The Bookworm Sez: The Secret Lives of Wives by Iris Krasnow

Secret Lives of Wivesc.2011, Gotham Books $26.00 / $30.00 Canada 267 pages

You saw them walking around town today.

Everyone did, and they all smiled.

They had to be seventy- or even eighty-something. He had a cane over one elbow and his other was crooked for her. She held tight to him as they walked and talked and when she looked at him, years melted away. They were so in love, and you wondered how they sustained it. How did they manage to stay together through everything that happens over decades of marriage?

Wed for over 20 years, author Iris Krasnow thinks she knows.  In her new book “The Secret Lives of Wives,” she explains.

When you’re a bride – particularly a first-time bride – nervous is normal. You love that guy you’re hitched to now, but what if marriage turns out to be a big mistake?

If you married today for the first time, you’d have had plenty of time to consider things. Modern newlyweds are older than those of yesteryear, they’re more educated, and more affluent. What’s more, over 85% of us will marry at some time in our lives.

So what keeps a couple together?

The first thing, says Krasnow, is to “work on yourself” and to keep part of your identity separate from that of your husband. Remember who you were before you were Mrs. or Mommy. Cultivate your own interests and friends, both male and female. Krasnow even advocates separate vacations.

“You don’t get it all from one person in one place,” says Krasnow. In fact, she learned that the happiest wives don’t rely on their husbands for their happiness.

Insist that you both do what you say you’re going to do. Tell each other about your day and your thoughts. Lower your expectations – nobody’s perfect – and accept what is. Inject three elements into your marriage: “trust, respect, and intimacy, emotional and physical.”  And remember that it’s your marriage and whatever works for you is what’s right.

Overall, though, says Krasnow, the best way to stay married is not to get divorced. Understand that the grass is not greener on the other side of the aisle and that even a “fresh romance” will also go stale eventually.

If you’re a wife, there are many reasons to like reading “The Secret Lives of Wives.”  There are also many reasons to raise your eyebrows in surprise.

By using stories from real women who were “willing to reveal all,” as well as through her own experiences, author Iris Krasnow shows readers that marriages can thrive and survive, even during a time when divorce is relatively easy.  Her advice, and that of experts, will give any struggling bride comfort. I liked Krasnow’s optimism and her been-there honesty.

But even Krasnow was astonished at what she uncovered. To maintain a marriage of longevity, some happily wedded wives are resorting to actions that are unconventional, to say the least…

If you’re limping toward “the finish line” in marriage and you want to know how others got there, you’ll find this book intriguing. For you, “The Secret Lives of Wives” are finally unveiled.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books. For more information, visit