Sunday, May 17, 2009

Marriage

by Christie Kelley

On Tuesday, my husband and I will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. It’s quite an accomplishment these days. To celebrate we are going to lunch on Tuesday and then in July we are heading to Italy (just the two of us) for 10 days. I’m a little amazed that I’ve lived with this man for so long and still love him. That's us 25 years ago.

But as I started to think about my anniversary and marriage in detail, the romance writer in me came out. I know so few people who stay married to the same person for that length of time. And anymore, I know so few people who are getting married. When I write my happy endings, I expect my characters will get married. So far, the reader sees that in all my epilogues. Yet, I know more people who are either not married by choice, divorced, or on marriage number two (or three).

I read a statistic the other day that the number of unmarried women will soon surpass the number of married women. I was shocked when I read that. Are woman growing up cynical of marriage? Of my 11 nieces and nephews that are what I would consider marriageable age (over 23+) only one of them is about to be married next month.

Then I looked at my immediate family. My parents were married for 51 years before my father died. Of my eight brothers and sisters, four of them have already passed the 25th anniversary with their spouse. And four of them have divorced. So according to the statistics, my family is pretty normal (really, we’re all a little crazy).

It makes me wonder if this is part of the reason romance novels are so popular. Is it escapism that people can be happily married? We all know marriage is hard work. In romances, a lot of times it’s the courtship that is hard on both the hero and heroine. They have to earn that happy ending. So once they do, will their marriage be any easier? I hope so! I actually love to read a story that ends as the couple gets married. That way, I can imagine them having a perfectly wonderful life together without all the hard work that a real marriage goes through.

What do you all think? Tell me what you think about marriage. Do you think characters deserve an easy time of it after a tough courtship? Do you like to read about the characters getting married or is the “I love you” enough?



116 comments:

Barbara said...

Congrats on your anniversary, Christie!! 25 years is really wonderful!

I've been with my husband 12 years, married 8 and we're still going strong. I think that's pretty darn good considering I met him at 17 and now have two little kids causing havoc on a daily basis, lol ;)

Joan said...

Barbara!

Not only have you got a great husband but now the Golden Rooster too!

Some women have all the luck :-)

Virginia said...

Congrats Barbara you got that rooster today! He is most likely spoil to Tim Tams now!

Congratulation Christie on your 25 anniversary! My 25 comes up this year in September. I will always say it has been 25 long hard years and it is if you think about it. There is a lot of work involved to keep a marrage going. It takes two people working together to make it work.

Joan said...

Christie,

Congratulations on your Silver Anniversary! My, ya'll are a handsome couple.

I gave up looking a statistics long ago (and horoscope predictions of "your going to meet a man")

I can't speak for the rest of womanhood but this single lady is still single NOT because of cynism but refusal to "settle".

And you know despite the time lapse, I STILL believe PC is out there somewhere waiting for me!

And I ADORE epilouges with the married/family life after struggle. Sigh...love them.

Cecile said...

That is a big CONGRATS for you honey!!! I admire that sooo much and am envious of you (((yea, a little green is coming through))).

I am on marriage number 2 and we have been married going to be 3 yrs in a little over a week. Number 1 cheated; we were married for 8 yrs. My parents divorced when I was 8 yrs old. My Mom's 7 brothers & sisters are the same as your Mom's. Half are divorced, remarried and the other half is still married to the same person. My grandparents were married for 64 years ~ my grandmother passed away last year. To me that was a dream... but then I learned what my grandmother endured at the time of her "era" that is just the way it was for them.

My view on marriage is that it is something that should rock your world. In real life, when I hear that that is actually someone's marriage.. I am like "you go." But in my real life... the rocking of your world is for the good and bad. That is where you build the character.

Now my characters on the other hand... as long as I know that they love each other and nothing will come between them at the end of the story.. I don't have to read about them getting married. As long as I know they rock each others world... then all is good in the land of make believe!
Again... Congrats!!!

PJ said...

Happy 25th Anniversary, Christie! What a nice gift you're giving yourselves this summer. An anniversary trip to Italy is *so* romantic!

My late dh and I were married for 25 years. It wasn't always easy but I think that anything worthwhile is worth working for.

I believe strongly in marriage even though I'm currently enjoying life as a single lady. I do like my romances to end with marriage, or at least the promise of marriage, and I adore epilogues that give me a glimpse into the couple's life together down the road.

Congrats on the GR, Barbara!

limecello said...

Congratulations on your 25th wedding anniversary, Christie! And you're right - sadly that is becoming more and more rare. Today is I guess a "big day" for me, because I graduate. In fact I have to be at commencement in less than 12 hours...
I think marriage is good, and I'd like to get married some day - just not now. (Although the prospect will look better and better if I can't find a job. :P JOKING!) I like romances to have the semblance of realism, so depending on how rough the courtship was, would dictate how the marriage goes, I guess.
I used to expect the hero/heroine to get married. In fact, I was disappointed, and even weirded out when it didn't happen. Then it continued to happen again and again, so I got used to it. Now, what I don't like is the "happy ending" with the hero and heroine "together for now." Um, that's not comforting at all. That stresses me out, and I hate when a romance fakes me out like that.

