. Luscombe is funny and blunt and treats Marriage with both importance and irreverence.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    A fairly comprehensive book on a complex topic that references strong other/more specific works on the sub-headings and includes a helpful appendix.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    Marriageology by Belinda Luscombe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-May. I had chosen to read this book while being in a long-term relationship after a divorce from my first husband eight years ago, so I have a touch-and-go history with being in a serious, monogamous partnership. This book brings up topics and concepts, like questioning yourself and admitting guilt & weakness at the end of a relationship, only to have to build up another from the very beginning, committing strongly to Marriageology by Belinda Luscombe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-May. I had chosen to read this book while being in a long-term relationship after a divorce from my first husband eight years ago, so I have a touch-and-go history with being in a serious, monogamous partnership. This book brings up topics and concepts, like questioning yourself and admitting guilt & weakness at the end of a relationship, only to have to build up another from the very beginning, committing strongly to an informed choice, and seeking permanency amid a world that changes quickly and hangs onto things for only a short while. Luscombe draws research from ten years writing about marriage for Time magazine - this leads to nuggets to sociological truths buried under heaps of down-to-earth prattle and a pun, sarcasm, motto, or punchline every few sentences.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jt O'Neill

    It's funny. When my spouse and I first got together a generation plus ago, we'd both had plenty of life experience. We both had graduate degrees, had worked successfully in our chosen fields, and had had romances and adventures. We considered ourselves people savvy. In retrospect, we were pretty cocky, thinking we knew how this whole marriage business was going to go. How bold, brave, and naive we were! In the introduction to Marriageology, Belinda Luscombe astutely points out the absurdity of h It's funny. When my spouse and I first got together a generation plus ago, we'd both had plenty of life experience. We both had graduate degrees, had worked successfully in our chosen fields, and had had romances and adventures. We considered ourselves people savvy. In retrospect, we were pretty cocky, thinking we knew how this whole marriage business was going to go. How bold, brave, and naive we were! In the introduction to Marriageology, Belinda Luscombe astutely points out the absurdity of how our culture celebrates marriage. There are all these special and exciting traditions for the early years of marriage but they taper off at 15 years where the gift is crystal, and then china at 20 yrs, and pearls at 30 years (which likely means that a man in the relationship does the giving and not the receiving). As Belinda says, this is all turned around. Any fool can be married for a year and you can get to three years on the fumes of the honeymoon alone. The marriage is challenged in those years when the wedding day memories are all stashed behind the kids' whining, the emails and calls from the bosses, childcare fails, the spouse's incessantly loud chewing, the financial failures and disagreements, the pressure from in-laws and the opinions from family -- when the wedding day excitement has tempered and the daily life has taken over. The thing is you just can't know this part of life. You haven't been there yet. Like my spouse and I, you might think you can plan a wedding and keep that wonderful, excited feeling that you have found a friend for life. At that point you are walking mostly on air and assuming that the climate will not change. But, guess what? Everything changes. Life changes people and certainly marriage changes people. You just can't know at the beginning how those changes are going to go. You haven't had this experience with this partner. No matter what your experience has been, no matter how well intentioned, I guarantee you things will change. It's how you deal with the change that will make all the difference in the marriage. I enjoyed reading Marriageology. Belinda's book is well researched and documented and could read like a textbook. Instead, though, it reads like a good friend, someone who is sitting with you over margaritas and nachos. She has important things to say but they come encased in warmth and a sense of humor. She's been there and she is willing to tell her stories too. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is married or even thinking of getting married. I like that Belinda believes in marriage. That is not to say that she is down on divorce but more to say that her hope and faith in the institution shine through. Toward the end she draws a comparison to a carousel: "What we often need [to sustain a marriage] is a carousel mentality; sometimes your horse is down, but if you wait awhile, it will rise again." Kudos to Belinda Luscombe for writing an authentic, often humorous, down to earth, and well researched book on a tough topic. 5 stars

