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Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  482 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
Following a unique format perfect for today's world, the renowned author of The Dance of Anger gives us just over 100 rules that cover all the hot spots in long-term relationships.

Marriage Rules offers new solutions to age-old problems ("He won't talk"/"She doesn't want sex") as well as modern ones (your partner's relationship to technology.) You'll also learn how to:
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Gotham (first published January 1st 2012)
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Dec 25, 2014 K rated it really liked it
Shelves: professionallit
I'm a big fan of Harriet Lerner's, and was excited to hear that she had a (relatively) new book out. Harriet writes in a deceptively simple, accessible, down-to-earth manner but is solidly grounded in systems theory. As such, her advice tends to be similar to what I would recommend as a therapist rather than trite, generic, and self-helpy. I frequently recommend her books to my clients, and this one is even more user-friendly than some of her others as it's broken down into short sound bytes ...more
May 16, 2013 Keris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I don't think I've ever read a marriage manual before, but I'd seen this one recommended so many times that I thought I'd give it a go. And it's so good! Excellent, sensible, reassuring, and practical relationship advice. No personality changes required - just little suggestions for being a better partner (or not being driven too demented by your other half). I wish I'd read it years ago. (I also appreciated that it didn't only focus on heterosexual couples.)
Julie Suzanne
If you have a marriage worth saving, this book is laden with easily-digestable, invaluable advice and insight. Unfortunately, I didn't, but if I DID.... I'll keep it for the next ride!
Oct 09, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
I have never read a self-help book before. Not that I couldn't use a little help; I just don't usually turn to books when I do. And I've certainly never thought about OWNING one.

I saw this book in a bookstore, and I scoffed,"Who would ever need that book?" Then, I had a gut-check and thought, "Maybe if I'm turning up my nose at it, I am exactly who SHOULD be reading it." So, I bought it.

My marriage is wonderful. Nothing precipitated my buying this book beyond my bookstore snobbery. I have to ad
Jul 04, 2015 Cara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a big fan of The Dance of Anger, so was interested to read another one of Ms Lerner's books. This is a very well structured book. Easy to read and easy to learn from. Over 100 rules, with a couple of pages of information and examples on each rule. Much of it is common sense (and there's never anything wrong with refreshing yourself on common sense in my opinion) and some of it just triggers you to think a little more about how you react to certain stimuli within a relationship. There's ...more
Sep 09, 2015 Elena rated it liked it
Finished this in 2 days - it was a quick read/listen with quite a few good tips on how to communicate better with your partner! We are all victims of our tempers sometimes and i have definitely recognized myself in some of these examples! This book listed some practical ways to channel anger and frustration directed at your partner into something more helpful - i.e. instead of yelling and insulting your partner after they have done something wrong, the book will give you examples of what to say ...more
Sara Grace
Dec 05, 2012 Sara Grace rated it really liked it
This book had a lot of solid practical advice. There were a few sections that simply weren't relevant for us but her suggestion at the end that the reader should select the top 10 most relevant pieces of advice is fantastic. I am going to go back and write down the ones that meant the most to me.
May 14, 2012 Allison rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspirational
OK 3.5.

Basically, since I've read a lot of her other books this was kind of the short and dirty version--which in one way is nice and in one way is not. I liked the rules a lot and I thought they were good for many situations and types of people. I'll be trying some, myself.
Jun 06, 2012 Janet rated it it was ok
Lerner has spoken to me in her other "Dance of" books, but this book seemed outdated and stuck in gender roles that don't resonate with me.
أسماء | ASMA
Jan 22, 2016 أسماء | ASMA rated it it was amazing
به الكثير من الأفكار الرائعة لعلاقات هادئة.
Nov 09, 2016 James rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this books content and format. More so than any other book you can find 5 or 10 rules that really speak to you and work them with your partner.

This book ha a heavy emphasis on family of origin relationships and many other common pirfalls.

Apr 24, 2012 SwensonBooks rated it it was ok
I begin with two confessional caveats. One, Harriet Goldhor Lerner is my second cousin; we communicate by email, but have never met. Two, I am not Marriage Rules’ target audience even though my husband of 16 years and I have been in marriage counseling for two years.

