marriage,connection,relationship,couples,secrets,unfinished business

I adored Lauren Groff’s book Fates & Furies. Which inspired this blog post & podcast episode #17. She reveals so many truths through her fiction about secrets & unfinished business & it’s impact on marriage.

I highly recommend it as a portrait of a marriage with many twists & turns. The first half of the book is told from the narcissistic, loyal & generous husbands’ point of view, the second half the wife who has kept so many secrets because of her childhood unfinished business.

Many of us have deep connections from childhood as the beginnings of our dark sides. The trick is to not expect your partner to untangle your issues from childhood. Let me explain unfinished business as something that haunts who you are over time.

You learn how much the wife has been twisted by the terrible hands she was dealt in childhood, which makes the second half more interesting. As many do, who are traumatized in childhood she builds giant walls to protect herself from the messiness of other people. She finds it very difficult to trust others & loves that this is a gift her husband has in abundance. Though she never does learn to change this within herself even after a lifetime of loving him, which she recognizes as her own mistake in the end.

Too many of us as human beings silently believe our partners will erase the scars from childhood. This is a wild, impossible expectation because it is up to each of us to figure that out. Every family leaves their children with a combination of strengths & weaknesses. It is up to us to work out a grown up understanding of our own dark sides & how they spill out onto other people.

I believe she so accurately captures the deep connections & how easy it can be to step into disconnected. As much as she loves him, she keeps profound truths from him & is deeply alone at the same time. I believe that is an ordinary path most people take. It’s easier to not share because no one wants to risk the rejection either dating or in marriage.

I highly recommend reading this novel to closely examine a marriage in all it’s complicatedness. She captures the onion layers that build over time to make us who we are. Her characters involve us as readers, because they are three dimensional. I love how we grow in our understanding of the wife by learning her story.

We live in a world that does not take the time to understand the story behind the things we say or the actions we take. Couples work is making time to delve into the deeper understandings which is the delight in getting to the second half of the book.

The author acknowledges her own ambivalence towards marriage. She shares the memorable history of the root word wife, which was dismaying all by itself, to me as a feminist. Then she goes on to share her own luck in marrying the right guy early in her life.

Make the time to read about another marriage & perhaps consider your own.

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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