Monday, January 03, 2011

Project: Happily Ever After
saving your marriage when the fairytale falters
by Alisa Bowman

Shortly before Christmas, I was invited to participate in a virtual book tour for the recently released “Project: Happily Ever After - Saving Your Marriage When the Fairytale Falters” written by Alisa Bowman. I've never finished a self-help book in my life (which probably explains a lot) so I was fairly proud of myself for finishing this one in just three days. The fact that my in-laws were staying with us at the time might have helped. Being a holiday weekend in France, there weren’t many entertainment options open and it was too cold to spend long periods of time outside strolling around the city. The risk of catching cabin fever in our smallish Parisian apartment was high. Going to my room to read "in order to meet a deadline” offered the perfect reason to excuse myself from the group when I got tired of speaking French or simply tired of listening to my mother-in-law speak. (I’m not sure my last comment would be Happily-Ever-After approved).

In reality, Alisa deserves the large majority of credit for me finishing my first self-help book. I think it's because this book doesn't really seem like one. She offers tips throughout the book and "bullet points" at the end of each chapter summarizing the main ideas, but the text itself isn't preachy and the advice doesn't involve standing in front of a mirror repeating positive phrases. She shares her story and details what worked for her. In fact, I felt like I was reading a boy-meets-girl (and everything that comes after) story or a series of letters written by a girlfriend. The book held my interest and I wanted to know how their love story would end – or not end as the case may be.

However, because I consider myself happily married – and lucky, I wasn’t sure that I would find this book anything more than entertaining. I was surprised then to find myself randomly thinking of it after I had finished it and placed it on my bookshelf. There are parts of the book - the section on forgiveness, for example - that I think apply to relationships with friends and family, as well. The book also serves as a reminder for happy couples that they shouldn’t assume just because they are happy today that they will be tomorrow.  Marriages and people change.

In sum, with honesty and humor, Alisa describes how she went from being in a marriage so miserable that she dreamt of planning her husband’s funeral to eventually renewing her wedding vows. She did so by reading a stack of marital improvement books (as an added bonus she provides “CliffsNotes” on portions of some of these books), interviewing happily married friends, and rekindling her sex life with the help of "The Martini", a sexy bikini wax.

To learn more about Alisa, the Project, and her book, you can visit her blog: Project Happily Ever After.  You can also see a video of Alisa and her husband and read a sample chapter from her book here: video and sample chapter