In 1985, Harriet (she’s family, I can call her by her first name) took the world of women’s self-help, psychology literature by storm with the publication of Dance of Anger (Harper & Row). She followed this New York Times bestsel
Megan Berry
Sep 26, 2016 Megan Berry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good advice

Get this book! Several scenarios given and great advice for each. Very applicable to those married or otherwise coupled up.
Dan Chancellor
Aug 13, 2016 Dan Chancellor rated it really liked it
This is a compilation of over 100 bits of advice for maintaining and happy and healthy marriage. I didn't necessarily agree with all of them and some were totally irrelevant, but the book had a lot of good stuff. This isn't so much a review as it is some personal reflections on things I want to improve, inspired by the book.

* Aim for a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.
* Tell your partner the specific things you admire.

I've seen this advice a lot (for kids and spouses), and I think
Jan 14, 2012 Jillian rated it it was amazing
Time for full discloser on this one: #1/I got this book for free to review it and #2/I’m a huge Harriet Lerner fangirl so excuse me while I SQUEE that I got to review one of her books in advance. I know, it’s ridiculous, right? Some of us psychology girls geek out on Harriet Lerner because she’s a fantastic author, writes incredibly well, doles out down to earth psychology wisdom and does it in a way that is easy to read. It’s nice to glean wisdom outside of class and from the comfort of my ...more
Sep 09, 2016 SusieP rated it really liked it
Some good and helpful advice.
May 20, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book if you are looking to improve and enrich the relationships in your life!!!

I bought this book on a recommendation from the magazine, Whole Living. I do not usually read self-help books, but this sounded interesting. I have read it not once but twice, and I made all kinds of highlights and notes on my Kindle :o)

The author, in a funny and witty way, discusses about 110 rules for married or coupled relationships, but many of the rules can be applied to a relationship to
Sep 07, 2013 Molly rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-non-fiction
Okay, I really dislike the title of this book. So much so that I hesitated to even admit on goodreads that I would read such a book. . . The title reminds me too much of the really stupid book, was it called "the rules" that was a ridiculous, sexist book about dating rules that we made a lot of fun of when I was in college.

However, back to the book I am reviewing, despite its title, I read it because I have read other things by this author and like her. There are a lot of interesting interesting
Jul 12, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it
I ran across this book while looking for The Dance of Anger online. Dance of Anger significantly affected my life when I read it back in the '80s, I like Harriet Lerner, and now she has a new book on marriage--and in an easy-to-read "Food Rules" style.

I borrowd the audio so my husband and I could listen together, and I read more of the book on my own. Some chapters prompted really great discussions between us. Other chapters resonated with me and gave me reminders that I needed.

Overall, I'd reco
Mar 18, 2012 Chavonne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone seeking to be a better partner or friend
I thought this was just great. I would probably give this a 4.5 but as that's not an option I will round up. I enjoyed that this was like the format of "Food Rules" as well--it's very easy to navigate and can be referred to easily. A lot of these rules apply really well to friendship as well. The steps are doable and really matter-of-fact. I would recommend it to anyone in a long-term partnership or even looking to be a better person in any relationship. It has taught me so much and I will try ...more
Mar 21, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the short chapters and the fact you could read just a rule or two (could be something interesting to leave in the bathroom for your spouse!). I only wish she could have highlighted earlier her final comments that using just 10 or so and forgetting the rest would serve you well. With a bit more impact, this could have been a 5 star rating, but I was very happy how approachable it was.

