It's no secret I'm a HUGE Elizabeth Gilbert fan. She sucked me in with Eat, Pray, Love, mostly because part of it took place in Italy. When I picked up Committed, it was really only because it was written by her, and because it was a continuation of EPL. I didn't really know what to expect, but certainly not this. The first thought I had about this book was, "This should be required reading for any girl getting married."
I've read the book twice - once before I even met B, and once after we had been dating a little more than a year. It rang wildly true for me both times, but in very different ways. I have no doubt that if I read it now, as a woman about five months away from her marriage, it would still be relevant in yet even more different ways.
There is a caveat: I do not necessarily agree with everything in the book. Gilbert is wildly liberal, and I am decidedly not. She is also not particularly Christian, while I am looking at my marriage from a Christian perspective. Some of the portions in the book I take with a grain of salt. However, even with political and religious differences aside, there are some nuggets of wisdom in the book, which I will leave with you now:
"...the emotional place where a marriage begins is not nearly as important as the emotional place where a marriage finds itself toward the end, after many years of partnership."
"Sometimes life is too hard to be alone and sometimes life is too good to be alone."
"Because this is the essential question, isn't it? I mean, once the initial madness of desire has passed and we are faced with each other as dimwitted mortal fools, how is it that any of us find the ability to love and forgive each other at all, much less enduringly?"
"So, no, when I mention 'tolerance,' I'm not talking about learning how to stomach pure awfulness. What I am talking about is how to accommodate your life as generously as possible around a basically decent human being who can sometimes be an unmitigated pain in the ass."
"In the end, it seems to me that forgiveness may be the only realistic antidote we are offered in love, to combat the inescapable disappointments of intimacy. We humans come into this world...feeling as though we have been sawed in half, desperate to find somebody who will recognize us and repair us. (Or re-pair us.) Desire is the severed umbilicus that is always with us, always bleeding and wanting and longing for flawless union. Forgiveness is the nurse who knows that such immaculate mergers are impossible, but that maybe we can live on together anyhow if we are polite and kind and careful not to spill too much blood."
"...'marriage is what happens between the memorable.'...Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody--so utterly well-known and so thoroughly ever-present that you become an almost invisible necessity, like air?"
Intrigued yet? If you're in the market for a to-read over the Christmas break, I highly suggest you hightail it to the library and pick this bad boy up. It's a funny read with lots of wisdom. You're welcome.