Cynthia and Hillary Smith show how women have long been driven to marriage by fears of their own inadequacies. Today's woman no longerneeds to see herself as half of a relationship waiting for Mr. Right tocome along and put it together for her. This book is an inspiration for anywoman on the brink of giving up her independence to seek the security that the marriage has always promised but seldom provides. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (6)
Follow the advice in this book, and you will never get married
Ok, so like many others, I thought this would be a wonderful book in telling why it is good to be single, and what the upside of singleness is.Well, rather than being that type of book, it really focuses on telling you every horror story there is, and what could happen if you do get married.I felt frustrated that this book is really selling what is less evil staying single, or avoiding the trap of getting married.
The book is well organized into different reasons of why not to get married, your career, being with someone who doesn't want children, money issues, ect.My favorite chapter of the book, and what should have been the title of the book was "They wanted to get married in the worst way and they did....".Idon't necessarily few the authors as feminists but rather as very jaded women, and my impression could be wrong.
If you are looking for a book that gives you the upside of being single, I am not sure this book is for you.If you are looking for a book that paints men in a bad light, and feel like male bashing, well this book is for you.I found this book disheartening, because it really takes a dim view of long term relationships because their take is in one way or another they will disappoint you.Let's all hope life really isn't like that, and if over 40% of the population is single, there is happiness and joy in those lives, and not for the sole reason they have avoided long term relationships.
Entertaining as a cautionary tale
At first I didn't respond positively to this book. I kept comparing it to my favorite book on being single (Singled Out by Bella DePaolo.)
The book is set up as a series of anecdotes and stories. There's no reference to research. It's like joining the authors for Girls' Night Out, when everybody opens up after a couple of drinks.
The Smiths present all the negatives of marriage, using one extreme example after another. Some women sacrificed their careers because they felt they ought to be married.
Some stories were scary. For instance, a widow married a man whose daughters saw her as a gold-digging threat. She tolerated insults and humiliations rather than get a divorce and live alone.
Single women, the authors say, avoid these messy situations. They don't have to answer to anyone. They create their own economic freedom. They enjoy their own company. Dining alone? No problem.
OK, this is pretty strong stuff. It's easy to make counter-arguments.
Clearly some marriages bring happiness to both partners. Doctors usually are arrogant, as the authors say, but I've known some happy doctors' wives..
And being single isn't exactly a cake walk. DePaolo's book, Singled Out, provides some vivid examples. Service providers from restaurant staff to doctors view single people (especially women) as second class citizens.
One doctor's receptionist addresses all women as "Mrs.," whether married or single. She refuses to change claiming she'll upset the married women if she uses the correct form of "Ms."
Socially, married family and friends talk down to single people. Some singles even get relegated to the kids' table at holiday meals.
Like it or not, our society and infrastructure are still set up to support married couples. When you're sick or old, the world assumes you have a spouse and children to care for you.
Children offer access to social networks. Even the Smiths note that some women called their grown children for help with a difficult boyfriend or spouse. Friends may want to help but they prioritize in-laws, children and grandchildren - all products of marriage.
So why do I still like this book? Well, it's more entertaining and more tightly organized than most self-published or small-published books.
And I can think of one situation where no other book will do.
Many years ago, in my twenties, I was heading off to Paris, France, for a 2-week vacation. I stopped off to see a fifty-something relative I'll call "Beatrice." Instead of wishing me bon voyage, Beatrice said, "Oh, Cathy, you really need to get married. Then you'll have someone to take you to nice places."
Ironically, Beatrice's own marriages had ended in disaster, abuse and horrific encounters with the criminal justice system. Yet she couldn't understand that I could send myself to "nice places" on my own terms.
If Beatrice were still alive I'd send her this book. It's the perfect antidote to pushy relatives and friends. Alas, just as Beatrice couldn't hear me saying, "I'm off to Paris tomorrow," I suspect the nosy ones will remain oblivious. But the senders will feel better.
Why Women Shouldn't Marry by Cynthia & Hillary Smith
This updated version of "Why Women Shouldn't Marry" by the mother/daughter team of Cyntia S. & Hillary B. Smith should be required reading for all women in high school and again in college!Far from a feminist manifesto, this book calmly and concisely lays out the reasons FOR marriage.But it goes further by exposing the WRONG reasons to marry and why 'soul-mates' and 'biological imperatives' are about the worst reasons possible to marry.
