Today at the bookstore, I bit my lip and committed literary blasphemy.
I, with the encouragement of my husband (I'm dragging him into this as an accomplice although he won't read it), bought "Pemberley Manor," a novel based on the "Pride and Prejudice's" Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy after they marry. I usually shy away from this type of book--an add-on by a modern writer who knows we also sigh at the "happily after ever" and yearn for more.
But is more always good for us?
I was perfectly satisfied by him telling Elizabeth that she "had bewitched him, body and soul." That was good enough for me. Close the book with a bang and insert swoon here. Please don't ruin the moment with anything more.
However, that's not when true love begins.
It begins, as Katie and I were discussing last week at lunch, at Year 7. Someone somewhere decided that Year 1 and Year 7 are the hardest years of marriage, and I may agree. Year 1 is fraught mostly with "Who are yous" in which we really begin get to know each other. And Year 7 is full of "Oh, so this is who you really ares," in which we learn the humanity of it all. That we aren't perfect. Our "happily ever afters" may easily become "hardly ever happys." The love that came so easily now comes as a choice.
I say all this in the frame of mind that I'm absolutely aware of the choice that my husband must make daily to love me...seven years after the "I do.". He knows the selfishness of my soul, my moodiness, and the very ungraceful, yet powerful, act of giving birth. I certainly can't fake any loveliness now. And yet, he chooses to love me all the same.
He, himself, is much easier to love; I'm sure of it. He out-serves me, submits to all my fears, no matter how how crazy they may be, and loves our daughter relentlessly. I could not help staring at him today with wifely wonder at the coolness that exudes from a motorcycle shirt, roughed up jeans, and aviator sunglasses that walks into a church to pay rent for his little family. He could be anywhere, working for anyone, having other women swoon all over him, and yet, he stays with us. He chooses to do this....everyday.
And, thus, I sometimes wonder about Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy...if they found it hard to keep choosing love despite Mr. Darcy's aloofness and Elizabeth's dreaminess. Surely, it wasn't just a piece of cake after Jane Austen wrote, "The End."
I know it can't be.
And so, with the hope I am right, I bought the book.