Friday, July 17, 2009

If you love them, keep them + The Divorce Party giveaway

Short description from publishers of what the book is about:
'The Divorce Party
brings together two immensely appealing women, one who is stumbling upon the end of her marriage, and one who is just beginning hers, both asking themselves: how much work is it worth to keep two people together. This is a multigenerational love story full of humor, candor, and a powerful message about how to commit to someone over the course of a lifetime.
Insightful, funny, and deeply moving, The Divorce Party will touch anyone whose heart has weathered an unexpected storm.'

The article below was written by Laura Dave, the author of the acclaimed novels The Divorce Party and London Is the Best City in America. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Self, Redbook, ESPN the Magazine, and The New York Observer. Dave graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. In August, Cosmopolitan magazine named her as one of the eight "Fun and Fearless Phenoms" of 2008. She lives in California. I personally really enjoyed the article because I do have my share of marital troubles and it's good to be reminded from time to time about why my husband is my husband and why we are married, and why the good always beats the bad. I hope you'll enjoy too, whether you're married, engaged or single (because one day you will most likely be married or decide to share your life with this one special person).

5 Reasons to Stay with the Person You Love
By Laura Dave
Author of The Divorce Party: A Novel

One of my favorite quotes about love and marriage comes from Oscar Wilde: A Man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her. While that saying makes me laugh, Wilde is also getting to something important: Marriage is tricky. And in today's society where the martial woes of everyone from the Sanfords to John and Kate Gosselin are headline news, we are presented with every reason in the world to give up on our relationships -- and fewer and fewer reasons to stay. While researching my most recent novel, I sat down and spoke to women, men, and married couples about why they do stay. And, sometimes, why they wished they had. This is the best advice I've found.

1. Love is a decision
Watching Governor Sanford stand up over these past weeks and speak about how he found his soul mate in his Argentinean lover reminded me of something Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and author, wrote about Sweat Lodges. She wrote that the only way to be in a Sweat Lodge -- to experience all that it brings -- is to sit far from the exit. Because if you sit too close, you will find a reason to use it.
The same is true of any long-term relationship. If you decide to look for an exit, you will always be able to find it: whether it comes in the form of another lover, or another life. But the couples I spoke with who decided to commit to their marriages and relationships -- to be present for them, to help them grow more sacred -- told me that they were immeasurably rewarded for that decision. The more committed they grew to their marriages -- the further they sat from the exit -- the more joy and peace they found there.

2. There is No Weakness In Forgiveness

I'm not happy anymore; or I'm disappointed; or I have doubts. Three familiar catchphrases that free us up to not work to bring a relationship back to a positive place. In fact, we are conditioned these days to believe that the brave thing is to move on when the honeymoon is over. But that very standard makes it hard for any long-term relationship to survive inevitable disappointments.
While some would argue that it is brave to pick up and start a new life when a relationship begins to ebb, the truly brave thing -- the hard and valuable thing -- is to figure out how to find a new flow together. As one couple, who is happily married after 40 years together, informed me, "The most invaluable gifts come on the other side of the bad periods. If we hadn't forgiven each other for the hard times, we never would have experienced such good ones."

3. Someone New Won't Be New For Long

One factor is consistent in all studies of marriages and long-term relationships: a main cause of divorce and separation is infidelity. Those that stray (statistically, women as much as men these days) sight many factors as reasons: a breakdown in passion, a breakdown in communication, a breakdown . . .

But statistics also tell us that the chance of a relationship born from infidelity being successful is less than 1 and 100. Less than 1%. More often than not, the best thing someone new has going for him or her is being . . . new. And, once they aren't anymore, you are left in an even more precarious position.
Whoever you choose -- it always comes down to one thing. How hard are you willing to fight to make the relationship work? How easily are you willing to give your relationship away?

4. Often the Person You Are Running From Is You

Surprisingly, of all the reasons couples gave me for why they chose to end their marriage or relationship, the loss of love or mutual friendship was often notably absent. It often came down to something else: the desire to start a new life. To not grow old. Or, at least, to not feel like they were.
It is difficult to stay with the person who knows you best when you don't like what we see in the mirror. It may be easier to blame your partner than to take a hard look at yourself. But, at the end of the day, it isn't your partner's responsibility to change your self-image, or to fix your self-doubt. It's yours. And, if we want to like ourselves better, running out on a person who likes us the way we are isn't a wise starting point.

5. You Don't Need A Reason

Like anything worth having in this life, marriage and long-term commitment are hard work. Sometimes knowing that can be enough to help us not pick at the scabs while they are healing, to not make things worse as opposed to letting them feel better. As a lovely couple in Seattle Washington reminded me, things will feel better. "Be good to each other, be patient. If you allow it, love always lives through that."

©2009 Laura Dave, author of The Divorce Party: A Novel

For more information, please visit

And now that you enjoyed this wonderful article, I have a little something for one lucky person. Anna S. from FSB Associates was wonderful enough to offer a copy of The Divorce Party by Laura Dave to be given away on my blog.

The rules are simple:

*leave me a comment with your email address (this is very important, no email=no entry)

*you have time until July 31st to do that. The drawing will be on August 1st.
*oh, one more important thing: this giveaway is open to international entries as well, so even if you don't live in the U.S. you're more than welcome to enter.