Starting in spring 2006, journalist Laurie Abraham sat in with five troubled couples as they underwent the searing process of group marriage therapy. Published as "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" the resulting article generated intense reader response. While space limitations allowed Abraham to focus only on one couple in her article, this book, which grew out of it and the reaction it inspired, tells the moving, fascinating story of all five.
Writing with the narrative dexterity of a great novelist, Abraham recounts the travails, triumphs, and reversals that beset the five couples as they work with their therapist—and each other—to find out whether they can attain the satisfaction in marriage they originally sought. At times wrenching, at times inspiring, the sessions bring out the long-hidden resentments, misunderstandings, unmet desires, and unspoken needs that bedevil many an imperiled couple. At the same time, these encounters provide road maps to reconciliation and revival that can be used by anyone in a relationship. Along the way, the author draws on her explorations of philosophy and literature, on Freudian theory and modern science, to decode the patterns and habits that suggest whether a troubled marriage will survive or die. The fact that the five couples are ultimately successful makes this not only an important look at the state of marital dysfunction in America today but a reaffirmation of the enduring bonds of love.