Heather Havrilesky on the 'divine tedium' of a long marriage

“Foreverland” by Heather Havrilesky
Heather Havrilesky is a popular advice columnist and essayist. Her new book is “Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage.”
Author photo by Willy Somma | Book cover courtesy of Harper Collins

Advice columnist and essayist Heather Havrilesky started a media firestorm late last year when she published her opinion piece: “Why Marriage Requires Amnesia.”

It was adapted from her new book, “Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage.” And as you might expect, if you want to read a romantic, shiny, passionate book about how marriage is the best thing to happen to humanity, “Foreverland” isn’t it.

Instead Havrilesky writes that marriage is both amazing and amazingly awful.

“So much of a marriage is two people asking very explicitly for what they need — which is the opposite of falling in love,” says Havrilesky. “Falling in love is, ‘Oh, you’re going to read my mind and know everything I want, magically, and I’ll never have to deign to say it.’ But marriage is — OK, slow down, I’m going to have to tell you in extreme detail what I need here, and I need you to listen.”

Her honest take on what it means to be married to the same person for a long time is both bracing and refreshing.

Host Kerri Miller talked with Havrilesky about how our parents influence our choice in a mate, how we tend to be afraid to talk about the hard stretches of long relationships, and how our view of marriage today affects the next generation.

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Guest:

  • Heather Havrilesky writes the Ask Polly advice column on Substack. She’s also the author of several books. Her latest is “Foreverland.”

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