Anna Campbell said...

Barbara, congratulations on the chook! Has he visited your house before? If not, batten down the hatches, my friend. AND the hatchlings!

Christie, huge congratulations on the 25 happy years together with your husband. That's a wonderful achievement and I wish you many more happy years together. And what a lovely wedding photo!

I must say, writing historicals, I like to end with the promise of marriage. So far, I haven't actually written a marriage scene. Actually that's not true - there's a marriage of convenience in Captive of Sin but there's trouble ahead in them thar hills before they get their happy ending.

jo robertson said...

Super congratulations on your 25th anniversary, Christie. That's quite an accomplishment!

Yay you on the rooster, Barbara. Is this your first time getting the chook? Wow, married at 17? That's amazing. My mom was 17 when she married my dad and their marriage lasted 50 years until his death.

I guess I'm pretty traditional, having been married a long time to the same fellow (Dr. Big, who's driving me crazy today because he's sick -- why are men such babies when they're ill -- oops, sorry I digress LOL).

But I really believe every couple has to find what works for them. I think the important thing is the commitment. If you're ready to run at the first sign of trouble, well, that's not real commitment. And I think most women want someone who's devoted to them in good times and bad.

jo robertson said...

Wow, Limecello, graduation, huh? Super congratulations! Now that's an accomplishment worth celebrating. Have fun during all the pomp and ceremony!

Christie, forgot to say what a darling couple you and your husband were (and still are, of course!). Uh, can I sneak into an extra suitcase. I'm soooo jealous of your going to Italy. Yum!

Anna Campbell said...

Limecello, best of luck for graduation tomorrow and huge congratulations! Yay, you!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yeah, Christie! Congrats! :> It's a huge accomplishment to stay, I think. And an even huge-er one to be happy in it. So GO YOU!!! (And whoohooo on Italy!)

I had my tenth anniversary with my darling man in April. Wait, deja vu, Tawny and I were discussing this just the other day on the blog...

I'm a statistic, though. Married early, divorced. And like JT, for number 2 I waited. And waited. Lordy, I thought he'd NEVER show up, but he was worth every minute of the wait. :>

I have to say I'm with Lime. I like the absolute resolution that they're together, gonna get married, etc. I too find it stressful to have the story end "we're gonna be together for now, see how it goes."

I also believe that if you've put them through a tough courtship, you for SURE have to give 'em a always-together-happy-ending.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wait, tommorrow, Lime?? CONGRATS!! WOOHOOO! *tossing imaginary confetti your way* Go YOU!

Jo, had to LOL about Dr. Big being a irritating patient. RA is too, so I'm thankful that he's so seldom ill. *sending prayful thanks heavenward*

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Barbara.

Hi Christie,
Congrats on your 25th anniversary. I think marriage is great, but I also believe that it's not for everyone. I love it when the characters get their HEA, but I don't need them to get married in order for me to be satisfied. I just need to know that they're committed to each other.

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Congratulations Christie, my husband and I also celebrated our 25th this year. I'm like you and love to see my romances end with a marriage (probably why I love Jane Austen). I think all woman should read romance novels when they get married, if you are smart it gives you lots of fun ideas!

Tawny said...

Awww, Christie, what a gorgeous wedding picture :-) Congratulations on 25 years! Wow, that's a fabulous testament to HEA, yes?

I'm going to go with Lime on this one (Lime - whohoooooo to you, too!! YAY on graduating... I'll bet it FELT like 25 years getting there, huh?) and say I prefer my happy endings to fulfill my concept of falling in love. ie: We're crazy for each other and plan to spend the rest of our lives together. I don't have to see the wedding, or even the proposal, but I prefer not to see anything that leads me to believe it won't happen.

Barbara, Congrats on the rooster :-)

Christine Wells said...

Hi Christie! Wow, 25 years is amazing, a real achievement. Congratulations! And here's to many, many more.

In a contemporary romance I don't need to see marriage if the couple don't believe in marriage but there has to be a firm commitment. I don't want to have gone through all the ups and downs of the courtship to be told at the end that he may not be Mr. Right, but he's Mr. Right Now. Gah. I want the HEA. Different in historicals. There, I want the wedding or at least the proposal.

Afterwards, I'd like to think that the couple can work it out when things get tough, as things tend to do.

Congrats on winning the Golden Rooster, Barbara!

Limecello, good luck for your graduation! Yay!!

Helen said...

Well done Barbara enjoy your day with him, he really likes playing with kids and can keep them occupied for a while.

Cogratulations Christie 25 years is a real milestone these days I have to agree. I have been married 32 years now and as your all know we have been together since I was 15 and Ron was 17 and yes still very happy although we have had our ups and downs I wouldn't want anyone else.