I found it list many that have served us well over the years. Might be a great non-traditional wedding gi
Jul 22, 2012 Joy rated it really liked it
I guess I read this book in celebration of my 40th anniversary in June. I love books with lists, and that's exactly what this was. It was just practical suggestions for different categories of life. The bottom line was "Kindness, respect, and generosity of spirit prepare the way for authenticity, truth telling and productive problem solving." One of her first rules is one of mine:
"Timing is everyting (with men)." There were lots of practical suggestions: "Be the one to change first." "Surprise h
Feb 04, 2015 Joseph rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this 5 CD going and coming back from work over the some odd days. First thing I can say is there are a lot of rules... Something like 105 plus. I couldn't keep track of it after a while. I skipped a bunch of them because she talked about same sex marriage/couples that doesn't apply to me and she had some step parent parts. At the end she even admitted apply what works for you and not all the rules will work. It was good to listen to and I am going to grab the book from the library ...more
Jan 30, 2012 Leah rated it liked it
I thought this book addressed issues that affect many normal couples and was organized well. The first chapters talk about what a healthy marriage needs, specifically, more affection, less criticism, and listening skills. The next chapters address reconnecting, fighting fair, and "normal" sex. Lastly, she touches on kids, divorce, and maintaining a healthy extended family life. This isn't an in depth treatment of these issues but she gives you the fundamentals with guidelines when necessary.

Sep 20, 2013 Dharma rated it really liked it
Shelves: relationships
Very readable, simplistic in many places as well as obvious however, an excellent reminder that many people could use about communication in relationship.

I particularly liked the brief discussion about "I" language that isn't really but clever blaming statements. Also the point about saying too much; by which the author, and I mean, using too many words - a paragraph where 3 sentences would do.

Recommended for the lay audience as well as therapist who want a quick refresher when feeling stuck.
Ev Mungovan mccaffrey pape
Apr 05, 2014 Ev Mungovan mccaffrey pape rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
I have enjoyed reading and learning from Harriet Lerner for many years. Her Dance of Anger opened my eyes to a much clearer understanding of what made me angry and why. This book was a very enjoyable read, and I appreciated her honesty in sharing slices from her own life. Although she shares many valuable insights, I feel that I have read about or experienced many of these before. I did enjoy her book's conversational style, and I think it could be a good book club book or discussion starter. I ...more
Erica Alway
Aug 11, 2016 Erica Alway rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help-books
I was in a "self-help" reading mood and was instantly intrigued by this book. I loved that it was recommended by Brene Brown and Martha Beck, the other psychology and self-help experts I admire. While it covers every aspect of marriage, I also found the advice to be helpful for work or other personal relationships. "How to combat conflict" could be used in multiple situations. I loved the light-hearted, and sometimes humorous, writing by the author. Would highly recommend and will look into ...more
Natalie Held
Sep 16, 2013 Natalie Held rated it really liked it
A friend recommended this to me as a newlywed. She said it helped her communicate with her hubby. My husband and I have a great relationship but sometimes struggle with effective communication (don't all couples?) so I read this as a little primer for future potential struggles. Liked a lot of the authors insights on male/female tendencies and found myself saying YES THAT IS SO ME. It's a fast read with short chapters. I skipped the sections that weren't relevant to us. A good "manual" to keep ...more
Leah Mortenson
Oct 03, 2014 Leah Mortenson rated it really liked it
I kind of abandoned this midway through... Not that I won't come back to it at some point but I sort of lost interest in it for the time being. I appreciate some of the advice that's in here ("be less critical and more loving" is a good reminder for any couple) but some of it was just too straight-forward and "self help"-y for me, and I learn better through anecdotes... Or honestly from doing things wrong a lot and then eventually figuring out what works for me personally.
There's a lot of straight forward and clear advice here, good whether you're married or just partnered up. I think a lot of the advice here boils down to communicating clearly and intentionally with your spouse.

This is probably less helpful for me than other books I've read by Harriet Lerner, but her writing style is so approachable, no-nonsense, and honest that all of her books are worth a flip through.
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Harriet Lerner was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the second of two daughters. Her parents, Archie and Rose Goldhor, were both children of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. They were high school graduates who wanted their daughters to "be someone" at a time when women were only supposed to "find someone."

"Achievement was next to Godliness for my sister, Susan, and me." Harriet notes. "My f
More about Harriet Lerner...

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“The strongest relationships are between two people who can live without each other but don't want to.” 28 likes
“If you treat man as he appears to be, you make him worse than he is. But if you treat man as if he already were what he potentially could be, you make him what he should be.” 5 likes
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