  17. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    I'm not really one to read self help type books, but I saw this book and thought, why not give it a try. I sure am happy that I did! This book is written in a way that makes it both informative (with statistics and research) and also relate-able (with personal admissions and stories from the author). I feel like this book also offers some great tips and advice on how to achieve a happier union (which who doesn't want that!). I'm not really one to read self help type books, but I saw this book and thought, why not give it a try. I sure am happy that I did! This book is written in a way that makes it both informative (with statistics and research) and also relate-able (with personal admissions and stories from the author). I feel like this book also offers some great tips and advice on how to achieve a happier union (which who doesn't want that!).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Practical, personable, intelligent, and warm advice on marriage that is easily accessible to the reader but clearly backed up with careful study and scientific and journalistic integrity.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cyndie Courtney

    The author seemed to draw on a huge variety of resources from a variety of different related disciplines in a journalistic style that made the material easy to read and eminently practical. From research science to therapy she helped connect the data to what to do about it. She has a great process for walking through the six most common challenges most marriages face and both in my own relationships and from the ones of my friends they definitely felt familiar (they also all start with F which m The author seemed to draw on a huge variety of resources from a variety of different related disciplines in a journalistic style that made the material easy to read and eminently practical. From research science to therapy she helped connect the data to what to do about it. She has a great process for walking through the six most common challenges most marriages face and both in my own relationships and from the ones of my friends they definitely felt familiar (they also all start with F which makes them easier to remember). The overarching theme seemed to be that yes, we are oversold on what marriage can do for us and the idea that our marriage partner can meet our every social need and make us an even better version of ourselves. By having more realistic expectations but also new expectations of the very real benefits of marriage, especially over a lifetime, it may become easier to ride the waves that can be the imperfections of marriage. Honestly, it seems like it would be a kind of good owner's manual for relationships that would help most of us, while perhaps making things feel distinctly less exciting. My one caveat is that I felt slightly unsettled by the argument that for most people, aside from physical violence (maybe also serial infidelity and perhaps I'm forgetting mentions of emotional abuse) most people may be best served by staying in their marriage. It just seemed to be a relatively narrow set of circumstances given that the author is also claiming that we've been sold a false bill of sale when it comes to the institution. While I can feel compelled by her argument that perhaps we've become too blase about divorce, it almost seems to suggest that divorce is dumb in most circumstances. While there are absolutely significant costs to leaving a marriage as she discusses - they may not not necessarily remain givens if there was social change (for instance the increased social costs to women of being divorced). Also if it were the prevailing belief that divorce was just dumb and it was common and normal to just not seek love with your spouse and to stay together as "basically roommates" for the sake of not incurring the costs associated with divorce, it seems that fundamentally something would be lost - or at least it might contribute to the failure to finding help that she discusses. Additionally, there is something of value in retaining personal freedom or in having the ability to reclaim it, especially if you've bought into something that wasn't what you expected.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Charmin

    HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Familiarity: People want relationships that will make them more perfect versions of themselves. We want a partner who knows as well enough to coach us into a better, more authentic version of who we are. - You don’t sell the problem of me your familiarity by choosing the right person, you solve it by choosing what you will do when the blinkers come off and you realize this is the person who is going to be in your life for the rest of your life. 2. Contempt is a weaponized version of HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Familiarity: People want relationships that will make them more perfect versions of themselves. We want a partner who knows as well enough to coach us into a better, more authentic version of who we are. - You don’t sell the problem of me your familiarity by choosing the right person, you solve it by choosing what you will do when the blinkers come off and you realize this is the person who is going to be in your life for the rest of your life. 2. Contempt is a weaponized version of taking someone for granted. Marriage is a ruthlessly efficient tool for getting people to inflict scorn. - Saying “thank you” to your spouse makes a big difference, a protective effect, and a resentment buffer. - Ask your spouse to do you a favor. Getting people to do you favor helps them to feel more positive about you. Helping someone else makes us feel like the person we want to be, the kind of person we believe we are. We are someone who is needed, on whom other people call for help. That’s why it’s key that it’s couched as a favor, not an expectation. Acknowledges your spouse's strengths. - Couples who prayed for each other had more marital satisfaction in higher levels of commitment. Marriage education programs. The meditative effects of prayer are similar to those of mindfulness and breathing techniques. - The idea that when you get your brain working on an activity that is finding arousing expands the self, your brain trusts pleasure from that and associates the pleasure with your partner. 3. Getting bored with your spouse means you spend less time with them, which then makes you lose less close. - Having friendships with other couples is beneficial to the relationship. - Mutual vulnerability is the most reliable shortcut to closeness. - Differences are what make you interesting in each other. Spouses requests are a bid for connection, preempt the bid by anticipating needs. - Humans adapt quickly to changing environmental conditions. We are on a hedonic treadmill and cannot remain overjoyed. We quickly forget how happy a change made us, no matter how we had your end for it. 4. Fighting: if you can’t figure out how to disagree, you can’t figure out how to be married. It’s how you understand what his or her real feelings fears are. It’s how you clarify what your real fears are. - Conflict behaviors: the way people fight is much more productive of divorce. - -The trick with constructive fighting is to remember that we have to be able to rumble while doing our best to keep the other person feeling safe. - Blamers are extremely vulnerable. - Brevity is a key virtue. Get in, make your point, get out. The quicker the better. - Defensiveness is when people respond to somebody else’s question as if it were an attack it’s a tendency to take offense on any pretext. - Getting defensive and striking back can be appropriate responses when you are genuinely under attack. - Taking a time out: the key here is that you are not putting your other half on mute, you are hitting pause and will return. Some therapists even recommend a Safe Word, meaning a signal for a time out. 5. If you apologize quickly, the offense doesn’t move from the short-term memory into the region of the brain where more solid recollection recollections are formed. - Apologies rebuild a bridge that you helped blow up to reestablish communication, to try to hit restart on a relationship for which the screen has frozen. - Apologize for what you did wrong and then stop. - Don’t apologize with a “but” or “if”. - Apologies don’t work at the other person doesn’t feel that they’re listening to. - By really listening to people, we can identify with precision what we did wrong, and more accurately articulate what we are apologizing for. - The best way to preempt these mistakes you make is by building a good relationship with your partner before you’re in the doghouse. - Be tender with your lover's sore spots as you are with your own. - Forgiveness is not passive. It’s a choice made it a cost. Forgivers are sacrificing one of their primary forms of deterrence. - Scars don’t go away, they just stop hurting so much. 6. Finances: everybody comes into a marriage with one important relationship they cannot end: the one they have with money. It’s a deep, complicated liaison with a lot of history and often goes and is acknowledged. Money is not just currency. It comes with emotions attached. - Intimate partners trust each other with a lot of financial information and power: with a few clicks of a keypad or affordable signature, that person can get it all. - Wanting money and having money can both have less than a friendly effect on people‘s feelings for other people. - Q: What are the three most important money lessons you learned growing up? What are the three biggest money worries? What are the three biggest goals? What are the three most important ways you want to use the money to leave a legacy? - Marriage is the ultimate buddy system. When financial troubles hit one of you, there’s another soul with a different set of resources to help you through. And you can add each other to make the smart moves. - Transparency is key. And a successful marriage, there’s one crucial ingredient: vulnerability. 7. Family: A full proof and seamless way to get the household labor divided up fairly is for men to take a significant amount of time off to be with their offspring in the very early days of the kids' life to take paternity leave seriously. - Super-involved parenting is the most exhausting, but authoritative parenting is the most difficult. - The increased time that parents spend with their offspring often comes at a cost of time spent with a spouse. - At some point you and your spouse need to have a conversation about which disciplinary hills you wish to die on, and then suit up to defend those. - It’s a bad idea to prioritize the kids over the spouse. Kids turn into teenagers and want very little to do with you. 8. One of the best things you can do for your kids loves the heck out of your spouse. - Children benefit when marriages are good, so it’s counterproductive to favor kids at the expense of a spouse. - Have breakfast dates. Have uninterrupted time together to remind each other of who you are and what it is you saw each other. - Your loyalty is to your spouse before your parents. - Sometimes it’s more loving to mindfully ignore the opinions of the people who saw you through those first years of life and kind of forget that you grew up. - When people provide opinions think of them as recognized and disregard. Your parents-in-law are largely responsible for creating your life partner, so you owe them at least one favor per visit. 9. Fooling around: bedroom satisfaction is one of the primary ways by which most people measure the health of their marriage. - We partly desire sex because we crave intimacy, but high levels of intimacy can seem to inhabit rather than enhance desire. - You can become each other‘s erotic allies, pushing back whatever forces— kids, in-laws, age, fear of making embarrassing noise—are conspiring to come between you and nookie. - If you want to feel sexier, keep touching your spouse. Use any excuse to get your skin on his or her. 10. Finding help: couples wait an average of six years too long before seeking help. - Therapists suggest that it takes about two years for a person who has been betrayed to feel completely safe around a spouse again. - Relationship education: a more useful alternative for young couples.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nani

