After I Do is a contemporary “chick lit” book that holds a magnifying glass up to marriage and relationships, and what it takes to make them work. It opens with Lauren and her husband Ryan arguing with each other and being short and snippy in their communications with each other. It then takes a step back and the story rewinds. We find out where and how they first met, and follow them quickly through the early stages of dating, engagement, and marriage. We see how happy they were in the beginning, and how things deteriorated over time. Everything reaches a breaking point after 11 years of being together and the couple decides to separate for a year with no communication in between, and then decide if they want to stay together or not.
This book really pulled at my heartstrings in the best way. I think anyone who has been in a long term relationship can relate to some of the things that happen in the book. Maybe not to such an extreme extent, but getting to the point where you start snapping at your partner or find yourself getting irritated at them for their mannerisms, or for not being able to read your mind – at least, I can.
The book was told from Lauren’s point of view, and I adored her as a character. I really enjoyed watching her go through ups and downs during the year long separation. She was able to learn about herself and find out what it is she truly wants from life and from her marriage; sometimes those moments are light and easy, and sometimes they are difficult and painful.
We also got to know Lauren’s family – her sister, brother, mother, and grandmother, and I loved that. It made Lauren feel more developed and whole as a character. I especially enjoyed her relationship with her sister. I’ve always wanted a sister who was my best friend (I don’t have a sister at all!) and I appreciated her honesty about her marriage struggles in those conversations.
Overall, I loved the book and really enjoyed the outcome. I thought it made sense and wasn’t thrown together. This book was an honest view into how some relationships go from happy to miserable overtime, and was one couples battle to work through the odds and stay together through it all. It made me think about my own relationship and spend some time thinking about the ways I can make sure this doesn’t end up being me 10 years down the road. There are some great life lessons to be learned here.