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What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets to a Happy Life

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Power couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue have created a compelling and intimate collection of intriguing conversations with famous couples about their enduring marriages and how they have made them last through the challenges we all share. What makes a marriage last? Who doesn’t want to know the answer to that question? To unlock this mystery, long-married icons Marlo Tho Power couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue have created a compelling and intimate collection of intriguing conversations with famous couples about their enduring marriages and how they have made them last through the challenges we all share. What makes a marriage last? Who doesn’t want to know the answer to that question? To unlock this mystery, long-married icons Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue turned to forty celebrated couples whose long marriages they’ve admired—from award-winning actors, athletes and newsmakers, to writers, comedians, musicians, and a former U.S. president. Marlo and Phil are a beloved couple who have been married for forty years, yet have rarely spoken publicly about their relationship, and have never written a book together. Now, for the first time, they also include the secrets to what has kept their own marriage alive and loving. Inspiring and insightful, What Makes a Marriage Last offers practical and hard-won wisdom for couples of all ages. Learn about soul-deep passion from Sting and Trudy Styler; how Billy and Janice Crystal keep the love and laughter alive; and why Judges Judy and Jerry Sheinlin’s divorce didn’t last but their marriage did. Also included in this impressive collection: Arlene and Alan Alda, Elton John and David Furnish, John McEnroe and Patty Smyth, George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, Lisa and Mehmet Oz, Bob Woodward and Elsa Walsh, and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who take the prize as the book’s longest married couple—seventy-four years, and counting. What Makes a Marriage Last includes forty-three black-and-white and color photos throughout the book and on the endpapers.


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Power couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue have created a compelling and intimate collection of intriguing conversations with famous couples about their enduring marriages and how they have made them last through the challenges we all share. What makes a marriage last? Who doesn’t want to know the answer to that question? To unlock this mystery, long-married icons Marlo Tho Power couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue have created a compelling and intimate collection of intriguing conversations with famous couples about their enduring marriages and how they have made them last through the challenges we all share. What makes a marriage last? Who doesn’t want to know the answer to that question? To unlock this mystery, long-married icons Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue turned to forty celebrated couples whose long marriages they’ve admired—from award-winning actors, athletes and newsmakers, to writers, comedians, musicians, and a former U.S. president. Marlo and Phil are a beloved couple who have been married for forty years, yet have rarely spoken publicly about their relationship, and have never written a book together. Now, for the first time, they also include the secrets to what has kept their own marriage alive and loving. Inspiring and insightful, What Makes a Marriage Last offers practical and hard-won wisdom for couples of all ages. Learn about soul-deep passion from Sting and Trudy Styler; how Billy and Janice Crystal keep the love and laughter alive; and why Judges Judy and Jerry Sheinlin’s divorce didn’t last but their marriage did. Also included in this impressive collection: Arlene and Alan Alda, Elton John and David Furnish, John McEnroe and Patty Smyth, George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth, Lisa and Mehmet Oz, Bob Woodward and Elsa Walsh, and Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, who take the prize as the book’s longest married couple—seventy-four years, and counting. What Makes a Marriage Last includes forty-three black-and-white and color photos throughout the book and on the endpapers.

30 review for What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets to a Happy Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    What an incredible compilation of different takes and from all walks of life for what makes a marriage last. My favorite quote from the book, “Marry the person, not the potential.” I think so many marriages don’t work nowadays because people go into it to give it a try and thinking they are going to change that person. People don’t change! You can evolve and grow but for the most part, we don’t change.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Christen

    This is a great book about different couples and what has made their marriages work. I learned something from all of them...but I especially loved Michael J Fox and Tracey Pollan.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Edeburn

    A feel-good book that I could actually concentrate on during the “Great Distraction” that is this pandemic. Appreciated the pearls and the kindred spirits.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    This is a wonderful book full of stories of couples who have had long-lasting marriages. Each one is as unique as the parties involved and, no, they don't all say the same thing to explain the success of their relationships. I presumed I would hear communication, forgiveness, lots of sex, and compromise as the answer. Yes, they were included but many other things, too. A delightful read for anyone in a marriage, contemplating marriage, or wondering what they could have done to keep their marriag This is a wonderful book full of stories of couples who have had long-lasting marriages. Each one is as unique as the parties involved and, no, they don't all say the same thing to explain the success of their relationships. I presumed I would hear communication, forgiveness, lots of sex, and compromise as the answer. Yes, they were included but many other things, too. A delightful read for anyone in a marriage, contemplating marriage, or wondering what they could have done to keep their marriage going.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Onceinabluemoon

