Cover image for 48 hours to a stronger marriage : reconnect with your spouse and re-energize your marriage
Title:
48 hours to a stronger marriage : reconnect with your spouse and re-energize your marriage
Author:
Bowersox, Bob.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Griffin, 2002.
Physical Description:
xiii, 110 pages ; 22 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780312281144
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

If you really know your spouse, you can fall in love with them all over again.

48 Hours to a Stronger Marriage is a strong and simple book that can help you close what author Bob Bowersox calls "the intimacy gap." When Bob discovered that he and his wife of twelve years, Toni, had drifted apart, he was determined to keep their marriage alive. The core of the problem? Though they still loved each other, Bob and his wife no longer knew each other very well. Most of their ideas about one another had been formed when they first met and married--and had never changed, even as they themselves were growing and changing.

So Bob devised a "reacquaintance form" for husbands and wives to complete, covering subjects like work, intimacy and family life. Husband and wife filled in answers to topics like "three things I would do if I had the money to do them" and "on a scale of 1 to 10, the importance I think intimacies like hugging, cuddling and lovemaking have in a relationship". Sharing the information on the reacquaintance forms along with a two day period of getting to know one another again served as the spark for Bob and Toni to cement their marriage and make a commitment for the future.

Follow Bob's easy 48 hour plan and remember why you and your spouse planned to be together forever.


Author Notes

Bob Bowersox is QVC's Senior Program Host and the star of "In the Kitchen with Bob." He's is the author of In the Kitchen with Bob and My Family's Best . He and Toni Bowersox live in central Pennsylvania with their daughter.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Those not so sure that they like being married may be interested in the latest from Bowersox (star of QVC's In the Kitchen with Bob). The author says he wants to help couples get past the "intimacy gap"D"the longer we stay together the more we think we know [about each other] but the less accurate that information really is." Bowersox has developed a two-day program based on filling out and discussing the Reacquaintance Form, a questionnaire (included in the book) about the habits, fears and interests of both partners. This is also an enjoyable way for couples to learn something new about themselves. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

