Study Guide

You Should Have Known Marriage and Relationships

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Marriage and Relationships

"Why do you look at the closeted husband in your patient's life and pay no attention to the murderous psychopath in your own?" —The Book of Grace 7:5

We admit that's not a direct quote, but the Bible verse that inspired it might as well be the motto of this book. Grace is a marriage therapist, but her own marriage is damaged beyond repair and she doesn't even realize it. Beyond that, she based her idea of a successful marriage on her parents, only to learn that they were also incredibly unhappy. If we could assign everyone in this book a default relationship status, it would be, "It's (seriously) complicated."

Questions About Marriage and Relationships

  1. Grace cautions her patients not to fall in love at first sight, yet this is how she felt when she met Jonathan. How do those feelings both strengthen and detract from her advice about love?
  2. Which signs did Grace misinterpret in her parents' relationship? How did her perception of their marriage affect her marriage to Jonathan?
  3. How does Grace's relationship with Jonathan differ from her growing relationship with Leo?

Chew on This

The thesis of Grace's book is that if you don't notice warning signs early in a relationship, you may choose the wrong partner, and your eventual unhappiness is unsurprising. Unfortunately, she failed to notice the warning signs in her own marriage, which simultaneously proves her thesis both right and wrong.

While Grace's attraction to Jonathan was intense and immediate, her relationship with Leo grows over time.