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Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it. At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to b Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it. At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner—all the time? In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony. A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes. Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected—a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment—they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times. Through their journey, they reveal a framework that will help the rest of us keep our marriages strong, from engagement into the newlywed years and beyond.


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Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it. At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to b Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it. At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner—all the time? In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony. A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes. Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected—a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment—they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times. Through their journey, they reveal a framework that will help the rest of us keep our marriages strong, from engagement into the newlywed years and beyond.

30 review for How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents about Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gregory

    (I received this book as Goodreads giveaway.) “How to be Married” was a disaster. All pretense and no substance. I will get into some specific complaints in a moment. But, if you want a quick overview, imagine a second rate blogger writing a book about how she “discovered” that fruits, vegetables, and exercise can help you loose weight, and how a traditional Japanese diet is very healthy, others not so much, and fast food not at all. That is how useful, insightful, and entertaining Jo Piazza’s ne (I received this book as Goodreads giveaway.) “How to be Married” was a disaster. All pretense and no substance. I will get into some specific complaints in a moment. But, if you want a quick overview, imagine a second rate blogger writing a book about how she “discovered” that fruits, vegetables, and exercise can help you loose weight, and how a traditional Japanese diet is very healthy, others not so much, and fast food not at all. That is how useful, insightful, and entertaining Jo Piazza’s new book turns out to be. The biggest problem with “How to be Married” is the pretense. Of course marriage has its challenges. Anyone saying otherwise is either lying or hopelessly naïve. We all know that. Perhaps Piazza’s marriage has some interesting quirks that she could tell us about, but she brands herself as amazingly insightful. Not only has she discovered the secret truth, but can also bring her extensive travel experience to bear in a poorly-executed cross-cultural survey. Very pretentious. As is this wasn’t enough Piazza also strokes her ego by including shock value where it does nothing to serve the narrative. In Chapter 2 for example, she recalls talking about marriage with her gynecologist. That makes sense, I suppose. But to bring the situation to life we are told that there was an “arm wrist deep in my pelvis and her voice slightly muffled by my vagina.” Thanks. That description is not useful, or funny, or helpful. This sort of edgy humor, if we can call it that, does not make me want to take you seriously. I feel like I am reading “Cosmopolitan” or sad Reddit thread. Unfortunately this sort of “humor” sinks the most interesting parts of the book throughout. A third problem is odd false humility, subjective/objective struggle throughout which borders on hypocrisy. The two best examples of this are the “disclaimer” in the beginning of the book which states “I well know that you can’t witness the truth of any country or culture in a single visit, or even many. I’m a traveler and journalist, not an anthropologist, psychologist, or historian.” Than why did you write this book? Why even make such a statement, if the whole purpose of the narrative is to do the opposite? Don’t say “I cannot really understand this culture” and then spend a chapter saying “here is what I learned from a brief visit in this culture”. Other examples abound. In Chapter 1 Piazza talks about how the U.S. is too obsessed with marriage and certain models of thinking, which sounds really rich from a woman who desperately wants to preserve her own marriage and fit into the exact mold she is describing. Ultimately Piazza reveals why the book is such a failure in the same chapter. She said that the idea of writing a book on marriage occurred to her before she had challenges. (By the way, the challenge was the possibility of developing muscular dystrophy; of course illness could strain a marriage, especially a young one.) This is a terrible idea. Books should be written because authors have accumulated interesting information (in the case of non-fiction) or a decent story (in the case of fiction). Piazza’s routine, which she more-or-less confesses was to say “I want to write a book” and then collect anecdotes after the fact. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, the result often feels like the author wanted a forum with which to advertise and brag. Well, Piazza got her “marriage book” and that is exactly what “How to be Married” turned into; a pretentious, poorly focused, unnecessarily edgy, uninformative narrative that exists only for its own sake. In closing I will say that I don’t know who “How to be Married” is written for. Probably only Piazza herself. I thought there would be useful marriage advice. There was almost none, and everything useful could be found elsewhere. The cultural information too can be easily found in sources about culture. And the book was not at all funny. Whatever reason you might have for picking up “How to be Married”, trust me when I say that whatever you are looking for exists in far better quality elsewhere.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    Okay so I find the author complainy and at times insufferable. I liked the travelogue aspect and the marriage advice from different countries - I just didn't like her story. Advice includes: take care of yourself first, having your own life/friends separate from spouse, take turn talking to your spouse for ten minutes without response, never talk about something more than three weeks old, act like your husband's mistress (France of course), fights are bricks that can create walls in the relation Okay so I find the author complainy and at times insufferable. I liked the travelogue aspect and the marriage advice from different countries - I just didn't like her story. Advice includes: take care of yourself first, having your own life/friends separate from spouse, take turn talking to your spouse for ten minutes without response, never talk about something more than three weeks old, act like your husband's mistress (France of course), fights are bricks that can create walls in the relationship or shore up your house, equality isn't 50/50 all the time, be grateful. Favorite quotes in the book weren't from the author: We've begun to raise daughters more like our sons but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters (Gloria Steinem). It's important to marry well, how well you are married is up to you (Sheryl Sandburg). I almost stopped reading when the author said stupid things like...holding on to the bank account with her maiden name like spandex to a Kardashian. Her thinking it's great that a husband is babysitting his kids (if that woman hadn't corrected that her husband is being a FATHER I wouldn't have finished the book).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Camille Maio

