Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Suburban Dystopia

Hi everybody. I hope you all had a lovely Easter. I know back home in Texas and in Denver it was pretty cold!!!!

Over the weekend, I read a book called ARLINGTON PARK by Rachel Cusk. It was short but quite good. She has a way of putting things that are just wonderful. The book is basically a snapshot of the lives of several women on one rainy day in a suburb of London. All the women are leading lives of quiet desperation. Kind of like a British "Desperate Housewives." But a lot darker. The book kind of made me depressed.

I think one of the problems for women today is that we have the opportunity to do so many things and we are getting married later in life. I think men fall in love with a woman at a certain stage in her life and when that state of being changes, it can cause problems for both of them. For example, what if a man falls for a women who is a high-powered lawyer. A very independent person who does her own thing. They get married in their thirties. Then, they have kids and the woman decides to be a stay-at-home mom. She thinks she wants the Martha Stewart version of life. But then, she starts to feel stifle and un-fulfilled. She starts blaming her husband and her kids. On the other side, her husband looks at this woman who drives the kids around town in her mini-van and scrubs the floor and thinks "where did the high-powered lawyer I married go?" They are no longer the same people they were when they were married. Can divorce be far behind?

I guess this is kind of what made me reluctant to get married. I worried that I would lose my independence and my sense of self. And, in some ways, I have given some of that up. I lived alone for almost ten years before I got married. When a tire needed changing, I did it. When something broke on my house, I fixed it. Now, I find I rely on my husband a lot. There's something nice about being cared for and caring for someone else. But it's hard for me to step back and give up some of that control. And then I worry what it means if I do. I blogged recently about how I'm feeling more domestic these days. And I don't think that is a bad thing. I guess I just worry about losing the person that my husband fell in love with.


Genevieve said...

but everyone changes, right? You are not the same person as the person I first met. It doesn't mean I love you any less!

Yes, when couples do their changing in opposite directions, it can be disasterous, but I think that is more likely to happen if you marry too young.

Malady said...

Good point, Vieve. After all, I've known you since we were eighteen. Yikes!!!

Nice to know you still love me after all these years! What a good friend!

Malady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Genevieve said...

I know, that is a long time!! :-)

Gary said...

It sounds like this book showed how important it is that marriage have a purpose. I've noticed that the people who have the most successful marriages are those who encourage each other's growth as human beings. It took me a forever to realize this, but few experiences push one's personal growth harder than being married.

Maybe couples can best manage the changes in their lives and marriages if they focus on their potential instead of holding onto old images of themselves when they were first married. I believe it is how we support our spouses' always changing intellectual and emotional needs, dreams, ways in which they want to change the world, etc. that the beauty of marriage can be found (as vexing and exhausting as it can be).

Things like changing tires and doing house repairs provided the training ground for what's ahead of you. It may seem like you're giving up control by letting your husband take over the things you used to do, but really what he's doing is allowing you to explore the new frontiers of your life. That's what spouses do when they love one another. The independence, strength, and creativity you've spent so many years cultivating will begin to manifest themselves in new ways. I know your potential and that's why I call you my friend.

Malady said...

As usual, my friend Gary is insightful, articulate and very sweet.

Thanks, Gary!!