There were some good parts to this book – some good pieces of advice. I loved the curling analogy. The personal stories were interesting, and I did enjoy hearing from Ted. In fact, I kind of wished we’d heard more from Ted and less from Ashleigh. Her “voice” grated on my nerves after a while. At times, she seemed quite shallow and self-centered, and I began to think Ted must be a super-amazing man for staying married to her as long as he has. But that’s what you do (what you’re supposed to do) when you’re married. You stay together no matter what…as long as you’re not putting yourself in danger by doing so (As in the case of a truly abusive relationship, which this book didn’t touch on at all – but then, that’s not a team. It’s not an “Us” vs. “Them” mentality; it’s a “me” vs. “you” mentality. ).
The thing I really disliked was her idea of “payback.” As in, Ted “made” her sit through THE BLACK HOLE, so she made him sit through a Cary Grant movie or two…or three – as payback. I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong. If you have different tastes or interests, you don’t force the other person to get into them…and you certainly don’t use it as blackmail or a manipulation tool to get what you want later on.
A personal example: my husband is a die-hard Southern gospel fan. I’ve always felt like Southern gospel (for the most part) was a horrific mix of twang, whine, and cheesy soundtracks that should never have made it to the mainstream. But I let him listen to it in the car because I love him, and I know he loves Southern gospel music. And sometimes he changes the channel to the contemporary Christian music station or the classical station because he knows I prefer that music, and he loves me. Sometimes he even lets me play my old CDs – including Nirvana (but I asked him first – I didn’t tell him he had to because I was tired of him “making” me listen to Southern gospel all the time), which he stood for all of about two minutes before he couldn’t take it anymore…and I shut it off without grumbling because (I repeat) I love him, and I realize that life is not all about me and what I like or want all the time. My marriage shouldn’t be either.
Also, I would have liked to see a section on how to deal with meddling (and sometimes completely hostile) in-laws. But I get the sense that both Ted and Ashleigh come from very loving, supportive families – which is great for them, but it’s not the reality for most of us. There’s a hole there that I think needs to be filled.
Another thing that bothered me about this book was the ongoing “lament of the rich white girl.” I couldn’t relate well to it. My husband and I have experienced many of the same things Ashleigh and Ted have faced – except when we went from a two-paycheck household to a one-paycheck household we didn’t already have a nice nest egg tucked away to fall back on. We were living two-paychecks to two-paychecks…and then we had to go without with two little mouths to feed, so we lost both the houses we couldn’t make payments on because one of them wouldn’t sell). But we stuck it out together without questioning because to us, it’s not about what we have materially. It’s about what we have relationally. There was no blaming or shaming. That’s just life. It happens, and you deal with it, and you move on. You don’t end the most important human relationship you’ll ever have just because of a few setbacks. It’s a no-brainer.
I don’t know. I’m sure this book could be helpful to some people (my husband says he knows of a few people he works with who could benefit from reading this), but it’s not really for me (maybe because I’m already in a good “team” marriage?). I can imagine it would be an excellent gift for a young newly married couple or a recently engaged couple…just to give them a sense of what might be in store for them later on. Give them some things to think about and time to plan their responses to the difficulties they might face in their marriages. But marriage isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Other couples may experience different trials, but they have to be committed to working through these trials together (indeed, if they’re not willing to commit to this, they shouldn’t get married in the first place). So, I agree wholeheartedly with the premise of this book, but the execution was severely lacking.
Still, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can win a copy of this book for yourself.
All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post. Push back. Tell me I’m being too hard on the book or whatever. Make sure you watch the trailer and read the book excerpt (check out the links above). Comment any time from now until Friday, February 6, 2015 @ 11:59 PM EST, and you’ll be entered to win.
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.