    It's not often that I would stay up until 1:30am because I can't put a non-fiction book down. But that absolutely happened with Jo Piazza's gem, HOW TO BE MARRIED. Already a fan of her book THE KNOCKOFF, I was excited to find this in a bookstore because it combines two of my big loves - marriage and travel. I've been married for twenty-one years (with four kids) and can attest to much of the wisdom here, and yet there was much to learn. Piazza's discoveries around the world about how marriage wo It's not often that I would stay up until 1:30am because I can't put a non-fiction book down. But that absolutely happened with Jo Piazza's gem, HOW TO BE MARRIED. Already a fan of her book THE KNOCKOFF, I was excited to find this in a bookstore because it combines two of my big loves - marriage and travel. I've been married for twenty-one years (with four kids) and can attest to much of the wisdom here, and yet there was much to learn. Piazza's discoveries around the world about how marriage works was thought-provoking and entertaining and timeless. Definitely read this book no matter what stage of marriage (or desire to be) you are in!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lindaanne

    I was disappointed by this book. From the blurb I thought Piazza would give her readers valuable insight into marital customs in other countries, garnered from her own travels. While I expected some subjective input from the author, this book has far too much of it. In fact "How to be Married" is a self-centered tell-all about Piazza's own narrow world view, i.e. that of a white, spoiled arrogant newlywed with no empathy for other women. For example when Piazza went to Kenya and met the women fr I was disappointed by this book. From the blurb I thought Piazza would give her readers valuable insight into marital customs in other countries, garnered from her own travels. While I expected some subjective input from the author, this book has far too much of it. In fact "How to be Married" is a self-centered tell-all about Piazza's own narrow world view, i.e. that of a white, spoiled arrogant newlywed with no empathy for other women. For example when Piazza went to Kenya and met the women from a polygamous tribe (where women did most of hard labor), she commented "all the women take care of all the children like their own......sounds idyllic in comparison to the $3,000/month child care in San Francisco." What narcissistic insensitive BS! So: Unless you want to suffer through a lot of shallow drivel from a self-professed "feminist" who buys $200 T-shirts in Paris and then sulks when her husband complains about it....steer clear and read Gloria Steinem instead.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Mildly interesting. Honestly I wanted more from the different cultures. It was also a little off putting how privileged Piazza is,( 30 countries in two years?) And so it was hard not to scoff at some of her advice (especially about not being afraid to move, as if anyone could just up and move on a spouse's whim), but it was a pleasant read nevertheless. And another thing was literally no mention of LGBT+ marriages. How hard is it to be commited when you can only call your commitment a civil union Mildly interesting. Honestly I wanted more from the different cultures. It was also a little off putting how privileged Piazza is,( 30 countries in two years?) And so it was hard not to scoff at some of her advice (especially about not being afraid to move, as if anyone could just up and move on a spouse's whim), but it was a pleasant read nevertheless. And another thing was literally no mention of LGBT+ marriages. How hard is it to be commited when you can only call your commitment a civil union or nothing at all? How does the dynamic change when you are both raised in the same gender norms? These are interesting questions that were never brought up. Heck even the idea of LGBT+ people were never even a thing. Polygamy was of course focused on. And how much sister wives cared for each other. But women caring and loving women? I guess that kind of relationship could never have any insights... Maybe it's because the advice in this book is so hetero-centric and maby times pretty sexist (though Piazza tries to subvert or distill whatever sexist advice she gets to make it more palpable at the end) that LGBT+ would just break this overly simplistic book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Iman Eyitayo