I have four children three of them have children and live with their partners but none of them want to get married they always say why we consider ourselves life partners and don't want to go to the costs for a piece of paper I just think it is sad I would love to see them marry.
My hubby is one of 6 children and he is the only one that is married 2 of my sisters are married and 1 is still single and out of 4 marriagble nieces and nephews only 1 is married although there are no divorces in our families so that is one good thing.

Have a wonderful day and of course when you get to Italy have a grand time

Have Fun
Helen

Helen said...

I forgot to say that I love weddings in the end of a romance book and do like to think of them having an easier time than the courtship although some of the courtships are so much fun but I am happy with the I love You as well

Have Fun
Helen

Suzanne McLeod said...

Congrats on your anniversary, Christie! Yay!

Hubby and I have just celebrated our 16th :-) and we've been together for nearly 20 years [all of them happy if not always easy, but that's the way life is :-)]

Romance in fiction *is* escapism, since the hero and heroine have to have some conflict before they get together otherwise their 'fictional' story doesn't always work as great reading ... but hopefully in real life, romance goes a big easier for all of us :-)

Caren Crane said...

Barbara, be very, very careful with the Golden Rooster today. He caused all manner of havoc at Jeanne's house yesterday. I recommend you put him on restriction (or maybe under house arrest) and isolate him. And he does NOT need to be fed much at all, but he may need quick access to "facilities" to rid himself of a load of popcorn...

Caren Crane said...

Christie, congratulations on 25 wonderful years! My husband and I started dating 21 years ago next month and will celebrate our 17th anniversary in November. My parents had a horrible divorce and I didn't want to get married until I was sure. Um...I never became sure.

I was terrified when we married and our first few years were really, really hard. We have had hard patches since then, too. Some really hard patches. But the good times are great and I love him even when I want to kill him.

There is something to be said for working hard and sticking with something through thick and thin. I think, these days, young people are encouraged to "move on" when things get hard: find a new job, find a new mate, get a new life. The art of perseverance seems to be out of fashion these days.

I have hope that the kids all these unwed couples are having will get disgusted with their parents' lack of commitment and decide to start a new trend: getting married. Most everything else seems to be cyclical, so maybe marriage is too these days?

Joan said...

Congratulations on your gradutation, Limecello!

Woohoo!!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Alaine, congrats on YOUR 25 years too.

And Helen! Wow! 32 years? That's fabulous. Interesting that your kids don't want to marry. I have a friend in England who wants to marry but she's been told the tax consequences are enormous, with her 6 figure job and his equally lucrative salary. They've been thinking of having a ceremony but not registering it.

Weird, eh?

Christie Kelley said...

Barbara, congrats on catching the GR. You know what, I met my husband when I was 17 too. Okay, it was really 3 weeks before my 18th birthday, but still, I was technically 18.

Christie Kelley said...

Virginia, thank you and congrats on your 25th as well. Marriage is definitely hard work but worth all the blood, sweat and tears we put into it.

Christie Kelley said...

Joanie, I truly believe we find our soulmates. Yours is out there and we are going to have to do some serious hunting. I think we need to send the GR out undercover to find him for you. After spending time with p226, I think the GR could manage this.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who loves to see an epilogue showing the couple married.

Christie Kelley said...

Cecile, thank you for the congrats. And WOW to your grandparents and 64 years. That is amazing!

Christie Kelley said...

Thanks, PJ! I'm glad you're enjoying your single time now.

Christie Kelley said...

limecello, major congratulations on your graduation today!! That is fantastic!

(Although the prospect will look better and better if I can't find a job. :P JOKING!) Okay, this really cracked me up this morning.

Christie Kelley said...

Thanks, Anna. Ah, the marriage of convenience. I haven't written one of those yet. Maybe someday. I do think they could be fun to write.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Jo, and thanks for the congrats!

(Dr. Big, who's driving me crazy today because he's sick -- why are men such babies when they're ill -- oops, sorry I digress LOL).You know, I think that is a topic for another blog day. LOL

Christie Kelley said...

jo robertson said...

Christie, forgot to say what a darling couple you and your husband were (and still are, of course!). Uh, can I sneak into an extra suitcase. I'm soooo jealous of your going to Italy. Yum!
The worst part is the man turned 50 this year and his hair is still the same color! He has a tiny bit of gray in there but you have to look for it. It's sooooo not fair.

And sorry, but if you try to squeeze into my luggage you'll probably find my kids who want to sneak aboard with us.

Christie Kelley said...

Jeanne, thanks on the congrats and remember, we're all statistics in some manner :)

And I agree that if a couple gets a tough courtship they better get a happy ending too.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Jane, thank you for the congrats.

I do like the committed endings and in my paranormal ms I felt I had to end it that way. They hadn't known each other for long so having them committ to marriage at that point wouldn't have worked for me.

Christie Kelley said...

Alaine, thank you and congratulations on your 25th. Wow, 1984 must have been a good year for marriages (except my brother's).

Christie Kelley said...

Tawny, thank you! And you know as I've been reading these comments I've been thinking. Writing mostly historicals, I think readers want that committment of marriage more than in contemporaries.

What do you all think?

Christie Kelley said...

