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 (27 ratings)
18 mins
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    The Three Marriages
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    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.

    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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