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Trust: Missing in action where it counts

Whom do you trust? That's a big, loaded question. And at least one organisation has been putting out a Trust Barometer for 14 years now...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

'Committed': All things Marriage in a nutshell

I've just finished reading an Elizabeth Gilbert book, and it's not 'Eat, Pray Love' but the sequel 'Committed'. While the first book didn't interest me because I didn't want to know how she overcame her depression (a result of her horrible divorce). While it's fine to share your coping mechanisms with the world, I know from experience that you have to come up with your own strategies in the first place. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another.

But what caught my eye about 'Committed' was the tag line beneath the title: 'A Skeptic makes peace with Marriage'. Well, that certainly got my attention because I'm a huge skeptic and truly think marriage is overrated. And so did this author who was prepared to just live-in with her lover (Felipe) forever. But that's before the Department of Homeland Security decided that they should get married if they ever wanted to live in America together. It was either that or living abroad. So she's forced to contemplate marrying this man, and the book is a result of a fair amount of research done on the subject.

I liked the research because it was well written and confirmed my fears. Women indeed, don't get the best deal out of a marriage. Their life span shortens and if they are working, they then tend to lose 7% off their payscale. The last fact itself seemed unfair to me, considering that we don't get paid well to begin with, compared to men. So, to know that after marrying one of them, I'm likely to suffer in this way, has certainly not made marriage any more tempting in my eyes.

But the book was written so the author could work out her kinks about this issue..just like 'Eat Pray Love'. And towards the end, she does get married. What works for her is that she does know Felipe when she's put to the test. She traipses through South-east Asia for around a year with him, while immigration lawyers sorted out the mess. They lived out of dinky hotel rooms while she wrote this book and read up on the research. And the result is a must-read. I won't say I'm less skeptical now about marriage than I was last week (when I hadn't read the book) but then she does make a fairly compelling case for why it endures, in every society and culture in the world.

At the moment, I don't have her kind of border-security problems but neither do I know a Felipe. This man is 17 years older than her, divorced, with two grown-up kids (Zo and Erica who live in Australia) and she meets him in a romantic place like Bali. And he does make statements like: "A woman's place is in the kitchen. She's supposed to sit there with her feet up, enjoying a glass of wine, while watching her husband cook." And he's the one who cooks their wedding lunch, across two days of love and labouring over it. So he isn't just a glib talker but actually does know (and do) what he's talking about. Tell me, who wouldn't like this man?

He's also Brazilian, so may be I was born in the wrong country to begin with!

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