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Marriage Shock

Marriage Shock
Dalma Heyn
New York : Villard Books, 1997
HQ759 .H646 1997

The first days, weeks, and months after her wedding are fabled to be the most blissful time in a woman's life. She has achieved the intimate relationship she always hoped for, within which her love, her sexuality, her self, are supposed to flourish. Why, then, do so many new wives ask themselves, in ashamed secrecy, "What's happening to me?" What makes strong, assertive, sophisticated women suddenly feel as if they're losing themselves in the very environment in which they expected to thrive?

And what makes them feel, after just a few years, as if they have to get out of the marriage in order to recover themselves?

The post-wedding depression, the first-year numbness and bewilderment, are things brides don't want to admit to, yet women with a wide range of experiences - in first and second marriages, married at twenty-two or at forty-five - told author Dalma Heyn a similar story. "Within a year of marrying," one put it, "I no longer resembled the woman I was before I married."

In her acclaimed earlier book, The Erotic Silence of the American Wife, Heyn explored why married women have affairs. Now, in Marriage Shock she explains why the plague of contemporary divorce - initiated by women two-thirds of the time - from a revolutionary new perspective: It's not bad relationships that cause wives to walk out; nor is it boredom, time or overblown expectations. Rather, it's the institution of marriage itself, with the myriad hidden constraints that long ago shaped it, that is behind this phenomenon. By examining the complex experience of "marriage shock," Heyn carefully charts how the institution can silently sabotage the very love and commitment a couple envision.

Elegantly argued and resounding with the voices of women and men, Marriage Shock is a ground-breaking book that will change the way we think about marriage - and about divorce. Heyn's compassionate conclusion is that marriage can be saved only when we stop trying to "fix" wives so that they fit into it - and instead fix marriage to embrace and nourish wives.

Quoted from dustjacket.