    Several weeks ago, a friend of mine asked if I was reading anything in anticipation for marriage, and I wasn’t yet, but Marriage-ology was on my TBR. It isn’t my usual read. Even on the occasions when I do read non-fiction, “self-help” type books aren’t my jam. Maybe I’m getting old, but I really enjoyed this book. It has been a little over a year since my fiancé proposed, and exactly a year until our wedding. In the midst of our engagement, I feel like I know what I’m doing. I’ve got a handle o Several weeks ago, a friend of mine asked if I was reading anything in anticipation for marriage, and I wasn’t yet, but Marriage-ology was on my TBR. It isn’t my usual read. Even on the occasions when I do read non-fiction, “self-help” type books aren’t my jam. Maybe I’m getting old, but I really enjoyed this book. It has been a little over a year since my fiancé proposed, and exactly a year until our wedding. In the midst of our engagement, I feel like I know what I’m doing. I’ve got a handle on engagement. I’m comfortable in where our relationship is. Marriage, however, is an unknown, distant terrain. Belinda Luscombe makes it seem approachable. My marriage, from what it seems, will be an extension of what my relationship already is. Our early years will build our later years. It’s all pretty straight forward. And yet it seems so scary. Luscombe uses honesty, about human nature, but specifically about her own marriage to make it approachable. She is honest about the moments that make us irritable and cranky, the habits that we’ll grow to hate. She uses examples from her own life and is frank about things like attraction and sex. I love that she offers real advice about the things we can do to be better at communicating, understanding, and remembering why we love our partner. I finished the book with lots of notes and practical information that I can carry with me. My only negative comment would be that the book is very centered on heterosexual marriages, especially those with simple, nuclear families. Arguably, it makes sense that someone with a nuclear family, and in a heterosexual marriage, sharing her own experiences, would write mostly about that audience. It also seems to be the target of most research on marriage. If you’re getting married, are married, or would like to be married, I’d recommend this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tangled in Text

    This is a book that I will be rereading and adding to my shelf. Her book is split into six sections and each one had learning moments if you have an issue on that topic or not to make sure there are no weak spots in your marriage. Her book starts with an overview of her six topics "totally coincidentally they're all F words: Familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around (not my original title), and finding help." I'd challenge you to even just listen to her beginning overview because i This is a book that I will be rereading and adding to my shelf. Her book is split into six sections and each one had learning moments if you have an issue on that topic or not to make sure there are no weak spots in your marriage. Her book starts with an overview of her six topics "totally coincidentally they're all F words: Familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around (not my original title), and finding help." I'd challenge you to even just listen to her beginning overview because it had me laughing out loud with her anecdotes that I've also found sad but true in marriage. Anywhere from marriage seems to almost be done in reverse starting it off with this huge party and getaway when you really need that to celebrate lasting even a few years nowadays to these dang themed anniversary presents that seem to be worse and worse ideas every year to the point where they just start skipping years a decade in and they only have an idea every five years then ten years after that! Twenty-six years into marriage I feel like I'll be wanting more of that leather or crystal they recommend at three years instead of just a lousy picture! At twenty-six years in I'll have his face so ingrained in my memory I don't need a dang picture by then. Marriageology was a great overview hitting all my major questions and giving some great references. She referenced several other researchers from Gottman to Emily Nagoski who I finished her book, Come As You Are, earlier this year and loved. I enjoyed getting to hear both a collective input and her own thoughts so I knew what books to pick up next. Great insight, delivery, and it was fun to find some hidden humor among the more serious topics to keep it upbeat and lighter.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I love the authenticity of the author in writing this book combining research on the workings of a long lasting marriage and authors experience. I do not think one can truly relate or understand marriageology unless you are married. Most research on marriage is heterosexual so I admire the authors attempt to shed some light on other forms of cohabitating (I.e. homosexual relationships) although I am happily married to my husband of 2 years. The chapters give an overview of the research on marriage I love the authenticity of the author in writing this book combining research on the workings of a long lasting marriage and authors experience. I do not think one can truly relate or understand marriageology unless you are married. Most research on marriage is heterosexual so I admire the authors attempt to shed some light on other forms of cohabitating (I.e. homosexual relationships) although I am happily married to my husband of 2 years. The chapters give an overview of the research on marriage using the 5 F words: Familiarity, Fighting, Finances, Family, Fooling Around, Finding Help. Some quotes that shed light on my marriage from this book: “We choose to love our spouses. And we keep choosing to do so.” “People who prayed for their spouses more often reported having a less stressful marriage than those who prayed for them less often.” “Having friendships with other couples is really beneficial to the relationship.” “Your loyalty is to your spouse before your parents.” I do not agree on the effectiveness of marital counselling, as was mentioned in the book many people wait to long to seek counselling. There should be more education on investigating each other’s character in the dating phase before getting married which dictates is a long term commitment of two parties forever (usually).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sierra

