"...any couple contemplating marriage or reevaluating an existing one will find powerful information and encouragement here for a true marriage of minds."-- Kirkus Reviews"Pepper Schwartz is remarkable. She explains to us the possibilities for relationships that remain for so many a fantasy. This book is a necessity for anyone who wants to understand how partnerships work"...any couple contemplating marriage or reevaluating an existing one will find powerful information and encouragement here for a true marriage of minds."-- Kirkus Reviews"Pepper Schwartz is remarkable. She explains to us the possibilities for relationships that remain for so many a fantasy. This book is a necessity for anyone who wants to understand how partnerships work but more importantly wants to really love."-- Wendy Wasserstein, Playwright: author of Isn't It Romantic?, The Heidi Chronicles, and The Sisters Rosensweig...
|Title||:||Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works|
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works Reviews
This is a book that was assigned reading for a college class. I am having a hard time figuring how how much I actually hated this book, and how much I just hate my teacher for continually assigning really, really, REALLY awful books as mandatory reading. A lot of other reviews said they didn't like this book because they felt like the book doesn't give clear enough instructions about how to achieve a peer marriage. Personally, I think I hate this book because I think the author has a totally gross idea of what relationships should look like. While occasionally using the word "feminist" in her book (and referring to Andrea Dworkin's work once) this author clearly is not a person who has thought deeply or critically about many aspects of sexism and the ways it affects women. For example, Pepper Schwartz talks a lot about how many relationships have an implicit hierarchy in them where the man is 'at the top', and the man may not even realize how this hierarchy plays out in the relationship. She talks about how this hierarchy need to be abolished for peer/equal relationships to flourish. I am in agreement so far. However, despite this belief of hers, Schwartz apparently does not think feminist ideology belongs in the bedroom. For example, she mentions how peer marriages are at risk of having less sexual satisfaction because the friendship and closeness that exist in peer marriages. For example, she quotes a man in a peer marriage (but who struggles with a dissatisfying sex life) who says "I feel tender towards Rebecca, love her, enjoy making love to her, but I have to make myself think of her as a sex object. I mean, she's sexy, but she's not my sex object. She's my friend...." Not only does Schwartz not think critically about this, she goes on to talk about the reasons that peer marriages struggle with supposedly lower sex drives/frequency, saying "Another reason for less sex is lack of care about personal appearance: friends don't dress up for one another--they expect acceptance and don't concentrate on physical characteristics they may gain weight or forget personal hygiene at bedtime. They expect to be desired for their less "superficial" selves." (Emphasis on "superficial" original.) This is incredibly problematic, and is an anathema to the whole concept of peer marriages which are based on equality. Next, she also shit-talks on Kink saying "we may need a psychiatric diagnosis to know why a CEO of a company is sexually aroused by acting as a slave for the night, but the fact is, it will have nothing to do with how he administers his company the next day." And last but not least, Schwartz continually shit-talks on the idea of couples having independent lives, instead saying your partner must be your best friend, and that "the process of allowing for separate lives starts innocently enough, but ultimately our lack of communication so radically reduces interest in each other that respect, the bedrock of any relationship, suffers." Contrary to Ms. Peppers (constantly repeated) assertions Independent lives and interests do NOT mean that communication will necessarily suffer.In summary, Pepper Schwartz--go fuck yourself. I wouldn't want to be a in a relationship that resembles the ones you espouse.