    Interesting : a little long and not all useful, but still quite interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    After a whirlwind courtship, Jo Piazza and her husband Nick spend their first year of marriage traveling the world and learning what it means to be married in various cultures. I really enjoyed this book - it was part travel memoir and part personal memoir. Piazza included a lot of research and interviews that she did with people in her travels, but she also opened up about issues such as her health and the stress of buying a home. Her writing style is very comfortable and easy to read. I loved After a whirlwind courtship, Jo Piazza and her husband Nick spend their first year of marriage traveling the world and learning what it means to be married in various cultures. I really enjoyed this book - it was part travel memoir and part personal memoir. Piazza included a lot of research and interviews that she did with people in her travels, but she also opened up about issues such as her health and the stress of buying a home. Her writing style is very comfortable and easy to read. I loved learning about the different ways marriage is viewed throughout the world: • In Chile, women spend a lot of time nurturing their husbands egos, when really they are the ones in charge. • In Denmark, couples work hard to create a cozy home where they can relax and be present in their relationship. • A work-life balance is super-important in Holland. • Gratitude, especially for the small things, keeps Indian marriages alive. Aside from all the cultural discussions, Piazza also touches on other general relationship issues such as marrying older and how to become a unit while still maintaining your own life. A lot of the things she discussed resonated with me, and I think they'll be relevant for a lot of people.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amanda O'Connor

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! The author is a local San Francisco girl who decides to travel all over the world during her first year of marriage to gain insight about marriage tips and practices in different cultures. It was interesting to read the chapters set in various countries throughout the world. What I liked best about this book was the author's humorous perspective, and how it read as a story- not an advice book. A great read for any person in a marriage or any relationship f I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! The author is a local San Francisco girl who decides to travel all over the world during her first year of marriage to gain insight about marriage tips and practices in different cultures. It was interesting to read the chapters set in various countries throughout the world. What I liked best about this book was the author's humorous perspective, and how it read as a story- not an advice book. A great read for any person in a marriage or any relationship for that matter. Loved it!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Megan Tristao

    *I am not assigning star ratings in 2019 as a personal experiment* “Nearly every romantic comedy ever made ends with the wedding and leaves out the most interesting part—the marriage.” Yes, my marriage is fine, thanks for asking. ;) I actually didn't pick this book up for the marriage advice - I picked it up for the travel aspect. I also enjoy Jo's podcast, Committed, so I opted for the audiobook. Overall, it was more memoir than I expected, but I did enjoy reading about Jo and her husband's adven *I am not assigning star ratings in 2019 as a personal experiment* “Nearly every romantic comedy ever made ends with the wedding and leaves out the most interesting part—the marriage.” Yes, my marriage is fine, thanks for asking. ;) I actually didn't pick this book up for the marriage advice - I picked it up for the travel aspect. I also enjoy Jo's podcast, Committed, so I opted for the audiobook. Overall, it was more memoir than I expected, but I did enjoy reading about Jo and her husband's adventures around the world, especially the people they met. I preferred learning about other cultures' traditions and marriage advice more than learning about Jo's personal experiences (sorry!). Would recommend this book for the travel/culture aspect more than the relationship advice (which was pretty basic). NOTE: I wrote a review that Goodreads didn't save. :'( This one is not as eloquent, but there you go.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendi

