Married Roommates: How To Go From A Relationship That Just Survives To A Marriage That Thrives, by Talia and Allen Wagner
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Reedsy Discovery. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
The fate of a marriage turning into a relationship where people are married roommates is not a hard one to envision. I know how things have often been between my roommates and I, days without any kind of communication whatsoever aside from a nod of the head or a wave as one goes off to be alone, schedules that are not always communicated to others, awkward silences as conversations drift into areas of irritation and annoyance, and the like. How does one avoid such a fate? As someone who is not nor has ever been married, this is not the sort of thing I have expertise on, but it is a subject I consider to be of importance, and it is good to see that a married couple has felt confident enough in their own relationship to give others insight on how one can keep the flame of romance alive despite the ravages of time and the entropy that comes into relationships that have been taken for granted and not worked on. And if that is of interest to you, this is a book well worth reading.
This book is, in the version I read, less than 200 pages and is divided into three parts and nine chapters. After a short introduction about the phenomenon of married roommates–something I can recognize in the lives of others, the first part of the book spends three chapters discussing marriage as having a missing owner’s manual (I), with a discussion of how marriage find themselves adrift (1), the three acts of life and how they end up showing that marriages have failed to keep up with the changes in the lives of the husband and wife (2), and a discussion of where things have gone wrong between two people that has led them to this state (3). After that there are four chapters that discuss the declining and redefining of marriage (II), which talk about such matters as the need to correct communication between partners (4), conflicts and combat between spouses (5), the loss of connections that can happen over time (6), and the need to increase sexual intimacy between partners (7). Finally, the book concludes with two chapters on building a new normal (III) that includes putting the tips of the book together (8) and planning the way foreword together (9), after which there is an afterword, acknowledgements, and some information about the authors.
One of the more notable aspects of this book is the way that every chapter ends with a series of tips that gives the reader a chance to apply what the book has been talking about. Not all of these tips are particularly good ones–the tips on intimacy include advising couples to watch X-rated movies together as a bonding experience, which assumes that they are not possessed of the highest degree of morality when it comes to their entertainment choices. That said, despite some slipups, including calling truth subjective when what is being considered as subjective is the interpretation one of the partners has about what the other is doing in a given situation, this book gives generally good advice even if that advice is hardly surprising to someone who understands the massive importance of trust and communication within any kind of relationship. Like many books that can be considered self-help books, this book does not give much in the way that would be new or surprising information, but rather gives that information in a way that is appealing to the reader and may prompt some understanding of how things can go awry between husband and wife and how this can be corrected.