Just because you're married doesn't mean you're dead.
Tiemin K., mother, on Married Life
Oh. The book about bonin'. Well I like the first chapter so far...
Luke H., spouse, on my comment "This book is really great."
I heard about Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel on NPR's fantastic series Three Books, a short segment in which an expert/author suggests three books on a theme, which I am fortunate to catch during my drive home several days a week. March 29th's episode featured Love Isn't All You Need: 3 Relationship-Building Books (listen here). I have never read a relationship or self-help or any book from that genre before, which likely stems from a prejudice that books of that ilk are poorly written psychobabble-laden potboilers. (Completely unfair but steadfastly, snobbishly held). However, psychologist and author Harriet Lerner's recommendation of Mating in Captivity sounded so erudite and interesting that I waited for the book from the library but the waiting list was weeks [...drawing mental Venn diagram of NPR listeners and library card holders...] so I bought it.
So worth it, dear readers.
This is a beautifully written book, no small feat as Perel is not a native English speaker. Below I have captured a passage from the chapter The Pitfalls of Modern Intimacy (via). These are not the most lyrical of her paragraphs but I feel they capture what I like most about this book and her approach: frisky and cerebral, playful, reasonable, level-headed, scientific in a way that leaves room for the romantic, inclusive, critical of the egalitarianism (men and women must be equal in every facet of their relationship) so prized in American culture. It is a book for anyone coupled, single, childless or with children (the chapters on the changes in a couple's relationship post-children are spectacular), or interested in psychology, gender politics and sociology. Any human being, really. [NB: This is not, however, a Cosmo-style sex advice, how-to book for those human beings looking for a more instructive text.]
The subtitle of the book and its crux: reconciling the domestic and the erotic. How to keep Le Spark alive?
The longest absence is less perilous to love than the terrible trials of incessant proximity.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
This little book, so well-crafted, invites you and your lovah to outfox the banality, the familiarity and the complacency that hungrily consume the passion that itself was once so consuming. It's marvelous, and I hope you read it.