Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Marriage is a Mystery

People say that you never really know what someone else’s marriage is truly like, and I agree. Even the marriages of one’s parents (although I believe that my parents had the best marriage ever), other relatives, and close friends contain reserves and mysteries. I, like you I am sure, have had the experience of being surprised to hear of serious problems and/or impending divorces for couples whom I thought were happy, even models of good marriages. As I was thinking about this, I realized that I get at least as much of my “information” about marriage from books (fiction and nonfiction) as from “real life.” Even in books, however, authors are selective in what they share about the marriages they portray, and consciously or unconsciously shape the perceptions of their readers. Still, I regard literature as an important source of knowledge about marriage, as about so many things. One reason I am thinking and writing about this now is that I realize that several of my last few postings were on books portraying marriages (e.g., 3/15/11, 3/21/11, 4/9/11, 4/11/11, and 4/12/11). These and other books provide evidence that no matter how ubiquitous marriage is, each marriage is unique, and each marriage exists and grows in its own ways, with its own joys and travails, its own fluctuations over the years. As someone who has been married a long time, known a lot of people, and read a lot of books, I am somewhat knowledgeable about marriage, yet still sometimes feel quite ignorant about the mysteries of marriage in general and about the marriages of those I know.

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