    I feel incredibly churlish for giving this two stars and also disappointed to have to admit that I DNF at around 65-70%. There's some good stuff here, actually. Piazza shares what she has (intentionally, with either a reporter's/writer's eye or with memoir-writing intentions) learned from asking women from other countries and cultures how to be married, happily, sexily, contentedly. I liked these parts quite a lot and found some of it fascinating, and sometimes inspiring to incorporate into my o I feel incredibly churlish for giving this two stars and also disappointed to have to admit that I DNF at around 65-70%. There's some good stuff here, actually. Piazza shares what she has (intentionally, with either a reporter's/writer's eye or with memoir-writing intentions) learned from asking women from other countries and cultures how to be married, happily, sexily, contentedly. I liked these parts quite a lot and found some of it fascinating, and sometimes inspiring to incorporate into my own life. I have always been critical of readers/reviewers who criticize memoirs for being too all-about-me because, for God's sake, that what a memoir is and if you don't like that, then don't read it. But while listening to this on audiobook, I was repeatedly irritated when she reverted to sharing her personal experiences within her relationship. This wasn't because it was too all-about-me, but rather because the about-me parts didn't have a solid and honest and reliable grounding for me (me, the person writing the review this time). Piazza explains that her courtship and wedding were quite whirlwind, short-term affairs and while this made me skeptical at first, I was willing to stick it out because, yeah, it happens. But I think my skepticism was validated and began to grow when she explains that on her honeymoon, she threw up for the first time in front of her husband and she felt humiliated and convinced it meant the marriage was doomed. Yeah... so, sure, I can be convinced to get on board with a quick romance and marriage, despite it not being my personal experience and despite that I would personally be unlikely to do such a thing. However, I do find it quite disturbing that she was with a person for such an extremely short period of time that they'd never seen one another through an illness or even an ill-advised night of heavy drinking. At what point does one feel confident in declaring "in sickness and in health" when they've only ever seen blooming and happy health? And perhaps if you feel humiliated and ashamed and worried about the future of your marriage for throwing up from food poisoning, perhaps you should have waited just a tiny bit longer before making that commitment. By the time marriage rolls around, one should have a reasonable balance of confidence in the stability of the relationship for such an incident. That felt more like something someone should feel justified in worrying about on, like, a fifth date. This was just one of the incidents she relates that I just couldn't relate to/understand. For example, she writes that while on a trip in Paris, learning about sexy lingerie and the long-term seduction techniques of French wives, she buys a $250 t-shirt by "accident" and feels bad that she cannot return it, once her new husband discovers how much it costs. I suppose it could have been an accident - and I'm not declaring it wasn't, actually - just wondering where the faultiness lies in the telling of this story. Piazza and her husband are both writers with careers that frequently take them on international trips with foreign currencies. Even if you can convince me that a couple of long-experienced travelers like that couldn't manage to calculate the exchange rate before making such a purchase, I've also been in plenty of boutiques in both regional and international cities wherein simply walking into the store, you already know that the clothing is going to be ludicrously priced - at least a clue to double check your math before committing. I spent far too much time puzzling about what actually happened in this situation. Finally, I had to stop because I found the author's own narration of the audiobook was difficult to get through. She repeatedly enunciated words that had no need/context for doing so and it was incredibly distracting. Once again I feel like a heel detailing my dislikes, here, because it's an admirable project she shouldered, and I did find value in some of what I read. I may even try to return to it at another time, but not on audiobook, and perhaps with a bit of distance from some of her personal relationship dynamics that I found intolerable this go around.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I won this book from a goodreads giveaway, and I was so excited to read it. The author, Jo Piazza, got married. As a journalist, she spent the first year of her marriage traveling all over the world, sometimes with her new husband and sometimes without him. Wherever she went she collected advice on what makes a marriage last. From dancing in Chile to a wife-carrying race in Maine to lingerie shopping in France, Piazza experienced a lot in her travels while dealing with a life-changing diagnosis, I won this book from a goodreads giveaway, and I was so excited to read it. The author, Jo Piazza, got married. As a journalist, she spent the first year of her marriage traveling all over the world, sometimes with her new husband and sometimes without him. Wherever she went she collected advice on what makes a marriage last. From dancing in Chile to a wife-carrying race in Maine to lingerie shopping in France, Piazza experienced a lot in her travels while dealing with a life-changing diagnosis, losing her job, and trying to pay a large mortgage every month. I really enjoyed reading this book! I loved hearing the advice about having a happy marriage from people all over the world. There were things I highlighted and want to try out in my own marriage, like taking time (5 minutes, to be precise) to talk uninterrupted to your spouse, and then spending 5 minutes listening to them do the same. I could have done without the handful of references to different sexual favors that the author's friends said their husbands required for things like watching their own children, but overall I really appreciated this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    How to Be Married: What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage is a very entertaining book. As a travel editor, Jo Piazza has an interesting style of writing which I enjoyed and she wrote this book very well. A very thought-provoking book that I'm glad I read. Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC

