Hey there. I’m Jo.
I met my husband Nick (That’s him in that picture. He’s pretty damn cute, right?) on a boat in the Galapagos. We got married nine months later. It’s a great story and I tell most of it in my new book How to be Married which comes out in April 2017.
My own marriage was the “fairy tale ending” in the romantic comedy that had been my life for 34 years. I’d long been in the habit of selecting all of the wrong men, gotten myself into hilarious misunderstandings, kissed all the frogs and drank all of the Pinot Grigio with all the gay best friends. At 34, I was the last woman standing out of my girlfriends from college….the spinster, the one who would have cats and affairs with other people’s husbands.
I set out to write this book because after months of being inundated with how-tos about my wedding, I discovered no guides explaining to me how to be married. No matter how progressive we think we’ve become, America is still a society obsessed with weddings. The New York Times still allots premium real estate to dozens of wedding announcements in their top selling issue of the week. Millions of viewers tune into the Bachelor franchises, shows that at their basest levels toy with American women’s terror at not finding “the one,” and force two terrified and inebriated strangers into a proposal. And even though it has long been hailed for breaking television’s glass ceiling when it came to portraying strong independent women, three of the four heroines on Sex & the City ended up married before the show’s conclusion.
As a culture, we’re less obsessed with talking and reading about the actual machinery of a marriage, the day-to-day challenges, joys, pitfalls, irritations, surprises and intimacies that build a long-term partnership.
Romantic comedies end with the wedding and leave out the most interesting part—the marriage.
I want to talk about the marriage.
Q: What makes you a marriage expert?
A: Absolutely nothing. The truth is that I have no idea what I’m doing. That’s why I started asking everyone I met while traveling the world as a travel editor how to create a happy marriage.
I found myself interviewing all strangers with wedding rings about what makes a successful marriage. Not for any assignment, but for me. I asked Jamaican hairdressers, Malaysian street food vendors, Maldivian scuba guides and even the conservative Muslim Qatari who took me on a dune bashing adventure near the border with Saudi Arabia.
The point of How to Be Married the book and this website project is that I want people to talk about real marriages in real ways. I’m not any more of an expert than you are.
Q: Have you written other books?
A: A few. My novel The Knockoff that I co-wrote with an amazing woman named Lucy Sykes was an international bestseller and was translated in more than nine different languages. I also wrote two critically acclaimed non-fiction books called If Nuns Ruled the World and Celebrity Inc: How Famous People Make Money. Lucy and I have a new novel coming out in July called Fitness Junkie.
Q: Was your husband cool with you writing this book?
A: Weirdly enough yes. He’s read the damn thing about 100 times and thinks he comes off as too a good a guy. It was actually hard to write him because he is such a good guy. I even asked him to be more of a jerk, but he didn’t have it in him. He’s also a journalist and you can learn more about that here.