    4.5 rounding up because I adore that girl! Listened to the audio ALL day, it's a long one, but loved the peek into so many successful marriages, coupled with a bit of personal history on so many varied couples. I think they are the perfect couple, a delightful book and refreshing break from so much negativity in the world right now.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeimy

    Every one of these celebrity couples offers valuable advice that is useful for convivial living.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    A beautiful book famous couples in long lasting happy marriages.A peek into their private life each couple shares the ups and downs their happy moments the way they resolve problems,I loved reading this warm wonderful book.I marred very young and my husband and I made sure our marriage would be our safety zone We would always be happy to come home.We are in a long marriage that has always been nurturing full of love and laughs.This gorgeous book shares happy marriages real marriages grab this bo A beautiful book famous couples in long lasting happy marriages.A peek into their private life each couple shares the ups and downs their happy moments the way they resolve problems,I loved reading this warm wonderful book.I marred very young and my husband and I made sure our marriage would be our safety zone We would always be happy to come home.We are in a long marriage that has always been nurturing full of love and laughs.This gorgeous book shares happy marriages real marriages grab this book.Marlo andPhil share their love story fights and all but always love,

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Valevicius

    This book of interviews with long-married couples I found completely enjoyable! Most of the couples, straight and gay, are celebrities, but that would be the circle the authors live in. Nevertheless, it's interesting to read about this segment of society who DO stay married, what it is that keeps them together. I found many surprises and laughed a lot during the reading. The authors sparkle with personality, describe the various home settings where the interviews take place, etc. A great job by This book of interviews with long-married couples I found completely enjoyable! Most of the couples, straight and gay, are celebrities, but that would be the circle the authors live in. Nevertheless, it's interesting to read about this segment of society who DO stay married, what it is that keeps them together. I found many surprises and laughed a lot during the reading. The authors sparkle with personality, describe the various home settings where the interviews take place, etc. A great job by this married couple, married 40 years themselves, with forty interviews - a huge task, but lots of variety. I loved this book. If you're starting out, read and learn! I recommend it to anyone who cares about having a long happy marriage. And I'm not even a candidate for this list, but enjoyed the vicarious pleasure. It made me feel good about humanity. Great job, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Arleen

    I was intrigued by the discussion I watched on a morning television show so much that I called my local library to reserve it and was pleasantly surprised that our local librarian ordered it and contacted me within a couple of weeks. My reading habits have changed over these past months of pandemic... more time to read, fewer places to go. The heaviness of the book made it easier to read at home on my couch than carrying in my purse. However, I cannot decide on how much I really liked the book. I was intrigued by the discussion I watched on a morning television show so much that I called my local library to reserve it and was pleasantly surprised that our local librarian ordered it and contacted me within a couple of weeks. My reading habits have changed over these past months of pandemic... more time to read, fewer places to go. The heaviness of the book made it easier to read at home on my couch than carrying in my purse. However, I cannot decide on how much I really liked the book. I was fascinated by particular couples who appeared to be more thoughtful about their relationships and how realistic they seemed to be. Others were less interesting to me to the point that I found myself skipping a few chapters of couples I could not relate to. Overall, I rated this 4 stars because I was curious about some of the couples who seemed to be more thoughtful. I found the authors' commentary within most of the profiles to be somewhat repetitive, popping up in multiple interviews making it seem that the interviews were almost scripted. I have to admit Alan and Arlene Alda, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, Billy and Janice Crystal, Judith and Milton Viorst were among the most memorable, though many others were at the top of my list. If I were to do it again, I would recommend listening to the audiobook...it seems like it would be a great companion on a long drive.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Paula L

