Review of Love Between Equals: How Peer Marriage Really Works by Pepper Schwartz

This was an interesting read. I appreciated the author admitting her bias toward peer marriage right in the beginning but also making every effort to keep the material itself objective. For every benefit of peer marriage, she also brings up a hardship and then she does the same for traditional marriage. She also throws in some information for and about those who reach and come close to peer marriage but just miss the mark.

Being in a peer marriage myself, this book gave me a lot of comfort. We have dealt with a lot of the problems mentioned in the book and we’ve reaped almost all of the benefits mentioned as well. It made me feel like we were a little less alone in the endeavor to attempt peer marriage, though we wouldn’t have thought to call it that on our own. It’s good to have a reference now and somewhere to direct people who want to know a bit more about it.

The segments on traditional marriage made sense and seemed to line up pretty well with most of the people I’ve known in these marriages too. It was also interesting to see how easy it can be to fall away from peer marriage, into what she calls near-peer and then into traditional marriages as we let society, culture, work, children or whatever else put too much weight on our ideals. Children and parenting get their own chapter, as does the provider role, due to the unique challenges that these things bring to marriage. It was great to read about fathers enforcing their desire to participate more and the guilt that mothers can get from getting the ways of those fathers. It is a complex situation and the author explains it well.

Overall, this was a great examination into marriage and some of the different ways that we all choose to do it. I thought it was interesting in beginning when she mentions that homosexual couples have a greater tendency to create relationships that “both partners felt were fair and supportive to each other” and attributes this to that they don’t have to overcome traditional gender roles. The book focuses exclusively on heterosexual couples after that and how some have overcome those traditions and how others intended to but did not, and still others never even wanted to.

This is a definite must-read for anyone who is still figuring out what they want out of marriage and parenting.

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