1 MY STORY--AND YOURS For she and I were long acquainted And I knew all her ways. --A. E. HOUSMAN, "FANCY'S KNELL" We must never assume that which is incapable of proof. --G. H. LEWES THIS BOOK IS A LOVE STORY. It begins on the day that I first met Toni Parisi, the woman who would become my wife, my lover, my helpmate, and the mother of my daughter, Taylor. Like all good love stories, it's a tale of romance and passion and devotion. And like every relationship grounded in reality, it's also a story of deadlines and housework and family obligations--all those everyday duties that whittle away at romance and, as I discovered when it was almost too late, keep us from genuinely knowing the person we've chosen to spend our life with. If you're reading this with more than a passing interest, I suspect it's your story as well, which turns out to be a very good thing because this is a love story with a happy ending. It's not a fairy tale, mind you. It took me months of soul-searching and hours of research, with not a fairy godmother in sight, to come up with the solution--Reacquaintance--that forms the core of this book. And there really isn't an ending per se: Reacquaintance, as it turns out, is an ongoing, lifelong process, a continuum of discovery and rediscovery. As you read on and move through the process yourself, I think you'll find it every bit as exciting in its own way as those heady, falling-in-love days. And I hope you'll come to believe, as I do, that love isn't a one-shot deal but our most precious renewable resource. When Things Were Right I fell in love with Toni on July 5, 1984, at 9:30 P.M.--though I didn't know it at the time. The night was hot and humid, and I was standing with my chums Bill and Mitch on the upper level of the back-deck bar of the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach, Delaware, watching the last wash of pink and gold drain from the sky. The place was packed and noisy; a three-piece band was playing techno-pop dance music. Citronella candles burned on the heavy, wood-plank tables. I felt terrific. Bill, Mitch, and I were the Three Musketeers that summer, a trio of good-looking, professional, single guys in search of all the things single guys search for. We were doing well, producing film soundtracks, commercials, and a nationally syndicated radio show. We'd rented a swank condo at the beach, and by the July Fourth weekend we were wired into every aspect of the beach scene and much appreciated by the local bartenders. Our evenings usually began at the Rudder, on that upper-level deck near the table that was reserved, every evening, in our names. True to form I was standing near the table with my back to the deck, listening to the music and hoping the wind blowing off the Rehoboth Bay would ease the humidity a bit. I felt a tap on my shoulder--Mitch, gesturing toward the door. "Look who just walked in," he said. I looked across the deck, and there was Phyllis Dorn. A longtime friend, Phyllis was gorgeous, intelligent, lots of fun. It was always good to see Phyllis. And then I looked just past her, across sixty feet of deck, and my whole life changed. Standing next to Phyllis was her best friend, Toni. Petite, slim, beautiful, in a white halter top and pink shorts, her smile radiant, her face serene as if the heat and humidity couldn't touch her (How do women do that?). She turned and looked directly at me. And that's the image I remember of Toni, still clear in my mind more than seventeen years later. The rest of the evening is a mosaic of random, unfocused images. But Toni at sixty feet--that's still as clear and sharp as the facets of a diamond. We started dating regularly, usually long dinners in quiet restaurants. We'd spend the entire time talking, like we had to catch up on the past thirty years in four short hours. We shared anything and everything; we wanted to learn all there was to know about each other. I don't think we were any different from most couples. You probably experienced something similar with your partner--a hunger for each other that's only satisfied by being together and learning as much as you possibly can about each other. Toni and I were a pretty good match--not identical spirits, but complementary, like two pieces of a puzzle. At the time we met, she was a professional lighting designer with a great sense of taste and a natural artistic gift. She was practical and grounded, soft-spoken but direct, and very much nonconfrontational (though occasionally, her Italian passion would flare up in defense of something she really believed in). I, on the other hand, was a dreamer, passionate about everything to a fault. I believed (and still do) that anything is possible, and I've never let practical considerations stop me from trying, even against overwhelming odds. Over the years I've helped Toni dream, and she's kept me realistic. Four years after that night at the Rusty Rudder, we were married in a sunny outdoor ceremony full of flowers and friends. We spent two weeks laughing and loving on an idyllic Caribbean island then settled into building our life together. Professional success came quickly for both of us, Toni's in the lighting field and mine as on-camera talent for electronic retailing giant QVC, and acting in film and TV. But even though we were busy, we still found time for those long, candlelit, conversation-filled dinners. Our relationship was vibrant and enriching. Two years after our wedding day, our daughter, Taylor, was born, the capstone blessing of the marriage. Toni decided to leave the working world to be a full-time mom, something we both agreed was important. At about that same time, my career at QVC went into hyperdrive as American consumers opened their arms to electronic retailing. Suddenly I was traveling more, away from home as much as six days at a stretch. Toni began to fill some of her free time with charity work, getting involved with the Delaware Epilepsy Foundation and eventually being elected to its board of directors. She also went back to college to earn her degree in education. Life was good but busy, our schedules overflowing with work and classes, travel and personal appearances, preschool obligations and visits to the pediatrician. There was less and less time for those candlelit dinners. But we were okay: Secure in our love for each other, we had faith that eventually things would slow down, even out, get back to normal. Life, as I said, was good, so how could anything be wrong? But something was wrong. Only four years into our marriage, and we sensed something shifting in the undercurrents of our relationship, though neither Toni nor I could pinpoint exactly what it was. On the surface we were as committed to the marriage as we'd always been. But we were beginning to feel out of sync: A comment made in jest--the sort of thing that would once have resulted in a game of clever repartee--would draw, instead, a short, angry retort. An offhand observation would be taken as a personal shot across the bow. Personality quirks, once endearing, were suddenly "things to work on." Gifts bought with certainty were received with something less than enthusiasm. I began to notice that little things Toni did seemed somehow out of character. Apparently she was noticing the same about me. And the fire we'd once felt in each other's presence didn't seem to be burning quite so fiercely. I remembered when I couldn't wait to get into the same air as Toni, to talk about every detail of her day, every thought that crossed her mind. Now it seemed like we were doing it all in shorthand: a quick kiss on the cheek, a rushed, "How was your day?" a Reader's Digest condensed rundown, and then we'd be off into the part of our lives that we thought really demanded our attention: work, child care, financial obligations, overtime. The passions and certainties of our marriage seemed to be evaporating, and we couldn't figure out why. Why Things Go Wrong During the early years of our marriage, I developed a habit of retiring upstairs three or four nights a week to write. While I was working on my first novel, Toni would get involved in projects of her own--painting, decorating, gardening, reading. I did worry that I was leaving her alone too often, but when I