Release date: 224 pp / 2012
Synopsis (from Amazon): As the judge starring on the hit nationally syndicated television show Divorce Court, Lynn Toler witnesses, en masse, the thematic mistakes made in American marriages. She herself has also been wed for 22 years and has seen both the highs and lows of matrimony in her own marriage as well as the marriages of those close to her. While the national divorce rate hovers around the 50% threshold, there is a lot of chatter that marriage as we know it is an outdated institution–that we are too selfish, too unwilling to make sacrifices, and too misguided by elevated expectations of happiness to make marriage work. While these points may hold some validity, a lot of this chatter is nothing new. So what’s causing so many divorces and, perhaps even more importantly, what are we to do about it if we want marriage to survive? Drawing from both her professional career and personal life, Toler sees that the biggest impediment to marriage these days is that couples decide to take the plunge based almost entirely on the most irrational criteria: falling in love.
Review: In Making Marriage Work, the star of Divorce Court shares her experiences from the bench and from her 22 year marriage in a series of rules designed to help couples avoid ever reaching her courtroom.
In the introduction, Toler explores why the divorce rate in America continues to rise and considers whether couples are unwilling to put forth the effort to create a strong marriage, whether the secularization of marriage is to blame, whether love is too fickle an emotion to base a serious commitment like marriage upon, or whether the institution has simply become obsolete. Toler concludes that “Once an institution of obligation, [marriage] is now one of choice,” and rather than looking to old solutions, we now need a new approach: Toler’s rules for Making Marriage Work.
Toler believes that marriage is still a viable institution since humans are social creatures and can thrive in a committed relationship — if they are prepared to be practical both before and during marriage. In addition, her sense of humor is a welcome companion to her practicality; for example, her take on Divorce Court: “Yes, I know the show is a bit extreme, voyeuristic, and, well, often a little silly, but if you listen past the anger, I sincerely believe that the people on the show have something to teach us all.” Happily, Toller is neither extreme nor silly in her “how to” book on marriage, and the result is a hands-on, practical guide for couples at every stage of marriage.
Thank you to Shelf Awareness for asking me to read and review this! Interested in winning a copy? Leave me a comment below!