The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists, and Rebels

By Susan Pease Gadoua and Vicki Larson

My favorite part about this book is the organization: each chapter focuses on a different kind of marriage, outlining the pros and cons, giving anecdotes, and ending with questions, a bulleted summary, and further reading suggestions. This structure makes the book incredibly readable, like a sort of fun marriage textbook.

Unfortunately, I have problems with a lot of the book’s content. The two authors, who profess to merely be attempting to help modern marriages, are both obviously jaded against the concept of a marriage with any form of traditional, butterflies-in-the-tummy love. Want proof? The book begins with a description of the authors’ failed marriages.

Apparently because of the authors’ bad experiences, a great deal of the book hates on marriages that contain any kind of emotion stronger than a hearty friendship. Instead, the authors argue that marriages should be one dimensional and suited to a particular desire, like companionship, money, child-rearing, etc. While I agree that marriages have some aspects of a business arrangement, and therefore talking about finances and parenting styles before putting a ring on it is definitely a good idea, I don’t see why a marriage can’t be for companionship AND parenting et al. I also struggle to see why love is such a terrible thing to feel for one’s partner. Overall, I’d say the information in this book is very interesting, but the book’s anti-love bias is so strong that I don’t think I’d recommend this to an easily sway-able friend.