Cover image for 30 lessons for loving : advice from the wisest Americans on love, relationships, and marriage
Title:
30 lessons for loving : advice from the wisest Americans on love, relationships, and marriage
Author:
Pillemer, Karl A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Hudson Street Press, 2015.
Physical Description:
xxi, 280 pages ; 24 cm
Summary:
" From the author of the beloved 30 Lessons for Living Karl Pillemer's 30 Lessons for Living first became a hit and then became a classic. Readers loved the sage advice and great stories from extraordinary older Americans who shared what they wish they had known when they were starting out. Now, Pillemer returns with lessons on one of the mosttalked- about parts of that book-love, relationships, and marriage. Based on the most detailed survey of longmarried people ever conducted, 30 Lessons for Loving shows the way to lifelong, fulfilling relationships. The author, an internationally renowned gerontologist at Cornell University, offers sage advice from the oldest and wisest Americans on everything from finding a partner, to deciding to commit, to growing old together. Along the way, the book answers questions like these: How do you know if the person you love is the right one? What are the secrets for improving communication and reducing conflict? What gets you through the major stresses of marriage, such as child-rearing, work, money issues, and inlaws? From interviews with 700 elders, 30 Lessons for Loving offers unique wisdom that will enrich anyone's relationship life, from people searching for the right partner to those working to keep the spark alive after decades together. Filled with great stories, wise observations, and useful advice, 30 Lessons for Loving is destined to become another classic"--

"Karl Pillemer asked hundreds of extraordinary men and women to share their hard-earned wisdom about love and what it takes to build a lasting, happy marriage. It is not only the largest study of its kind ever conducted, but also the most diverse, deliberately including people from varying religions, ethnic backgrounds, and income levels, gay and lesbian couples, unmarried couples in long-term relationships, and even individuals whose marriages were unhappy or ended in divorce"--
Language:
English
Contents:
1: Evening the odds : lessons for finding a mate. Follow your heart ; Follow your head ; Values come first ; You're marrying a family ; Three warning signs ; Five secrets for choosing your partner -- 2: Communication is the key. Talk, talk, talk ; No one is a mind reader ; Mind your manners ; All in good time ; Three danger signs ; Five secrets for great communication -- 3: Getting through the hard parts. Children: put your relationship first ; Work-family stress: make your home a safe haven ; In-laws: on good terms, without surrender ; Household chores: play to your strengths ; Money: deal with debt ; Five secrets for managing stress -- 4: Keeping the spark alive. Think small (and positive) ; Become friends ; Sexuality--the spark changes ; Give up grudges ; Get help ; Five secrets for keeping the spark alive -- 5: Thinking like an expert about love and marriage. Respect each other ; Be a team ; Make time ; Lighten up ; Accept your partner as is ; The last lesson: As long as you both shall live.
ISBN:
9781594631542
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

From the author of the beloved 30 Lessons for Living

Karl Pillemer's 30 Lessons for Living first became a hit and then became a classic. Readers loved the sage advice and great stories from extraordinary older Americans who shared what they wish they had known when they were starting out. Now, Pillemer returns with lessons on one of the mosttalked- about parts of that book--love, relationships, and marriage.

Based on the most detailed survey of longmarried people ever conducted, 30 Lessons for Loving shows the way to lifelong, fulfilling relationships. The author, an internationally renowned gerontologist at Cornell University, offers sage advice from the oldest and wisest Americans on everything from finding a partner, to deciding to commit, to growing old together. Along the way, the book answers questions like these: How do you know if the person you love is the right one? What are the secrets for improving communication and reducing conflict? What gets you through the major stresses of marriage, such as child-rearing, work, money issues, and inlaws? From interviews with 700 elders, 30 Lessons for Loving offers unique wisdom that will enrich anyone's relationship life, from people searching for the right partner to those working to keep the spark alive after decades together.

Filled with great stories, wise observations, and useful advice, 30 Lessons for Loving is destined to become another classic.


Author Notes

KARL PILLEMER, PHD, is the founder and director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, a center that works to increase public awareness of aging research. Dr. Pillemer has authored more than one hundred scientific publications and has spoken widely throughout the world on issues of successful aging, family relationships, and elder care. He is also the author of  30 Lessons for Living.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gerontologist Pillemer shares findings from his survey of 700 people in "very long marriages" (the shortest here have lasted three decades, the longest, more than five) for tips on maintaining successful long-term relationships. The respondents, charmingly called "the experts" by Pillemer, share "storehouses of invaluable lived experience" on areas including questions to ask yourself before settling down, domestic violence, and late-in-life sex. Communication is discussed at length via six lessons, including being polite to your partner within "the comfortable informality of married life" and choosing the appropriate time for serious conversations. The experts break down conflict by examining the "five major stressors" that affect most relationships, with rules for dealing with the in-laws and properly delegating household labor. In addition to summarizing his survey's results, Pillemer shares the experts' own words. One respondent describes divorcing her husband and remarrying him 64 years later, while an 88-year-old "rough and tumble" Korean War veteran suggests taking an interest in your partner's preferred activities, remarking, "I went to operas. Operas!" The benefits of such a comprehensive study incorporating so many years of experience should be ample, for newlyweds and contemporaries of the respondents alike. The advice is astute, fresh, and well selected by Pillemer. This book would serve as an excellent gift for newlyweds. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Excerpts

