After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

After-I-Do-Cover

 

“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love. What a beautiful thing to have been. What a sad thing to be.”

Lauren Spencer cannot remember the day when she stopped being in love with her husband Ryan Cooper. All of a sudden, every little wrong thing he does gets on her nerves. What she once thought were his adorable quirks and eccentricities are just plain annoying and infuriating now. All of a sudden she cannot stand to be with him. Same goes for him.

They weren’t always like this. Lauren always thought she’s one of those lucky ones, because she married her one big love. She met Ryan when she was nineteen, married him when she was twenty four. Their love was the kind of love that you read about in books and hear about in love songs. It was the kind of love that lasted forever.

But Lauren and Ryan are no longer in love with each other. They’ve stopped being happy for months and have reached that point in their relationship where they’re questioning themselves if they should just break up or try to save the marriage.

They do the unconventional. They both agree to a trial separation of twelve months, and everything it entails. Meaning Ryan moves out of their house, agrees to shared custody of their dog Thumper, and no seeing, emailing, texting or calling each other. It also means dating and sleeping with other people. It sounds crazy and rash, but Ryan and Lauren know that this is what they need to help them decide on the future of their marriage.

The time out from her husband and their marriage offers Lauren a new perspective on the last eleven years with Ryan. Slowly, painfully, she realizes when and why it led to this. Lauren also discovers, on a much deeper level, just how much she missed being with her best friend Mila, her sister Rachel, her mother Leslie, her youngest brother Charlie, and even her grandma Lois. All of them have different opinions about what happened to her and Ryan. All of them have their own opinions what love and marriage should be.

Lauren finally understands that no marriage is the same. Her heart grows stronger and better each day, and she can see now that life goes on, and life can be happy, even without Ryan in it. Will she make the decision to move on as a single divorced woman, or will she still give Ryan and their marriage another shot?

I knew before I read this book that it was something that I’d really love, maybe as much as I loved Forever, Interrupted. I’m just so glad I’m right. What can I say? It’s a beautiful book! I had some heavy, major introspection after reading it, because in its simple, quiet and honest way, it succeeded in hitting me harder than any book I’ve read about love and marriage.

Her words are addicting, her characters are so relatable, and her emotions and situations are very real. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, a realistic tale of two people madly in love at the beginning, who lose that love, and find a way to have it back again.

There are so many life and love lessons that you can take away from this book: Marriage is just not about love and romance, but also about loyalty, change, forgiveness, and not giving up. Love and romance don’t have to be the same thing. What you want and what you need are both equally important in a relationship. I highly recommend this to all my married friends. Two thumbs up!

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