Christine, how funny! I hadn't read your comment when I answered Tawny's post. I totally agree with you!

Christie Kelley said...

Helen, thank you! And that is interesting about your children. Like I said, 11 nieces and nephews and only 1 getting married. There is talk that another of my nephews might get married if he gets deployed to Iraq this fall.

Kirsten said...

Hi Christie, and congratulations!! What an adorable picture-you haven't changed a bit! :-)

I've been married eleven years, and I know I'm supposed to say "marriage is hard" but really, it's been incredibly easy. I adore my husband to the ends of my toes. We are just made for each other. Perhaps because no one else could live with us...

I don't need an actual wedding, but I do like the epilogues with babies. I like to see Mr. Alpha brought low by an infant.

But that's mainly for historicals, I think. For a contemporary romance, I don't mind an ending that doesn't specify -- like Tawny's Blaze's. You can fill in the blank with your own HEA -- whether that's marriage or not. :-)

Kirsten said...

Barbara, I always wondered who ran away with Prince Charming. I just adore that guy -- my first big crush!

"No carrots!" ;-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Absolutely in historicals...I mean it's logical, right? You've got them totally in love and engrossed in one another. There wasn't an option for "hey, lets live in sin and see how it goes." Grins.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Suzanne, thank you on the congrats! And congrats to you on 16 years.

It's fun to read some romances and see the conflict and wonder how you would handle that situation. I'm not sure I'd hang in with some of the situations.

Treethyme said...

Congratulations on your 25th, and have a wonderful time in Italy! I've been there twice, and it's the most romantic place I've ever been! (Well, Kauai tied with it.)

My parents have been married for 58 years and my husband's parents were married even longer. We both agree, we'd rather jump off a tall building than have a marriage like either of those.

Our marriage is weird in a lot of ways. We got married at 19 - I'd had a long-term boyfriend before I met my husband, but I was his first serious girlfriend. My son, who is considering getting married after his girlfriend finishes college, has been picking my brain about what it was like for us "back in the day." He thinks its weird that we bought $39 wedding bands but never really wore them; later, my husband got a nice one but I never wanted one.

The wedding was my mom's thing; we would have been happy to elope. And my husband never proposed -- we knew from day one we were in it for the long haul, just started picking a wedding date one day. This drives my son, the planner, insane.

We went for counseling meetings with my pastor (and just found him on Twitter recently!), and instead of the traditional vows, used this:

You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Kahlil Gibran
The Prophet

We both grew up in dysfunctional families - my parents were volatile, unpredictable, unable to deal with five kids; his were cold and uncaring. Although we didn't realize it for years -- or wouldn't admit it -- that's probably one reason why we got married so young. We both wanted to get far, far from our parents.

Instead of vowing "till death to us part," we privately agreed that marriage was for society; love was something else altogether. We said we'd stay together as long as we loved each other and LIKED each other, and if that ever changed, we'd go our own ways. Although, there have been many times I've thought while I didn't want to divorce him, I have considered murder!

We both feel that maybe our "agreement" took the pressure off. We both felt as if, if we ever felt the pressure to leave, we'd just leave. And so, 39 years after our first date, we're still together.

My daughter just broke up with her boyfriend of four years; it was very painful, but he was older and wanted to settle down; she didn't feel ready to do that (at 26) and I totally agree with her. My son, at 22, is closer to settling down than she is (he had a 5-year relationship that lasted through all of high school and part of college; the new girlfriend may be "it."

I think it depends on the individual, and on what the partners feel about long-term relationships. In my family, we tend to fall hard and long.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kirsten, I'm with you. Marriage to my DH has been wonderful rather than hard. There have been hard circumstances, which we've weathered together, but life with him? Delicious.

Maybe it's the having "been there, done that" with Mr. Wrong, or being an older bride when I got hitched to Mr. Absolutely Right, but we are very forgiving of one another's flaws. :> And I think too that no one else could live with us! Ha, ha!

Christie Kelley said...

Thanks, Caren!

Caren Crane said...

There is something to be said for working hard and sticking with something through thick and thin. I think, these days, young people are encouraged to "move on" when things get hard: find a new job, find a new mate, get a new life. The art of perseverance seems to be out of fashion these days.
I think this is so true! One of the things that have gotten my husband and I through rough patches is remembering what brought us together.

Christie Kelley said...

Kirsten, thank you and I love to hear about people who have easy marriages. Mine has been easy and hard but overall, wonderful.

And I agree hat contemporaries might not need that actual committment. A hero being brought down by a baby is a fantastic thing. LOL

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Becke said: there have been many times I've thought while I didn't want to divorce him, I have considered murder!

Heehee. Well, now, this is a WHOLE different subject!

I jokingly say that as much as I adore him, there are still times I'd as soon lock him in a closet and throw away the key as look at him. :>

Joan said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who loves to see an epilogue showing the couple married....

And one or more babies running the hero ragged while another is in "the oven". And the hero? Couldn't be happier :-)

Joan said...

Treethyme, those vows were BEYOND beautiful!!!!!

