Book Review – For Better

For Better: The Science of a Good MarriageFor Better: The Science of a Good Marriage by Tara Parker-Pope

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

This is a book about marriage. Duh.

Most marriages start out pretty much the same – full of hope and love and dreams. So what happens? Why do half of all marriages end in divorce? (Or do they? That’s one myth this book dispels!) What comes between couples, and how can you eliminate the problems and have a happily-ever-after ending with your soulmate?

The author, puzzled by her own divorce after a seemingly compatible match with her husband, decided to delve into the study of marriage, monogamy, parenting, coupling, what we get right, what we get wrong, and how we can have the strongest possible marriage.

Some of the statistical stuff in the beginning is interesting, particularly about monogamy among different animals. You may find yourself wondering what on earth it has to do with building a strong marriage, but if you hang in, it kind of makes sense as you get into later chapters.

Anyone who has ever been married can probably guess what the biggest stressors in a marriage are.


Oh, yeah.

Not a surprise.

So probably, you won’t be much surprised at what the “tricks” are for having a good marriage. Still, I’ll consider that a spoiler and will let you discover it for yourself, should you choose to. Thing is, if you already have a good marriage, once you get to the tricks, you may find yourself wondering – as I was – why on earth you were wasting your time on this book. It’s not that it’s a bad book. It’s just that I was expecting some kind of cool stuff I could use to make my marriage even more solid. I didn’t get that, exactly, just kind of an affirmation that we are doing it right.

And that’s a good thing, right? We all know how we want our marriages to end up, ideally…

One note for those that might listen to this on audiobook as I did – there are TONS of quizzes peppered throughout this book. If you want to take them, you’ll have to be quick with grabbing a pen and paper when they come along. Don’t try to keep track of your score in your head – some are short enough to do so, others definitely not. Then you have to fuss with waking up your iPhone and jabbing the “back” button while you try to extricate the cat from the laundry you were folding without losing your paper and dropping your pen again. This is not recommended. The other cat will steal your pen and run off into another room of the house and you will drop socks everywhere trying to catch him and will stub your toe on the doorway and cuss a lot. It makes you drop a star on a book rating. (Just kidding, that’s not why it’s 3 stars. Seriously. Maybe.)

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