Over the weekend, I read funny mom Glennon Doyle Melton’s book, Love Warrior. I loved the Carry On, Warrior about motherhood and looked forward to her follow-up about marriage. I’m a married mom myself. As a casual fan, I had only the most general awareness going in about Glennon’s marriage- the infidelity, the separation, the reconciliation, and post-publish announcement that she and her husband Craig are re-separating.
I don’t just suspect that many other seemingly pulled-together people are struggling in their marriages. I know it from conversations with friends and the fact that hundreds of thousands of women like me preordered Love Warrior. Glennon’s book was a chance to get a deep, long look into another marriage while not feeling the need to be politely reassuring. It was also a chance to feel a little less alone.
I started it late last week on the day it came out and finished it over the weekend. I read every last word and some twice. I’m glad I did but am I’m feeling conflicted.
First, it’s hundreds of pages of Glennon’s “me, me, me”- which, I suppose, is the point of a me-moir. At times, though, it’s a bit much. I couldn’t help wondering what it’s like to be one of her close, personal friends. Is it as exhausting as it seems? And, her sister, oh my. God bless this woman. Glennon’s sister is some kind of emotional endurance athlete. She’s supported her for years throughout what is amounts to a daily 100-mile introspective race through Death Valley.
What’s more is that Glennon explains her binging and boozing as behaviors driven by the deep-seeded fears of a hyper-sensitive soul. On one hand, it makes sense but on the other comes across as a bit of a post-game analysis and rationalization. I made some bad choices too. Looking back today, they still just seem like bad choices driven by yes, fear, but also immaturity, inadequate life skills, and a limited perspective on the world.
I also feel conflicted because I’m not sure what to do next. I finished it with more questions than answers. Questions like:
- Is everything “good” now? Is this kind of comeback from rock bottom a one and done- or two and done, in Glennon’s case. It would seem that counting Oprah as a new friend would make life pretty damn good from here on out.
- Is there ever a time that you can just relax and live or must we always stay on treadmill of greater self-discovery?
- How too can I have a personal breakthrough filled with wisdom-growing epiphanies? Is binging and boozing to extreme a prerequisite? I fall short in this regard.
- Should I manufacture a crisis with my husband or just start digging and assume one is buried somewhere in my marriage? If, in fact, a crisis is necessary, where can I sign up for a relatively short and easy one? It seems time-consuming right when I don’t need another “to-do” on my list.
Though questions are swirling, there were a couple of important take-aways.
- You see what you expect to see. It’s true of your husband and everything else. What you believe about their intentions can be a misleading, often painful filter from which to view their actions in your marriage. Instead, see others as flawed people who are doing the best they can with what they know.
- Anyone who suggests they know God’s direction for you better than you know yourself should be promptly ignored. And if you still reserve your conversations with God for an hour or two on Sunday, you’re missing a much greater opportunity.
- You can share your story without sharing someone else’s. Glennon is a skilled and thoughtful writer who carefully and generously tells her side without presumptively sharing any of Craig’s. It’s noteworthy that this serial philanderer emerges as one of the most endearing and sympathetic characters in the story.
- You gain balance in yoga which is good for your tree pose and other stuff.
- Breathing in a group apparently can make you feel like you’re floating in fluffy cloud of forgiveness. As lovely as this sounds, you’re it also makes you vulnerable to smelling other people’s bad breath. I must not be that bad off because I’m not willing to risk it.
- And lots of other great stuff.
When I reached the last page, I was sorry for the book to end. To me, this is a sign of something well worth reading- even through the tedious parts. I admire and appreciate Glennon’s courage and look forward to reading it again someday.