Hurdles, and Tips for Success, for Longtime Marrieds

Susan Shapiro Barash’s "The Nine Phases of Marriage" looks at what happens after the honeymoon ends

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter
nine phases of marriage susan shapiro barash
"The Nine Phases of Marriage" looks at the different stages of relationships.
Photograph: St. Martin's Griffin

Sex. “It’s really important to keep the passion alive. Throughout the book, I write about time shared with your spouse and the level of commitment it takes as your priorities shift. You should always have time to have a nice social life together, to have interests in common, and if your interests aren’t in common, to placate each other. But really take a look at how to preserve the commitment, how to keep infusing it with energy and interest—and that includes sex. We have sex a long time. Women like it; it isn’t like it should just go away.”

Expectations. “Women I interviewed for this book who were in their early sixties were so different about what they expected from their marriages than women who were in their late sixties. So much changed in the ’60s . . . [But] the Gen X wife is very much invested in egalitarian marriage, very hopeful and really wanting a real partner in the marriage. A woman who is 35 or 40 has very high expectations that her husband will pull through for her. I think the reason the role of the wife has evolved and that the concept of marriage has evolved is because the Gen Xer has taken a look at her boomer mother or boomer coworker and has seen what has failed . . . Maybe you looked at your mother, and said, ‘I don’t really feel like ending up divorced, or in separate bedrooms but still married to my husband. I don’t want to just drag him out for holidays and parties; I want a real friend.’ Her mother may have wanted that, too, but didn’t get it.”

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Share Your Thoughts!


Sarah Donato09.23.2012

I recently read a very helpful article on how to make your marriage last after multiple divorces:

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