This Valentine’s Day there are

Simple Answers to the Most Complicated of Problems —

Marriage Rules

A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up

By Harriet Lerner PhD


(MediaQuire) Relationships are complicated. When we share our lives with another person we tie our finances together, negotiate sexuality and deal with the countless decisions that daily life demands—not to mention our own personal baggage. When the anxiety of life spirals high enough, and lasts long enough, even the most mature relationship may begin to look like a dysfunctional one. Needless to say, coupling can get rough. However, the rules to a good marriage are not.

Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up (Gotham Books, January 5, 2012, $22.50) by NYT bestselling author Harriet Lerner is the help we all seek in a quick, uncomplicated way. Known for her acclaimed books, including the bestselling Dance of Anger, clinical psychologist Dr. Lerner recognizes that sometimes all we need is a little common sense and some the willingness to turn off our relationship auto-pilot and do something bold, something to change our marriage for the better.

Marriage Rules is based on decades of clinical practice (and a healthy, happy marriage) with concrete, practical advice that if followed will generate major changes in a relationship. It does take some practice … and a little humor. But anything worth doing takes a little time and effort. The rules are not hard and fast, all are adjustable to your own relationship needs.

For example: 

Rule #4: Remember the 5:1 Ratio. Aim for a ratio of 5:1 positive to negative interactions. Remember back to the early parts of the relationship when all you could see were the interesting differences between yourself and your partner; resist the urge to automatically pay attention to the what we are critical about. Rather than “Why are you putting so much water in the pot for pasta?” try to comment on how you “loved the way humor was used to deal with the brother on the phone.” Try it for a week. Even a 2:1 ratio is a start.


Rule #49: Don’t Demand an Apology. Some people just don’t like to apologize and everyone finds it hard to apologize if they feel “over accused.” Do request an apology, if you think it is due. But do not make the apology another fight, take non-verbal cues and statements as acts of apology and move forward.


Marriage Rules offers new solutions to age-old problems (“He won’t talk”/”She doesn’t want sex”) as well as modern ones (your partner’s relationship to technology.) Lerner teaches us how to talk straight, fight fair, listen well, connect, calm down, heat up, move on, and what to do when things fall apart.

Check out these video links and author site links including:


About the Author

Harriet Lerner, PH.D., is one of our nations most loved and respected relationship experts. A renowned scholar on the psychology of women and family relationships, she is the author of The New York Times bestseller, The Dance of Anger, and other acclaimed books that together have sold over six million copies. A clinical psychologist in private practice, Lerner is a distinguished speaker, consultant and workshop leader. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, and NPR and she hosts the “Dance of Connection” blog on She is also, with her sister, an award- winning children’s book writer. She and her husband live in Lawrence, Kansas and have two grown sons.

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