Well, life has been quite the whirlwind of excitement lately--as it tends to become--so even though I finished Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert *gulp* nearly two weeks ago, this is the first minute I've actually sat down to blog about it. (I'm giving you this explanation in consideration of your feelings since I know you've all just been weeping into your pillows every night wondering when I was going to tell you what I think of this book.)
(Okay, I apologize for that over-the-top sarcasm...)
Even though it wasn't quite like I expected, I loved Committed from the get-go. Reading Gilbert's personal and down-to-earth writing was like a breath of fresh air. I've said it several times and I'll say it again: Gilbert is one of my writing role models. I hope that someday my writing will be as real as hers is.
That said, this book brought me face-to-face with my ideas about marriage. I won't get political (heaven forbid), so I'll stay out of that ballpark; my experience with the book was actually much more personal, since I'm very comfortable with my political views on marriage. I started to really think about marriage in relation to myself.
I'm a single, female college sophomore. Despite this fact, I actually have no desire to party or date around. I was raised by happily married parents who have always encouraged me to be careful as far as romance and find one man to spend the rest of my life with. And that's always been my goal.
So marriage is actually very attractive to me--pretty unusual for a 19-year-old California girl, I know. I'm much more attracted to the "family man" type than I am to "bad boys." I have dreams, but I want a family and stability.
Before you make any assumptions, reading Committed didn't actually change any of this. In fact, it kind of made me want it more than ever. But it also made me ask myself, Really--what kind of man am I actually looking for here?
I've always tried to be practical when it comes to the expectations I have for my future husband, but lately my dating life has made me change my mind on certain key points. For one thing, financial stability used to be really important to me. I wanted to marry someone with an education that can get him an actual job. I didn't want any of this do-what-you-love nonsense. I figured, hey, if he loves me, he'll make as much money as he can.
Then I met a few guys who are in a major they couldn't care less about simply so they could be sure of financial security in the future. And it was so...unattractive.
Now, I'm not saying I don't respect them. I think it's great that they are pursuing their goal of being able to support a family without any trouble. That's awesome. It's just that I can't relate at all. I wonder how they can possibly do that. Did they have to give up some other dream, some non-money-making dream? Or did they just not have any dreams?
These are people who cheer when class is cancelled. Who scan the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and figure out the bare minimum that is required. Who do what it takes to get an A and then do their level best to forget everything over the summer.
Well, I don't have anything against those people--I have many, many friends who are like that--but it's just nothing like me. It's hard for me to believe. I'm an English major and I absolutely love my English classes (actually, I've been kind of mopey lately because I'm not currently taking an English class). I would hope to marry someone who gets the same kind of thrill--or at least enjoyment--from whatever it is he studies.
Now, I know that opposites attract. And I'm not saying I want my husband to be exactly like me. I'm still figuring things out--I mean, I might completely change my mind about all of this next year (or next month, for that matter). But this is one thing that really means a lot to me. I think it would be hard for me to be married to a man who didn't care one way or the other for his career. I know I'm ambitious, and I'm not saying he has to be. But I want to at least be able to understand where he's coming from.
Committed provided an interesting perspective on all of this. Elizabeth Gilbert and her fiance were already old enough that they had careers securely in place--careers, and goals, and hobbies, and even daily routines. Of course, they had to make sacrifices for each other, but they also remained (as cliche as it may seem) true to themselves. Elizabeth Gilbert is a writer. Period. And marriage wasn't about to change that. They each accepted each other as each other. She writes (excuse me for not being able to quote it directly as I've already returned the book to the library) that we yearn for two to become one in marriage, but sometimes two equals two. Elizabeth Gilbert is still Elizabeth Gilbert, whether she's married or not.
I'm not saying that I want my (future) marriage to be exactly like--or even very much like--Elizabeth Gilbert's marriage. (Do you feel like this post is turning into a list of disclaimers? I do...) But it definitely made me think about what I want in a marriage. And when it comes right down to it, I don't want my spouse and I to be the same person. I want him to embrace his him-ness, and I want to embrace my me-ness. And I want us both to endlessly admire the other for their passion and their diligence, and to support each other in our goals.
Well, this sure is a lot of talk about marriage from a person who has never been married (or anywhere close to it). This is an issue I'm still trying to work out in my mind. Any thoughts? I'd love to hear them.