Within our lives we encounter many different people, form serious relationships with some and not with others. Women as the author states often place a great “value,” on their relationships. Men are raised, “ to value independence and self-reliance.” Women are taught when younger that it’s important to understand the needs of other people, their feelings and develop a nurturing atmosphere. But, what happens when your values, mores and ideals are not exactly what others would like them to be? What happens when what started out as a close and healthy relationship takes on a toxic air and you are caught in so many webs of lies, deceit and betrayal that some stay where they are because they think they have no way out where others seek help and freedom.
Within the pages of this book the author relates real events, real situations and realistic solutions that both men and women can learn from when trying to keep their marriages together, their family’s in tact and more important their self-esteem and self-worth where it should be first and foremost on top.
What happens when you are married for a long time, had a close relationship and then all of a sudden you realize that the intimacy has waned, the conversations are gone, the harsh reality sets in that somehow your life has taken a downward turn and now it’s time to reassess and reevaluate what needs to be done in order to decide how to move forward. Throughout chapter one titled Married and Lonely the author allows readers to hear the voices, thoughts, feelings and frustrations faced by many women whose feel Married and Alone! Some reasons date back to childhood rearing and others have to do with feeling inferior, being made to feel that they are not worth anything, poor self-esteem and even blaming parents or spouses for their plight. The author follows each situation with an analysis and then with viable solutions. Our past emotional wounds, she states, often interfere with our ability to “develop meaningful relationships.” This can lead to feeling isolated and alone. When someone starts to heal and realizes that they are becoming more self-confident and well-balanced then positive changes can be made. She then continues with what happens when some women feel abused, used and as she states in the chapter title: I Felt Like A Sex Object. Everyone wants to feel special and important in a relationship. But, some men have this overpowering desire to create self-doubt, insecurities and self- doubt in their wives or girlfriends. Reading about Steven on pages 16- 20 and Paul on pages 20- 25 we hear the voices of two women in relatively the same situations where their husbands tend to be controlling, crude, using them for their own private enjoyment and not hesitating to “denigrate” them in front of others. Both handle the situation differently. What happens with Steven and his wife you need to learn for yourself but when Janice stands up to Paul you want to stand up and applaud. The final outcome might surprise you like the ending of a mystery with a serious twist, but in the long run she is now running the show in her own way. Within this chapter the author explains the importance of setting boundaries and limits in a marriage. How this is done is revealed within this chapter and how one wife began seeing herself in a positive light and was able to assert herself, defuse her fears and not feel inadequate or insecure anymore is quite compelling.
We all come to the end of our ropes at some time and the explosion could be quite huge and the fall out equal to that of earthquake. Imagine feeling the intensity of a huge earthquake or even the magnitude of an intense storm raging within you? Relationships I often think can be compared to the weather. When there is a total balance the sun shines but when there is an imbalance in power and one person that desire to abuse another, you might score an 8 on the Richter scale or even endure a blizzard. The author shares several stories about men who were controlling and abusive and once again we hear the voices of these women and how they handled the situation. Kathleen tells her story about feeling abandoned and rejected and Kimberly hers about an abusive relationship. Bottom line for both men and women regardless of whether he/she creates the abuse: When you decide to end this relationship and give yourself a chance to have a better life the sun will shine, you will feel better and the blizzard conditions will disappear.
Chapter Four deals with women that feel they have lost their self-esteem and Chapter Five a very common problem when mother in laws interfere, rip their daughter-in-laws to shred or try to and what one woman does to reassert her position is quite interesting. Melissa’s mother-in-law will remind you of the wicked stepmother in Snow White or worse. Robert was his mother’s whole world and no woman was good enough for him or matched up to what she wanted. When Melissa finally stands up to her and her family read what happens and she takes an unhealthy relationship that was becoming toxic and turns into something more meaningful.
So, is it okay to have an affair because you are attracted to someone else? Is it okay to get board with your life and branch out? “ It All Began With Friendship,” will set you straight on that. Do you think that marriage would be like and eternal honeymoon? Some women set their sites and expectations really high and like climbing a ladder or a huge spiral staircase you can come tumbling down real fast. Read what Debra says and learn more. Divorced for three years she is really glad that she left her marriage. The expectations that she had going into the marriage might remind some of David Copperfield illusion. Is what you see or feel really there? Disagreements, bad habits and jealousies and physical aggressions are just some of what she experienced. The remainder of the chapter deals with Amanda and her situation, what the author feels we all need to learn and how and why some women experience great discontent when dealing with a failing marriage. How can you create a more meaningful life? Read this chapter, which is followed by My Husband Changed : Chapter 8 where you notice things about him you never did before. Hear Anna’s story and hear Maria’s thoughts to learn more.
When the lines of communication break down you can bet things are more than just frayed. Women for the most part want to talk about what is bothering them hoping to make things better. Men on the other hand are not always as forthcoming or willing to make changes. Within this chapter you will hear what Elizabeth says about her husband and how he makes reference to fairytales. The author explains what happens when someone does not want to talk it out and listen. Sarah’s story is next and Greg just wanted peace. He did not like to argue and confrontations were not what he intended to deal with. How this plays out and why she feels he did not care is quite revealing. Read the next story and find out what can happen when our partner apologies for what has happened. Does that mean things will get better? Does it make us feel that he has invested and wants to invest more time in restoring the relationship? Interesting questions and waits until you read the rest. Without communication all you have is dead air.
The next chapter is titled “I Feel Worn Out,” Which focuses women who have experienced an unhealthy marriage. Next, it is his turn to cheat and find out when you, or any woman has become the victim of an “Extramarital Affair. So, can divorce be a good thing? Yes it can according to what you will learn in Chapter 12. Difficult, life changing and more than just stressful, some women even have divorce parties to celebrate their new found freedom. Read Malia’s story and understand that she no longer has to deal with fighting, his abusive behavior and his being unfaithful to her. Getting full custody of her children and being both parents to her children she has had it really hard. No one to help, falling into a pattern that many women do, eating themselves into oblivion and gaining weight and learning that her ex-husband has moved on with his life. Dealing with divorce is hard. But, you need to get rid of the negative feelings and allow yourself to grow in a positive way. Read Brenda’s story and Lori’s to learn more. The next chapter deals with needing a father or parent for support followed by What Successful Marriage Feels like in Chapter 14. I found this chapter really enlightening and helpful where the author relates why it is important to have strong bond with your partner allowing you to experience true romance in your lives. Read the rest to learn more. What happens when the affection level on the intimacy meter goes from 10 to 1? What do you do? Once again you need to develop” an emotional bond with our partner.” Read the last paragraph on page 136 and you will find out more.
The final chapters focus on single women who fear getting married and why followed by Women’s Words Of Advice and the author’s final words. Read the advice that some women gave their friends and then read what the author says. For example: Be prepared for disappointment in marriage. The author agrees and states why on page 149. Melissa who is in a no win marriage at the age of 64 states: single women should think carefully before getting married. The author brilliantly relates this to succeeding in a career and how having the right job skills is not any different than the right skills to become a wife and be married. The rest read it for yourself and you decide whether you agree with the advice given. In your search for love obstacles will come your way it’s how you decide to deal with them that will help you rise and not fall down. As the author states so well: “We have in our core the strength to pull ourselves up because we are, after all, WOMEN.” Don’t forget that.
A great resource for every women and even young adults that think they ready to take the plunge at an early age. This is great for guidance groups for high school seniors, great for roll playing the many situations in discussion groups and a great resource for both men and women to learn and grow from.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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Research in Brain Traumatic Injury