Excerpts

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof*** Copyright © 2015 Karl Pillerner CHAPTER 1 Evening the Odds: Lessons for Finding a Mate My advice? Be extremely careful about who you marry. The most important thing is to pick someone who is a good candidate for marriage. You can't make something out of nothing. When you're young, it's easy to be bowled over by how someone looks. But that isn't enough. You need to look for things like fidelity, honesty, caring, and humor. Find out what their long-term goals are; what their feelings are about success, achievement, money, raising children. Outlook on religion is important, and another one is how they feel about their own family--their mother, father, siblings. You have to think carefully about who you can actually live with. If you think things are funny and the other person doesn't, you have a built-in problem. If you are tidy and the other person is a slob, you have a problem right from the beginning. If you hate the other person's parents or family, you have a big problem. Add them up and some of these are big enough where you should look at them fairly and squarely and not marry the person. That's how lots of people kid themselves--they say: "But I love him or I love her!" Sorry, but that's not enough. --Jennifer, 82, married 59 years I sat in an upscale bistro in midtown Manhattan with five women in their midtwenties. My dinner companions included up-and-coming professionals in advertising, medical research, psychology, and the human services. They represented a range of relationship statuses: unattached, beginning a relationship, involved but experiencing doubts, and "nearly engaged." In exchange for the best artisanal cheeses in New York City, I sought their answers to the question that launched this book: What do younger people want to know from the longest-married Americans about getting and staying married? I planned to interview hundreds of people, some of whom had been married twice as long as my guests had been alive. And I needed to know: What should I ask the elders? A different place, a different time, another dinner. I'm in the basement of one of the liveliest student bars in my town, named after an infamous nineteenth-century serial killer. Joining me are eight fraternity brothers; we gorge on mounds of cheesy garlic bread, burgers, and fries. One intrepid member of my fraternity focus group takes on the "Monster Burger Challenge," consuming a twenty-ounce bacon cheeseburger and a huge order of "loaded fries" in under a half hour (and winning a T-shirt in the bargain). My query to both groups was, "What questions do you desperately want answered about relationships, love, and marriage?" I had expected the men and women to have markedly different ideas, but to my surprise there was one burning question for both groups. (I learned from other discussions that it also obsesses singles in their thirties, forties, and beyond.) And so it was among the first questions I asked hundreds of the oldest Americans: "How do I know for certain that a person is the right one for me?" In interviews, I pushed the elders on this topic. I asked for as much detail as they could provide on how someone in love can be certain that this particular man or woman is the one with whom to spend a lifetime. Are there special signs, a foolproof formula, a magic bullet to know that we've found Ms. or Mr. Right? After all that effort and countless hours of interview time, what was the definitive answer to that question? Umm, well, you see, actually, it's . . . You never know. That's right. Close to 100 percent of the experts are in agreement on this one point: You can never be absolutely sure that you have found the right person. In fact, the most common responses to that question--how do you know that you have found the right person to marry?--went like this: You never know. You can't be 100 percent sure. You've got to just take your chance. I don't think you can actually tell. Do you ever know? So where does that leave us on the topic of mate selection? Do we throw up our hands in despair? Fortunately, as you will see in this chapter, the elders actually have a treasure trove of advice about finding the right partner. Further, they believe that the best way to have a lifelong, fulfilling marriage is to make a very careful choice. So if there is no certainty about choosing your spouse, how should you go about it? I found a mentor in Roxanne Colon, eighty-six, whom I interviewed at a neighborhood center in the South Bronx. While we were chatting before the interview began, I learned that Roxanne likes to gamble occasionally--she needed to end our interview on time because she was on her way to bingo ("It's just twenty dollars," she assured me). She was the first of the experts to give me the solution to the "you never know for sure" dilemma. Roxanne, like other elders, agreed it's impossible to be certain you have made the right choice. But then she told me something very enlightening: You know, to me, marriage is like a gamble. You get married and when it comes out good, you win. When it's no good, you lose and you divorce. So that's the way I looked at it. Sometimes the beginning is beautiful and then, you know, you're playing roulette and if you win, you win--or then all of a sudden, you lose. That sounded rather negative, and I told Roxanne so. She laughed and asked me if I was a gambler. I confessed that I enjoy going to a casino a few times a year. She raised her eyebrows and asked me: "Well, don't you try to even the odds?" She went on: So, okay, you accept that marriage is a gamble; you can't ensure that things are perfect. But you can up the odds in your favor by how you choose somebody. You know, the values that you have, how you respect each other. Study the person before you get married and ask the tough questions. Like I said, marriage is a gamble. So what you do with the gamble is you try to make the odds in your favor. Everything suddenly became clear. I thought back to an evening spent at a casino with my friend Peter. He used the opportunity to explain the arcane betting rules and strategies of the game of craps. It turns out that there is a wager in craps called the "free odd bet" that allows you to even the odds--at least on that one bet. I learned that you should always take that bet, but many people don't because they aren't aware of the benefits. The conclusion was clear: There is never any certainty in a game of chance like craps, but every sensible player does his or her best to even the odds by choosing bets care- fully. That's exactly what the elders urge you to do in choosing a mate. Have you ever had the experience of learning a new word, and then it seems like you see or hear it everywhere? After Roxanne Colon opened my eyes, I realized that many of the experts were making the same point. Like Karen Hopkins, sixty-seven, who told me: "It's just like throwing the dice. You really don't know. But you can feel it out by learning about the person, whether they're right for you. By communicating with them and courting them you should learn that information." Or Arthur Fields, seventy-two, who pointed out: "You don't really know for sure; that's the gamble. But if you date for some months and get along and are compatible and have similar interests, your chances are pretty good." So here's what it comes down to, and what this chapter is about: evening the odds . There are many things you can do to push the odds of a good marriage in your favor. But the only time you get the chance is before you say "I do." The experts, as we will see in Chapter 5, believe that trying to change your partner after marriage is a very bad bet. The more time and effort that you expend in making the right choice, the greater the chance of evening your odds of a happy marriage. Take the advice of Patricia Rannoch, eighty-three, on this one: To be honest, right to the day you walk down the aisle, you're still not sure. I have one unmarried son now and he's asking me these questions. I said, "You really don't have one hundred percent certainty that this is the right person." Sometimes you just have to take a chance, you know? So you take a chance. But--make an educated guess! You have to really try to get to know each other. In this chapter, the experts offer their advice on how to make your "guess" more educated--that is, to even the odds. They begin with lessons that help you understand what it means to "trust your heart" and "listen to your head"--and they insist you need to do both. They point out three key warning signs that a person may be definitely "wrong," and they highlight the critical importance of making sure your core values align. To cap things off, we will learn five "trade secrets" of the oldest and wisest Americans for picking the right person for a lifetime. Excerpted from 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage by Karl Pillemer 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.

