“Committed” Quotes

I recently read “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Below are the quotes I found most interesting. As always, if you like the quotes, please buy the book here.

CommittedIt doesn’t take a great genius to recognize that when you’re pushed by circumstance to do the one thing you have always most specifically loathed and feared, this can be, at the very least, an interesting growth opportunity. Page 20

The emotional place where marriage begins is not nearly as important as the emotional place where a marriage finds itself toward the end, after many years of partnership. Peach 41

Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Page 48

When we speak today, then, about “holy wedded matrimony,” or the “sanctity of marriage,” we would do well to remember that, for approximately 10 centuries, Christianity itself did not see marriage is even holy or sanctified. Marriage was certainly not modeled as the ideal state of moral being. On the contrary, the early Christian fathers regarded the habit of marriage as a somewhat repugnant worldly affair that had everything to do with sex and females and taxes and property, and nothing whatsoever to do higher concerns of Divinity. Page 58

So when modern-day religious conservatives wax nostalgic about how marriage is a sacred tradition that reaches back into history for thousands of uninterrupted years, they are absolutely correct, but in only one respect-only if they happen to be talking about Judaism. Christianity simply does not share that deep and consistent historical reverence toward matrimony. Lately it has, yes-but not originally. For the first thousand or so years of Christian history, the church regarded monogamous marriage as marginally less wicked than flat out whoring-but only very marginally. Page 58

The big romantic white weddings that we now think of as “traditional” didn’t come into being until the 19th century-not until a teenaged Queen Victoria walked down the aisle in a fluffy white gown, thereby setting the fashion trend that has never gone out of style sense. Before that, though your average European wedding day wasn’t all that much different from any other day of the week. Couples exchanged vows in impromptu ceremonies that generally lasted only a few moments. Witnesses became important on wedding days only so that later there would be no argument in the courts as to whether or not this couple had really consented to marriage-a vital question when money, land, or children were at stake. Page 62

The churches strict new prohibitions against divorce turned marriage into a life sentence-something it had never really been before, not even in ancient Hebrew society. Page 64

It wasn’t until the year 1975 that the married women of Connecticut were legally allowed to take out loans or open checking accounts without the written permission of their husbands. Page 66

A love-based marriage does not guarantee the lifelong binding contract of a clan-based marriage or an asset-based marriage; it cannot. Page 81

Maybe divorce is the tax we collectively pay as a culture for daring to believe in love-or at least, for daring to link love to such a vital social contract as matrimony. Page 83

Research shows that the more unsettled and unbalanced we feel, the more quickly and recklessly we are likely to fall in love. Page 100

When you become infatuated with somebody, you’re not really looking at that person; you’re just captivated by your own reflection, intoxicated by a dream of completion that you’ve projected on a virtual stranger. Page 101

Real, sane, mature love-the kind that pays the mortgage year after year and pick up the kids after school-is not based on infatuation but on affection and respect. Page 102

Most affairs begin, Glass wrote, when a husband or wife makes a new friend, and then an apparently harmless intimacy is born. Page 109

We were just experienced enough to recognize that relationships do sometimes end, and it seemed willfully childish to pretend that such a thing could never happen to us. Page 115

If you think it’s difficult to talk about money when you’re blissfully in love, try talking about it later, when you are disconsolate and angry and your love has died. Page 116

Mutual meekness can make for a successful partnering strategy, if it’s what both people want. Conflict averse couples prefer to let their grievances dissolve rather than fight over every point. Page 118

Noble urges notwithstanding, if you really cannot tolerate living with somebody, not even a terrorist attack can save your marriage. Page 120

The age of the couple at the time of their marriage seems to be the most significant consideration. The younger you are when you get married, the more likely you are to divorce later. Infact, you are astonishingly more likely to get divorced if you marry young. You are, for example 2 to 3 times more likely to get divorced if you marry in your teens or early 20s than if you wait until your 30s or 40s. Page 123

Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partners faults honestly and say, “I can work around that I can make something out of that.”? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, it’s always going to be pretty and sparkly, the crap underneath can ruin you. Page 130

There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody and than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves. I say this because listing our flaws so openly to each other was not some cutesy gimmick, but a real effort to reveal the points of darkness contained in our characters. Page 130

The marital kitchen can become something like a small linoleum temple where we are called up daily to practice forgiveness, as we ourselves would like to be forgiven. Page 132

In the end, it seems to me that forgiveness may be the only realistic antidote we are offered in love, to combat the inescapable disappointments of intimacy. Page 133

We must not automatically assume that matrimonial endurance is always a sign of matrimonial contentment. Page 148

She was so happy because she knew that she was indispensable to somebody else’s life. She was happy because she had a partner, because they were building something together, because she believed deeply in what they were building, because it amazed her to be included in such an undertaking. Page 165

Widespread childlessness is not quite so modern a development as we tend to believe. Page 191

I have written many pages already describing marriage s a repressive tool used against women, but it’s important to remember that marriage is often used as a repressive tool against men, too. Marriage is a harness of civilization, linking a man to set of obligations and thereby containing his restless energy. Page 197

If there is one thing I have learned over the years about men, it is that feelings of powerlessness do not usually bring forth their finest qualities. Page 205

I do forget sometimes how much it means for certain men-for certain people-to be able to provide their loved ones with material comforts of protection at all times. I forget how dangerously reduced some men can feel when that basic ability has been stripped from them. I forget how much that matters to men, what it represents. Page 210

A surefire indication that flooding is imminent is when you start using the words “always” or “never” in your argument. The Gottmans call this “going universal” as in: “you always let me down like this!” Or “I can never count on you!”. Such language absolutely murders any chance of fair or intelligent discourse. Page 214

Out of respect, we must learn how to release and confine each other with the most exquisite care, but we should never-not even for a moment-pretend that we are not confined. Page 226

Traveling through Cambodia with a Cambodian, I decided, must be something like exploring a house that had recently been the scene of a grizzly family mass murder, guided along on your tour by the only relative who managed to escape death. Page 220

It may have been a messy and botched experience, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have gone. Sometimes life is messy and botched. We do our best. We don’t always know the right move. Page 231

This is intimacy: the trading of stories in the dark. 239

What my friends and family really wanted was to be able to move on with their lives knowing with certainty where everybody stood in relationship to everybody else. Page 249

Like clockwork, the powers that be will now try to co-opt the notion of matrimony, going so far as to pretend that they invented marriage in the first place. This is what conservative Christian leadership is been doing in the Western world for several centuries now-acting as though they personally created the whole tradition of marriage and family values when in fact their religion began with a quite serious attack on marriage and family values. Page 263

Suddenly, legal matrimony starts to look less like an institution (a strict, immovable, hidebound, and dehumanizing system imposed by powerful authorities on helpless individuals) and starts to look more like a rather desperate concession (a scramble by helpless authorities to monitor the unmanageable behavior of two awfully powerful individuals). Page 264

As always, if you liked the quotes, please buy the book here.

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