{Scribbling them down to put into my weathered hope chest}

traveler said...

Congratulations on your 25th Christie! I have been married 39 years on May 24. We married young and my two sons are both married and married young. It takes trust, work and devotion. Lucky you to celebrate in Italy. Would love to hear all about this trip and where you are going.

Christie Kelley said...

Becke, what a lovely post. The vows were beautiful.

Sorry about your daughter's breakup. My almost 17 year old broke up with his first girlfriend (she broke up with him). It's never easy to see your son or daughter go through the pain of heartache.

Christie Kelley said...

Jeanne and Becke, we all feel that way about our spouses or significant others at times. :)

Christie Kelley said...

travel, thank you! And wow and congrats to 39 years.

I promise, I will blog and post pictures in August about my trip to Italy. I've never been to Europe so I can't wait.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Traveler, WHOA! So far you're gettin' the prize.

THIRTY NINE years? Wow.

Hey, does it still sometimes feel like "just yesterday" when you've been married that long?

At ten years married to my darling DH, there are still days where it feels like we just met yesterday. I'm curious as to whether it still feels that way at 25 and 32 and 39 years.

Stacey Kayne said...

Love that wedding pic, Christie!! Congratulations on 25 years!!!

I wonder how many of those single women were divorced. I thank God I started writing when I did, because romance novels saved my marriage, and that's no lie :) When you marry at 18 you are too young to know what to expect out of yourself much less a SPOUSE. Just being married was hard and when we added kids to the mix five years later love came close to hate and rough became miserable. I'd read a couple romance novels while in my twenties and refused to read any more (even though I loved both LaVyrle Spencer books) because they flat depressed me. I wanted to feel that kind of love and devotion. But I figured it had to be pure fiction--real life was constant fights and working against each other. It wasn't until I started writing westerns, joined RWA and met all these 'happily married' authors that I realized how much our marriage was suffering. I realized I deserved a husband who'd encourage my dreams and work with me in forging our future together--I went home from my first conference and told him so. And he listened :)

We'd fallen in love as teens, became mortal enemies in our twenties and found love again at thirty thanks to some great "romance guides". We celebrated our 20th anniversary in February. Reading romance for me is a celebration of what can happen when love goes right. The rougher the journey, the more fulfilling of that HEA. I also like an ending that has some realism to it---there are still going to be tough times ahead, but life is brighter because they are together to share in the good and help each other through the bad. I think that's why I like a series so much, because you get to see those couples facing hard times together as their friends or relatives take a shot at love.

Treethyme said...

"We'd fallen in love as teens, became mortal enemies in our twenties and found love again at thirty thanks to some great "romance guides". We celebrated our 20th anniversary in February."

I love stories like this!

Gannon Carr said...

Congrats, Christie on your 25th anniversary! And your trip to Italy sounds very romantic. It is a marvelous country and a perfect place to celebrate together.

My dh and I will celebrate our 21st anniversary this July. I can't imagine life without him. We were just discussing the other day how many of our friends are divorced--some of them more than once. I think some people go into marriage thinking, "oh well, if it doesn't work out, we can get divorced." Anything worth having takes work, but it is worth every minute!

Becke, I love the Kahlil Gibran quote; in fact, I gave my dh a copy of The Prophet years ago.

Congrats on nabbing that naughty rooster, Barbara.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Wow, Stacey, that's fabulous! Congrats on those challening and now wonderful years together.

It's truly inspiring to have you say that you decided you deserved better. What a cool thing that books had that kind of impact. May we all be so lucky as to impact a reader that way.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Gannon, congrats on the 21 years. :> Good for you!!

Christie Kelley said...

Stacey, what a wonderful story. I married young too (not 18 though) and thought I knew what I wanted out of life then. Yeah, right. Congratulations on 20 years.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Gannon! Thanks for the congrats and congraduations to you on 21 years together. My husband and I went through a period where a lot of our friends and family were divorcing. It really made us look at our marriage too. We didn't want to end up that way.

Treethyme said...

Christie - you do look young in that picture. It makes me feel old just looking at it!

Mari said...

I like to read that the characters say "I love You". I don't mind if marriage and babies happen in the epilogue.

Congrats on your anniversary, may you have many more happy years together.

Nancy said...

Barbara, congrats on the rooster and on your 12 years together! I love your graphic. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney movie, and the demise, through slow leakage, of my Sleeping Beauty snowglobe is killing me!

We just have one son, and he created havoc. I once heard a father of twins say, "If you have two kids under age 5, they outnumber you."

Nancy said...

Christie, congratulations on your quarter-century together. That trip sounds fabulous, and I love your wedding picture!

That statistic about women and marriage is kind of mind-blowing. I do think people are becoming cynical about marriage. The divorce rate has been high for long enough that a lot of people now of "marriageable age" have divorced parents and so don't have a role model for what to do when things get tough, besides split, or maybe don't think salvaging a relationship when things get rocky is possible. Or maybe they've never had a relationship that was worth it.