  13. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

    This is a Goodreads win review. I really loved this book. The lady finds her perfect guy but she wonders how to make marriage work when she is a feminist. She writes about her first year of marriage (which I found difficult) . Then she travels around the world to 20 countries to find out what makes a modern marriage work. Anybody can stay married when their life is all wine and roses but the real test is how a couple holds up when their health fails, their parents need tending, you lose your job This is a Goodreads win review. I really loved this book. The lady finds her perfect guy but she wonders how to make marriage work when she is a feminist. She writes about her first year of marriage (which I found difficult) . Then she travels around the world to 20 countries to find out what makes a modern marriage work. Anybody can stay married when their life is all wine and roses but the real test is how a couple holds up when their health fails, their parents need tending, you lose your job, etc. Then you find out about how to be equal partners and work together in good times and bad.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katherineanelle

    The audiobook version of this is a great example of why authors shouldn't narrate their own books -- minus some rare exceptions. She butchered so many pronounciations from the countries they visited that it cheapened her advice. DNF'd about 25% in, I thought this would be a more honest look at the first year of marriage from different cultural perspectives, but this is a memoir of a white privileged woman, yawnnnnnnn.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kayo

    Thought this was very thought-provoking. A book about authors marriage, but a book about other marriages around the world. Fun and very entertaining! If you are a newlywed or someone that has been married a long time, this book is a great way of looking at life. I loved it. I received this for free through Netgalley, but it had no bearing on the review I gave it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kelsey

