24 women writers talk about being married – to be more precise why they still continued to be married to the man they are currently married to. All these women are American, at least by their citizenship if not ethnicity always. And most of them have been married multiple times. Editors have divided the book Why I’m Still Married into 4 parts – depending on the age of marriage. It begins with those who have been married for more than 20 years to their current husbands. And then those with 10+, then 5+ years. And then recently married ones. Initially, I thought it is an easy way to classify the pieces. But as I read I realized that age of marriage has a lot to do with how women perceive it and deal with it.
First few pieces sounded very similar. And I actually thought of putting the book down. But by the second section, it got interesting and a wide variety of marriage confessions and adjustments coming into the picture. I admired editors for choosing a wide variety of marriages. The usual ones, the long distance ones, the lesbian ones, ones with an abusive partner or a diseased partner. There is one piece on open marriage. How both the partners choose to remain married to each other despite having affairs with others throughout their marriage. The author brings out the society’s view of their marriage when they have chosen to be open about the open status of their marriage. She brings out her need to be guilt free about her choice. The chapter is curiously titled My Husband, His Girlfriend, Her Husband, My Lover, and Others.
It is amazing to read how each woman lives her marriage. I loved a piece where the author describes her marriage as the contrast between her and her spouse’s choices, but despite which they remain together. Women explore the impact of their parent’s marriage on their own. Or the ethos of their ethnic roots that impact their marriage. There is a hilarious incident where an old lady celebrates her 50th wedding anniversary without her husband – who had a parallel family in another house that gets revealed only at a funeral. Long time back I had read somewhere ‘Every marriage is a negotiation’. And if it works in your favor you continue with it else you move on. I think this notion got re-iterated with this book. Despite what appears on the outside, there is something that the marriage provides that keeps the partners bound to each other.
It made me think of Indian marriages. And I wondered if there would ever be a similar book from India. I guess not sometime in the near future. I am not sure if we even analyze our marriages in the same way as the western women. Though I am sure the variety would be as vibrant if not more with the added complexities of our extended families. I don’t think we are bold enough to bare open our intimate family lives in public. At least not yet.
Why I’m Still Married is an interesting Read.