The Three Marriages Book Summary - The Three Marriages Book explained in key points
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The Three Marriages summary

David Whyte

Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship

3.9 (28 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

The Three Marriages by David Whyte is a non-fiction book that advocates for individuals to balance their personal relationships, work/career, and inner-life through introspection, questioning, and clarity of purpose. Offering a mindful approach to living one's best life.

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    The Three Marriages
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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Love brings foolishness, unfamiliar paths and deaf ears.

    Have you ever fallen so deeply in love with someone that you’ve found yourself doing something crazy, like writing a terrible love song or performing a reverse striptease?

    Don’t be embarrassed. For some of us, foolish behavior is how we express our truest feelings.

    Consider the love declaration of Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous author of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 1876, aged 26, he was walking through a French town when he caught a glimpse of a woman through a window – and instantly fell in love.

    Without thinking, he jumped through the open window and declared his love for her, astonishing her and her friends. This bold move was not only dramatic, but also effective. The woman in question, Fanny Osbourne, would later become the love of his life.

    But love isn’t as simple as a spontaneous declaration. As the next phase of Stevenson’s story shows, we often need to let go of our familiar and comfortable lives for the sake of love.

    Stevenson had one major problem: Osbourne already had a husband and two children in the United States, and when her husband called her back to America, she returned. But a year later, in 1879, she fell ill and sent a telegram to Stevenson asking him to come and join her.

    He didn’t hesitate. The penniless author travelled in squalid conditions across the Atlantic Ocean and the continental United States to reunite with her in San Francisco.

    In the end, Stevenson’s love story would prove to have a happy ending. But the blind pursuit of love can also make you ignore wise advice from others.

    The author experienced this himself. In his early twenties, he hitchhiked to London to surprise his holiday girlfriend with a visit. He was so enthusiastic that he ignored the advice of all the older drivers who told him he shouldn’t go without warning her.

    When he finally arrived, her expression alone told him that the drivers had been right all along – their affair was over.

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    What is The Three Marriages about?

    In The Three Marriages (2009), David Whyte combines his worldly experience and talent as a poet to explore the three great loves we cultivate throughout our lives: the love of a vocation, the love of our own deeper self and the love of a special person with whom we choose to share our lives.

    The Three Marriages Review

    The Three Marriages (2009) by David Whyte explores the often overlooked importance of balancing our relationships with work, self, and others. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers profound insights into the interconnectedness of work, love, and self, reminding us of the need for harmony in these areas of our lives.
    • Explores the emotional and psychological challenges we face in navigating these three marriages, providing guidance and wisdom to help us find fulfillment.
    • With its deep reflection and personal stories, the book encourages introspection and prompts us to reevaluate our priorities, leading to personal growth and transformation.

    Best quote from The Three Marriages

    Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed. - Oscar Wilde

    —David Whyte
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    Who should read The Three Marriages?

    • Anyone interested in love and commitment
    • People wishing to find a deeper purpose in their life’s work
    • Anyone interested in exploring their spirituality

    About the Author

    David Whyte is an English poet renowned for bridging the gap between poetry, the art of living and business. His other non-fiction publications include Crossing The Unknown Sea and the best seller The Heart Aroused.

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    The Three Marriages FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Three Marriages?

    The main message of The Three Marriages is finding balance and fulfillment in the three core areas of life: self, relationships, and work.

    How long does it take to read The Three Marriages?

    The reading time for The Three Marriages varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Three Marriages a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Three Marriages is a thought-provoking read. It explores the intricacies of modern life and offers valuable insights to live a fulfilling and balanced life.

    Who is the author of The Three Marriages?

    The author of The Three Marriages is David Whyte.

    What to read after The Three Marriages?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Three Marriages, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • Effective Decision-Making by Edoardo Binda Zane
    • 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson
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