    I loved this book! Love, travel, humor, practical ideas, thought-provoking...what's not to love?! Seriously. I picked up this book and was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. It was informative, real, and serious, yet had slices of humor throughout. Marriage is certainly a sensitive topic, and I appreciated Piazza's willingness to dive deep into the ups and downs of marriage. A lot of the countries are on my list to visit and that certainly hasn't changed after this book. (I'm looking at yo I loved this book! Love, travel, humor, practical ideas, thought-provoking...what's not to love?! Seriously. I picked up this book and was surprised at just how much I enjoyed it. It was informative, real, and serious, yet had slices of humor throughout. Marriage is certainly a sensitive topic, and I appreciated Piazza's willingness to dive deep into the ups and downs of marriage. A lot of the countries are on my list to visit and that certainly hasn't changed after this book. (I'm looking at you, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, and Scotland.) I also learned quite a bit about marriage in other countries and topics that I didn't know much about. Great read for someone who is getting married, has recently married, or has been married for years. Some takeaways from Piazza or people she encountered on her travels: *Note: These are mainly for my own record and are considerably far-winded. I don't think I've learned the art of summarizing yet. Embrace hygge with your partner (turn off the electronics, get cozy, find happiness in the small things, spend time with people you love, and make a conscious effort to enjoy food and drinks and to feel gratitude and love). Do a ten-minute exercise where you get speak uninterrupted for five minutes, then vice versa - and without making things said an issue of contention later. Find something neither of you have done and conquer it together. Always wear red lipstick. The more you love yourself, the more your husband will love you. (And on that note, he will believe what you you tell him to believe about you, so don't downgrade yourself.) Talk about interesting things. "Do not let him see you in sweatpants," shared one French woman. "I don't think these women understood how much money I'd invested in cute yoga clothes." Live your lives. "Every crisis, big, or small, is a brick. It's up to you to decide what to do with that brick. You can use it to build a wall between you, or it can be a brick in building the foundation of your home together." Make yourself a priority. "Keeping us strong was also about keeping myself strong and healthy and happy." The importance of community and how difficult it can be for younger generations to gain this sense of community as they who move away from hometowns or to new locations. We've turned to the economy (therapists, nannies, doulas, housekeepers) to replace our lost community. Friendships are important. "Research shows that having strong friendships and strong community ties keeps a marriage together." Too many Americans often choose to let our careers dictate our lives. A lot of stress and arguments and lack of time for hobbies and people stem from this very fact. "I'm beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." Laura Ingalls Wilder Express gratitude. Too many options can lead to dissatisfaction. Too many choices "requires increased time and effort and can lead to anxiety, regret, excessively high expectations, and self-blame if the choices don't work out." "Take stock of what we have rather than continue to visualize what we want." Couples with kids in countries with flexible work options, generous parental leave, and subsidies for day care, parents tend to be happier than non-parents. That isn't the case in the U.S. where childless couples are happier. I need to fika (used as a verb or noun) like the Swedes every day. (A coffee break usually paired with a yummy pastry and colleagues, family, or friends.) Keep talking.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    I had really high hopes for this book! It started out great. I heard about this book on the All the Books podcast by Book Riot. I was interested to learn about the marriage cultures of the world and to hear this woman's reflection about her own journey. It was interesting from a medical perspective to hear her coping with being diagnosed with a genetic disease (muscular dystrophy) and knowing it will happen. As the book went on, I was slightly less impressed than at the start. When the author tr I had really high hopes for this book! It started out great. I heard about this book on the All the Books podcast by Book Riot. I was interested to learn about the marriage cultures of the world and to hear this woman's reflection about her own journey. It was interesting from a medical perspective to hear her coping with being diagnosed with a genetic disease (muscular dystrophy) and knowing it will happen. As the book went on, I was slightly less impressed than at the start. When the author travelled to Denmark, I was familiar enough with the culture from my own experience in Scandinavia that I recognized the extreme American-ization of her experience. I felt like she described the culture and customs in a very simplified way, overly generalizing and also completely butchering the pronunciation of the word "hygge" (not that I can pronounce Danish words, but it was a bit irksome hearing her say it in the audio version). The Denmark chapter reminded me to take the rest of her experiences with a grain of salt. Also, I wasn't necessarily expecting to read a how-to book with real instructions about marriage. It was interesting sometimes to hear her write about relationships in a way that seemed really obvious to me. Of course you should talk about your feelings instead of keeping them pent-up inside you, of course you should consult your partner before making important decisions, etc. I do understand that everyone is different, and also that these "lessons" may have been somewhat dramatized for the purpose of the book. I did find it interesting to see her perspective as someone who had been single for most of her adult life and what it's like for the many people who do find partners later rather than earlier. It's certainly more common these days to meet someone in your thirties, compared to previous generations. She told her story well and I think it's important for me not to judge her journey in learning how to be in a long-term relationship. I respect it :) Indeed, it was nice to hear her express things in a concise way, when she did talk about relationships. She pinpointed things in a way that were nice for reflection. Of note, many of her statistics and fun facts about relationships