According to Whyte, we humans are involved not just with one marriage with a significant other. We also have made secret vows to our work and unspoken vows to an inner, constantly developing self. These Three Marriages constantly surprise us, and they demand larger and renewed dedication as the years go by. Whyte's thesis is that to separate these marriages in order to balance them is to destroy the fabric of happiness itself; that in each of these marriages, will, effort, and hard work are overused, overrated, and in many ways self-defeating. Happiness, Whyte says, is possible, but only if we re-imagine how we inhabit the worlds of love, work, and self-understanding.
Whyte argues that it is not possible to sacrifice one marriage for any of the others without causing deep psychological damage. He looks to a different way of seeing and bringing these relationships together and invites us to examine each marriage with a fierce but affectionate eye as he shows the nonnegotiable nature at the core of each commitment.
Only by understanding the journey involved in each of the Three Marriages and the stages of their maturation, he says, can we understand how to bring them together in one fulfilled life.
©2009 David Whyte; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I have to start by saying that I've been a huge fan of David Whyte since reading his life-altering book, "The Heart Aroused: Poetry and Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America" in the mid-1990s. It's no exaggeration to say that the principles Whyte introduced in this book revolutionized my perspectives on everything from the labor needed to discover one's true work to the meaning and poetics of failure in one's life. I probably read "The Heart Aroused" a dozen times and have quoted from it hundreds of times, often to students at the college where I teach. Within the context of that previous work, then, I was delighted to find "The Three Marriages" equally or even more astonishing in scope and originality. In this audio book--made all the more enjoyable by Whyte's beautiful English accent and poet's cadence--you will find a wealth of insights--so many, in fact, that you will need to listen to the book again and again to absorb them. I take it for walks and listen to it when I wake up in the middle of the night. It's a book of rare love and beauty, a special present to give yourself, the one person, as Whyte points out, most in need of your love.
I could not make a dent in this book when I tried to read it. Listening to David Whyte read it made it a wonderful experience.
David Whyte may not have all the answers, but he has the questions that drive us and the listen/read is well worth the effort. I'm recommending this book to anyone who wants to grow their personal/familial ability to be a blessing the world!
Content to walk alone, happy to have company.
I've been a fan of David Whyte for quite a while now, since at least the late '90's when I really began to look at my place in the world and how I belonged (or didn't). A "corporate poet", he uses poetry, both his and others, to show how we should approach life, being bold and vulnerable, willing to fall and get hurt in order to grow.
In THE THREE MARRIAGES, he follows several poets, writers, and historical figures through their lives to show how they tackled life in regards to a work or vocation, relationships with friends and specifically a husband or wife, and the most intimate marriage of all, the one with ourselves. Instead of finding balance between the three, finding an equilibrium that keeps them separate, he suggests that they feed each other, blending to create a full, satisfying life, and that to diminish one for the sake of another actually diminishes both or all three.
I read the hardcover when it first came out, and found it a bit obtuse and hard to fathom. The audio book I found much easier to absorb, a chapter here and there read in Whyte's slight Welsh accent much clearer to understand what he is trying to say. There is very little poetry in this book, but plenty of philosophy and material to contemplate and consider, including more than a little Zen, but no matter your religious tradition this is a great book for trying to come to terms with how full your life can be if you pay attention to all aspects, and keep the conversation between the three marriages flowing and involved.
For the non-poetry reader that I am, I found the book too dense, too wordy. I bought it coming from the self-help side and don't particularly read/enjoy poetry. Perhaps my mistake buying this in the first place. I could only listen to the first few hours and then deleted it from my ipod.
Fabulous. Loved this presentation and content
Had to pull off the road many times to write things down, found this book so packed with great information, quotes, stories. I will likely now buy the hardcopy.
I always enjoy Whyte's work, but this book speaks most eloquently to the trials and tribulations of being a creative soul in the world. As a writer finding my own voice, I always turn to him when I need to illuminate my own map. He does not tell me where to go per se, only that he (as well so many others) has been in that darkness on his own path and I should not despair. That, in fact, I am exactly where I need to be.
I have been a fan of his poetry for many years and have some of his poetry books on tape. Hearing him read his poems is inspirational and moving. This book is full of insights and I started it again as soon as I finished it. I highly recommend it.
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