10 Authentic Books About The Difficulties And Triumphs of Marriage

Fairy tales may view marriage as a "happily ever after," but in real life it's just the beginning of a new chapter. The books listed here explore the ups and downs of married life in an authentic way that doesn't sugarcoat reality. Readers looking for compelling works about complex relationships are sure to find something here that suits them. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Books About Married Life: Our 10 Picks

Title Author(s)
1. Summerlong Dean Bakopoulos
2. The Perfect Liar Thomas Christopher Greene
3. Carousel Court Joe McGinniss Jr.
4. Beneath the Same Heaven Anne Marie Ruff
5. You Disappear Christian Jungersen & Misha Hoekstra
6. Just Married, Please Excuse Yashodhara Lal
7. After the Bitter Comes the Sweet Dori Jones Yang & Yulin Rittenberg
8. Cry Like A Girl K.E. Garvey
9. Portrait of Our Marriage Martha Emms
10. Never Tell a Lie Hallie Ephron

6 Great Films About Weddings & Marriage

  1. Father of the Bride (1991)
  2. Steel Magnolias (1989)
  3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)
  4. Meet the Parents (2000)
  5. The Notebook (2004)
  6. Yours, Mine and Ours (2005)

Fun Date Ideas For Your Real-Life Romance

Whether you're married or not, it's important to find ways to connect and create memories with your partner.

3 Ways to Build a Happy Marriage

In Depth

Marriage is a special relationship that isn't always captured accurately in fiction. Luckily, there are plenty of well-written works that reflect the joys, struggles, and complex emotions that spouses go through together. Full of humor as well as heartbreak, they tackle everything from parenthood to addiction and infidelity. In no particular order, here are ten books that authentically examine married life.

Coming in at #1 is "Summerlong" by Dean Bakopoulos. During one torrid Midwestern summer, a husband and wife see their marriage unravel when they leave the house on separate excursions. Don, who goes for an evening walk, awakens in the morning stoned in a hammock with an unfamiliar young woman. Claire's midnight run, meanwhile, leads to her binging beer and cigarettes outside of a convenience store. Tensions rise along with the temperature, and soon the whole town is wrapped up in a morass of moral questions. Can Don and Claire's relationship survive the heat?

For #2 we have "The Perfect Liar" by Thomas Christopher Greene. Susannah, who moved with her teen son from New York to Vermont after remarrying, believes she has put the grief of her widowed past behind her. Now wed to spirited artist and public speaker Max, everything seems to be going well in their peaceful college town. That is, until an incriminating note shows up on Susannah's door one morning. Although her husband brushes it off as a prank, the tragic death of a neighbor and a follow-up note suggest real danger. Something sinister is going on, and it might have to do with secrets the married couple is hiding.

Something sinister is going on, and it might have to do with secrets the married couple is hiding.

At #3 we get Joe McGinniss Jr.'s "Carousel Court." With their marriage on the rocks, young couple Phoebe and Nick leave Boston with their toddler son to start fresh in Southern California, where they plan to flip a house they've bought. But what they arrive to is anything but sunny. Instead, the couple finds themselves drowning in financial burdens as the 2008 recession hits. Nick, whose film job falls through, is forced to clean out foreclosed homes, while Phoebe succumbs to prescription drug addiction. At the ends of their ropes, they both desperately search for ways to stave off economic and romantic oblivion.

At #4, we have "Beneath the Same Heaven" by Anne Marie Ruff. Married with children, American Kathryn and Muslim, Pakistani-born Rashid appear to represent a happy union of cultures. But when Rashid's dad is killed in a U.S. drone strike near Afghanistan, the ensuing drama exposes fault lines among their family. Fissures between their differing beliefs are opened as conflicting viewpoints on justice, terrorism, and cultural identity collide.

For #5 we come to "You Disappear" by Christian Jungersen, translated by Misha Hoekstra. When a brain tumor starts altering her husband Frederik's personality, Mia finds her contented marriage disintegrating. The sense that Frederik is becoming someone totally unrecognizable is only compounded by Mia's discovery that he has been embezzling millions of dollars from the school he works at. But as the disillusioned wife works with a lawyer to defend her husband, she learns about new studies of the brain that could change her perspective on the whole case.

But as the disillusioned wife works with a lawyer to defend her husband, she learns about new studies of the brain that could change her perspective on the whole case.

Arriving at #6 is "Just Married, Please Excuse" by Yashodhara Lal. Vijay, a humble small town boy, and Yashodhara, a boisterous big city girl, have personalities that don't always blend well. One is a vegetarian, and the other is not. While Vijay has a habit of making ill-conceived comments, Yashodhara has frequent temper tantrums. They also have divergent opinions on childrearing, which might be a problem considering their baby is on the way. Can the two disparate lovers find common ground, or are they not meant to be together after all?

For #7 we find "After the Bitter Comes the Sweet" by Yulin Wang Rittenberg and Dori Jones Yang. In this inspiring memoir, Rittenberg recounts her turbulent life story, from her impoverished childhood in wartime China to her marriage to her American and fellow communist-sympathizer husband. She recounts how their happy life in Peking with four children was derailed by the Cultural Revolution, and further by the false accusations of spying that sent her husband to prison and her to a labor camp. Through it all, Rittenberg emphasizes the tenacity and resilience that allowed her to endure such adversity.

At #8 is "Cry Like a Girl" by K.E. Garvey. While Susan prepares a seven year anniversary dinner, her husband Henry is accepting a major job offer and spending the night celebrating with his guy friends. When he arrives home after midnight, Susan is enraged. Little does she know, this violation is just the first of several that will gradually eat away at their marriage. Henry eventually recognizes his mistakes and tries to make up for them, but it could be too late.

While Susan prepares a seven year anniversary dinner, her husband Henry is accepting a major job offer and spending the night celebrating with his guy friends.

For #9 we have "Portrait of Our Marriage" by Martha Emms. The adventurous, sexy, and intelligent Brett was all Nicky needed to leave her sheltered life and controlling father behind. Wedded to this dream man, she was confident she would have a stable and satisfying future. But when Nicky discovers her husband's obsession with lewd magazines and internet pornography, she finds that the bright, loving man she knew is becoming consumed by a marriage-threatening addiction.

Finally, at #10 we arrive at "Never Tell a Lie" by Hallie Ephron. At a yard sale in front of their newly-restored Victorian home, young, married high school sweethearts Ivy and David Rose are surprised to come across former classmate Melinda. She is pregnant like Ivy, but also strangely skittish, and after David agrees to take her on a tour of their mansion, she disappears. When suspicion falls on the husband and he is arrested for homicide, his wife sets out to do some detective work of her own, and learns just how little she really knows about her beloved.