I am not quite sure when I bought Love Between Equals by Dr. Pepper Schwartz. The full title of Dr. Schwartz’s book really grabbed me: Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works. That’s exactly what I wanted and had not been able to articulate to myself: a peer marriage. I did not want to spend my life working and taking care of children and doing housework and basically running myself into the ground. I didn’t want to be superwoman, I wanted a true partnership that split the housework, split the childcare and both provided financially for the family. I didn’t want my identity absorbed into my partner’s. Love Between Equals showed me that the potential exists for every marriage to have equality and equity and the respect that those terms engender.OverviewIn Dr. Schwartz’s research for a previous book, American Couples, she discovered three types of marriage: traditional, near-peer, and peer. This discovery became the basis for Love Between Equals (originally published as Peer Marriage). In a traditional marriage the husband works and the wife stays at home to raise the children and take care of the household. The roles are fairly clearly defined (and frankly, a leftover from the 19th century separation of the domestic sphere from the public sphere that glorified motherhood and kept women “in their proper place”). The husband in the role of provider also has the financial backing of his income. Dr. Schwartz found that, in marriage, money does equal power, and in a traditional marriage, that power resides with the provider-husband: he is the ultimate decision-maker on how money is spent for the family; the family must accommodate his job schedule or relocate for his career; and the provider-husband expects more in the way of services from his wife, such as laundry and cleaning. In a near-peer marriage, both spouses usually work. However, the wives tend to hold lower-paying jobs and have less fast-track careers than their husbands. Because of this, the near-peer wife must often relocate or change jobs to accommodate her husband’s career needs and choices. She also has the role of primary caregiver for the children and the additional household duties. In this marriage, the power still resides with the provider-husband, backed again by his higher income, while the wife has all the responsibilities of a traditional wife plus a job. (Since I knew that I would continue working after I married and had children, I did not want to fall into the near-peer trap.) Though some would argue that a near-peer wife does bring in money for the family, her smaller income frequently becomes subsumed into the larger household income and Dr. Schwartz found that she still has less power over how money is spent for the family, especially on big ticket items.In a peer marriage, both spouses tend to work, but not always (the book gives a few examples of peer couples in which one spouse stays at home). One career is not more important than the other which often means both spouses make sacrifices at work for the good of their family. Peer couples share housework; they are co-parents; even if one makes more money, both spouses decide how to spend it. Since peer marriage eliminates the provider role, neither spouse has veto power, and they must negotiate a compromise when their wants conflict. Challenges of Peer MarriageDr. Schwartz noted several challenges facing couples who wanted a peer marriage, the first of which was eliminating the provider role. Most of the time, among white or Asian couples, this was more difficult to do; black couples, on the other hand, seemed to approach marriage as a partnership from the start. Peer marriages seemed to result in the following situations: one or both spouses had been married before and been very unhappy with the traditional or near-peer set-up and wanted their second marriage to be different; the woman was an ardent feminist; or the man did not want to be as distant as his father or treat his wife as like a servant.My first husband and I made nearly the same amount of money since we were the same rank in the Army. After we became engaged, my (now ex-) husband nearly immediately, albeit unconsciously, tried to slip into the provider role. He wanted to know how much money he should give me every month for my mortgage. I was rather confused by this since my housing allowance paid my mortgage, and I’d been just fine financially since I’d bought the house a few months before we became engaged. I told him to not worry about my mortgage and start saving for the wedding since we would be paying for it ourselves. I didn’t really understand what had happened until I’d read Love Between Equals. Traditional roles are difficult to shake, as Dr. Schwartz points out, because we’re comfortable with them, they’re familiar. Overcoming these roles is one of the greatest challenges of peer marriage.Peer couples also face the challenge of co-parenting in which neither parent is the primary caregiver. Peer couples knew they had to hash out their discipline policies and how they wanted to raise their children. Women in peer marriages especially had to learn to resist the siren call of motherhood and not completely take over the childcare—even if the woman thinks she can do a better job. Most women grow up with better care-giving abilities through baby-sitting, etc., and have had more time to develop their skills. Men are perfectly capable of taking care of their children, but they have had less time to learn how to do it as well as women. It’s very important for women who wish to co-parent to step back and let their husbands have equal time with their children. In peer marriage, the marriage is the most important aspect and women have a tendency to lose sight of that when they have children. Additionally, society has a difficult time dealing with fathers who are co-parents. Schwartz related several anecdotes from co-parents who had to deal with teachers’, doctors’, and neighbors’ assumptions that the wife was the primary caregiver. In one instance, a father took his child to the pediatrician. The