Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Committed (A Sceptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
Or perhaps this post should be titled "a sceptic makes peace with reading books that she thought she would hate but actually turned out to enjoy"...
Or, even, on a wider level, how wedding blogging and the blogging community made me think and challenge relationships and issues and turns out that I am not exactly who I thought I was 2 years ago...
Long before I got engaged or married I knew my relationship with my Husband was different. Instead of encouraging me to be dependent and obsessive and spend hours wondering why-he-hadn't-done-what-I-hoped-he-would-do-but-hadn't-actually-told-him-so-he-had-no-idea-that-was-what-girls-thought, he encouraged me to lead my own, full, independent, happy life. Lives which were gradually more and more intertwined but ones in which we were whole people forming a better, stronger life together. A twist rather than a straw, if you will.
I gradually started questioning issues which I had always taken for granted but the big stuff, that didn't really change. Whereas once people thought I was fairly conservative in my views (big and small C) I started to realise I was more liberal than I - or others- gave me credit for. I do have some core absolutes which I (still) think I remain certain about [although I fully accept that until - god forbid- the circumstances ever applied to me, I may not be so sure] but there are plenty of other circumstances and situations where I have changed my mind because (revolution here we come) I actually thought about it. Although I am still yet to be convinced about children and televisions. Say what you like, but I have never heard a convincing argument to persuade me that the two should meet for many years. Although, of course, I can still sleep through the night.
And whilst I credit Husband for allowing me the space to find this out, I credit blogging for opening my mind to other viewpoints. Perhaps it's because you can read these viewpoints in one's own time, rather than it being an ever-louder-ever-drunker debate. Not that opening my viewpoint hasn't caused me a fair amount of distress, mind you. Take, for example, my family. Once upon a time I thought that our way of doing things was the right one. Then I went to school and realised that there are plenty of ways of doing things. I was still convinced that our way of sorting out problems was good. Until I really started to think about it and question it. Now I am not so sure. Without going into specifics, there are definitely issues which I hope I will not be repeating if and when we ever reproduce.
Other things, I have come to later. I had always assumed that I would change my name on marriage, much like I just always assumed I would go to university (being the 3rd generation in my family to go to university I was surprised to find at school that some people there were the 1st). Later, actually, even after changing my name, I have thought about it. Especially in relation to identity. I am still convinced with my choice, which is fortunate. It has also made me aware of just how important a first name choice is for a baby.
All of which is a very long winded way of saying that I surprised myself by enjoying Elizabeth Gilbert's book. I found the concept of Eat, Pray, Love difficult to get excited about. Not because of the advance or the film but because it didn't appeal. (Although Agirl may have persuaded me I should give it a go). Similarly, when I realised that the APW Book Club was reading Committed, I wasn't filled with a desperate urge to buy more books. But I am glad I did, because it has been an interesting read so far, I like Elizabeth Gilbert's writing style and I am interested in her reconciliation with the idea of marriage - perhaps because it is so far from what I know of marriage. I also am interested in reading about marriage around the world and her pondering as to why US marital and familial relationships are so much more isolated and so much more pressured to be something that perhaps they were never designed to be. More, I guess, when I actually finish it.
And lastly, because it was thanksgiving last week and I didn't say it then - thank you. For reading and challenging and informing.