Summary and book reviews of The Marriage Sabbatical by Cheryl Jarvis

The Marriage Sabbatical

The Journey That Brings You Home

by Cheryl Jarvis

The Marriage Sabbatical
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2000, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2002, 320 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

Describing a concrete and creative way that some women have found to keep both their marriages and themselves, Jarvis shows how nurturing individual dreams can strengthen self, enliven relationship, and modernize an age-old institution.

When Cheryl Jarvis was thirty-six, a wife, mother and TV producer, she was asked to work halfway across the country for three months. After pleas from her sons, she declined the offer but made an unsettling discovery: She had really wanted to live and work alone for a while. She had really wanted to go. Twelve years later, she made another discovery: A dream deferred did not mean a dream diminished.

The Marriage Sabbatical begins as her story, an absorbing account of her three months away from home and the powerful discoveries made as a result. But it is far more than a personal narrative. Based on her interviews with fifty-five women, Jarvis breaks new ground as she asks a bold and to some a radical question: What happens when married women take some time and space away?

The Marriage Sabbatical is a journalistic exploration of married women leaving home to pursue a dream, conquer a challenge, nurture a talent, or find themselves. They hike the Appalachian Trail, drive cross-country, teach overseas, join a dig. In solitude they paint, write or study. Eloquently describing how desire becomes a departure date, how women reconcile their decision with family obligations, and finally, how they come home again, Jarvis examines what a marriage sabbatical means in the context of a committed relationship, explores its role as a catalyst for personal and marital growth, and provides new understanding of the psychological conflicts it stirs.

Placing married women "leaving home" in the larger context of female independence, Cheryl Jarvis proposes that a married woman's need for time away from her husband is not a dismissal of him but a redefining experience for her.

Describing a concrete and creative way that some women have found to keep both their marriages and themselves, she shows how nurturing individual dreams can strengthen self, enliven relationship, and modernize an age-old institution. For the women you'll meet in this moving book, a marriage sabbatical is a planned and finite period of time in which to leave their ordinary world for an extraordinary experience, a journey ultimately meaning not only rejuvenation but empowerment.

Introduction

I’m sitting at the dining-room table making phone calls, struggling to get a job in a city where creative opportunities are limited. The right side of my neck aches from my prolonged, hunched-over position. A pain shoots its way down my arm. I’m longing for a shoulder rub when the phone rings. It’s the senior producer of the television show I worked on before it moved east. The producer who replaced me isn’t working out, he says, and her successor can’t start for a few months. Will I come to Connecticut to fill in?

By the time I’m off the phone, I’ve forgotten the pain. I start to feel light-headed as I think about how luxurious it would be to focus on the job without feeling pulled in all directions. Before, when I was at work, I was thinking of home; when I was at home, I was thinking of work, my loyalties divided always. Rushing in late to the office, after negotiating breakfasts and schedules and last-minute school projects, ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this fresh and inspiring book, freelance journalist Jarvis provides a comprehensive, thoughtful and inspiring look at how married women can love and care for their families and still find a concentrated period of time to invest in realizing their dreams.

Library Journal - Pam Matthews

Because this book is interesting, well written, and truly heartfelt and because Redbook has already printed a condensed version this book is highly recommended for public libraries.

Reader Reviews

Marianne Wilson

Brilliant book
This book is a brilliant and brilliantly articulated analysis of the dynamics of marriage and communication between couples. I read this book more than once, underlined and wrote margin notes on many pages and recommended it to several other people. ...   Read More

H Carter

A Marriage Saver - A lifesaver too.
If you're at an edge in your life and you feel like you've searched and scratched every possible corner for some more breathing space and growing room with and in yourself -- and you are wondering if you can remain married, are having thoughts of ...   Read More

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