How to Be Married

What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage

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Everyone tells you marriage is hard, but no one tells you what to do about it.

At age thirty-four, Jo Piazza got her romantic-comedy ending when she met the man of her dreams on a boat in the Galápagos Islands and was engaged three months later. But before long, Jo found herself riddled with questions. How do you make a marriage work in a world where you no longer need to be married? How does an independent, strong-willed feminist become someone’s partner—all the time?

In the tradition of writers such as Nora Ephron and Elizabeth Gilbert, award-winning journalist and nationally bestselling author Jo Piazza writes a provocative memoir of a real first year of marriage that will forever change the way we look at matrimony.

A travel editor constantly on the move, Jo journeys to twenty countries on five continents to figure out what modern marriage means. Throughout this stunning, funny, warm, and wise personal narrative, she gleans wisdom from matrilineal tribeswomen, French ladies who lunch, Orthodox Jewish moms, Swedish stay-at-home dads, polygamous warriors, and Dutch prostitutes.

Written with refreshing candor, elegant prose, astute reporting, and hilarious insight into the human psyche, How to Be Married offers an honest portrait of an utterly charming couple. When life throws more at them than they ever expected—a terrifying health diagnosis, sick parents to care for, unemployment—they ultimately create a fresh understanding of what it means to be equal partners during the good and bad times.

Through their journey, they reveal a framework that will help the rest of us keep our marriages strong, from engagement into the newlywed years and beyond.


"In Jo Piazza's inspired view, marriage is deeply personal and profoundly political. At the intersection of public and private, her story is impossible to put down, because it is relevant to us all. Whether you're married, considering marriage, or want a deeper understand of the institution, this book is for you. It's a smart, hopeful, timely, and necessary consideration of a practice under pressure. Jo Piazza writes with verve and heart." —Wednesday Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Primates of Park Avenue

"Jo Piazza has penned a poignant and thoroughly entertaining missive on the modern day near-impossible demands, dilemmas and delights of modern day marriage. A must read for anyone seriously considering joining your life to the life of another. You will find this gem of a book to be an enlightening roadmap of the pathway ahead." —Katherine Woodward Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After

"Jo Piazza cuts through the cliches and sentimental greeting card bullshit to deliver a candid and hilarious look at the first year of marriage. I laughed, I cringed, I almost considered divorcing my husband in order to marry him all over again." —Jenny Mollen, New York Times bestselling author of Live Fast Die Hot

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