seemed to be citing the same studies as Aziz Ansari's book Modern Romance. I think his book was a bit more fun and informative, though this story was more personal. Despite feeling lukewarm about her representation of cultures I was familiar with (Sweden also made an appearance later), it was interesting to hear about her travels. I think this book could be recommended as long as the reader does not expect an instruction manual or self-help (despite the title), takes the representation of the countries with a grain of salt, and appreciates the author stating the obvious for the purpose of reflection and reminder. I guess I would kind of recommend this book? If you haven't travelled a lot, do be careful about what she says about these countries! And if you have travelled a lot, you probably won't like this book much :)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I think this is a necessary book, and it's a highly enjoyable read. The "around the world" format is brilliant. Piazza deftly combines the travel stuff with the memoir stuff with the layman's "research lite" stuff. And I laughed out loud in a way I haven't laughed at a book in a long time during the chapter on the wife-carrying race. Nothing here was particularly surprising or life-changing, which was reassuring: I finished it feeling like I am currently doing a lot of things right. Yay! (Not ma I think this is a necessary book, and it's a highly enjoyable read. The "around the world" format is brilliant. Piazza deftly combines the travel stuff with the memoir stuff with the layman's "research lite" stuff. And I laughed out loud in a way I haven't laughed at a book in a long time during the chapter on the wife-carrying race. Nothing here was particularly surprising or life-changing, which was reassuring: I finished it feeling like I am currently doing a lot of things right. Yay! (Not married yet, but YA KNOW.) I appreciated that the challenges Jo and Nick go through in their first year are pretty "normal" challenges. Things that are incredibly difficult but not overly extraordinary, things that many people will go through at some point. I have two relatively minor issues with the book, though. One, Piazza comes across as immature and determinedly "millennial" throughout. I guess the immaturity is part of the point, perhaps, but I was put off several times. Not enough to stop reading, but enough to be kind of ashamed that her sentiments were the supposed mores of my own generation. C'est la vie. Most 20- and 30-something women will likely find it all immensely relateable. Two, the book is stiflingly (to me) heteronormative and monoganormative. I understand that is the scope of the author's experience, but some acknowledgement somewhere that there are different ways of being married would have been nice? Oh, I forgot the "two Megs," friends of Piazza's who give her hiking underwear instead of sexy lingerie at her bachelorette party. :-| And I was hopeful about the inclusion of polygamous cultures and the flirting with a French "mistress" concept, but Piazza never seriously explores the idea of monogamy, even though it's undoubtedly something on the minds of many readers. ... Apparently I had a lot to say about this one. Final word: read this book! But pair it with The Ethical Slut or Madsen's Shameless.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    This is not your typical how-to-stay-married advice book, thankfully. Rather it is an interesting look at how various cultures view married life. The author did a fine job of investigative journalism by traveling to Chile, Mexico, Denmark, France, Israel,Kenya, Holland,India,Sweden, Tanzania, and a little place called Meghalaya (which is on the border of India and Bangladesh.) The last mentioned location was visited specifically because they have a matrilineal society---women are in charge of mon This is not your typical how-to-stay-married advice book, thankfully. Rather it is an interesting look at how various cultures view married life. The author did a fine job of investigative journalism by traveling to Chile, Mexico, Denmark, France, Israel,Kenya, Holland,India,Sweden, Tanzania, and a little place called Meghalaya (which is on the border of India and Bangladesh.) The last mentioned location was visited specifically because they have a matrilineal society---women are in charge of money and only women can inherit property. The author sought out advice and made observations based on her visits with experts and common folk alike and the book is full of interesting stories on the variety of ways in which marriage can succeed. She and her husband went through a number of experiences together, all of which were designed to bring them closer, such as a sweat lodge in a Mexican jungle, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, learning salsa dancing in Chile, and some experiences which were unplanned. I liked both the personal stories and the reporting on the different cultures. My only complaint is a small one. When they went to their first marriage expert, they both confessed their shared fears, tearfully, that each was afraid they weren't good enough for the other. Pullllll---ease!!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    The author started this book thinking somewhere, someone has figured out the secret to a perfect marriage. But everywhere she went, no matter how good the relationship, she saw it took hard work from both people. It's an especially enjoyable read for those who like to travel! A MUST REMEMBER FOR ME since I love making lists of things for Rob to do......: "If you see something do something. Don't say something. Why are you talking about it? Just do it. This goes for everything from making the bed The author started this book thinking somewhere, someone has figured out the secret to a perfect marriage. But everywhere she went, no matter how good the relationship, she saw it took hard work from both people. It's an especially enjoyable read for those who like to travel! A MUST REMEMBER FOR ME since I love making lists of things for Rob to do......: "If you see something do something. Don't say something. Why are you talking about it? Just do it. This goes for everything from making the bed to feeding the dog to paying unexpected tax bills." Ok, Ok, I'll start doing! And as always, a favorite quote: "When you wake up next to someone every day, pick their hair out of the drain, clean up their dirty dishes, socks, and underwear, listen to them bitch about their job and tell the same stories and jokes over and over again, it's nice to be reminded of what it's like when they're not around - and to realize things are better when they are."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cherry (_forevermint)