doctor said things like, “Tell your wife he needs to take his medicine at this time.” The father was very frustrated and finally told the doctor, “I’m right here.” Co-parents often take turns meeting with teachers or going to school functions and this leads to confusion. Other mothers particularly tend to treat fathers as temporary fill-ins and exclude them from the “club.”Lastly, peer marriages face the challenge of maintaining a passionate sex life. Sex in a “leaderless democracy” seems odd to many of us and once again clashes with our comfortable roles: men have traditionally reserved the privilege to initiate sex while women have reserved the right to refuse. In peer marriage, both partners have more equality and the right to initiate or refuse sex. Sometimes men are put off when their wives initiate sex more than they do. Women have to learn how to handle rejection when the man says no. The intense companionship of a peer marriage may also lead to feelings of familiarity that sap the passion from sex. Benefits of Peer MarriageDespite the challenges facing couples with peer marriages, I think that the benefits more than outweigh the effort. Peer marriages tend to develop between friends whose friendship becomes more and more intense over time. The companionship and the emotional support in a peer marriage are, as Dr Schwartz found, much more fulfilling. Men learn to become more emotionally available and how to hold up their ends of the conversation. Women feel that they receive the emotional support they need. Neither partner becomes exhausted with taking on all or a majority of the housework, all of the child raising, all or most of providing financially for the family. Both partners feel needed and respected and that their work has value. I have found that while many traditional and near-peer marriages among friends espouse philosophies like “raising our child is the most important job,” that job, usually falling to the woman, is less valued and takes a back seat to accommodating the man’s career because of the financial ramifications of not taking a promotion or relocating. Dr. Schwartz’s research bears out the conclusions I had already reached about marriage.Peer marriage sexuality can also have a profound effect on both partners because of the intensity of their feelings for one another and the deepness of their emotions. In many ways, sex in a peer marriage, over the long haul, can be much more gratifying and intimate than sex in traditional and near-peer marriages. One of the most striking aspects, to me at least, that Dr. Schwartz discovered in her research is that peer marriages, especially when the couple co-parents their children, have a much lower divorce rate. Dr. Schwartz hypothesizes that men who are as involved in their children’s lives as co-parents are, tend to be more emotionally attached to their children and less likely to leave the marriage because they do not want to be separated from their children. In traditional and near-peer marriages, it’s easier for men to leave because they feel that their kids do fine without them anyway and it’s easier for men to detach themselves from their families. Even if I wasn’t a feminist, if nothing else had convinced me that I wanted a peer marriage, this fact would have.This Book Changed My LifeWhile Love Between Equals is not specifically a how-to book, Dr. Schwartz does outline the characteristics of peer marriage and gives some practical suggestions for achieving one. I knew that I would not be happy in a traditional marriage because I intended to keep my job until I retired. I also knew that I would not be happy in a near-peer marriage in which most of the responsibility for the family fell to my shoulders. I wanted a partner, an equal, and I had the strength of will and financial backing to negotiate for it. Although I had to experience marriage twice to find someone else as equally invested in a peer marriage, this book showed me that what I wanted was possible and that it was worth making the effort to achieve.
Ana amazing look at the pros and cons of traditional, near-peer and peer/egalitarian marriage. Should be required reading for all humans that want to be in relationships, which is basically everybody.
Both as a Marriage and Family therapy student and as a woman about to get married, I was interested in this book's premise. The concept is great and I think that peer marriage is something to be sought. However, Pepper Schwartz doesn't really go into any detail into how to achieve a peer marriage, just a lot of detail about how and why traditional marriage is unhealthy. My feeling is, if you are reading this book, or contemplating it, you already know how unhealthy traditional marriages can be. Cut this down to the salient points and this would make a better magazine article for something like Cosmo or Men's Health. It is designed to be read by the general public and she doesn't use a lot of research to back her words up, except for her own study on American Couples.
This book is well written with several case studies thrown in to help present the material. I think I like the idea of peer marriage, but it sounds challenging to maintain. I get the sense that the couple become so close, after a while they see each other as siblings. NOT something I want in my marriage! I appreciate the commentary on income disparity and how egalitarian marriages work best when both make about the same amount of money.
I bought this for $1 at a thrift store as a joke 6 months ago and I've been keeping it next to the toilet, reading paragraphs here and there, while slowly growing to love and respect its prose without any irony whatsoever.
Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works by Pepper Schwarts, PhD Some great information. For a full review, click on the post's title.
I used to recommend this book to clients and students a lot. It's a terrific, realistic evaluation of relationships - but I would guess that's it's getting a bit old now.
Another great book I reccomend to my counseling clients.
A bit dated, but interesting nonetheless.