This is the kind of book that makes me want to highlight full chapters because each paragraph is so scarily (“It’s like someone’s been watching us”) relevant and true. I didn’t highlight anything because the first copy I read was borrowed from a friend and the second copy was borrowed from a library, and (I assume) both of them would have been rather unhappy to find that I’d returned their books with a good third (at least) coloured in fluoro yellow. This book articulates so many of the fears and frustrations and changes in our relationship that I hadn’t yet worked out the words for, and it's practical. I LOVE practical things. Here's a sample quote, from page 22:
...after living much of our pre-parenthood lives as relative equals, it comes as a surprise when, post-baby, men and women start to assume different and not always complementary roles.
Or this, from page 25:
We are not complainers by nature. We’re pretty tough, actually. But new motherhood is relentless. The nonstop feeding and the lack of sleep wear you down, no matter how robust a woman you are.
Or this one on page 92:
Universally, people told us they want empathy more than they want action.
Or this, from page 234:
When we neglect our marriage, it wilts... Marriage is one of the few things we can ignore without immediate and dire consequences. If we ignore our job, we’ll get fired. If we ignore our kids, they’ll starve. But if we ignore our relationship, our spouse can live off the scraps for a pretty long time.
You get the picture. I‘d quote the whole book if that was legal.
I found the intros, outros and the chapter on score-keeping (“I’ve been running after this boy all day and you’ve been sitting at a desk; you’re not even close to needing a rest as much as I do,” etc.) the most pertinent and helpful, however the middle chapters on sex (*ahem*), in-laws (ours have better things to do than to try to out-babysit each other) and having more children (I feel tired just thinking about them) were incredibly interesting and reassured me that though things with us are bad, they could be a whole lot worse.
Baby-proofing your Marriage was the biggest turning point for me in thinking positively about the future of our marriage. Though our counsellor had told us that the early parenting years were hard for lots of couples, it wasn’t until I read that these three authors and numerous others quoted in the book agreed with her that I actually believed what she’d said. The book isn’t perfect, but it was exactly what I needed to read and I’m therefore happy to ignore its flaws. I will sing the praises of this book to all who care to listen, and plan to buy it as a baby-shower gift for all my expecting friends from now on (with strict instructions to read it (or re-read it) when the baby’s at least a few months old).
I score this book 17 out of 10.