Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'll get off my soapbox now...

In my last post I listed the books I checked out from the library. I only ended up taking a couple to Yellowstone with us and read only one.
Apparently the wrong one.
I read (or rather read and then skimmed the rest) of "The Patron Saint of Liars" by Ann Patchett. It sounded good. It was about a home for unwed mothers. A woman shows up planning to give up her baby though she is married. On the back cover it talks about how the home proves "healing" for her. New York Times writes that the author is a "startlingly wise young writer." So sounds good right?
I was thinking surely the young woman shows up at this place because she is in an abusive marriage or some other sort of scandal. Nope. He is a just an ordinary decent man who loves and cares for her and she takes off without so much as a goodbye. She does not tell him she is pregnant, or planning to give away their child. She just leaves him desperately frantic and alone. And why does she do this? Because she doesn't "love" him.
So from that point on I was skimming. Not because I was intrigued, but because I was hoping for some deeper meaning--some moral message or pivotal moment where she realizes what a fool she has been and makes it right. But there is no such moment. Does someone really think this was "startlingly wise" literature?
Last week I ended up getting a movie series from Netflix because it was looking juicy (which it totally was). It was called the "Forsyte Saga", if you happen to have seen it. Very dramatic and I thoroughly enjoyed it for all of it's soap-op-rah like twists. The actors were awesome and the costumes incredible. I really did enjoy it. But Peter didn't and I really can't blame him. He was thrown off right at the beginning when a man leaves his perfectly decent wife and beautiful child for the governess because he has decided that they are in "love". Then the rest of the Saga revolves around two characters, a husband and wife whom she married under pressure from her mother. He cares for her deeply and may even love her (in a warped possessive kind of way) and he spends a great deal of energy trying to please her but she never warms up to him. All he wants to know is why she can't just be a wife to him. I wondered that too. Why couldn't she?
In India and other countries people have arranged marriages. Their parents decide who is best and that is who they marry, out of respect. Most parents love their children and want them to be happy. As a general rule these marriages are solid and they grow to love each other very much. They are, in fact, more statistically likely to endure than conventional marriages. No doubt there are terrible exceptions but you see where I am going with this. I think any two good people can make a go of it.
In the tax business we see a lot of ugly (and I mean ugly) divorces. People who have wonderful children and adored each other at one point in their life. Then one year he comes in and says she left him for somebody else who was more exciting and distracting from her dull life. They are losing everything and have nasty lawyers and he can hardly pull himself out of bed in the morning. (Poor Peter who considered therapist as the occupation of his nightmares thought he would be safe in taxes--silly man).
I know not every marriage is a match made in heaven. I know there are times where people truly have to get out. But I also know that there are a lot of divorces that cannot be justified.
After 14 yrs. I can recall moments where I wondered just what we'd gotten ourselves into. It has not always been easy, but sometimes when you are truly committed to something and you work at it, things will eventually work themselves out. Not to overlook that also, as a Mormon, I can't overemphasize the support it was to us to believe that the vows we had made to each other were forever, and before God.
Do we live in a constant state of passion? I wouldn't exactly call it that, but I love my man more than anything. He isn't perfect but he tries really hard and in the end that is all that matters to me. He is the one I daydream about and can't live without. Sometimes I don't think I deserve him and sometimes I want to beat him. Ask any happy couple, they know what I mean. Welcome to marriage, folks.
Besides any smart woman knows that a good man only wants two things, and one of those is a good hot meal once in a while.


Sally said...

Oh April, I love you! Your insight is awesome and you know how to use your words (you should write a book!). Gene and I just celebrated our 31st anniversary and I agree with everything you said!

Amy said...

Good blog April. I never can think up something good to blog about, so I just post pictures of my kids and hope it is sufficient. It is truly sad how our society treats marriage. People always want to take the "easy" way out, but sometimes the "easiest" way is just enduring through the hard times instead of forging a new path of woes with someone new. Marriage can be hard, but life is hard. I'm just glad I have my guy by my side through good and bad and that we love & respect each other.

Bonnie said...

Ann Patchet us a tough author for me to read as well. Have you tried beauty by robin mckinley? i liked it. but you know me.
happy 14th anniversary this summer!! Where has all this time gone??