Marriage Confidential sets out to show how many marriages, although enjoying little open conflict, are only semi-happy and that the spouses feel that something is missing. And she gives many convincing examples of marriages that don’t work too well, from the partnership approach (not romantic enough), to the Tom Sawyer approach (her word, I would call it the one-sided marriage, in which one partner works hard, at everything, while the other just “self-actualizes”) to the exclusively child-focused marriage, to cheating or open marriages, that don’t look much like marriages to me.
Poor marriage! But is it fair to overload the institution of marriage with the expectation that it will fulfill each partner’s every desire, and raise children successfully, and last forever, while keeping a perfect house while we are at it? Rather than asking for a new institution, as the author does, perhaps it would better to seek a more reasonable vision of marriage and not expect that it will be the one source of happiness, achievement, and personal growth forever and ever… Maybe I’m getting old.