February 21, 1994 12:00 PM

by Susan Page

Well, what would you expect the author of 1988’s If I’m So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single? to do for an encore? In this earnest anecdotal study of marriage, Susan Page—a former Protestant campus minister who, refreshingly, makes no claim to Ph.D.s, C.S.W.s or any other psychological degree—applies her “background in theology and psychology” to investigate successful, long-term unions. Not surprisingly, she discovers that mutual goodwill, commitment and intimacy are the right ingredients.

More unpredictable is the low-key, not-too-gimmicky way Page suggests that readers create their own happy marriages. Yes, she includes the requisite psychological experiments (“Ask your partner what he or she needs in order to feel loved”), but Page repeatedly insists that change is not the answer. Instead, she argues in favor of communication skills and acceptance of different sexual habits and privacy needs. An over-optimistic recipe that could use a dash of spice? Perhaps. But at least it also calls for a minimum of whine. (Little, Brown, $19.95)”

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