17 Excellent Pieces Of Marriage Advice From Divorced People

Dana Adam Shapiro spent over three years interviewing hundreds of divorced people about marriage for his book, You Can Be Right (or You Can Be Married), now out in paperback. Here are some words of wisdom from them.

1. “It’s not a question of winning love from people. It’s either there or it isn’t — there’s nothing you can do other than be yourself.”

— Liz, 43

Tess Aquarium / Via Flickr: madebytess

2. “You have to find somebody who is willing to accept you for who you are and then tell you that that’s not good enough. And with their help, you figure out how to be better. And you need to do the same thing for them.”

— Jim, 55

Library of Congress / Via commons.wikimedia.org

3. “My advice for someone getting married would not be to learn how to get along, but to learn how to fight fairly and productively.”

— Steve, 39

Amshudhagar / Via commons.wikimedia.org

4. “No, I don’t think you have to agree on silly things like who likes white meat and who likes dark meat, or who wants the thermostat set to 75 and who wants it set to 65. Temperament is important; temperature is not.”

— Mary, 58

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary / Via marinesanctuariesmedia.com

5. “Passion? I know it’s overrated. That adrenaline rush, it’s not real.”

— Marion, 42

6. “Don’t be cool.”

— Ann, 41

7. “You have to keep it romantic. And ‘romantic’ doesn’t have to mean candles and flowers and getting all dressed up. You can bring home a pizza and make that romantic.”

— Eddie, 41

Angie Andriot / Via Flickr: angieandriot

8. “When you respect each other, emotionally and spiritually, the things that you or I or the church or the rabbi might classify as ‘dirty’ — I call that a deep connection. You have to be really connected with someone to have sex on the hood of a car.”

— Eddie, 41

Peter Paul Rubens / Via collectieantwerpen.be

9. “When it comes to sex, the biggest mistake a man can make in bed is having a lack of enthusiasm. And the biggest mistake a woman can make is also lack of enthusiasm. Sex is a team sport. And it should be a lot of fucking fun.”

— Sloan, 34

10. “We all have fantasies in our head — it’s when you act on them, that’s the problem. If you don’t want to cheat, you must avoid putting yourself in a situation where it can happen. Duh.”

— Tasha, 41

11. “I’ve had great sex. But it’s ultimately more about the intimacy of loving and touching and snuggling. It’s what I call ‘couch love.’”

— Olivia, 62

12. “Fighting is like the court or the ring or the arena. There are boundaries but it’s still full-contact. And once you enter that arena, that’s the time to let it all out.”

— Ben, 40

Martin Le Roy / Via Flickr: mlr654

13. “Don’t sit together when you go out to dinner with other people. In America, if you have a table of 10 people, they seat the couples together, which is a terrible idea

because A) you have nothing to talk about when you get home because you’ve been with each other the whole time. And B) there’s nothing more boring than sitting next to a couple that has this kind of insular feeling.”
— Paul, 38

14. “Unconditional love, you have that with your children. But with adults in a romantic relationship, it’s not like that.

That type of love isn’t given — it’s earned.”
— Liz, 43

Pedro Ribeiro Simões / Via Flickr: pedrosimoes7

15. “There is something absolutely divine — I mean, literally, the breath of God — in the ability to put someone else in your heart, to think of them first.

But from the time of the greatest pornographer who ever lived, Shakespeare, we’ve demanded that love be something more. No, fuck Shakespeare — since the Song of Songs! And what happens is, the utter grandeur and magnificence of what love actually is gets overshadowed by this disappointment that it’s not the way we fantasized it should be.”
— Jim, 55

Anil1956 / Via en.wikipedia.org

16. “Yes, I do think there is a danger in being too romantic and believing in fairy tales. A perfect example is my sister-in-law who so passionately believes in love that she’s been married four times.”

— Rachel, 64

17. “The very best you can hope for is that you’ve got somebody who’s gonna respect you enough to go through the day-to-day bullshit and be honest with you. That’s the most romantic thing in the world.”

— Jim, 55

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