Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wedded Bliss in Books

Many books focus on the dating aspect of relationships. Once the characters learn they are meant for each other, they get have a stunning wedding, happily ever after, the end. Today I want to look at what happens after the wedding with books that focus on the marriage itself as either something romantic or something filled with conflict.

Good marriages between happy couples are not largely prevalent in fiction. Sure, it's there in the background somewhere as the main character's parents or friend's relationships, but not often seen as the primary focus of a book. Fiction needs conflict so that it can make its way towards resolution. A book with no conflict, where characters are always happy, never having problems, is boring.

Unhappy marriages are seen much more, but often as a plot device used to explain why the main character fears commitment or as the motivation the main character uses to better themselves and move on to something better. Unhappy marriages can be more interesting than good marriages in fiction, but they're usually predictable. The main character meets someone who's worth commitment no matter how bad their parents marriage was. Or the character gets their self-esteem back and finds love with the right person after leaving a toxic relationship.

Bringing this back to realism in relationships (where I always tend to go), occasionally we see a real marriage. One in which the characters truly love each other, but still fight. Married couples fight. Anyone who tells you different is single, lying or still a newlywed. Being happily married does not make a couple automatically agree on everything. Disagreements about money, raising kids, or even whose responsibility it is to do the dishes arise. These issues can spiral out of control if not dealt with causing huge fights. It happens in life, but where is it in fiction?

What are some of your favorite books that focus on happy, unhappy and realistic marriages? Which type do you prefer reading?

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