asked her about it, she pooh-poohed it, told me she was proud of me and that she felt comfortable just knowing I was in the house. Two years after that, however, as I was getting into my second novel, I began to sense a change in Toni, especially on those nights when I'd excuse myself and head upstairs to write. One night she'd seem a little down; another she'd be short with me or altogether unresponsive. But we had an understanding about the writing, didn't we? Over several months, though, her displeasure became more and more apparent. She stopped asking me about the novel's progress, and she was increasingly quiet and withdrawn, but with a hair trigger. One night the mounting tension erupted into an argument, and a pretty caustic one at that. We were sufficiently shaken by it to sit down and try to figure out, finally, what was going on. And we began to realize that, just beyond our awareness, lots of things in our life had changed. QVC's demands on my time had quadrupled, forcing me to commit more and more energy and focus there. I was also in greater demand as an actor. Toni, for her part, was the mother of a young child by that time, the toughest and most time-consuming job on the planet and--if your partner is busy elsewhere--the loneliest as well. It became clear that Toni needed more than just my presence in the house. Without realizing it she had started to read my leaving her to write as a tacit rejection--the writing was more important than her. We spent most of that evening talking things out, and we began to understand that certain fundamental things about us had changed. Without that soul-searching conversation, we might have misread the argument as evidence of the fact that we were growing apart. In reality, though, Toni had been growing closer to me in her feelings, longing for the togetherness of the early days of our relationship. Getting Back to Right That argument, and our subsequent conversation, put an end, once and for all, to the notion that things were fundamentally okay and would sort themselves out on their own. But knowing that something needed to be done and understanding how to do it are two very different things. I began to wonder what else about Toni might have changed in the last eight years. And what about me? Was I really the same easygoing guy who'd stood on the deck of the Rusty Rudder trawling for good times? Toni and I had built a home, pursued careers, become parents. What else about us--what beliefs, hopes, needs, and desires--had changed? I was suddenly aware that the woman I'd fallen in love with was, in many ways, not the woman I was currently in love with. What I'd understood about her then, or even a year ago, needed to be updated, and she needed to do the same with me. But how do you do that? How do you determine what's changed in eight or ten years without taking another eight or ten years to go through it all? We knew we could talk about it, sure. And we tried to. But without some kind of structure or guidance, we'd end up sliding off focus, talking about the problems of the moment or the things that loomed on our To Do lists. And sometimes we'd end up arguing again, telling each other, "You don't understand what I'm dealing with," or, "It's always about you, isn't it?" Eventually, we sought the help of a therapist. But it felt unnatural to us, as though we were talking through the counselor and not directly to each other, as though the agenda were his and not our own. So I began to read. I read all those books that traced my lineage to one planet and Toni's to another. They offered me valuable insights into men and women in general, but they didn't tell me a whole lot about the two of us as unique individuals with our own particular histories and problems. So I moved on, prowling the magazine racks, taking quiz after quiz (whose answers intrigued me) but, once again, seemed overly general. And then one night I had my epiphany. I was doing some woodworking, of all things, trying to match two pieces of wood with different grains so that they appeared to be a single piece. Playfully, I imagined myself "introducing" the two pieces to each other. And then it occurred to me: The best way to acquaint yourself with someone is to introduce yourself. Or put more personally, the best way to re acquaint myself with Toni was to have her reintroduce her self-of-the-moment to me and for me to reintroduce my self-of-the-moment to her in turn. Easy to say. But we needed some help--something that would allow us to bring all that new information together quickly and simply, while preserving the excitement of discovery and the adventure of sharing ourselves. And so began the process that would eventually become this book. I developed my first Form for Reacquaintance, a series of questions designed to help Toni and me reveal the people we'd become. The Form covered just twenty-two topics at that time and dealt mostly with priorities of the moment, self-image and hopes and dreams. It included topics like "my three most secret desires," "my current biggest fear," and "two things I really need right now." I printed out two copies and gave one to Toni. We agreed to fill them in over the next few days, then meet at a restaurant to share our answers. The process of filling out the Form was simple and a lot of fun, and I liked the fact that it made me think about things that hadn't crossed my mind in a while, like what was most important to me at the moment, and what would I change about myself if I could. It also forced me to ask myself some questions I'd been putting off: What were my priorities? What did I hope to accomplish in the coming year? And then came the dinner, each of us taking turns reading our response to a particular question. Without a doubt it was the most powerful, revealing, intimate, exciting, entertaining, amusing, and surprising experience I'd had with Toni in a decade. Aside from the things we said to each other, I don't remember anything else about that night--rather like the night we'd first met. It was as though I were meeting Toni for the first time and falling in love with her all over again. What the Form Can Do for You As we discovered that night, "The Form for Reacquaintance" can be a powerful tool. Reading and listening to the responses helped us gain enormous insight into each other; almost every answer was greeted with a, "Really?" or, "I had no idea." But the Form's true value, we saw, lay in the conversation it initiated--an amazing, revelatory talk about the things that had changed for each of us, why they'd changed, and the impact of those changes on our lives and on our marriage. We talked about things we hadn't discussed in years with an intimacy that startled and moved us. Since that extraordinary day, "The Form for Reacquaintance" has grown and diversified. I've added dozens of topics and delved into a host of new areas. I've added questions on work, home and family matters, artistic and social topics, relationships and intimacy. I've expanded the questions dealing with beliefs, philosophies, and emotional needs, because these are the core areas that really affect the way we act and react. Like the people who fill it out, the Form will undoubtedly continue to evolve. As you and your partner use it over time--and it's meant to be used time and again--new questions will almost certainly occur to you both (I've included a special fill-in section for just such topics). It's my hope that "The Form for Reacquaintance" will serve as a starting point for you, initiating a conversation that will go on through all the years you're together. I hope you'll continue to use the Form to strengthen and refresh your partnership, add to the depth of your understanding of each other, and intensify your feelings for each other. That way the next time someone asks you when you met, you can reply, "The first time? Or the last time?" 48 HOURS TO A STRONGER MARRIAGE. Copyright (c) 2002 by Bob Bowersox. Foreword copyright (c) 2002 by David I. Mandelbaum, Ph.D. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010. Excerpted from 48 Hours to a Stronger Marriage: Reconnect with Your Spouse and Re-Energize Your Marriage by Bob Bowersox All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.