    3.75 stars. This read for me as a well-written marriage advice column (written by a smart, plucky Australian journalist, who was frankly delightful). Ms. Luscombe summarizes prevailing relationship research and views it through the lens of her own long-lasting marriage. Having read a number of the books she cites as source material, I appreciated her interpretations and the down-to-earth way she discussed how these various research-based relationship theories supported, or sometimes contradicted, 3.75 stars. This read for me as a well-written marriage advice column (written by a smart, plucky Australian journalist, who was frankly delightful). Ms. Luscombe summarizes prevailing relationship research and views it through the lens of her own long-lasting marriage. Having read a number of the books she cites as source material, I appreciated her interpretations and the down-to-earth way she discussed how these various research-based relationship theories supported, or sometimes contradicted, each other. Her writing (and her narration of the audio book) is entertaining and her candid, funny, judgement-free discussion of so many touchy subjects set an incredibly accessible tone. I did find the recurrent message that the only slam-dunk reason to leave a relationship is if it is physically abusive to be an over simplification, but I also learned quite a few things that probably should have been simpler to see for myself. Overall, I'd sum it up as both broad and insightful, worthwhile for anyone interested in getting some perspective on their relationship.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A kind of depressing look at how hard marriage is. Despite having a successful 4 years together, I felt worried reading this about my own relationship. Does everyone have what it takes to be married? You don’t know until you try. I docked it a star because one whole chapter was about how kids affect your marriage. This I already knew and is one of the reasons I am staunchly childfree. I wish there had been more talk about marriages that don’t result in children. I also docked a star because the c A kind of depressing look at how hard marriage is. Despite having a successful 4 years together, I felt worried reading this about my own relationship. Does everyone have what it takes to be married? You don’t know until you try. I docked it a star because one whole chapter was about how kids affect your marriage. This I already knew and is one of the reasons I am staunchly childfree. I wish there had been more talk about marriages that don’t result in children. I also docked a star because the chapter on sex was not written for alternative sexualities. While heterosexuality was fully discussed and gay/lesbian relationships briefly touched on, there was no mention of asexuality and no talk about how “if each partner is happy with the amount of sex than that’s what really matters, even if that amount is zero”. I ended up skimming the last half of the book and felt pretty depressed upon finishing it. I don’t think I have a lofty view of what marriage is, but I think a lot of people just don’t play nicely and that makes it hard.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I am addicted to self-help books on audiobook, especially ones about marriage. God knows why, but it probably helps that I’m not married — it’s sort of sociological? Idk. This one is great. I love the tone of the author, who brings in stories from her own life but mostly is a (very good) science explainer of all the studies of married people (there are a lot). She’s funny and frank and fun to listen to (the Australian accent helps). Like most books about marriage, this is mostly intended for str I am addicted to self-help books on audiobook, especially ones about marriage. God knows why, but it probably helps that I’m not married — it’s sort of sociological? Idk. This one is great. I love the tone of the author, who brings in stories from her own life but mostly is a (very good) science explainer of all the studies of married people (there are a lot). She’s funny and frank and fun to listen to (the Australian accent helps). Like most books about marriage, this is mostly intended for straight white women. It does a pretty good job bringing in class/money stuff, and a bit about gender roles/the patriarchy (not using that word), but there’s pretty much not any engagement on race, and the mentions of queer people are few and far between. In the only example [so far] of more than a sentence on same-sex partnerships, it’s mostly about what straight people can learn from gays. This is probably most interesting/least stressful to listen to if it largely doesn’t apply to you, in which case like, why (I can’t tell you why I do either), but/and I recommend it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lyndsey

