Realistic Romance

Cowritten by Marin residents Susan Pease Gadoua and Vicki Larson — the first a longtime therapist, the second a seasoned journalist — The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels addresses marriage from a thoughtful perspective informed by declining rates of matrimony, a rise in “gray” divorces (the separation of couples 50 and older) and the recent trend of millennials delaying marriage altogether. “The New I Do offers something unique to both the first-time marriers and the unhappily long-married couples: the ability to individualize their marriage,” Gadoua says. Here, the authors provide four tips for those looking to improve wedlock.

1. CONSIDER Ask yourselves what it is that's bringing or keeping you together: Is it the kids? Financial security? Fear of loneliness?

2. ASSESS Think about what’s missing in your marriage and what you want. Are you craving time to yourself? Do you enjoy the companionship but lack intimacy?

3. DISCUSS Have an open, honest and respectful conversation with your spouse about whether he or she would be interested in re-creating your marriage.

4. AGREE Create an agreement, such as a postnup, with the help of an impartial professional, to design a marriage that details goals and responsibilities and that is tailored to your individual needs.