Let's Talk Tropes

Let’s Talk Tropes: Marriage In Trouble

“Why can’t they just freaking talk to each other?! They’re married FFS!”

Is my typical struggle with the Marriage In Trouble trope. 

While this trope seems to be really popular for (particularly married) women my age or a bit older, I personally am on record discussing how second chance romance is not my jam, and I would argue that Marriage In Trouble is a subsection of the second chance trope. Mixed in with a little seducing my spouse, perhaps? It doesn’t really matter. The point is, as with any other second chance romance, I struggle with the Marriage In Trouble because I struggle with the basic problem. Which is to say, I either think the protagonists are having the most absurd fight ever or that they shouldn’t be together at all and what are they even doing?

Isn’t the person* you marry supposed to be the person that you can talk to?

But I keep trying to understand feelings (it’s not an easy thing, so props to those of you who are good at it), and after reading a few marriage in trouble books recently, I realized that, even though one might already have made oneself really vulnerable to and opened up to one’s spouse during the initial courtship period, there are still things that might arise that are just really hard to talk about.** 

Because what if this person that you really really trust not to let you down…lets you down?

Or, I guess conversely, what if you don’t want to raise an issue because you don’t want to admit you’re struggling and let your partner down?

The idea that people can be messy for their whole lives and make some mistakes and still have love and support is a good thing to think about. We can talk plenty about how marriage is long and has ups and downs, but so much of genre romance is centered on the romantic ideal of finding the perfect partner and riding off into the romantic sunset of a happily ever after filled with the life we’ve always dreamed of (plus orgasms) that we often brush off the continuing emotional work that goes into maintaining a relationship. 

So, um. I guess I’m sorry I ever doubted those writers of the Marriage In Trouble. You do good work. Carry on. 


*I’m using singular for clarity and because most polyamorous romances I’ve read don’t get to the point of marriage, but really the argument would be the same for all spouses/life-partners in any kind of relationship.

**I’ll be honest, I was specifically thinking about asking a partner to get some kind of kinky, but I guess there can be other pressure points, too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Review

Review: Shame by Ainsley Booth (2021)

Secrets and Lies, Book #2

Heat Factor: It’s a slow burn, but then there’s some dirty talkin’ daddy kink funtimes

Character Chemistry: Angst level 1000

Plot: Marriage in trouble after cheating

Overall: I wanted this to be the cheating romance we never get, and I think it largely succeeded

Continue reading “Review: Shame by Ainsley Booth (2021)”
Recommended Read, Review

Review: Lick by Kylie Scott (2013)

Stage Dive, Book #1

Heat Factor: The title refers to music, not a bedroom activity, but the bedroom activity is sexy

Character Chemistry: Great

Plot: 21-year-old celebrating her birthday in Vegas wakes up married to a rock star

Overall: This book is exceptional

Continue reading “Review: Lick by Kylie Scott (2013)”
Review

Review: Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (2021)

Heat Factor: Not quite fade to black, but the sex writing is more focused on the emotions than the mechanics

Character Chemistry: Veering into insta-love territory; maybe it’s fate

Plot: Grace has an identity crisis

Overall: Messy and beautiful

Continue reading “Review: Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers (2021)”
Recommended Read, Review

Review: Marrying the Billionaire by Allie Winters (2021)

The Bishop Brothers, Book #2

Review of The Bishop Brothers, Book #1

Heat Factor: Considering how much they’re into each other, it’s a pretty slow burn (but with some intermediate stuff going on)

Character Chemistry: I was a little worried because Serena started out determined to show Archer how much she’s worth marrying, but they sorted themselves out

Plot: Serena was supposed to marry Archer’s brother in book one but ended up jilted at the altar, so Archer stepped in to save the day and the business deal

Overall: This book was very chill (except I wanted to rage at Archer’s dad), but also very awesome

Continue reading “Review: Marrying the Billionaire by Allie Winters (2021)”