But I do think a lot of people want to believe it's possible, and maybe romance fiction reinforces that. Contrary to popular stereotyping, though, I believe romance readers are as much aware this is a fantasy as are readers of fantasy and SF. Things do not always come out well for two perfectly nice people, and we all know it.

I was actually thinking about genre fiction earlier this morning. I prefer it to its literary cousins for all the reasons "serious" critics mock it. Justice triumphs at the end, those who deserve to win do (though wonderful secondary characters sometimes die, and the victories often carry a high price), and the villain gets his (or hers) in the end.

In romance, the same things hold true, but the win is the HEA or promise of it (and the promise suffices for me, though I never skip a wedding epilogue!).

Some people, it seems to me, disdain genre fiction because "life isn't like that." But I think it's people who see the possibility who make things happen. I think when people stop believing that's possible, we're in trouble.

I love the song from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, "Impossible."

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: Some people, it seems to me, disdain genre fiction because "life isn't like that." But I think it's people who see the possibility who make things happen. I think when people stop believing that's possible, we're in trouble.


You're so right, Nancy. And I have to say that there are SO many things that happen in "real life" that you can't get away with writing in fiction because people say, "oh, that couldn't happen."

Riiiiiiight. That's why last Tuesday... Grins.

Christie Kelley said...

Becke, looking at the picture makes me feel old.

Christie Kelley said...

Hi Mari, thanks for the congrats.

It is funny but I want the marriage and maybe even the baby thing in historicals. I don't care so much in the contemporaries.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

As another comment to your "real life isn't like that" comment, Nancy, I have to also say that I've never read a work Literary Ficion that was either life like or that I would ever want in MY life.

I guess i like writing books that show that no matter how tough - and hey, I put my characters through hell - you CAN find HEA. It's like a ray of hope, you know? And my own situation wasn't lovely when I determined I'd never settle for less that a full partner in life.

Got it too, so I'm living proof that HEA can happen. Anyone who says it isn't "real" needs to come chat with me and Jo, and Helen, and Kirsten...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

And Nancy, and Christie, and Anna, and Tawny...

Anna Campbell said...

Stacey, that's an amazing story. And so inspiring! Wow! Thanks for telling us.

Actually, you've got a similar idea about HEA to me. I don't imagine my couples walking into the sunset and never having a moment's trouble or worry again. But I like to feel that through what they go through in my stories, they've shown they can weather any storm and come out at the end still loving each other so they'll come through anything life throws at them.

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy, thanks! And I love your philosophy:

But I think it's people who see the possibility who make things happen. I think when people stop believing that's possible, we're in trouble.

I so agree. I love genre fiction. I really wish my book club would read more of it.

Christie Kelley said...

Anna, for me, I want to believe that my fictional couples will have an easy marriage. That they are perfect for each other, but that's my fantasy for them :)

Susan Sey said...

Congratulations, Christie! Your wedding picture is absolutely gorgeous. You & your husband look so in love & happy, & really, tangibly TOGETHER somehow. I hope Italy is everything you dream it will be.

For me, being married has been a whole lot easier than finding the right guy to marry. I was almost 28 when I got married so I'd had a few long-term relationships under my belt & was starting to get jaded. I was in that vulnerable place where if somebody had said to me, "You're being naive, you've ready too many romance novels. This is real life. *I'm* real life. It's not perfect, you have to settle for good enough," I might have fallen for it.

Then I met my DH & I was a goner. It was JUST LIKE in the romance novels. (so POOH on all the haters.)

No, I didn't fall on him in an uncontrollable swish of mad passion. I did, however, drive home from our first date feeling like I'd been hit very hard on the head. You know how that is? When you know something big just happened, but your senses aren't exactly helping you out with any useful intel just yet? That was how he struck me. I knew within hours that something life changing had happened. It just took me the better part of a year to figure out what exactly it was & get on board.

True to form, he figured it out in about a week & a half, then spent the next year patiently waiting for me to catch up.

Thankfully, I did. And eleven years, one ring, one degree & two babies later, I'm still thanking my lucky stars.

So hang in there, JT, & anybody else who's still waiting on her prince charming. They turn up at the weirdest times & in the unlikliest places.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Susan said: So hang in there, JT, & anybody else who's still waiting on her prince charming. They turn up at the weirdest times & in the unlikliest places.


Yep. Totally true. And when you least expect it.

Then agian, I had a friend who used to constantly tell me this: It'll happen when you least expect it!

Yeah, right.

So whenever she'd ask me how I was doing, I'd say, "Oh, I'm busy being least expectant."

Joan said...

"Oh, I'm busy being least expectant." ...

LOL, Jeanne.

So true, so true

Kate Diamond said...

First of all, congratulations on your 25 years of marriage.

And, wow. Good question!

I would be interested to learn about the sub-statistics within the statistics you quoted.

For instance, I am not Mormon, but I grew up with many friends who are. They are almost ALL already married and most have several children. Statistically, Mormons have a lower divorce rate than the rest of the country.

