Posted September 8, 2015
Book: I Like Being Married: Treasured Traditions, Rituals, and Stories
Editors: Michael Leach and Therese J. Borchard
Doubleday, New York. 2015. Pp. 224
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
I Like Being Married is the ultimate celebration of the ties that keep loving couples together in good times and bad. With a guest list that includes Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Nancy and Ronald Reagan, Queen Victoria, George Burns, and Secretary of State Colin Powell (to name just a few): poetic tributes from Homer, Shakespeare, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and wedding readings from the Bible and other religious traditions, it captures the magic and deep-seated sense of commitment at the heart of married life.
I Like Being Married shows that the institution of marriage is integral to our common humanity. There are heartwarming stories of courtship --- including Mikhail Gorbachev's charming "Chasing Raisa" and Rosalyn Carter's story of meeting Jimmy for the first time. Jerry Stiller, Celine Dion, and others who have broken the "rules" describe how they overcame family expectations, age differences, and other obstacles to wed the people they love. In moving and amusing portraits, husbands and wives reveal the qualities and the quirks that make their mates endearing, and vignettes by Ruby Dee, Roy Rogers, and Walter Payton capture the special joys that children bring to a marriage. Long-married couples look back on a lifetime of love --- and look forward to the future with hope. Lists of the ten best books, songs, movies, and sitcoms about marriage, along with evocative illustrations, round off this unusual, multifaceted look at marital bliss.
Filled with stories, memories, and musings, I Like Being Married not only is an ideal gift for showers, weddings, and anniversaries but is the perfect way to explore the true meaning of marriage.
An Excerpt from the Book:
To Perfect to Last by C.S. Lewis
"It was too perfect to last," so I am tempted to say of our marriage. But it can be meant in two ways. It may be grimly pessimistic --- as if God no sooner saw two of His creatures happy than He stopped it ("None of that here!"). As if He were like the Hostess at the sherry-party who separates two guests the moment they show signs of having got into a real conversation. But it could also mean "This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged." As if God said, "Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next." When you have learned to do quadratics and enjoy doing them you will not be set them much longer. The teacher moves you on.
For we did learn and achieve something. There is, hidden or flaunted, a sword between the sexes till an entire marriage reconciles them. It is arrogance in us to call frankness, fairness, and chivalry "masculine" when we see them in a woman; it is arrogance in them, to describe a man's sensitiveness or tact or tenderness as "feminine." But also what poor, warped fragments of humanity most mere men and mere women must be to make the implications of that arrogance plausible. Marriage heals this. Jointly the two become full human. "In the image of God He created them." Thus, by a paradox, this carnival of sexuality leads us out beyond the sexes.
And then one or other dies. And we think of this as love cut short; like a dance stopped in mid career or a flower with its head unluckily snapped off --- something truncated and therefore, lacking its due shape. I wonder. If, as I can't help suspecting, the dead also feel the pains of separation (and this maybe one of their purgatorial sufferings), then for both lovers, and for all pairs of lovers without exception, bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer. It is not a truncation of the process but one of its phases; not the interruption of the dance, but the next figure. We are "taken out of ourselves" by the loved one while she is here. Then comes the tragic figure of the dance in which we must learn to be still taken out of ourselves though the bodily presence is withdrawn, to love the very Her, and not fall back to loving our past, or our memory, or our sorrow, or our relief from sorrow, or our own love. . .
What we want is to live our marriage well and faithfully through that phase too. If it hurts (and it certainly will) we accept the pains as a necessary part of this phase. We don't want to escape them at the price of desertion or divorce. Killing the dead a second time. We were one flesh. Now that it has been cut in two, we don't want to pretend that it is whole and complete. We will be still married, still in love. Therefore we shall still ache. But we are not at all --- if we understand ourselves --- seeking the aches for their own sake. The less of them the better, so long as the marriage is preserved. And the more joy there can be in the marriage between dead and living, the better.
Yoko Ono, married to John Lennon from 1969 until his death in 1980
Love will never die. Once you know somebody, you can never unknow that person. And knowing is loving. So you can never get out of love. There might be misunderstandings and separating for other reasons, but love is always there . . . .Love is a soul thing. It stays here.
Table of Contents:
1. Marriage is
2. Marriage does
3. It's been around a long time
4. Isn't it romantic?
5. With this ring
6. Love styles of the rich and famous
7. Love knows no obstacles
8. Friends, lovers, and soul mates
9. In good times and bad
10. All in the family
11. Happy anniversary
12. Love is stronger than death
13. I do, you do, we all do --- marriage in culture
14. Something old, something new