Pryor’s debut is a guide to help couples through trying times.
Exasperation is inevitable in any marriage. Even the happiest couple can stumble and fall in the wake of a debilitating injury, loss, natural disaster, financial stress, infidelity, miscarriage—the list goes on. Here, the author shares the stories of 10 couples who have overcome hardship, managing to stay together and even strengthen their relationships. Their stories are especially refreshing in light of a seemingly sky-high divorce rate. Pryor examines how family-based grief and healing differ from community-based grief and healing. She also explores how gender can cause differences in coping strategies and lead to friction, suggesting that flexibility is a key to overcoming struggles. The book weaves expert research with anecdotes, and uses familiar examples of large-scale tragedy like Hurricane Andrew. While the book is focused on real-life stories, it is intensely practical: Readers are asked to learn effective communication techniques, change their expectations, and realize that crises can consume either partner. Most challenging is a chapter focused on two couples whose marriages end in divorce, but Pryor uses these stories for readers’ benefit: She follows up with 20 powerful exercises designed to troubleshoot problems and teach preventative strategies. The exercises, while helpful, are fairly specific and don’t lend themselves well to adaptation for different circumstances. The stories in the book don’t shy away from despair, frustration and complicating factors like religion or finances. Pryor’s writing is clear, concise and relatable as she deftly avoids imposing conclusions and instead lets the couples speak for themselves. The book will find an audience with new couples looking to safeguard their relationship despite inevitable challenges and changes.
Any couple could benefit from the wisdom shared in these inspired stories of hope, commitment and love.