True Stories: Inspiring Words from Real Couples

Surprising words of hope from everyday marriages.

By Sarì Harrar and Rita DeMaria | Ph.D. from The 7 Stages of Marriage

The 1,001 men and women who participated in the Reader’s Digest Marriage in America Survey didn’t get paid to participate; in fact, all that sparked their participation was an e-mail. But they willingly gave their opinions and words because — we assume — the topic of marriage meant a lot to them. That became obvious the moment we started to read what they had to say.

We asked them to share the most cherished moments — and deepest regrets — from their marriages. And so they did. They talked about moments of connection at an out-of-town diner, over eggs and coffee at 3 a.m. Of a wife waking from a coma and a husband proposing marriage from a hospital bed. Of affairs they regretted and companionship beyond anything they feel they deserve. Of children and kisses, elementary school sweethearts, and second marriages that feel just right.

As you’ve seen through this book, their collected wisdom is poetry, filled with hard-won joy and wisdom that speaks eloquently of the true state of marriage in the United States. Not every comment is heartwarming, mind you, and not every sentiment is universal (such as the one from a guy speaking of the joys of open marriage), but all are honest and true. We hope these moments from everyday marriages touch you as much as they moved us.