Love, Marriage, & Experimentation

uncommon-arrangements.jpgToday, Kate shares a book recommendation for grownups:

“I have long been fascinated by marriages. What keeps two people together over many years? What really goes on during all of those dinners together, those long car rides, those epic changes and everyday activities? How do some couples manage to strike the right balance between independence and interconnectedness? And how is it that some couples - even after decades - still share private smiles that suggest love and excitement, while others seem like barely more than comfortable companions?
Katie Roiphe - the wonderful writer and observer who first tackled the issue of sexual and romantic mores in her 1993 critique of campus relationships The Morning After - has returned to the subject in Uncommon Arrangements, a fascinatingly readable analysis of seven English marriages in the early part of the 20th century. Each relationship included one or more major literary or artistic figure, and each involved some sort of unusual twist on the standard pairing of marriage. Some relationships opened to include a third or even fourth person. Some involved various permutations of separation and rejoining. Some came apart and some stayed together. Most included privilege, egotism, and a certain amount of cruelty, but all are to be admired for their efforts to develop, nurture, and sustain happy and healthy long-term love in unusual and even brave circumstances.

The Morning After was an important work when I was in college, shedding harsh light on the ways in which we were coupling in the earliest years of adulthood. Fifteen years later, Uncommon Arrangements offers a new way to think about the possibilities and pitfalls of marriage, and to celebrate all over again the power of human love and devotion.”