Dr. Katherin E Garland (writer/ academic / blogger / my friend) has just published The Unhappy Wife, a book of short stories based on the real lives of 12 women in marital discontent.
The closest I’ve come to marriage is having a partner who is a wedding photographer. With or without the ring, however, relationships have their ups and downs: sometimes they work; sometimes we invest in the work to make them work; sometimes we walk away; and sometimes, we remain – unhappily.
Over the weekend, Kathy and I chatted about her book, the writing process, and insights on love and relationships.
How did the concept for the book come about?
Many of my male friends and family members couldn’t understand why their wives were so unhappy. They felt they were doing everything they were “supposed” to, such as paying bills, but their wives were so sad. Reflecting on my own marriage and unhappiness, I also realized I had a story that needed to be heard, so I decided to write the book.
The women share quite intimate details of their lives. How did you gain their trust?
During my doctoral studies, I learned qualitative methods, such as interview techniques. For example, asking open-ended questions helped the women open up, so that came in handy. I also talked to them as if we were good girlfriends. A lot of the conversations felt like two women having coffee or drinks, while talking about their lives.
What was your writing / interviewing process?
I conducted recorded interviews with each woman either in person or over the phone. Conversations lasted 1- 3 hours depending on the woman. If it was over the phone, I also took notes. It took approximately two weeks to write up, revise, research certain parts, and fictionalize characters. I sent drafts to everyone, followed by one revision before calling it a final draft. Of course, once my editor got a hold of it, parts changed further.
Is there a common thread in the making/ breaking of a relationship that connects these women’s stories?
What’s common is that a majority of the women ignored their intuition and it ended up hurting them in the end. I can’t say there’s a common thread in the breaking of the relationship, because the relationships didn’t/don’t end similarly. That is the beauty of this book.
Readers will be interested to know you’re one of The Unhappy Wives. How has that candour affected your marriage?
READ MORE HERE!
Originally published on https://10000hoursleft.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/the-unhappy-wife/
Allow me to introduce online relationship coach, Anita Charlot. She has read The Unhappy Wife and provided a very important afterword. Here's a snippet.
Kathy has done an excellent job of sharing the different and very complex struggles of women in unhealthy and unhappy marriages. As I read each story, I saw many similarities between what was written and many of the women that I have coached in the past, myself included. The pain, the disappointment, the second-guessing, and the tolerance are all too familiar.
How is it that women find themselves in unhappy marriages? Here are a few reasons I’ve uncovered while coaching my clients:
If you Google the word "unhappy," the example given is “an unhappy marriage.” These two terms are so common that even Google recognizes it as a problem. Aside from this internet definition, I’ve interviewed and written about twelve unhappy wives and here is what I’ve learned.
Are you voiceless? This is the first type of unhappy wife that I’ve grown to understand. Society quieted her. Sometimes it’s a mother who gave advice based on her own failed marriage. Sometimes there are passed-down, cultural practices the wife felt had to be followed. For example, Asian culture dictates that you marry and follow your husband’s lead. Sometimes the wife silences herself by holding her tongue about things she doesn’t think she can change, such as how much her in-laws are involved. Either way, I’ve learned that you might be unhappy if you feel that you cannot follow your intuition, speak freely or raise concerns about your marriage. Consequently, your mouth is closed, but the energy surrounding your unhappiness festers inside. This wife feels as if she cannot tell anyone about her woes, and even if she does, no one acknowledges or listens anyway.
Are you detached? There are many ways husbands and wives can be detached. The wife could be emotionally disconnected, like I was for a while, thus perpetuating a state of misery. A husband could be physically present but withholding intimacy, thus producing an unfulfilled home life. I’m not saying 100% of the marriage should be sexual, but how can two perfectly healthy people be happy if they’re not consummating their relationship with sex every now and then? Detachment can also come from wives who don’t know themselves. Stay with me as I explain. If the wife is separated from knowledge of herself, then how can she truly connect with her spouse? You might be an unhappy wife if you or your husband is disconnected in some way.
Are you committed? But kg, this doesn’t make sense? How can a wife be unhappy if she’s committed? It’s possible good people; it’s possible. Maybe the wife is committed to a marital situation that she never thought, in a million years would ever happen to her. The committed wife would never think to leave her husband. One reason is because she wants to see the marriage through. Another reason is because she loves her husband. You know? She takes the “in sickness and health” part of the vows very seriously. However, just because she’s committed doesn’t mean that she’s always happy. I mean, quite honestly, it takes some dedication, fortitude and downhill battles to remain married sometimes. You might be an unhappy wife if you’ve chosen to remain married through a specific tribulation.
Are you a voiceless, detached or committed wife? Do you know an unhappy wife, if so, then you or she might be interested in reading my upcoming book, The Unhappy Wife. It includes short stories based on real-life events of the above-described types of women. Pre-order here.