The problem is happy people are alienating. They’re annoyingly complimentary to their spouses. They remember birthdays and endlessly talk about fond memories from high school where they met and instantly fell in love. They find charm in their spouses maddeningly gross habits. Their children settle nearby and come over for dinner on Sundays.
But happy is a stupid word. Get happy. Okay . . . but here’s what I’ve found. They may be a struggle to write about at first because we assume happiness is some sort of lucky, kinda boring gift that some people get–damn them! But it’s a lie. Here’s the truth–there’s a lot of interesting things going on under the surface with happy couples. Things are more subtle. The crappy mood that kills a night and maybe a relationship in a novel is apologized for in a real marriage. How do we write about that complex mix of pride and humiliation that comes with knowing you’re wrong, admitting it and then making up for it? It seems boring on the surface when a good brawl or morphine spree will do the trick. And I LOVE a good morphine spree as much as the rest of you.
Have you noticed that people hate the word work? Strange. Work suggests to me that you actually care how something will turn out. Some people wait to be inspired–what a crazy way to waste life. If you’re a good husband or wife when you feel like it, have fun at the divorce court! John and Katherine Weldon probably still wouldn’t have gotten a divorce in The House on Tenafly Road even if it was acceptable because they’re workers. Screwed up workers, but still. Thank God, happiness comes and goes. It’s a shame that most movies and books stop at the kiss or the wedding. Crushes are like cheap candy, but marriage is an acquired taste–worth the effort in the end. For more on marriage visit :http://ladyinthehouse.net/2014/02/11/somehow-in-love/
This week is John and Katherine’s week–a week about screwed up love. If doing it right was easy we’d have short novels and no war. In honor of imperfect relationships I’m having a $.99 Kindle eBook sale on The House on Tenafly Road this upcoming weekend Feb 15-16 (the day after Valentine’s Day makes you begin to wish you had a morphine-addicted spouse–or maybe realize, damn, you have it good).
So gather up your pennies (c’mon it won’t break the bank) and buy the book. Tell your friends, too–you know, the ones who like really falling in love with screwed up characters who redeem themselves. Or the ones who like page-turners with military heroes. Or the ones who like big books with maps. Love, death, maps and redemption–who could ask for anything more?
7 responses to “Is It Possible To Write About Happily Married Couples?”
Reblogged this on The House on Tenafly Road.
I contend that my wife and I are a “happy” couple. However, we are not always “happy” people. Far from it. But we do that thing where “the crappy mood that kills a night and maybe a relationship in a novel is apologized for in a real marriage.” But we are not “happy in pretense.” We don’t put on airs of being what we are not. We try to be real and authentic. We hurt each other’s feelings, and then we make up for it somehow. Most of all, we have faith, and that has kept us going for almost 29 years. I’m going to buy your book this weekend. You’ve got me intrigued, and if it’s anything like your writing style at this blog, I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it.
Grace and peace,
Thank you for the kind words. I hope you enjoy the book.
Some couples have golf to keep them together, but personally I think faith works best. My husband and I both found our way back to God at the tail ends of bad and faithless marriages. There was a lot of mending to do when we first got married and brought 5 kids into the mix. Without our faith there would only be scorched earth where we now stand. Two big personalities with a tendency towards drama made for some pretty big fireworks–ask the kids–but we always came back to God for answers.
BTW, writing the book is what reignited my faith. I threw in some Bible verses and suddenly had a real desire to read the whole Bible. God knew He’d have to grab me that way or I would have fought it. 🙂 I had no idea the book would be about grace!
Thanks for sharing your happy marriage experience. It’s much appreciated!
That’s a great testimony, Adrienne. To quote an old song I love, “Life is hard, but God is good.”
Blessings right back at you!
After many years of unhappy relationships and a couple of marriages that did not work (one lasted 17 months and one lasted 18 years) I am finally in a happy relationship and married to a most wonderful man. Comparatively, it is boring. However, that is a good thing for me. I could not see me writing about it though. Not enough drama to make it interesting…maybe a sweet memoir.
Isn’t it weird that good things–the things we all dream about are so difficult to capture in words? It’s like writing about a healthy baby “We had a healthy baby!” There’s not much to say until the baby keeps you up all night with a 104 fever.
The peace in the Garden of Eden is written about for only a few verses–then all hell breaks loose!
A great novel about (happily?) married couples is Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner. Wallace captures all of the poignancy and bittersweetness of marriage. And he was an aquarian. He gets bonus points for that.
Congrats on your boring marriage 🙂 They’re the best.