The New I Do Book

“If you think a 50 percent divorce rate is an acceptable statistic, then I suppose you don’t have to read this book. For everyone else, this book will give you permission to think outside the box.”

— Pepper Schwartz, AARP’s sex and relationship expert and the author of The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples


If half of all cars bought in America each year broke down, there would be a national uproar. But when people suggest that maybe every single marriage doesn’t look like the next and isn’t meant to last until death, there’s nothing but a rash of proposed laws trying to force it to do just that.  New-I-Do-3251 In The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press, Sept. 28, 2014), therapist Susan Pease Gadoua and journalist Vicki Larson take a groundbreaking look at the modern shape of marriage to help readers open their minds to marrying more consciously and creatively. Offering actual models of less-traditional marriages, including everything from a parenting marriage (intended for the sake of raising and nurturing children) to a comfort or safety marriage (where people marry for financial security or companionship), the book covers unique options for couples interested in forging their own paths. With advice and quizzes to help readers decide what works for them, The New I Do acts as a guide to thinking outside the marital box and the framework for a new debate on marriage in the 21st century.

More praise:

“The solid, erudite style pleasantly eschews the usual hype found in
other works on the subject. … highly recommended.”
—   Library Journal Review


“’The New I Do’ is a definite ‘gotta get’ book, providing you the tools to make your decision to marry a solid and successful one.”
— Dr. Charles Sophy, author of Side by Side


“‘The New I Do’ offers a fresh perspective on one of the most complex decisions one can make in life: getting married. …
For those seriously contemplating marriage, this book can be a conversation starter as well as a sobering reminder of the real challenges couples face before and long after they say ‘I Do!’
— Rosalind Sedacca, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network

9 thoughts on “The New I Do Book

  1. Great comments and insight. The movement is real! Glad to have you on board and find another supporter in the quest to “fix” the failing institution of marriage. Please check out my website and previous articles in Huffpost as well. Would love to join forces in this endeavor.

  2. After reading a recent article in Vicki Larson’s “OMG Chronicle’s” (which concluded with a hype for this book), I was left exceptionally saddened.

    I cannot believe that Huffington Post (which does seem to be more and more “anti marriage” anymore) keeps hyping these tremendously negative relationship articles.

    Plus all the people – who should know better – who hype the myth of the 50% divorce rate. The truth is that the divorce rate was pretty stable (and low) until the mid 1960s when it began climbing. And reached its peak in the early 1980s (but even then NOT 50%) and then started gradually downward. And has continued downward at a slightly higher rate over the last 15 years (to where it is approaching the 1960 level). Some who try to just its “truth” count multiple divorces by the same people (and it is true that once you get divorced your odds of the next marriage ending in divorce – or relationship failing – skyrockets; and even more so with each subsequent one).

    It is like the myth about a NEED to drink 8 glasses of water a day for health. There’s no such thing. Some need more, some less, and it varies daily. But once someone claimed it somewhere, it became THE truth – and everyone repeats it!

    In any case, as I read these very negative relationship articles (they clearly don’t grasp compromise and the idea of a Team Aporoach versus a Me Approach) are in fact by people who have a history of failed relationships (marriage or otherwise) and are deep down very bitter people!

    And, my wife and I met and had a first date at 15 but then families went in different directions and ended up on opposite sides of the country. 18 months later we reconnected (just having turned 17), started dating again (immediately “going steady”), were engaged five months later and married the next year (just a few months after turning 18). That was over 45 years ago (and I was just a couple months into an enlistment in the Marines) and here we still are with 13 grandkids and going strong.

    Out of our two extended families (from us and our siblings down through adult grandchildren) there are 38 adults.

    Of the two of us and our combined 7 siblings there have been 2 divorces (out of 9).

    At the next level down (kids of us and our siblings), there are 20 adults. 3 have never been married and there have been 2 divorces (one having 2 divorces and 1 failed long term relationship and the other 1 divorce and 1 failed long term relationship – but just amongst those TWO people… out of 20, 17 that were married).

    Of the 9 adults at the next level down (grandkids of us and our siblings), 5 are not married (18-23, in school, engaged, etcetera.) and 4 married with no divorces.

    To be fair – as grandchildren level marriages are just a couple years old, let’s NOT count the grandkids. Of us and our siblings and our children (29 total with the 20 kids running from late 30s to mid 40s), there have been FOUR divorces. That is less than 1/7th, NOT 1/2.

    And of people that I know, that my wife knows, that is by far more the norm. My wife has two different (not overlapping) groups of friends that have weekly dinner get-togethers. Out of roughly 12-13 people (one passed away last year), only ONE has been divorced. Out of a grouping of 10 neighbors on each side of the street that are or have been married (one widowed), of those 20 couples, one has been divorced!

    The 50% stat might fit great with egotistical professionals and celebrity types, etcetera, but simply does not fit the regular middle class with traditional values (and yes, my wife worked PT and FT off and on before my retirement and currently works PT at her own decision).

    I see all of these highly negative, love thyself foremost, it is all “Me” and none “We” article authors as trying their hardest to achieve strongly negative attitudes about real relationships and thereby justifying their own bitterness and lack of commitment, responsibility, and maturity… and they should be ashamed of themselves!

