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"Imperfect Harmony: How to Stay Married for the Sake of Your Children"

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


by Joshua Coleman Published by St. Martin's Press

The Bottom Line

This is a guide to toleration, and getting more out of life on your own - not happiness. The author gives suggestions on letting go of the hope for happiness, along with how to live separate lives within your own home.
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  • Practical suggestions.
  • Real life examples.
  • Useful index and references.


  • Is it really all about the kids?
  • Many couples will find his plan of toleration unacceptable.


  • It is not essential for your children for you to have a great marriage.
  • You need to understand your parents' marriages in order to understand your own.
  • Explains how to live together but separately under the same roof for the sake of the kids.
  • Explains how to let go of the need to change your partner's behaviors.
  • Teaches how to grieve for what your marriage can't give you.
  • Discusses his belief that it's better for parents to stay together than to divorce.
  • Gives advice on how to be a happy person in an unhappy marriage.
  • Recommends taking responsibility for your own life.
  • Not all marriages will be joyful or meaningful, but that isn't enough reason to divorce.

Guide Review - "Imperfect Harmony: How to Stay Married for the Sake of Your Children"

Dr. Coleman states, "Part of my goal is to give you tools to determine whether you should keep pushing for change, stay and accept it for what it is, or get out." His hope is that you will be able to: "reduce out-of-control conflict in your home; let go of the fairy-tale marriage ideal and create a better reality; accept change in your partner and make peace with what you can't change; and maintain domestic harmony in times of crisis." He counsels that imperfect harmony in a home allows each parent to love and care for the children full-time. The author does recommend getting out when there is major conflict or abusive behavior in the marriage. Although his plan may work for some couples, we think the common belief that happy parents make happy kids still rings true.
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