From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as “moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching”—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.
When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.
Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?
This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.
What a wonderful, realistic, gut-wrenching, fantastic read! I adored this book so much.
Lauren and Ryan have been married a long time, having met in college, and have come to a point in their lives where they realize they aren’t happy. There is resentment and anger boiling at the surface and they’ve lost their love along the way.
“I’ve come to realize that resentment is malignant. That it starts small and festers. That it grows wild and unfettered inside of you until it’s so expansive that it has worked its way into the furthest, deepest parts of you and holds on for dear life.”
Not willing to jump right to a divorce, they agree to take a year apart from each other, with no contact whatsoever. A chance for self-discovery – to figure out what they want in a marriage, and to find themselves along the way.
“Make no mistake: I do love you. Just because I don’t feel the love in my heart doesn’t mean I don’t know it’s there. I know it’s there. I’m leaving because I’m going to find it. I promise you that.”
I normally do not take time to highlight passages in a book while I’m reading it unless the book has really gotten to me. I highlighted the crap out of this book. I love reading books like this because they make you think. They are a reality check – marriage and love aren’t perfect and it takes hard work to make them last.
“Why do we undervalue things when we have them? Why is it only on the verge of losing something that we see how much we need it?”
It’s easy to get into a routine and forget the reason you fell in love with the person in the first place. It’s easy to take someone you love for granted and start nit-picking at all of their quirks. But it’s the realization that you wouldn’t want to spend your life with anyone else that makes all of the bumps in the road tolerable. And while I read this book, I kept hoping that Lauren and Ryan would figure all of this out, would find their way back to each other and find their love again. Learn what is really truly important in life, and appreciate the things they’ve taken for granted.
“Just because you can live without someone doesn’t mean you want to.”
This book was written so beautifully, so realistically, and I felt every emotion while reading it. It has settled into my soul and will stay with me for a long time. Definitely one of my favorite books of 2014, and I am so glad I read it.
“I know it will be OK because everything is OK in the end. And if it’s not OK, it’s not the end.”
“All that matters in this life is that you try. All that matters is that you open your heart, give everything you have, and keep trying.”
I absolutely highly recommend this book!