The Secret Lives of Wives, by Iris Krasnow is a pretty interesting exploration of long term marriage where she investigates marriages that last between 15 and 70 years . She has also written books called, Surrendering to Marriage and Surrendering to Motherhood. Krasnow is a journalist by training. The book is an easy read because it is primarily anecdotal, culled from many interviews the author conducted with women all across the country. Krasnow is asking herself and her subjects, “How do you create a good marriage? How do you maintain a long marriage? How do you stay connected through love and hate? “ These are all questions I love to explore.
I particularly loved her discussion of marriage as an institution. Krasnow concludes: “Who’s doing it? Wealthy people. Whose making it last? A small percentage. Who benefits?” Krasnow seems to think most. This may be where we differ. Krasnow and I have very different backgrounds both personally and professionally, which led me to come up with some slightly different conclusions. In the end, I felt she mostly espouses to stay together and that if you do you will realize that on the other side of adversity is joy and peacefulness with your husband. Krasnow loses me a bit when she says things like, “every women has watched their spouse with his feet up in the living room, while she stomps around the kitchen, preparing dinner.” Really? Though this is not an unfamiliar idea to me, it seems so cliché and stereotypical, however she speaks to me when she says, “find happiness and fulfillment within yourself and then share it.” I certainly agree with that!
I like to explore long-term relationships for many reasons. I feel that a good relationship is invaluable and one that is not so good generally benefits no one. I believe divorce can be beneficial and that a couple should not always stick it out for the sake of the kids, purely for longevity or because one fears what a solo life might be like. I am not sure how Krasnow feels about these things because she mostly describes couples in their later years who are not financially strapped in any way and are enjoying their later lives in beautiful places pursuing the hobbies or passions that they set aside for child rearing. I loved these descriptions but it seems like a fairly small and selective group that she focuses on.
Of course I believe relationships take work and that a long term healthy marriage or relationship can have innumerable benefits, but it sometimes felt like Krasnow was trying to convince herself she had done the right thing. Everyone is unique and I am ultimately interested in helping each individual and couple find out what is best for them, within the circumstances that they have.