I. Expand your vocabulary.

Exercise 1. The following words and word combinations can be used to describe problems modern married couples may experience. Look up their definitions and examples of their usage in a dictionary.

to have a one-night stand
a broken home
to have a long line of wives and children
to salvage the few ragged bits of one’s family
to hate one’s ex-partner’s guts
not to be able to see further than the end of one’s own gratification
to inflict unintentional wounds
to worry about recapturing one’s youth
to be in need of a regular shot of romance
to do it all by oneself
things are getting a bit dull in the old marital bed
to threaten each other with lawyers
to become a divorce-court cliché
women with a bunch of screaming kids and no ring on their fingers
to be semi-separated
to poison one’s son\daughter against him\her
to act like the injured party

Exercise 2. Think about the challenges family and marriage are facing today. Are modern families more vulnerable than families of the past? What are the most common reasons for divorce today? Make use of the words and word combinations from Ex.1.
Exercise 3. The following words and word combinations can be used to refer to an idyllic traditional family. Look up their definitions and examples of their usage in a dictionary.

to make a marriage work
in the bosom of the family home
a nuclear family
a golden couple
one’s dreams match
to be on the same side
to stay together for a lifetime
to be good around the house
to never come off one’s honeymoon

Exercise 4. What is a midlife crisis? Are males more prone to it? Use the words and phrases below to describe midlife crisis signs in men.

to miss one’s unmarried freedom
a blatant macho
the supposed landmarks of manhood
one’s golden years
“You only live once!”
a life as carefree as a lager commercial
to compensate for becoming an old git

Exercise 5. Look up the meaning and examples of usage of the following idioms. Use them in contexts of your own.

one’s salad days
to be way out of one’s league
a snowball’s chance in hell
to put one’s foot down
to collect dust
to lay a finger on smb
to be set in stone
to take the shine off smth

Exercise 6. Fill in the gaps with the words from the box. If necessary change their form.
Inscrutable furtively obstacle puffy sack pathetically imminent composure recapture gratification
  1. Fear of change is a/an to progress.
  2. Your arguments are weak, cliché and redundant.
  3. He was because one of the top managers wanted the job for a member of his family.
  4. There are people who can take losses beyond their means with perfect cheerfulness and .
  5. Most people don’t have the patience and want instant .
  6. The killer left no clues, and the murder remains an mystery.
  7. The man’s face was all from tiredness.
  8. The trouble is, you never can quite the essence of the past, can you?
  9. The World Food Program is warning of danger of mass starvation.
  10. The boy glanced at the father and again lowered his eyes.

II. Recall the novel and complete the tasks below.

Exercise 1. Describe Harry’s regular day of a single father. Does he handle it well?
Exercise 2. Agree or disagree: Despite all the mistakes Harry Silver made it easy to feel sympathy for him.
Exercise 3. Think about the following: did mid-life crisis strike Gina? Why wasn’t her thirtieth birthday nearly as traumatic as Harry’s?
Exercise 4. Agree or disagree: Marital unfaithfulness can never be forgiven.
Exercise 5. “If you can do it once, you can do it again. Again, and again, and again. And next time it will be easier.” Is this the way it works with cheating on your partner? Share your opinion.
Exercise 6. Harry Silver wondered: “Is it really impossible for two people to stay together forever in the lousy modem world?” Do you think having one partner for lifetime is a challenge today? Give your reasons.
Exercise 7. In pairs hold a discussion on the following issue: “Ideal families can lull their children into a false sense of security.” Are children who come from happy families more likely to go astray in their own family lives?
Exercise 8. Comment on Harry’s words: “A problem at work is like a plane crash that you can walk away from. It’s not like your home life, where you can’t get away from your problems, no matter how far you run.”
Exercise 9. Dwell on the problems of mixed families. Is it easy to bring up somebody else’s children? Find evidence from the book to prove your point.
Exercise 10. They say “When you marry a man you also marry his whole family.” Would Gina have married Harry if she hadn’t liked his family so much?
Exercise 11. Agree or disagree: “The romantic ones are always the worst.”
Exercise 12. Role play. Your friend started working on TV a year ago and his new job has influenced him a lot. Tell him how you believe working for show business changed his personality.

III. Follow up activities.

Exercise 1. You are a family therapist consulting a married couple where one of the partners has committed adultery. They are both, though, willing to save their marriage. Counsel them on how to overcome its effects and relieve the pain.
Exercise 2. Role play. You are a renowned sociologist invited to a conference. Give a lecture on “Modern Family and the Masculinity Crisis”.
Exercise 3. Write an article under the title Things No One Told Me about Being a Stay at Home Mom, exposing the challenges that women who give up their jobs to bring up children face.