We recently read “Little Women” for one of my book clubs.  Spoiler Alert- if you don’t want to know what happens in LW, don’t read ahead- there is a one line spoiler of sorts.  Point two, if you haven’t read LW- please go get yourself a copy.  I think it may be free on ereaders.

But anyway…

One of our questions about the book centered on who Jo should marry.  Now, as someone who has been faced with a bevy of suitors…OK.  Not really, but you get the point: how do you know who is the right person for you to spend your life with? (for the purposes of this specific blog, I’m going to go with the assumption that when you choose a partner, the basic assumption is that you will be with them forever. Whether long term monogamy is sustainable is a whole other blog)

So…how do you know who is the right person to tether yourself  for eternity?  Our book club answer: go with the person that “gets you”.

What do I mean by that, the person that “gets you”? Well, I’m going to give you an example that I think sums up my point:

R, the leader of our little band of readers, loves quality items.  (It’s her fault that I now exclusively wear Jo Malone fragrance) She loves well made, and usually expensive items, whether it be home goods, clothing or tea.  She is also a believer in quality over quantity: she would rather have five amazing outfits that she wears for years instead of fifty things, or constantly updating her wardrobe every season. So last Christmas she had some guests, and one of them decided to guess what her Husband had bought her for Christmas.  The friend named all sorts of expensive things, designer doo dads and such.  And R kept shaking her head at all the names and labels the friend shot out.  As it happens, R’s husband bought her a 20$ book he saw on the shelf at Barnes and Noble.  And R LOVED it!  Practically hugged the book the entire night, and thereafter.  It sits on her nightstand. Though she has an eye for expensive things, this little book was perfect – FOR HER. Her Husband knew her well enough to know that this was the exact right present because he gets her.  He knows it’s not the money, it’s the thought of what she would think was wonderful.

As we are all unique individuals, we all have things that mark our individuality.  There are things that make us laugh, or make us cry.  There are items that make us happy, and things that don’t have any meaning for us.  It’s all good: everyone is allowed to enjoy whatever they enjoy.  But the person you end up with should be the person that understands you. They should know that you prefer pink, or that you don’t like wool, or that you would rather read than anything else. They should know what makes you tick.  They should see beyond the stereotype of what you’re “supposed” to be, and see the real you. See the individual that you are.

So that’s my little bit of relationship advice: go with the one that sees the real you, the one that gets you. You’ll never have to pretend that you’re someone else.  And being authentic to yourself is the first step to happiness and internal peace. And isn’t that what we all want? To be true to ourselves deep inside? A good relationship begins with a contented self: being with the one that gets you brings you a step closer.

 

 

 

49 thoughts on “Who Do You Choose

      1. Gwennym, I used to say the guy I was supposed to be with died in Viet Nam. I have been married twice. Neither really got me. One better than the other… but I think my friends know me better than anyone.

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  1. I’m not sure. After 35 years of marriage, what I’ve learned is I know nothing at all. You ride the wave and hope for the best. My wedding ring isn’t a smooth circle because I wanted it to reflect the ups and downs of a marriage. A constant work in progress.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Do you know there’s a Jewish tradition that wedding rings are supposed to be a plain, solid band with notches? It’s supposed to indicate an unbroken circle.
      You know I’m always trying to make sense if the things that don’t make sense…

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      1. LA, You asked if my friends know me better than my partner. Well right now I don’t have a partner, (one died and one I divorced), but I think girl friends always know us better. First of all, my close friends and I have known each other all our lives. So we know one another very well. And no matter how close I was with either of my husbands my girlfriends know me better. They get how I think,AND they see things from the perspective of a woman.

        My first husband and I were very much alike but we were so young and I think he was so self absorbed in his early twenties that he may not have noticed anyone but himself. My second husband knew me as a wife and mother but not really as a creative soul, He did try, but just wasn’t capable of understanding that side of who I was. He was 7 years younger and so I was a divorced mom with a 7 year old son when we met. I had a home, a great job and so he saw me in a different role. I imagine there are men who understand artistic souls. But the universe never put me in their path.

