With a divorce rate hovering around 50%, it seems like making marriage work can be serious business. For Rori Sassoon, that’s all in a day’s work. The relationship expert and co-author of The Art of Marriage understands what it takes to not only make marriage thrive, but for partners to truly appreciate, love, and support each other. Rori spoke with Celebrity Parentsabout her new book, why she believes that marriage shouldn’t feel like a burden, and how the perfect partnership can feel like a beautiful collection of memories.
Let’s talk about your new book, The Art of Marriage.
I’m on the cover of the book. I gave myself 5 minutes to get over myself! [laughs] Writing the book was so much fun; it didn’t feel like work. I was doing it with my business partner, which is like a marriage in itself. We definitely have a work husband/work wife vibe. We are both born and bred in Brooklyn, and we have an 18-year age difference. We get along great, but we are also able to agree to disagree.
I have been a product of parents who have been divorced from each other twice. So writing this book on a deeper level meant more to me because not only am I a product of divorce, but my son is a product of divorce from my first marriage. I went through it through the lens of both a child and an adult. Thankfully, I’m in a marriage for 23 years, with a blended family, and we have children together. There’s nothing better than when you can master the art of marriage and have a successful relationship. It sounds cliched but life is sweeter when you can walk through life with a partner. I know people who are in healthy relationships are healthier people overall.
What do you want the takeaway of the book to be?
Marriage is an art and it’s fun. Yes, we have ups and downs, but when people say, “Marriage is work!” I say, “It’s fun work! You love each other, damn it!” That’s the way it should be. You are the designer of your own life, and when you’re in a union, you’re designers of your life together. You’re both in control of that.
The book has a male/female dynamic. It’s all He Said/She Said. Some might say it’s common sense, but I think that some people don’t know the basics. It’s also a great book for people who have been married for a long time, especially for those who are going to become empty nesters. It can be a lifechanging experience, and this book can serve as a reminder of all the fun that a couple can now have. It’s a time to reinvent the relationship and reconnect in a whole new way.
But what would you say to people who do feel that marriage is work, and it feels more like a burden?
We all go to work and there are good days and bad days. It might sound crazy, but I believe one of the secrets to marriage is when everybody knows who they are and what their roles are — then you can have a successful marriage. And there has to be respect for each other’s roles.
When you’re in a long-term relationship or marriage, how do you get it to evolve as you evolve?
My first husband was a wonderful person, but he wasn’t a good fit for me for a marriage. We get along so well now. The most important thing is that you never, ever stop communicating with your partner, no matter what it is you have to say. We have a whole chapter in the book about checking in with your partner. There are 20 questions to ask to help you understand the relationship, your role in it, and who you are as a person. Like, what are your reasons to get married? After all, once you’re down the aisle, you’re married. The commitment has been made. Time can be the best test; it’s ideal to give yourself a full year to see the person through all their seasons, but you don’t want to be engaged forever, either! You need to have a goal and a plan.
How has your own marriage evolved?
I started as a homemaker in the beginning of my marriage, and I evolved into a businesswoman and my husband was so supportive and grateful as long as the other responsibilities weren’t being neglected. I knew I could take more on my plate when my children were in school on a full-time basis. I became more interesting to a man who was so worldly, so well-traveled. He told me I was too dynamic of a person to stay home and just be a mom. There’s no better blessing than a partner who is supportive of you and isn’t jealous and wants to see you grow.
I love doing activities with my husband. That’s why I feel like we’re married. When we are both not working, and there’s undivided attention that can be given, I love to create different experiences for us to do together and create memories. At the end of the day, life is all about a collection of memories we create together.