Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A banana and a muffin and a happy family

  Sigh. Perhaps the time has come to stop chucking all those flyers for hearing aids in the trash. A recent conversation with my husband went like this:

Bob: “Was there any mail today?”
Me: “Just a Humana (our insurance) and a nothing (junk).”
Bob frowns, cocks head quizzically. “A banana and a muffin?”

Now, we’ve been married long enough that I’m used to this sort of response, but it does make me wonder what our conversations will be like in the next stage of lives. Maybe we’ll just happily carry on in our own little universes spun from what we thought we heard, nodding in agreement. “Yes, a banana and a muffin.”

This got me thinking about the dynamics of communication in marriage. I had hopes of coming up with something revelatory, or at least helpful to write about when I came across my dear friend Elizabeth’s very excellent blog post about happy families and marriage. It’s not really about communication, but I like it enough to want to pass it on. 

I’ve included it below, and if you don’t make it back here—thank you for stopping by.

 May the Lord cause his face to shine upon you today and give you assurance of his faithfulness.


Elizabeth’s post  Happy Families” starts:

Tolstoy summed it up best at the beginning of Anna Karenina.  "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

I was quite indignant with that when I first attempted Tolstoy in ninth grade (I went through a sincere Russophilia stage in high school).  My family was happy.  Idyllic even.  And we were not like the other happy families we knew.

Seventeen years and seven wedding anniversaries later, I'm finally able to wrap my head around the Anna Karenina principle: what makes a family happy is universally the same, but a family can be unhappy in an infinite number of ways.

In fairness to my angst-filled young self, happy families are complicated.  What makes Tolstoy's line resonate century after century, is that it is really all that can be written about happy families.

Marriage is impossibly intricate. My dad once said "there's a reason so many stories end with 'and they lived happily ever after.'"   I think there is something to that.  It's not that life ends after the wedding, it's just that life after the wedding is too complicated for fairy tales.    Read more


  1. I love the conversationbetween you and Bob. Sometimes I wonder what it'd be like to hear recordings of the things we say. This one'd be great.

  2. Misunderstanding probably happens all the time. Probably be funny to hear!

  3. That's hilarious, Marcia although it hits a little too close to home these days. :) I enjoyed Elizabeth's site too. Very insightful post on communication. Thanks!! (Wish I wasn't reading this so late. The muffins are look pretty good right about now.)


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