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Imperfect Harmony: How to Stay Married for the Sake of your children and still be happy

By Dr Joshua Coleman


Contrary to the wisdom of pop psychology, it is not essential to your or your children's well-being for you to have a great marriage," writes psychologist Coleman in the opening to this frank (and, to borrow from Lewis's foreword, even "radical") guide for struggling couples. In prose studded references to recent research and case studies from his own practice, Coleman clearly and compassionately outlines the stresses on contemporary marriages; discusses the need for spouses to grieve for what their marriages don't offer them; urges them to understand how their parents' marriages affect their own and to work on changing their own attitudes and beliefs instead of trying to change their partners'; describes depression's effects on marriage; covers sexual difficulties, affairs and "different kinds of marriages"; and numerous other topics. Coleman's argument is that barring abuse or debilitating mental illness, it's better for kids if parents stay together, and here, he carefully shows them how. Some readers may object to what can seem like a "you're not going to get it, so you might as well stop hoping for it" philosophy of partnership, but Coleman's words are a welcome antidote to unrealistic portrayals of domestic bliss. With practical advice and genuine empathy, Coleman encourages spouses to stick it out: their marriage may not change drastically for the better, he says-but then again, it just might.

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