The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together (Paperback)

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“Anyone grappling with the bewilderment of midlife…will be at once provoked and comforted by this enormously wise book” (Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage), from a psychologist who has worked for decades with people struggling to preserve and enhance their marriages and long-term relationships.

People today are trying to make their marriages work over longer lives than ever before. But staying married isn’t always easy. In the brilliant, transformative, and optimistic The Rough Patch, clinical psychologist Daphne de Marneffe explores the extraordinary pushes and pulls of midlife marriage, where our need to develop as individuals can crash headlong into the demands of our relationships.

“A book of good intentions and helpful advice and a worthy manual for spouses” (Kirkus Reviews), The Rough Patch addresses common problems: money, alcohol and drugs, the stresses of parenthood, sex, extramarital affairs, lovesickness, health, aging, children leaving home, and dealing with elderly parents. Then, de Marneffe offers seasoned wisdom on these difficulties, explaining the psychological, emotional, and relational capacities we must cultivate to overcome them as individuals and as couples. Blending research, interviews, and clinical experience, de Marneffe dives deep into the workings of love and the structures of relationships.

Intimate and always illuminating, The Rough Patch is an essential, compassionate resource for people trying to understand “where they are” on the continuum of marriage, giving them a chance to share in other people’s stories and struggles. “De Marneffe writes with poetry, wit, and compassion about the necessity of struggle in the quest for true love. Anyone in any relationship at any stage of life could stand to learn from the wisdom in these pages” (Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of Far from the Tree).

About the Author


Daphne de Marneffe, PhD, is a psychologist and the author of The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together and Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life. In her clinical practice, she offers psychotherapy to couples and individuals. She teaches and lectures widely on marriage, couple therapy, adult development, and parenthood. She is a contributing editor at Parents magazine, and her work has been featured in the New York TimesO, The Oprah Magazine; and on NPR and Talks at Google. Her research and scholarly work has been published in professional journals. She and her husband have three children and live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Praise For…


“In this beautifully reasoned, highly personal, and very generous book of advice and analysis, Daphne de Marneffe proposes that the rough patch that occurs in most midlife relationships should be cherished.  For those who can endure it, it can generate a new reciprocity, deepening the very intimacies it threatened to break.  De Marneffe writes with poetry, wit, and compassion about the necessity of struggle in the quest for true love.  Anyone in any relationship at any stage of life could stand to learn from the wisdom in these pages.” —Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression

“Daphne de Marneffe’s The Rough Patch is remarkable for its combination of warmth and clarity.  Anyone grappling with the bewilderment of midlife partnership – what Wendell Berry calls ‘the troubles of duration’—will be at once provoked and comforted by this enormously wise book.”  —Dani Shapiro, author of Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage and Devotion: A Memoir

“Through its title alone, The Rough Patch puts into words to what most of us experience every day: that long-term relationships are uneven, bumpy and difficult. With courage and compassion, de Marneffe challenges readers everywhere to take responsibility for the lives they want, to change the conversation they are having with themselves—and with their partners—from ‘This isn't the marriage I thought I'd have’ to ‘Am I the being the partner I thought I'd be?’ There isn't a couple in America who would not benefit from a copy--or two copies--of this book.” —Meg Jay, PhD, author of The Defining Decade and Supernormal

“Like a magician, Daphne de Marneffe is able to deftly transport couples from one side of a seemingly insurmountable impasse to the other. Her wand is this magnificent book, The Rough Patch, and, in the hands of the reader, there is no trickery or sleight of hand, but rather the wisdom and tools to penetrate the fog and darkness of marital discord and make one's way into the clear light of a renewed connection”  —Ian Kerner, PhD LMFT, New York Times bestselling author of She Comes First 

“Daphne de Marneffe, a terrific therapist based on the vivid anecdotes in this book, has written a wise and compassionate account of the rough patches that almost all midlife couples slide into, and how it's possible to get out of them. But this book is also a must read for younger couples who want to pay attention to the warning signs along the way, and for late-life couples who want to look back on their relationships with greater sympathy and understanding.” —Philip A. Cowan, Professor of Psychology Emeritus & Carolyn Pape Cowan, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Emerita, University of California, Berkeley

“This book is full of observations that may help troubled partners think differently about their relationship....A book of good intentions and helpful advice and a worthy manual for spouses.” Kirkus Reviews

“Densely packed with de Marneffe’s extensive knowledge of human emotional development and the parent-child relationships that affect us from birth, [The Rough Patch] will be as useful to care providers and those who study family psychology as it will be to readers seeking a deeper—and ultimately hopeful—understanding of their own marriages.” Booklist

“I’d like to take full credit for these personal improvements, but I confess: it was all The Rough Patch, Daphne de Marneffe’s insightful, provocative new book about marriage and midlife.” —Ada Calhoun, The Cut
Product Details
ISBN: 9781501118937
ISBN-10: 1501118935
Publisher: Scribner
Publication Date: May 14th, 2019
Pages: 384
Language: English