Summary and book reviews of No Cheating, No Dying by Elizabeth Weil

No Cheating, No Dying

I Had a Good Marriage. Then I Tried To Make It Better

By Elizabeth Weil

No Cheating, No Dying
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  • Hardcover: Feb 2012,
    192 pages.

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Written with charm and wit, No Cheating, No Dying investigates one of the most universal human institutions--marriage. Elizabeth Weil and her husband Dan have two basic ground rules for their marriage: no cheating, no dying.  For ten years it’s worked fine, but Elizabeth started to wonder if it could be better.

Elizabeth Weil believes that you don’t get married in a white dress, in front of all your future in-laws and ex-boyfriends but gradually, over time, through all the road rage incidents and pre-colonoscopy enemas, good and bad dinners, and all the small moments you never expected to happen or much less endure.  In this book, Weil examines the major universal marriage issues - sex, money, mental health, in-laws, children - through bravely recounting her own hilarious, messy, and sometimes difficult relationship. She seeks out the advice of financial planners, psychoanalysts, therapists, household management consultants, priests, rabbis, and the United States government. Woven into this funny and forthright narrative is Weil's extensive research on marriage and marriage improvement. The result is an illuminating and entertaining read that is a fresh addition to the body of literature about marriage.

1
The Project

I have a good marriage.

I had a good marriage before I spent a year improving it, and I have a good marriage now. In fact, my marriage is better, truly better. Although not in the ways I'd expected.

When I set out to improve my marriage, I assumed that better would look like a Photoshopped version of good: essentially unchanged, unsightly elements gone. Dan would no longer butcher headless, skinless pigs and goats on our kitchen island. I would not tidy up, literally and psychologically, by shoving junk in drawers. We would quit outsourcing the production of our children's religious identities to our parents. We'd stop vibing—yes, vibing, we used that word—our bank balances, spending more when we felt flush, less when we felt broke. Instead I got a better marriage in the "before enlightenment, chop wood carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood carry water" sense. I feel humbled, grateful, and transformed, and Dan is still leaving single brown socks ...

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Author Blurb Elizabeth Gilbert
This is such a smart and rich and insightful book (sometimes painfully funny, other times funnily painful) about what it really takes to keep the turbines of modern marriage going. Reading this memoir, I found myself rooting not only for Liz and Dan, but for all of us -- all married couples who've been humbled by life and stress, but who keep struggling and striving, year after year, to somehow keep it together.

Author Blurb Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place and Lift
Ever wish you had a really articulate, thoughtful friend who had the guts to tell you every important and ridiculous thing about her marriage? Allow me to introduce you to the wise and generous Elizabeth Weil. You'll love her.

Author Blurb Claire Dederer, author of Poser
Marriage is a legal bond, a love affair, a trap, a safety net, a financial partnership. In her wise, charming, and dizzyingly forthright new book, Elizabeth Weil examines this mercurial institution. And she does it the hard way--by taking a long look at her own marriage. Her courage is our boon: No Cheating, No Dying is an utterly necessary, compulsively readable depiction of the way married people live now.

Author Blurb A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy
Marriage is complicated and Elizabeth Weil's is no exception: Loving, overall happy, but complicated. But her openness about this and pledge to improve the relationship makes for a wonderfully compelling and inspiring memoir. The book will provide many insights to anyone who is married, considering marriage -- or hellbent on avoiding it.

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