Table of Contents

A Note on Namesp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Chapter 1 Evening the Odds: Lessons for Finding a Matep. 1
Lesson 1 Follow Your Heartp. 7
Lesson 2 Follow Your Headp. 16
Lesson 3 Values Come Firstp. 26
Lesson 4 You're Marrying a Familyp. 34
Lesson 5 Three Warning Signsp. 39
Lesson 6 Five Secrets for Choosing Your Partnerp. 50
Chapter 2 Communication Is the Keyp. 59
Lesson 1 Talk, Talk, Talkp. 64
Lesson 2 No One Is a Mind Readerp. 72
Lesson 3 Mind Your Mannersp. 79
Lesson 4 Ail in Good Timep. 85
Lesson 5 Three Danger Signsp. 93
Lesson 6 Five Secrets for Great Communicationp. 102
Chapter 3 Getting Through the Hard Partsp. 109
Lesson 1 Children: Put Your Relationship Firstp. 114
Lesson 2 Work-Family Stress: Make Your Home a Safe Havenp. 120
Lesson 3 In-laws: On Good Terms, Without Surrenderp. 127
Lesson 4 Household Chores: Play to Your Strengthsp. 137
Lesson 5 Money: Deal with Debtp. 144
Lesson 6 Five Secrets for Managing Stressp. 151
Chapter 4 Keeping the Spark Alivep. 159
Lesson 1 Think Small (and Positive)p. 163
Lesson 2 Become Friendsp. 172
Lesson 3 Sexuality-the Spark Changesp. 180
Lesson 4 Give Up Grudgesp. 189
Lesson 5 Get Helpp. 195
Lesson 6 Five Secrets for Keeping the Spark Alivep. 202
Chapter 5 Thinking Like an Expert About Love and Marriagep. 211
Lesson 1 Respect Each Otherp. 214
Lesson 2 Be a Teamp. 222
Lesson 3 Make Timep. 230
Lesson 4 Lighten Upp. 237
Lesson 5 Accept Your Partner as Isp. 244
The Last Lesson: As Long as You Both Shall Livep. 251
Acknowledgmentsp. 265
Appendix: How the Study Was Donep. 269
Notesp. 277