I'd be interested to know the statistics for Mormon marriage and divorce rates!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Christie, I absolutely think my couples are perfect for each other - which is what will help them get through the things life inevitably chucks at people. I don't think anyone has a completely trouble-free existence, even fictional heroes and heroines.

Nancy said...

Virginia, congratulations on your 25 years! Our anniversary is also in September, and so was my parents'.

I agree with you that marriage is work. And compromise. And I think, commonality of goals. Or at least, goals that are not mutually incompatible and respect for each other's dreams.

Nancy said...

JT, statistics lie. Around the time I hit 30, one of the weekly news magazines published an article saying that if you were over 30 and had never married, you had better odds of dying in a terrorist attack (and this was long before 9/11) than of getting married. So I figured I was probably not going to find PC. Maybe he'd died in a car wreck or lived on the other side of the country, or maybe I was just too unconventional, in a geeky sort of way.

And I made my peace with the idea that it might always ever be just me. And two years later, there he was. So you keep tossing those stats out the window and keep being your own wonderful self and not settling. 'Cause you never know who's around the next bend in life's road.

Nancy said...

Limecello, whoo-hoo and a high five on your graduation! Congratulations on making it through. I hope your dream job falls into your lap in short order.

Nancy said...

Anna C. wrote: Actually that's not true - there's a marriage of convenience in Captive of Sin but there's trouble ahead in them thar hills before they get their happy ending. . . .

I like marriage of convenience stories. Of course, I'm now curious and really not wanting to wait!

Nancy said...

Cecile, congratulatons on your upcoming anniversary! I'm glad #2 is turning out better than #1.

Yes, rocking the world can be good and bad. Definitely.

Nancy said...

Jo wrote: But I really believe every couple has to find what works for them. I think the important thing is the commitment. . . .

I think so, too. And there are some things no relationship can withstand. Some things no one should tolerate, but the person who does those things was not committed to the relationship, and the commitment street has to run two ways.

Nancy said...

Jo, sorry the dh isn't well. My dad, ordinarily a courteous, appreciative man, was surly when he got sick--according to my mom. Of course, when he was sick enough to admit it, that was pretty sick. He generally maintained a state of denial about illness.

Wishing Dr. Big (and you) a speedy recovery!

Nancy said...

Alaine, congratulations on your silver anniversary!

Nancy said...

Jeanne, the dh also married early and divorced. Which is how he came to be available for moi, so I view this as a good thing. :-)

He's in the kitchen making yummy Mediterranean eggplant, a recipe of his own creation, for supper. This is also a good thing.

I survived pre-marriage by knowing how to fix five things and find Wendy's. He, OTOH, had been an assistant cook in a day care center. I never loved the kitchen, so it's good that he does.

In college, I worked at the campus radio station and learned, among other things, how to hook up various kinds of sound equipment. Electronics in general make his brain go "tilt," a contrast that makes them my department.

The main people who worried about our nontraditional division of labor were my older female relatives. As so many people have said, you have to find what works for your mix.

Nancy said...

Suzanne, congratulations on your 20 years! I hope the next 20 are as good.

Nancy said...

PJ, I like epilogues, too, and I fear the trend to shorter books will put an end to them.

Nancy said...

Jeanne wrote: I guess i like writing books that show that no matter how tough - and hey, I put my characters through hell - you CAN find HEA. . . .

Yes, you surely do put your characters through hell. They probably sit off-page scheming to get back at you. And I can't wait to see how you're tormenting this next pair.

Oh, I finally found Trish's book! One more stone on the TBR mountain . . .

Nancy said...

Caren wrote: I was terrified when we married and our first few years were really, really hard.I was terrified, too, Caren. After working to become emotionally independent, I was scared to give that up and let somebody else have that kind of hold on my heart. And it hasn't always been easy, but the good times have far outweighed the tough ones.

I sometimes envy the couples for whom it's easy, the ones who just mesh and never skid on the gravel. (Hi, Kirsten and Susan), but some of us just have less compatible baggage. :-)

Nancy said...

Anna C. wrote But I like to feel that through what they go through in my stories, they've shown they can weather any storm. . . .

Your characters, like Jeanne's, definitely have to prove that. In fact, if yours and hers ever put their heads together, the two of you may be in deep trouble!

And Christie's latest pair in ETWK really had to suffer, too.

All bandita characters suffer, now that I think of it, though not all of them experience the mayhem of which Jeanne and Anna C. seem so fond. And I do think that's part of what makes the HEA such a payoff.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: Jeanne, the dh also married early and divorced. Which is how he came to be available for moi, so I view this as a good thing. :-)

Grins. Yeah, my DH says this about my early escapades. I lamented one time that I'd been married before. He simply smiled and said that I wouldn't be who I was if I hadn't had the experience, so it was cool with him.

See why I love him?

Joan said...

My parents married late. My Daddy was 39, my Mom like 32. So they only got to make it to their 35th.

When they had their 25th anniversay I made them a mult tiered little cake. We went to a special community Mass for couples celebrating 25 and 50 and my brother and I took them out to a "fancy" resturant.

