Books From My Closet

"I Love Books The Way Some Girls Love Shoes"

The Creaky Old Boat Of Matrimony

My dear followers,

It has been a long time since my last blog post, life seems to get in the way sometimes preventing me from sitting down and actually reading.  I am now towards the end of chapter three, yes, sadly I did not get very far in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Committed”.

I don’t know really where to begin with where Liz is taking this book, she talked through pages upon pages of the history of matrimony and while I am not finished with chapter three yet, I can’t wait until I do.

While I have highlighted many very valid points Liz has made, I find this book so far, boring. And I love history.  And I understand that Liz herself is trying to understand what marriage is but, oh my God just stop with all the history.

In chapter two however, I found the information on the Hmong tribe in Vietnam to be rather interesting, if you are a Hmong woman, Liz points out then you don’t necessarily expect your husband to be your best friend, you most intimate confidant, you emotional advisor etc.  Hmong women, Liz says get their support from other women.

I don’t know how I’m feeling about this book so far, I don’t know whether its because I can’t relate or I am not trying to understand, I don’t really know.  Liz makes many valid points, like one that I highlighted that she said,  “In a modern industrialized Western World, where I come from , the person whom you choose to marry is perhaps the single most vivid representation of your own personality”

I find this statement to really say we are a bunch of narcissists, we go out searching for someone who is possibly an exact replica of ourselves. She continues to say that “Your spouse becomes the most gleaming possible mirror through which you emotional individualism is reflected back to the world.”

I’m not married by the way, I am 28 years old and I have never been married and like Liz don’t know the first thing about marriage other than to know that people in my family don’t seem to know what marriage is either (well except my aunt who loves her husband more than life itself, but it is a second marriage for her too).

As I was reading these two chapters and heard about every God forsaken type of marriage that exists or has existed in this world, everything from interracial marriages, marrying within your class during the Medieval times, same-sex marriage, arranged marriages, how the church is a major influence in staying married, you name it I read it, I began to think of my maternal grandparents.

My maternal grandparents met in their early 20s shortly after my grandfather arrived by boat from Italy. Coincidentally he was on the same boat as my grandmother’s older brother, and was smitten with my grandmother from the beginning.

My grandmother of course had a boyfriend back home in Naples, Italy and was not interested in my grandfather at all, until my grandmother’s relationship ended and there was my thick black haired grandfather waiting in the wings.

To make a long story short, they got married in 1957, had my mother in 1958 and two children after that.  Through out their marriage they have had many problems, and those problems caused them to let the love die, if there was love at all to begin with. My grandmother tells me every day how she should have never come to America, never married my grandfather and should have become a Nun.

She has lived in a loveless marriage for over 50 years now, a marriage from what I’ve seen I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. She still tells me to this day, when the priest asked her if she took this man to be her lawful wedding husband, she couldn’t answer him. THIS IS A SIGN! DON’T GET MARRIED!

Over the years their marriage lost the love became a marriage of comfort and dependency.  It’s sad really. But  unlike so many women throughout the centuries, my grandmother had a choice.  She claims she didn’t because her family was here, there wasn’t any use in going back to Italy.  We all make choices on who we allow to spend the rest of our lives with, and who we choose to move on from.  While the law and church may still dictate some types of marriages, we are more free today than women ever were before.

I don’t know what I believe in, when it comes to marriage, I don’t know.  So many of us get caught up in these fantasies of what marriage is supposed to be, and then when it happens for us, its not at all what we thought. Liz says in her book – “For the first time in my life, it occurred to me that perhaps I was asking too much love, or at least, perhaps I was asking too much of marriage.  Perhaps I was loading a far heavier cargo of expectation on the creaky old boat of matrimony than that strange vessel had ever been built to accommodate in the first place.”

Our expectations in another person, in a relationship these days are so high, so high we want so much and only give so little. There is so much more I could touch upon here, but I think I will come back for another post when I can wrap my head around all of it.

Until then….


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