    I was so excited to read this book. Being married 12 years to my second husband I was looking forward to hear from a long list of famous couples what they do to ensure success in their marriages. Some couples stories were told with humor, some were extremely tender and others made me admire these couples even more. One of my favorite was Jacqueline Jackson. When she spoke of the affair her husband the Reverend Jesse Jackson had which resulted in a child. I was struck with complete awe of how thi I was so excited to read this book. Being married 12 years to my second husband I was looking forward to hear from a long list of famous couples what they do to ensure success in their marriages. Some couples stories were told with humor, some were extremely tender and others made me admire these couples even more. One of my favorite was Jacqueline Jackson. When she spoke of the affair her husband the Reverend Jesse Jackson had which resulted in a child. I was struck with complete awe of how this woman continued to love and support their marriage. I love how to this day she calls Jesse “Reverend” to remind him of what he is. Another couple explained how they can call a ten minute hug at anytime. If they are arguing or there’s tension and someone calls the 10 minute hug, their anger starts to melt and they realize what’s at stake. It really helps to keep them focused regarding what’s important. I listened to the book through Audible. I was so disappointed that other than Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, none of the couples did their own narration. This was a missed opportunity which would have made a very good book soar into the stratosphere! The same young sounding male and female narrators narrated seasoned couples like Roslyn and Jimmy Carter. Very disappointing. It took away from the entire listening experience.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I have been married 44 years. I bought a copy of this book for myself, but also gave a copy to friends of mine who just celebrated their 1st anniversary and are in their 30s. (Paper anniversary, you know. 😉) I found it fascinating that some traits of a good marriage are universal, but others are are particular to just that couple. (George Stephanopoulous and Ali Wentworth -- yowza!) Though some interviews get a bit repetitive, I still found it quite enoyable. I think anyone who is married, no ma I have been married 44 years. I bought a copy of this book for myself, but also gave a copy to friends of mine who just celebrated their 1st anniversary and are in their 30s. (Paper anniversary, you know. 😉) I found it fascinating that some traits of a good marriage are universal, but others are are particular to just that couple. (George Stephanopoulous and Ali Wentworth -- yowza!) Though some interviews get a bit repetitive, I still found it quite enoyable. I think anyone who is married, no matter how long, can gain a lot of insight into their own marriages. The Bonus Chapter is especially lovely. Big thumbs up to Marlo and Phil.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    I’ve always liked memoirs as I enjoy glimpsing other people’s lives & realizing that there are similarities in all our lives. I find it fascinating so when I heard about this book by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue, I knew I had to read it. 40 long married famous couples share what they’ve learned over the course of their marriages. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought most were refreshingly honest in their interviews with nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout. Wish I had read it when I was a young m I’ve always liked memoirs as I enjoy glimpsing other people’s lives & realizing that there are similarities in all our lives. I find it fascinating so when I heard about this book by Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue, I knew I had to read it. 40 long married famous couples share what they’ve learned over the course of their marriages. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought most were refreshingly honest in their interviews with nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout. Wish I had read it when I was a young married woman. If you are, you should.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lynell Hanck

    I just finished reading this book and it was a delight from cover to cover. I grew up watching Phil and Marlo and I enjoyed reading about their experiences as well as all the couples they interviewed. I love that they covered such a diverse group of couples. I enjoyed reading this as we approach our thirty year wedding anniversary this summer and am now passing it off to our oldest daughter who just got engaged on the 4th of July!! ❤️❤️ This book brought a lot of joy when we all need it most!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda Dean

    This is such a great book. I enjoyed the audio version. I loved everything about this book. The content was light, serious and humorous at times. I especially loved the narrators. Their voices were perfect for each couple represented. This is one of my pet peeves with audiobooks, sometimes the narrators distract from the words/story the author is trying to convey. Each couple gave a little peek into their lives and how marriage is truly a living, breathing organism that needs to be nurtured and This is such a great book. I enjoyed the audio version. I loved everything about this book. The content was light, serious and humorous at times. I especially loved the narrators. Their voices were perfect for each couple represented. This is one of my pet peeves with audiobooks, sometimes the narrators distract from the words/story the author is trying to convey. Each couple gave a little peek into their lives and how marriage is truly a living, breathing organism that needs to be nurtured and tended to.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    This is a big book of a wide variety of couples telling their personal stories of what’s makes a lasting marriage. Some stories are great, and some were annoying. Overall, I enjoyed the book and found these couples’ stories the most interesting - Sting & Trudie Styler, Alan Alda, Rob Reiner, Jamie Lee Curtis & Christopher Guest, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Melissa McCarney and lastly, Kevin Bacon and Kurd Sedgwick. This is a big book of a wide variety of couples telling their personal stories of what’s makes a lasting marriage. Some stories are great, and some were annoying. Overall, I enjoyed the book and found these couples’ stories the most interesting - Sting & Trudie Styler, Alan Alda, Rob Reiner, Jamie Lee Curtis & Christopher Guest, Rev. Jessie Jackson, Melissa McCarney and lastly, Kevin Bacon and Kurd Sedgwick.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charis

