Secrets of a Good Marriage by Sharon Horgan is the third in a series of books which focus on women’s issues. Writer and performer Sharon Horgan pores over six different marriages and an engagement in an effort to open up the intimate private world of married women and husbands. Within this engaging novel, Horgan provides insights into how past hurts can impact current relationships, what kinds of emotions may cause arguments and how to respond when one partner seeks comfort from another. In essence, this book boils down to “wives’man” advice for women who are considering marrying someone else.
The majority of the book consists of quotes regarding common conflicts that arise in most marriages. One such conflict occurs when one partner feels as though they have been taken advantage of by their spouse. This is where the Secrets of a Good Marriage comes in. Specifically, Horgan offers quotes which address the issue of how to make any marriage work despite any personal shortcomings one or both partners may have. The book also offers a number of marriage quotes focusing on how to remain optimistic during times of conflict and how to keep things enjoyable. After reading the book, I realized that although many of the conflicts addressed in the book were relevant to my own experience as a wife and husband, there were other lessons which I could have taken from the book as well.
In the final part of the book, titled “Be a loving exploration”, Horgan provides a brief summary of the other three parts. Specifically, the book discusses how uncoupling – or getting your needs met – leads to a more satisfying marriage and how some couples manage it. While this was not a critical analysis of the book, I think it was a good summary of the issues addressed. I also thought it provided insight into how I had managed to get my husband to pay more attention to me after the birth of our son. I would say that the book provided some useful insights into how I overcame some of the challenges I faced as a wife and how I made a positive contribution to our relationship even after the birth of our first child.
There are also short sections which examine different marriage styles and explore the reasons some people resort to them. At the end of the book, Horgan provides a summary of the findings of his research on why marriage is such an important institution and the reasons why people marry. These include the social, emotional, psychological, and financial benefits that marrying one person and having children brings. He also explores the nature of marriage, what the marriage contract should look like, and how to choose the best spouse for you based on your personality and expectations.
There is also a final chapter titled “Secrets of a Good Marriage: Two People, One Vision” which will examine the power of vision in making two people stick together in marriage. It explores the ways in which marriages can survive the storms of life and still last. The book ends with a chapter entitled “The Power of Visions” which discusses the value of being open to seeing possibilities instead of shutting ourselves off to them. The secrets of a good marriage includes the ideas and insights shared by Horgan that hopefully will help couples in the future find more success in their relationships.
Secrets of a good marriage should prove to be an entertaining read for both husband and wife. While the message may seem discouraging to some, it is important to note that most marriages do end in divorce. The key is to not allow a mistake to ruin your reputation and self esteem. In the end, if you face the problem, make sure you own up to your mistake and do everything you can to right the wrong and move on. With enough reading and reflection, I am sure you will come to the same conclusion as I did – keeping a marriage together is worth the effort and the hard work.