Book Review: Avoiding The Greener Grass Syndrome

Avoiding The Greener Grass Syndrome:  How To Grow Affair-Proof Hedges Around Your Marriage, by Nancy C. Anderson

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Despite never having been married and having no particular immediate prospects for the state, I do read a great deal of books relating to marriage, perhaps optimistically as preparation [1].  This is a book that most readers will likely begin with a negative view of the author.  The author skillfully begins this book by showing herself at her worst before showing how things worked out for the best thanks to a great deal of effort, the love of her husband, and the good counsel of her parents.  Providing Christian answers as to how to protect a marriage from affairs, the author also recognizes the brokenness of many marriages and the brokenness that many people bring into marriages from their families of origin (in the case of the author’s husband) as well as our own selfishness and immaturity and bent towards self-deception and evil, which we have to wrestle with no matter how blessed our backgrounds or how conspicuous our gifts and talents and abilities.

The first three chapters of the book make up the author’s own exposure of her affair that led her to separate from her husband until her parents more or less browbeat her into reconsidering her folly and her husband forgives her and they are able to start again with her quitting her job so as to avoid continued encounters with her paramour.  The rest of the short book (under 150 pages) show the author discussing various ways to build hedges around a marriage to protect it from the harm of an affair, such as hearing, encouraging, dating, guarding, educating, and satisfying.  A sober chapter about how to repair a marriage that has been harmed by an affair closes the main content of the book before its conclusion and an appendix that briefly provides her husband’s perspective.  Included in the book are a lot of discussions of the author’s approach to working as a team as well as continually working on their marriage and on each other.  The story certainly has a strong air of verisimilitude and the author has a great deal of honesty in her approach–this is no pretense and pretending that everything is fine, but rather a serious book about a serious matter.

Most of the counsel given in this book is not particularly surprising.  Of course it is wise to guard your eyes, to build trust and to keep working hard to woo a partner even after one is married.  To be sure, most people view dating and courtship as the place where one seeks to charm others until they are locked up, which leads to all kind of changes when people no longer are looking to impress someone they take for granted.  The author points out that a lot of unhappy people in marriages end up being vulnerable to the way that people charm others instead of charming their own spouses.  For all of the fact that the advice in this book seems a bit basic, it is one thing to know and another thing to do.  All kinds of people think that they are above the sort of rules that they recognize as wise in general, and this is the sort of book that might inspire people to think that there was something more complicated than listening well, being considerate, seeking adventure and growth, and keeping one’s relationship with God strong, among other wise counsel that, like so much good advice, is much easier said than done.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christianity, Love & Marriage and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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