  3. Hello,

    My husband decided to call it quits with me but wants to raise our 3 teenage kids in the house and will not move out. I don’t want to move out either. Its been almost 3 months and I still love him and he still wants nothing to do with me. He has a job that allows him to have flex hours so while I am at work 9 hours he can pop in and out and cart the kids around. Hes been doing this for 4 years since he lost his job and has a new one 2.5 years. His realtor job has him networking in the evening 4 nights a week. This is good for growing his business but he drinks a lot while attending. Last year he only gave me 17k for bills and he partied the rest away of the 46k away. And this year I called him out and he called it quits. He has a drinking problem that has lasted over 10 years. I gave him the idea of reading your book and he liked the idea and I do to a certain point because part of me says keep the family together since he is a great dad but bad husband.. then he drinks. What kind of model are showing the kids? Am I enabling him…? Part of me wants to get a divorce and part says no. Can you expand on your thought?

    • I really hope you’ve made a decision by my posting. The problem is he’s an addict. He needs help plain and simple. He cannot make coherent decisions while in active addiction as the addict mind will protect his habit and disease at all costs( which sounds like you) You really can’t take anything to heart while struggling with this disease. This is a very very hard thing to deal with as a family. I suggest you don’t give him any financial access to your family’s means until he gets help and completes a 12 step or other recovery program. This is a lifelong battle no matter the years you have sober and no easy possible fix for any member of your family. I believe you should show your kids a great example of how not to give up on someone you love bc of a mistake or illness and Def don’t hide it from them. I’ve witnessed this on all fronts as a young child( grandparents) teenager (father) and later father of my kids! I know so cliche but they most important thing is him wanting help. The atmosphere he’s surrounded himself in for work is a very addictive lifestyle to the addict brain. I’ve worked in this field and higher risk niches over 10 years and buried many a co-worker who couldn’t balance our resist the temptations, which are many in many forms. Based on what you posted, I would not hold this personally if you’ve had a relationship of sobriety in the past. I really hope he realizes the problem and you both seek counseling as many times a spouse can trigger this behavior creating a viscous cycle for everyone. Please share your update if possible. Just try to be understanding and not judgmental let him know your there for him regardless of the pain he has caused bc of your commitment but moreso to ensure he’s the father your kids deserve. Nothing worse than a teenager having to drive around drunk dad( been there too). Hope it works it’s a long road but definitely a light at the end off the tunnel with patience forgiveness and understanding on all ends. My heart hurts for anyone enduring this extra stress in any relationship

  4. Hi,
    My husband is depressed. His mother has been severely depressed all of his life, so he has been dealing with her all His life. His depression is killing our marriage. We have been married for about 6 years now and we have a 21month old boy. He is a great dad. But his depression is preventing him from getting a job. And not getting a job is killing him. Us not being able to afford things we need is killing me. I offered to work full time and him stayng home. He refuses saying he wants to work. I work part time 2 days a week and my mother in law is helping us with bills. We stopped having sex right around when our son came to our life. He says that he stopped loving me since then. I still love him. But he doesn’t love me. He still wants to stay with me. But he doesn’t want to try to solve any of our problems. Recently, he has been having mental break downs trying to kill himself. He doesn’t try to hurt anybody else, but himself (I guess that’s a good thing). I’m a fighter, he is a quiter. Every time I try to fight to solve problems, he says “I’m a worthless shit”. This leaves me speechless. I feel like I’m stuck. I feel so bad for my son. Is loveless marriage really possible? He does not want to get help from someone else either. He thinks he can take care of it by hiding in his room. I am stuck, my life is stuck. I don’t want divorce, but I don’t want my son to be in the middle of a toxic relationship.
    I just need some help…

    • There is a book by Diane Zimberoff called “Breakng free from the victim trap”. I was SO stuck three years ago and that book with A LOT of therapy has changed my life. I can’t tell you how to fix your marriage because you only have control over yourself and your choices. I can tell you if you get yourself help the rest becomes more clear…not necessarily easy, but easier. Your first job is being a healthy caregiver and role model for your child. The great news is he is so little you have time! Best wishes and know you are not alone!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I’m not professional but GET OUT!

      I am a child of a loveless marriage over shadowed by parent’s on and off again depression. And let me tell you – it fudged me up. I have trust issues, love issues and the idea of marriage scares the shit out of me. I don’t remember a time that my parents actually showed any physical love towards each other and it has taken years for me to understand that I don’t know what love is or what it looks like or how to have a good relationship with someone. I get that no one really knows that but everyone is supposed to grow up with a foundation to work off of based on their experience with their parents. If you can’t give your child a functioning loveless marriage or a some what functioning love filled marriage – then leave.


      I have also been down the depression jobless spiral myself. There is no getting yourself out of it. He needs help, whether he knows it or not. There is nothing you can do for him that your probably haven’t done. At this point you and your mother in law are just enabling him to be like this. Leave. Let himself drown a bit and hopefully he will pull up his big boy pants and figure it out. Honestly, this could take a turn for the worst.. since he has already tried to kill himself, he might succeed if you’re not around but it is not your fault. No matter what happens, it is not your fault. It is his choice. You have done what you can. Just make sure he knows that his son needs him in his life. Make sure he knows what he has to look forward to… his son’s first words, first drawing, first school play, first dance, prom, graduation, college, marriage – make sure he knows what he would be missing and what he needs to hold onto.

  5. This is a wonderful idea and I do believe it can work. The problem I have found is if the adults choosing to do this decide to work on things to become better parents like communication for example. All the therapist we have seen are trying to put our marriage back together.

    Where do you find people who can help you build the skills you need to be successful at this?

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