7.19.2010

This Is Not The Post You Think It Is

For the From Left to Write Book Club we read This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson, a memoir about a marriage falling apart and the author's refusal to believe her husband when he tells her he doesn't love her anymore. Instead, she takes control of her own happiness while allowing him to find his way back to his family.

In the book Laura decides that she is going to be responsible for her own happiness while her husband has a mid-life crisis in the pits of depression and self-loathing, which, for him, translates to straight-up selfishness. They were dreamers when they met, both of them privileged kids living against the grain. They were artists and wanderers, but a house and a couple of kids later: We find him stuck in a terrible job situation with financial issues and her with a stack of unpublished novels.

I totally get it. I, too, am married to a man who is extremely unhappy in his professional life. Matt is an artist and a dreamer, someone who will always feel like he's playing dress up when in a suit. We've gone through excruciating fights because of his complicated relationship with his job and the sacrifices he feels he has made. He's not his job, he knows that. It's just so much easier to blame each other when we're feeling stuck in a house in the suburbs with two full-time jobs and a dwindling bank account. But, when these fights start I don't hold my tongue, bide my time. I fight back.

Maybe I should have taken Laura's approach all this time. But, here's the thing: I cannot be that person who stays quiet. I just don't have it in me. It would drive me crazy to live around someone, rather than with them. As much as I admire Laura for her ability to breathe, to push away the creeping feelings of anger, of resentment, of jealousy, and live her life on her own terms, I just can't. Like she said to her husband, I would say to myself: I Don't Buy It.

I've been trying in the last couple of years to know when to stop. To hold my tongue, to let more go. And I've come a long way. Not quite as far as Laura does in this book, but baby steps are good. I've at least learned to let a shut door be a shut door and walk away until it opens again. Because it will. I let more slide than I ever have, because I figured out that if I didn't, my relationship wouldn't survive.

However, there are certain things I could never let slide and even though at the beginning of the book Laura asks us not to take sides, it was really difficult. I couldn't get past her husband's late nights out, blowing off his children, his absence day after day, his irritability, the 4th of July he missed... It all made me want to scream at the book: "Run like hell, woman!" I wanted to put the book down and walk away, because maaaan, she was stressing me out.

But, she loves him. She's standing by her man, she's knowing him better than anyone else. She's putting her pride aside. Isn't that what you do when you love someone? You know what they need better than they do, right? And that's supposed to be the basis of a marriage. For better or for worse.

This post was inspired by This Is Not The Story You Think It Is by Laura Munson, which I received complimentary as a part of From Left to Write Book Club. See how other moms were inspired by this book here.

5 comments:

Michelle said...

Oh this book drove me nuts for many of the same reasons. And it's hard for me, too, to keep my mouth shut sometimes when my husband is doing things so opposite from how I would. But thankfully he loves his job, which at least takes that stress away.

c2cmom said...

I felt the same way reading parts of this book! It would have been difficult to stay that quiet and supportive. It actually made me wonder what she went through after the death of her father, and that perhaps knowing what she put her family through then, made her better able to keep things together for her husband to sort things out on his own.

Nicki said...

Well, you know how I felt about this book. So glad I read it. Just trying to remember every day that I'm choosing to be happy.

Miss you much!

lauramunson said...

Thank you for reading my book! It’s a powerful thing to live life without taking sides. I certainly had my share of inner tantrums, but suffering doesn't serve us. I'm glad my book was able to inspire this discussion. Yrs, Laura

lauramunson said...

Thank you for reading my book! It’s a powerful thing to live life without taking sides. I certainly had my share of inner tantrums, but suffering doesn't serve us. I'm glad my book was able to inspire this discussion. Yrs, Laura