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Review: This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships by Matthew Fray

This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships by Matthew Fray

Recommended: yes!!
For anyone who interacts with other humans, for anyone who wants to have better relationships of all kinds with others (friendship, coworkers, roommates, etc), for anyone in a long-term relationship or who wants to be, for anyone who shares a living space with other humans


Good people can be bad at relationships.

One night during his divorce, after one too many vodkas and a call with a phone-in-therapist who told him to “journal his feelings,” Matthew Fray started a blog. He needed to figure out how his ex-wife went from the eighteen-year-old college freshman who adored him to the angry woman who thought he was an asshole and left him. As he pieced together the story of his marriage and its end, Matthew began to realize a hard truth: even though he was a decent guy, he was a bad husband.

As he shared raw, uncomfortable, and darkly humorous first-person stories about the lessons he’d learned from his failed marriage, a peculiar thing happened. Matthew started to gain a following. In January 2016 a post he wrote–“She Divorced Me Because I left the Dishes by the Sink”–went viral and was read over four million times.

Filtered through the lens of his own surprising, life-changing experience and his years counseling couples, This Is How Your Marriage Ends exposes the root problem of so many relationships that go wrong. We simply haven’t been taught any of the necessary skills, Matthew explains. In fact, it is sometimes the assumption that we are acting on good intentions that causes us to alienate our partners and foment mistrust.

With the humorous, entertaining, and counterintuitive approach of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and the practical insights of The 5 Love Languages, This is How Your Marriage Ends helps readers identify relationship-killing behavior patterns in their own lives, and offers solutions to break free from the cycles of dysfunction and destruction. It is must-read for every partner no matter what stage-beginning, middle, or even end–of your relationship.


I found this book and author, probably like many, through a New York Times article about his blog post titled “She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By The Sink” which he even acknowledges in his book as being part of what got him known. He has an updated version in the book which I appreciated, as it toned down and removed some of the bitterness that still lingered at the original time of writing as well as the man-woman dichotomy presented. He makes room for relationships of all kinds in his book, and that was critical because it’s truly applicable in so many ways.

Look, y’all, I’m not married and frankly I don’t ever plan to be. BUT, I am in a long-term monogamous relationship sharing a house and finances and stuff so it’s basically marriage just without the government being involved. So for me, reading this book was a way to get some advice and more formal tips on being in a relationship. I think I’m doing okay so far, but it’s a skill, and not one I’ve ever had teaching on. I decided to change that, and goddamn was it awesome.

Real ways this has changed my life for the better already:
– being demonstratively appreciative of my boyfriend
– loving by focusing on the core of what matters (supporting and loving him) instead of technical details about how something happened or whether a stated fact is fully accurate
– making small sacrifices (to me) that have a big impact for him (folding the couch blanket is his dishes by the sink)

Just a few examples. I’m having a hard time writing clearly about this because it’s so tied up in the emotional, but I’ll try to break it down a little more objectively.

The writing is not judgy and has just the right amount of humor. He never preaches to be an expert, and frequently notes that he can’t believe anyone is even taking his advice (though I assure you, there’s good reason to be). The advice and ideas he discusses are SOUND. So many of them are things I have seen and felt in my own and other’s relationships. He introduces themes and ideas at the start and then builds upon them, referencing back to reinforce the main points repeatedly. This is useful in retaining the information and presenting it in multiple ways for true understanding, and does not get repetitive.

As I was reading this book, I felt echoes of his ideas everywhere. Even when talking to coworkers, my boss, my team, etc. I was able to see what got someone’s defenses up and the way to take them back down. This book is not at all about the work environment, but it’s all just so widely applicable to people!

A common point from his book that I want to drive home most in people’s brains is this:
The important thing to focus on is their feelings and emotions, NOT your perception of the situation that caused it.
My boyfriend will get stressed seeing the blanket messily thrown onto the couch, while I would never give a shit — EXCEPT that he gives a shit, and I love him and don’t want him to feel stressed, so I take ten seconds and fold that blanket.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

4 thoughts on “Review: This Is How Your Marriage Ends: A Hopeful Approach to Saving Relationships by Matthew Fray

    1. Right? This book is like the alternative to every fake dating plan in a YA book ever xD It’s always like, let’s practice dating! And the alternative to a fake relationship to practice dating would be reading this book 👌

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is the most amazing book. It could have been about my marriage specifically he wrote about. I love the humor he put into this book even though his divorce was painful for him. For 10 years me and my husband have fought over things to where we didn’t even know what we were fighting about and I didn’t care anymore. I asked him to read this and he sure did get what I have been telling him after that. He just needed to hear it from someone elses perspective. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!! I’m so glad you asked and he did read it. That neutral third party perspective may have helped it sink in too. Cheers to you both, hope y’all are both benefiting from these changes ❤️


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