I wish now that I'd have had them a big party. But...I was only 24, my brother 22 and had no CLUE how to coordinate something like that.

Their marriage was a commitment and I remember several instances of trying times...extended strikes at my Daddy's work, my mother's breast cancer and my brother being hit by a car (while Mom was in the hospital) and still remember my Daddy hurrying down the hospital corridor to find out about his son...he was ok but that image of his fear and worry and "OMG" is seared into my brain)

At my Mom's funeral I did a picture montage and front and center was the one of she and Daddy coming out of the church on their wedding day. What better statement of their life together?

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, I'm LOL about my characters and Anna's scheming to get back at us for putting them through such bedevilment.

Oh, the story ideas...

Joan said...

In college, I worked at the campus radio station and learned, among other things, how to hook up various kinds of sound equipment...

LOL, Nancy. Ok, I'm calling you when I get my new HD TV and need my DVR/BluRay player/Wii put together :-)

Don't think I won't...

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Awwww, JT, that's lovely what you did. I know what you mean about making a statment with a party. My sibs and I kept after our parents to let us do a 25th or a 30th or a 35th, but they said, oh, no, don't go to any trouble.

Drat us for listening to them. We never did anything and Mama was gone before their 40th.

Wow, tough memory about your dad and the hospital experience.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, I'm callin' you too, on the electronics...heehee.

Christie Kelley said...

Susan, I love your story! It's absolutely wonderful.

Christie Kelley said...

Kate, I would be interested in knowing the statistics for Mormons. I would assume they would be quite different because they do have a lower divorce rate. I'll bet they have a higher marriage rate too.

Christie Kelley said...

Anna Campbell said...
I don't think anyone has a completely trouble-free existence, even fictional heroes and heroines.
Hey, I still want to keep my fantasy! LOL

Christie Kelley said...

Nancy said...

Oh, I finally found Trish's book! One more stone on the TBR mountain . . .
I was at a booksigning at Borders yesterday. I couldn't find Trish's book but I finally found Kate's book. So I snatched that one up. Another for the tumbling TBR pile.

Christie Kelley said...

Joan/Jeanne, I don't want my boys doing anything for us. But we waited several years before we had kids so my oldest is only 16. I don't expect him to host a party for us. Maybe at 35 :)

Nancy said...

Christie wrote: I think we need to send the GR out undercover to find him for you. After spending time with p226, I think the GR could manage this. . . .

The GR may well have acquired the necessary skills. However, no one has managed to instill taste in him, so far as I know. We'd best send Demetrius and Sven to be sure he brings the right Prince Charming home!

Nancy said...

Kirsten wrote: I don't need an actual wedding, but I do like the epilogues with babies. I like to see Mr. Alpha brought low by an infant. . . .

Oh, yeah! Those scenes are always great.

Nancy said...

Helen, congratulations on your 32 years! That's wonderful.

I hope your kids will change their minds at some point.

Christie Kelley said...

LOL, Nancy. But we do love our tasteless GR. Seems like an oxymoron that a rooster is tasteless.

Nancy said...

Treethyme, add me to the list of those who think your vows are beautiful. Congratulations on 39 years!

Nancy said...

Christie, I care more about a marriage proposal in a historical than a contemporary. I want a commitment in a romance (though taking it to the next level is okay with me in other kinds of books), nad in a historical, anything short of marriage isn't realistic.

Nancy said...

Traveler, congratulations on 39 years! I also want to hear about Christie's trip.

Nancy said...

Stacey wrote: I realized I deserved a husband who'd encourage my dreams and work with me in forging our future together--I went home from my first conference and told him so. And he listened :) . . .

Stacey, you talked, and he listened, and that's the secret elixir in a nutshell, I think. Everybody wants a supportive spouse, and I feel sorry for people who win the Golden Heart and stand up and say, "I hope somebody will buy this book because my husband says I can't come back to National until I sell." But part of me wants to say, "Why aren't you making these decisions together? Have you told him how important this is to you? Does he not care?"

We make all major money decisions together, but a factor in those decisions is the level of importance the other person places on something.

So good for both of you!

Nancy said...

Gannon, congratulations on your 21 years together. I think you have a point about people sometimes thinking, "If it doesn't work out, we'll just divorce."

Divorce isn't a "just." It's a life trauma, and that's often true for people whose spouses have done unforgivably hurtful things that making any resolution but divorce unlikely. Still those spouses often grieve. I'm not sure people think ahead about things like that before committing to a doubtful relationship.

Nancy said...

Joan and Jeanne, I can hook up anything that has an instruction manual. However, I leave video game consoles to the boy, so he'll have to do your Wii, JT!

And I want my phone to be just a danged phone!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: Divorce isn't a "just." It's a life trauma, and that's often true for people whose spouses have done unforgivably hurtful things that making any resolution but divorce unlikely. Still those spouses often grieve. I'm not sure people think ahead about things like that before committing to a doubtful relationship.


I can only say a heartfelt, AMEN.

limecello said...

Thanks everyone! :) I survived. And I REALLY appreciate all your comments!