This week I began reading "Committed: A Love Story" by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was recommended by a friend, and I didn't realize when I got it that it was a memoir (I thought it was more of a marriage advice book). Ms Gilbert had been through a really rough divorce, and swore she would never marry again...but then her boyfriend got deported and they realized that the only way they could be together was to get married... and so she spent a year researching marriage (via both reading and doing interviews around the world), to try to warm up to the idea. In the book she contemplates the religious and social functions of marriage, the purpose of it, and the implications. In many ways she gained a more mature view of marriage, and learned a great deal about what makes marriages work (or not), and how to have a healthier marriage for herself on her second time around. One of the major things she discussed was being responsible for her own happiness, rather than expecting marriage to automatically make her life into a "happily ever after," and she went on at some length about accepting each other as whole people, with our grubby parts as well as our shiny ones.
Last night I watched the movie "The Vow" which is based on a Nicholas Sparks book. In the story, a young married couple got in a car accident and she suffered a serious head injury. After she woke up, she had no memory of her husband or their courtship. She had previously cut off contact with her parents, but after the accident she had no memory of that either, and they were only too happy to have her back--and to cut him out. The husband patiently works to court her and try to get her to fall in love with him all over again. What I loved most about the story was not the (perhaps inevitable) happy Nicholas Sparks ending, but that the whole thing is based (I don't know how loosely) on a true story, and that the real couple is currently married with two kids, even though she never did regain her memory.
So, with those things on my mind, here are the things I am grateful for this week:
- My husband
- That my spouse knows my faults not only likes me anyway, but also helps make up the slack with his own strengths. (We both tend to take up the slack for the other.)
- My egalitarian marriage.
- The opportunity to be (and support from my spouse in being) a stay at home parent
- The opportunity to birth and raise children
- My children themselves, both for the fulfillment they bring me, and for the lessons they teach me.
- The repeated validation that the most important and worthwhile thing I can be doing with my time and energies right now is to be present with my children, and teach them to love.