Marriage Shock: The Transformation of Women into Wives

Marriage Shock: The Transformation of Women into Wives

By Dalma Heyn

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Relationship expert Dalma Heyn asks not what is good for marriage but what is good for women in marriage—a question, she finds, that promises a much different answer and more fulfilling lives

Marriage, as we are told, makes a woman complete, more womanly. Why, then, do so many brides discover that the fun-loving, passionate single gal they used to be has been transformed into a woman recognizable only as a wife—a woman who unconsciously represses her own needs, wants, and vitality “for the sake of the marriage”?

Attacking the pervasive cultural myths that ask a wife to choose between her marriage and her own growth and self-expansion, Marriage Shock explores the ways in which wives can overcome deeply ingrained social and personal expectations and flourish both as wives and as individuals.

This ebook features a new introduction by Dalma Heyn and an illustrated biography including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.


Read an excerpt


Editor and writer Heyn (The Erotic Silence of the American Wife) advocates here a radical transformation of marriage to save the institution. She presents convincing anecdotal evidence, based on interviews with young wives, that modern women are still victimized by the 17th-century ideal of a “good wife,” who not only is responsible for the success of the marital union but also must give up her own ideas, pleasures and pastimes to achieve harmony with her husband. The author presents an interesting historical overview of the good wife, who, according to Heyn, was exemplified in 17th- and 18th-century books of conduct for wives, some of which she quotes from. Heyn advises women to support one another and to maintain their own identities after marrying, rather than compromising themselves within marriage as a way of avoiding divorce.
Publishers Weekly

Heyn explores the concept of “marriage shock”, the realization of this fact which strikes woman after the whirl of courtship and the honeymoon are over and discusses ways to overcome the consequences. An incisive and controversial work, Marriage Shock has an interesting premise that will resonate with many women — both single and married alike.

“Heyn’s candor and clarity are exhilarating. [She] is deliciously brave.”
Houston Chronicle

“Extremely provocative . . . lucid, well-written, and convincing.”
ISBN: 0385324022