The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together

Scribner. Jan. 2018. 368p. notes. ISBN 9781501118913. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781501118944. PSYCH
Psychologist de Marneffe (Maternal Desires) normalizes the rough patch of marriage: when we feel mortality's pull, when we are sandwiched between generations, financially strapped, and needing to communicate more than ever as responsibility makes time scarce. The trick is not denying the turbulence, de Marneffe argues, but rather addressing it with the golden ring. She invokes the golden ring as a place readers can address marital struggles with emotional regulation, benefits of doubt, and as joint problems. Each chapter profiles common issues of contention for couples including money, addiction, and aging. De Marneffe discusses these themes via couples' stories, including some same-sex couples. She orients to the attachment perspective: we need to depend safely on loved ones from birth, and that safety need extends to marriage. De Marneffe closes with encouraging conversation, as it will have people move past the roughness with love, competence, and safety with their spouses. Endnotes are provided on a by-chapter basis.
VERDICT A solid choice for readers seeking information about common struggles in marriage, but this book is slim as a how-to. A best choice for readers who have a deep interest in the field of marital therapy and already have some subject-specific knowledge of psychology.
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