    Powerful Wow! I found this book truly inspirational. If you want to grow as a person or as a couple, this book has amazing stories that will inspire you to do just that. I laughed hard at times, I cried- especially during Gloria Estefans chapter. Some chapters were thought provoking. Even reading chapters about people I didn’t know inspired me to keep growing and experiencing life and to appreciate my husband while I’m doing it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tara Ramelli

    A must read if you’re getting married or are married. I really enjoyed this book. I’ve been married for almost 12 years and we are happy. However we have fights and disagreements like any couple. I loved hearing how other couples manage their challenges. There is no correct course but how you and your partner decide. Lots of ideas and tools that surface.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keri

    I have always enjoyed biographies and this book was a fun and rewarding collection of mini biographies of couples who have stayed married for 20+ years. (Including Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter to Judge Judy to Chip and Joanna Gaines). I think we can always learn from others’ stories and I was encouraged by some of the simple take aways to apply and remember in my own life and marriage.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan St. James

    It's nice to hear couples talk freely about there marriage and how often people seek professional help to maintain a strong marriage. This is not a gossip book, just pure love in lasting relationships. I liked how all the chapters are broken out by the couples, so if you choose to skips one (or two) you can.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda Kaban

    Very interesting and fun read. I'll admit I didn't read about some of the couples because they didn't interest me....but I read at least 450 pages of this big book and that's good enough for me to not feel guilty saying I'm finished.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I read this 610 page book in 2 weeks! Each chapter on each couple wasn't too long and each was so interesting. You discovered more of their life then just their marriage. Thoroughly enjoyed and great for old and younger alike.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Lovely insight into the marriages of some long-wedded famous couples. I enjoyed something light and fluffy to start the summer. And, the descriptions of those gorgeous New York City apartments... so jealous.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rose Hallarn

    Really enjoyed listening to 40 couples talk about their very different recipes for a successful marriage. Could hardly believe that the authors, Donahue and Marlo Thomas have been married for 40 years.

  24. 4 out of 5

    E

    Interesting interviews but I could not take the author's constant talking about her own fame and her famous father - I had never heard of her or her father. (Have definitely heard of Donahue - I felt like she used his name to write the book but his voice was hardly present.)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Wetherington

    Enlightening and Entertaining A delightful look at the marriage secrets of 40 celebrated couples that lets you peek into their way of remaining happily married. You’ll pick up some good pointers and probably see parts of your own married life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Suzi

    I never expected to read all 600 pages in one day but I would not put this down. Entertaining, informative, funny, and snarky (or I was snarky about one couple). Very much fun to read so much about different couples.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Such a fun book--especially with these authors! The couples they interview not only provide inspriration on what made their marrages last, but their lives are intriguing to read about also. I especially enjoyed the chapter about Captain Sully and his wife.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    I enjoyed reading the stories of many famous couples and their take on marriage. I did not enjoy their language. It shocked me (I know it shouldn't but it did) how many have no grasp of using the English language without expletives.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Being married many decades, I could relate to many of the stories of the long-time couples being interviewed. Some the couples were famous, sometimes both were famous individually. After 30 or so couples, the repetition set in and the need for an editor to cull out.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    I adored this. I decided to read it because they interviewed Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick :). I have to say though... Alan & Arlene Alda and Billy & Janice Crystal were my favorite stories. All these couples had some beautiful insights and overall it was a very lovely read. I adored this. I decided to read it because they interviewed Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick :). I have to say though... Alan & Arlene Alda and Billy & Janice Crystal were my favorite stories. All these couples had some beautiful insights and overall it was a very lovely read.

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