    This is like pop-psychology for marriage books. It's fun, upbeat, and full of stats and studies. It is not a help book (it isn't going to sell you on any sorts of "hows" to staying married, rather the science describes studies illuminating "what" is going on). I admit, I didn't listen super closely or really learn much to apply or remember. But I appreciated these things: 1. The author is pro-marriage, while talking about the day-to-day realities and unattractiveness quite bluntly. I liked her not This is like pop-psychology for marriage books. It's fun, upbeat, and full of stats and studies. It is not a help book (it isn't going to sell you on any sorts of "hows" to staying married, rather the science describes studies illuminating "what" is going on). I admit, I didn't listen super closely or really learn much to apply or remember. But I appreciated these things: 1. The author is pro-marriage, while talking about the day-to-day realities and unattractiveness quite bluntly. I liked her not being objective. She is a realist with a goal. 2. This author really is funny. I was entertained throughout. She could have a second career doing stand-up. Her personal anecdotes were great for her topics and were things I really wouldn't be willing to share, so I felt it was authentic too, and I appreciate her being willing to share them (rather than just share the experiences of random examples from therapists).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mell Meunier

    Format :audiobook By now you may know my usual concerns when I see an author narrated audiobook. My concerns had no standing with this one, she is an exceptional narrator, she has a beautiful Australian accent and nails her comedic tone and timing. The content in this book is great, it is presented simply and she uses her sense of humour to describe her own marital navigations throughout. I really liked this book. Her stand out portion is the first part on familiarity and intimacy. But the part th Format :audiobook By now you may know my usual concerns when I see an author narrated audiobook. My concerns had no standing with this one, she is an exceptional narrator, she has a beautiful Australian accent and nails her comedic tone and timing. The content in this book is great, it is presented simply and she uses her sense of humour to describe her own marital navigations throughout. I really liked this book. Her stand out portion is the first part on familiarity and intimacy. But the part that resonated with me the most was describing how to fight with your partner. The book is inclusive of different marital couplings whether common law, same sex and even briefly touches on polyamory. Excellent book, I'd recommend it to anyone in a committed cohabiting relationship or considering one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hanna

    We all want to receive one perfect piece of advice on how to stay married happily. Honestly, that's why I picked up this book #Marriageology by Belinda Luscombe. Thankfully netgalley granted my wish. However it took me a while until I read the book. By the time I started reading, our local library had the book in stock. Waiting that long to read this book was a huge mistake. I did enjoy it very much. It is certainly not a guide on how to be the best wife. It might help you recognizing the perfe We all want to receive one perfect piece of advice on how to stay married happily. Honestly, that's why I picked up this book #Marriageology by Belinda Luscombe. Thankfully netgalley granted my wish. However it took me a while until I read the book. By the time I started reading, our local library had the book in stock. Waiting that long to read this book was a huge mistake. I did enjoy it very much. It is certainly not a guide on how to be the best wife. It might help you recognizing the perfect time when it is not too late to mess it up. The author did a great deal of research and provides her personal experience. Everybody does make a mistake. Sometimes it is ok to accept it and try to work on fixing it. I would recommend this book to anybody in a long-term relationship. It might give you a different perspective on your life or even prevents you from going to the therapist when it is not yet needed.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gideon Yutzy

    Luscombe has worked hard to become a person of depth despite apparently living a wealthy, comfortable lifestyle. As the reader you have to respect that. Given her demographic/culture she could have left her often challenging marriage a long time ago and it would have been totally normal but she chose to work on it, although that said her husband sounds like a great dude if one is to believe her reports. I think one flaw in the book is that she cites just a few too many studies, almost to the poi Luscombe has worked hard to become a person of depth despite apparently living a wealthy, comfortable lifestyle. As the reader you have to respect that. Given her demographic/culture she could have left her often challenging marriage a long time ago and it would have been totally normal but she chose to work on it, although that said her husband sounds like a great dude if one is to believe her reports. I think one flaw in the book is that she cites just a few too many studies, almost to the point of losing credibility. I mean I know the book was meant to discuss the art and science of marriage but some areas cannot be evaluated through science/yet another "longitudinal" study (who did the study? how comprehensive was it? etc). Good book overall though, and well worth the read.

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