The book contains hundreds of interviews with women of all marital status.They speak honestly and bluntly about their lives, their failures, and their successes both WITH and WITHOUT a spouse or significant other.
Although happily married for 20 years, I certainly wish I had read this book as it could also be used as a handbook on what mistakes NOT to make in a marriage.Why the phrase 'He makes me happy' is illogical as being happy comes from within...not from another person.
I think the best idea in this book, while not necessarily explicitly stated, is that today a woman can be confident, secure, and established on her own.For what's really the first time in history there's no real physical, financial, or emotional NEED to marry.It's a decision that each woman must make on her own...and for the right reasons.
I wanted to like this book
It can be a frustrating experience to be "a woman alone" in our society today."Only one?" a restaurant hostess will still ask with a raised eyebrow.Even devoted family and friends may put pressure on us, as they see other members of our generation pair up and ride off into the sunset.Why don't we join the crowd? they wonder.It never occurs to most folks that we've made our lifestyle choices consciously and deliberately.
"Why Women Shouldn't Marry" was first released in 1988.This second edition, updated 20 years later, was co-written by the mother-daughter team of Cynthia S. Smith and Hillary B. Smith.Cynthia is a widow; Hillary is a divorced single mom who's raising a son.Certainly both women are thus familiar with singlehood and have opinions and relevant experiences to share on the topic.They are passionate storytellers.They offer real-life examples from myriad women who represent various single situations.They advise female readers, both directly and by implication, to resist the inclination to get married simply because it seems to be the behavior expected of them.The Smiths provide plenty of food for thought for women to chew on.
And yet:there's an undercurrent in their approach that made me uncomfortable as I turned the pages.I felt an ultra-defensive attitude, one that was ready to rise to a challenge at any instant.The stereotype of the bitter, man-hating divorcee is tough enough to live down in person.A book like this may appear to (albeit unwittingly) perpetuate that image.And that's not at all a flattering impression of the single woman.
If Cynthia herself harbors personal resentment, she has good reason.When she lost her husband after a six-year-long illness, people still felt the need to query her plans on finding someone else to marry. Some even had the gall to suggest that she was lucky that she was given time to prepare in advance for his death, and that he didn't go suddenly, without warning.Given those circumstances, yes, strong feelings have to be involved.They come through in the text, loud and clear.
Just by the title alone, I wanted to like this book, for I wholeheartedly believe that the contemporary dream devoutly to be wished need NOT include marriage.Unfortunately for the Smiths, the book I read immediately before this one was Florence Falk's "On My Own: The Art of Being a Woman Alone" (Three Rivers Press, 2008).Though the two volumes deal with the same subject matter, they could not be more different, beginning with the cover art.The Smith book practically screams defiance with its bold red and white lettering.The absence of a wedding ring in the jewelry box implies that something is missing from the picture (an image that can be interpreted in direct opposition to the content found between the covers).Falk's book cover is tinted in shades of calming blue and shows a woman striding purposefully on her own behind a pool of water that reflects her.Already, and perhaps unintentionally, one book focuses on WITHOUT, the other focuses on WITHIN.While the tone of the Smith book is one of demanding independence for independence's sake, the Falk book takes a softer and more comprehensive approach to all the possible options singlehood offers.It emphasizes that you have to first be comfortable with yourself before you can be at ease with others.The Smiths don't take their analysis back that far.
Both books devote time to a subject that needs to be addressed today.Both books will evoke emotion from readers, and both will find audiences to inspire and empower.When it comes to choosing, I have to rank the Falk book a bit higher.
A very fair minded approach by the authors indeed.In today's world women hold nearly as many key business roles as men.Why should they comprimise their own lifestyles for a man who wants to be waited on hand and foot?The authors really did their homework on this subject as they interviewed many single, widowed, and divorced ladies.In many cases they show that women should not sacrifice their lifestyles if a persepctive male partner is only thinking of himself.
The part these ladies don' tell you as that many men in the 40 plus category are not available usually as they are involved with younger women.To some degree the pickings for these ladies can be a bit slim.However, unattached ladies who have pride in themeselves will win out in the end when they marry or not.
Some very good messages and analysis exists in the many stories.Certainly worth additional re-reads as even men like myself can learn a few things.
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