Books by Ellen Sue Stern

Released: Oct. 15, 1991

Here, dispensing limited but useful advice, Stern (Expecting Change; The Indispensable Woman—neither reviewed) focuses on the grievances of married women against their husbands, finding the sources of the complaints in false expectations, inappropriate attitudes, and failed communication. Through blaming husbands for problems in marriage, and assuming that wives are responsible for saving these troubled unions, women, especially in long marriages, Stern says, shortchange themselves largely by the unsuitable strategies they assume in place of solutions: anger, emotional and sexual withdrawal, resignation, complaining to friends, or finding sexual substitutes. Women, Stern believes, should face up to the problems and start solving them by changing themselves, their attitudes, even their history. Using case studies, inventories, tests, ``personal checkpoints,'' the author offers a handbook for diagnosing marital problems and treating them with such practical advice as how and when to find a therapist, how to make peace with one's past, how to negotiate solutions, even how to reawaken sexual desire through imaging. While not appropriate for marriages that are seriously threatened by drugs, violence, or infidelity, Stern's array of contemporary approaches—cognitive, behaviorist, transactional—may prove useful for those who feel frustrated, unfulfilled, ``shortchanged'' in basically compatible unions. Read full book review >