“I had a dread of turning into my mother…it was why I had fallen so hard for the idea of falling in love. I never wanted to be trapped in the poverty of a loveless union. Knowledge is not enough, however, to stop a woman from turning into her mother. …Truthfully I was bored beyond belief. This really was how it was going to be for the rest of my life. In this house with this man. …I could see it stretching on forever – the routine, the rituals of our lives. …I felt like hurling a plate at him for no other reason than [he] was suffocating me.”
“Such is the intimacy of marriage. The irony of its familiar, relentless kind of love was that, whenever I felt sad or afraid or alone, the first person I always blamed was [him]. …He was the most…caring person I could have had to carry me through such a hardship and yet he became the focus of my anger.”
“Joy did not come naturally to me. I always grabbed so hard that I crushed it. Examined it until I found a flaw, or tried to make it more than it was. It would always turn too quickly to disappointment. I found that, when happy, I held my breath and waited for it to fly away. I waited…for joy to come and kidnap me…the one place I never bothered looking for it was inside myself.”
“You might assume that contentment is the right of the elderly, but you’d be wrong. Peace of mind does not come with time or age or routine. It masquerades as luck and personality, but in fact serenity is hard won through…perseverance, and intelligent understanding of hardship. For some people hardship is a husband who beats them, the death of a child. Others will search for and find hardship in an everyday rain cloud. The trick to contentment is knowing when hardship has passed, and appreciating its absence for every moment that it is not there. I was never content with [him] because I was determined not to be. I looked at him and saw what he was not. What he never could be.”
“You can live a lifetime in ignorance of a person if you don’t put your own needs aside to give them room to show you who they really are.”
“I found [it]…hard because I ask too many questions. Questions are the sign of an active, intelligent mind: a filter you rinse your ideas through before you make a decision. But sometimes the filter gets clogged and then it becomes a barrier to the truth.”
“I like to have all the answers up front before I decide if a risk is worth taking. But with relationships it just doesn’t work like that. Being in love has a shorter guarantee than a kettle and in the long run can be a lot less use in a marriage. Better to be armed with a dose of blind faith, so that when the love runs out you can believe it will be back again. Because it will. What I have learned…is that married love is never complete or finite. It has to be elastic, adjustable. If you become too attached to a way of loving – the beautiful buzz, the thrill – you’ll have no way of replacing it when it’s gone. Marriages…are custom made: you just jiggle them around until you find a way to make them fit.”
“There is no magic recipe [for a perfect marriage].”
“Life to the end is a series of small miracles you can only see someone perform after they are gone. The instant the miracles cease, you wish you had looked harder, treasured the gift of life itself; the ability to communicate, to see, simply to breathe. You wish you hadn’t wasted so much time wanting more.”
“I don’t know if that mysterious gap that craves certainty will ever be filled. In my most self-punishing moments, I still wonder if I married…just not to be alone. I wonder then if marriage is about love at all. Perhaps it is just a dance two people make when they move quietly around the same house. … Perhaps intimacy is not just loving everything about him – and staying anyway. [He] is not the right guy, or the wrong guy. He is just my guy.”
“They say there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but there is. A perfect marriage is one where two people live together for most of their lives until death separates them. What there is no such thing as is an easy marriage. And when it comes to love, we somehow believe it should happen with ease. Married love is the gold at the centre of the rubble after the fire has gone out…The search is what is important and when treasure is too easily found how you can be sure it isn’t fool’s gold? …Real love is only what you give. It is in you. In your own heart: in what you are willing to give of it. We are all capable of love, but few of us have the courage to do it properly. We are afraid to give more in case the other won’t give it back. You can take a person’s love and waste it. But you are the fool. When you give love, it grows…inside you. Love is joy. Those who love, no matter what indignities, what burdens they carry, are always full of joy.”
If you’re committed to keeping joy in your life, whether it be with someone else as a life partner, or just with the people around you that you care about, it all starts with you… and this book may be a helpful stepping stone in your happiness journey.
Sturff hopes everyone finds their happy. : )
To check out this book on amazon click here.
And check out Kate’s new tumblr blog here.