    I've been reading this book since February so I may have forgotten some things...lol. Reading books on relationships, especially romantic ones is a favorite hobby of mine which is what drew me to this book in the first place. I also loved that the author traveled so much and got to speak to women from all over the world. Aaaaand that's where the list of things I liked about it ended. If this wasn't a memoir of the author's life, I'd probably enjoy it WAY more. Nothing against her, but her person I've been reading this book since February so I may have forgotten some things...lol. Reading books on relationships, especially romantic ones is a favorite hobby of mine which is what drew me to this book in the first place. I also loved that the author traveled so much and got to speak to women from all over the world. Aaaaand that's where the list of things I liked about it ended. If this wasn't a memoir of the author's life, I'd probably enjoy it WAY more. Nothing against her, but her personal opinions and thoughts were just idk, not what I cared about at all? She literally thinks that a dad watching his kids is considered babysitting.....? And when someone tells her it's called being a father she's like what? huh? Idk. I just feel like she's not the best source for any advice on marriage lol. This is an interesting read for sure, but it's bogged down and wasn't really anything new that I hadn't already learned from better books.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gaelen

    2.5 stars. I read this book because I love Jo Piazza’s “Committed” podcast, but I found parts of it a bit grating. My main issue is that she writes her own story as if it were the 1920s — she marries a man she has known only a few months, has never lived with, and this appears to be her first serious relationship. They immediately buy a home together. The hopelessly retro circumstances — being newlyweds as they get to know each other — made it very hard to relate to. Moments like “Heaven forfend 2.5 stars. I read this book because I love Jo Piazza’s “Committed” podcast, but I found parts of it a bit grating. My main issue is that she writes her own story as if it were the 1920s — she marries a man she has known only a few months, has never lived with, and this appears to be her first serious relationship. They immediately buy a home together. The hopelessly retro circumstances — being newlyweds as they get to know each other — made it very hard to relate to. Moments like “Heaven forfend, my new husband (who I just met) is about to see me throw up!” just seem strange to this adult reader in an adult relationship. Adding to the syrupiness, the author constantly quotes her husband calling her by cutesy nicknames like “Squeaky.” It might be a fun and enlightening gift for a 22-year-old Salt Lake City bride, but other readers should stick with the podcast.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Felicia Owens

    This book was exactly what I needed....and now I need my own copy! Jo shares such a funny and heartwarming story of her first year of marriage, traveling around the world with her new husband to gather all the various marriage advice she can. I found her story so comforting and her wisdom exactly what my anxious mind needed. Coming from a family of multiple divorces, I often dwell on whether it's possible or practical to expect to have a long and happy marriage. Jo's open and honest memoir assur This book was exactly what I needed....and now I need my own copy! Jo shares such a funny and heartwarming story of her first year of marriage, traveling around the world with her new husband to gather all the various marriage advice she can. I found her story so comforting and her wisdom exactly what my anxious mind needed. Coming from a family of multiple divorces, I often dwell on whether it's possible or practical to expect to have a long and happy marriage. Jo's open and honest memoir assured me it is possible and there are so many "right" ways to enjoy the journey of marriage. I know I will be referring to this book for many years to come.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This book is about people and that is something I enjoy very much. I appreciated the different stories and the different situations that each person where in throughout the story. In this book, we get to meet alot of different people and understand what marriage means to them. I think that book gives some tips and advice, as well as shares interesting insights about people lives. I appreciated the opportunity to read this book. Disclaimer: I was awarded this book as part of the Blogging for Books This book is about people and that is something I enjoy very much. I appreciated the different stories and the different situations that each person where in throughout the story. In this book, we get to meet alot of different people and understand what marriage means to them. I think that book gives some tips and advice, as well as shares interesting insights about people lives. I appreciated the opportunity to read this book. Disclaimer: I was awarded this book as part of the Blogging for Books. Though I did not pay for the book, the opinions are strictly my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I've seen some reviews be critical of this book as if it were supposed to be a true marriage survival or self-help guide, which isn't at all what I thought it would be. It's a cute memoir about one woman's journey through her first year of marriage, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reading about the conversations she had with women around the globe and getting the different perspectives on relationships was interesting to me. I still found quite a few little nuggets of wisdom within her humourous na I've seen some reviews be critical of this book as if it were supposed to be a true marriage survival or self-help guide, which isn't at all what I thought it would be. It's a cute memoir about one woman's journey through her first year of marriage, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Reading about the conversations she had with women around the globe and getting the different perspectives on relationships was interesting to me. I still found quite a few little nuggets of wisdom within her humourous narrative.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    How to Be Married has an interesting premise but the book itself fell a little flat for me. The author is newly married and travels the world asking for advice on marriage. It has potential and I was looking forward to hearing from different cultures about their thoughts on marriage. Unfortunately, I didn't like the author's point'of-view very much and she interjected her opinion everywhere.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sparkle

    Interesting, but ultimately doesn't deliver any meaningful takes beyond what you could already surmise. Although she tries to make herself relatable and show her hardships, she's still a woman traveling the world with her husband while they spend extravagantly and show they face the same hardships as you and I.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    This is a good read/listen for someone like me who wonders (literally and very specifically) how marriage works. That may sound silly if you’ve been surrounded by examples of marriage! If you haven’t, you’ll know what I mean: Like anything else, it can be hard to learn some skills when they’re not taught or modeled, and the world of married people seems almost mysterious, like a secret club.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    A fun read. If you’re expecting this to be a guidebook to improve your marriage you’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re looking for something light about a couple learning about each other and themselves, with a few tidbits about relationships in other cultures, then you’ll enjoy this book!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly

    How to Be Married was a fascinating read. If you think you might be interested in learning about such things as a cow-wife or wife carrying, then this is the book for you. The book is informative and entertaining and I really enjoyed viewing an American marriage from other cultures' perspectives.

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