cover image Good Marriage CL

Good Marriage CL

Sandra Blakeslee, Judith S. Wallerstein. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $24.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-89919-969-6

Following Second Chances, her landmark 1989 study of the long-term effects of divorce, clinical psychologist Wallerstein considers what makes marriages work in this perceptive and revealing report. Writing with New York Times science reporter Blakeslee (who also coauthored Second Chances), Wallerstein interviewed 50 predominantly white, middle-class, northern California couples who had been married nine years or more and had at least one child. Their strong, stable marriages flourish, in her view, because every partner confronted a series of psychological tasks: separating emotionally from the family of childhood; carving out his or her autonomy; creating an environment where anger and conflict could be safely vented; and so forth. Identifying four types of marriages--romantic, rescue, compassionate, traditional--Wallerstein examines the hazards and potentials of each, concluding that a good marriage is a matrix for growth whereby each partner changes the other profoundly over the course of the union. Mingling case histories, advice and observation, this study should prove a lifesaver for many couples. 100,000 first printing; $150,000 promo; first serial to McCall's, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Cosmopolitan; author tour. (June)