        So… I think our girlfriends are not distracted by passion or sexuality, or all the things that relationships encompass. They accept us for who we are. I think many men are raised to be into themselves and their job much more than their wives. And while they love us, they see us as “their wife, their partner, the person who handles the bills or takes the children to doctor’s appointments, takes care of their needs and makes everything run smoothly on the home front. I think they may get us, but they do not necessarily see all that we are or listen as well as they should to what we are saying. We are more adept at hearing them and meeting their needs or looking out for their egos than they are to ours.
        I don’t mean to sound negative, it is just how I feel. At my age now as a widow, the few men I tried dating want someone to take care of them. Ive raised a family. I want to focus on myself now. Many of the women my age who are still married are quite lucky and travel or enjoy their retirement with their husbands. I think that would be great. But there are also many whose husbands are driving them crazy because they want to take classes and travel and their obese just want them home to make lunch and dinner. Yep, we women get more independent and more radical as we age. I would have liked to grow old with a guy who understood me and these could have been our golden years. But that’s not how it turned out. So their are my golden years. And that’s ok too. I still have my gal pals.

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      2. It would be interesting to hear what others think. Betting that married Women and single women would have different answers. Especially if they are over 55. I do think women who are in a marriage enjoy that. I just stopped looking. I realized it wasn’t worth the effort anymore simply because for it to be equal I’d have to be single. At least with men closer to my age. That’s the way divorcees and widows in their 60’s who I know seem to think. We’d have too much freedom to give up. But dinner and a movie is always nice. They are always ready to move in and then want to tell you how to run your home. Uh No thank you.. men don’t like to be alone. Women relish private time.

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  2. Loved this blog! Little Women is my favorite Childhood book. I used my 1950’s copy in my classroom for years when I taught elementary school as a perfect way to teach author intrusion. That version was written just as Louisa May Alcott wrote it, in it’s original format. For those of you who have forgotten about that literary style, it is when the author’s opinions suddenly jumps into the middle of a story line. Louisa did this frequently telling the reader what she thought good little girls of the day should do or not do , often warning Jo of her actions. I always found that delightful because it was like I got to know Louisa herself. I found out later that she was forced to change certain things she disagreed with and only through author intrusion could she give her real opinions. If you get a change you should read the book in it’s original form. You can still find them on eBay. I believe they didn’t rewrite it until the 70’s. Author intrusion was used frequently in women’s novels of her day.

    Okay, enough being a teacher….
    Jo March was inspirational for me as a girl growing up in the 1950’s. She was headstrong, independent, self sufficient, and everything I thought a girl should be. I have to say she was my first feminist role model. And I also have to say I was, and am still to this day, disappointed at the ending. I always thought that if she said no to Laurie then she should have gone off on her own and had amazing adventures and not married the stuffy old professor. Little did I know until recently that Alcott wrote Little Women exactly like that in her very first two part edition. It wasn’t until girls bombarded her with letters wanting her Jo to marry Laurie that things changed. She was pressured by her publisher to marry Jo off and so she created the boring old professor as a solution. LM Alcott decided she would not marry the literary version of herself off to Laurie just because he was rich and good looking. So she created a man who she assumed Jo might possibly be compatible with. But, Louisa didn’t want Jo to end up with any of the men. None seemed to be her equal. And I agree. I wanted romance for sure, but I found nothing interesting about her final destination with the professor.

    So…. who should we end up with? My first husband could have been my clone. That lasted for 5 year and we had one child. We are friends to this day. I know him better then his current wife ever will know him and knows me better than my 2nd husband ever did, but we were NOT suitable marriage partners. Imagine being married to yourself! It wasn’t that great!! LOL Except I was more definitely more courageous and more nurturing when it came to the children!

    I suppose I really can’t tell anyone who they should wind up with. My second husband and I were married 23 years and we were as different as night and day. (He died of cancer at age 55). I loved both of my husbands. However, I still don’t think I’ve ever met my soulmate. ( If there is such a thing.) I think Austen and Alcott may have gotten it right. In the end, you only have yourself. It IS marvelous to be in love. But I never felt like I really needed anyone else to find happiness. Especially now that my children are grown. Soon while yes, two people need a lot in common to make a relationship work. If you are too much alike that is rather annoying as well.

    Anyhow… the only part of Little Women I would have changed… As a youngster I wanted her to marry Laurie. And I thought the professor was not worth of her even to this day. I think Louisa should have let Jo be Jo and done whatever the heck she wanted to do. And Louisa was self sufficient and independent until she died. Just as Jo probably would have been had she been created in 2018 and not 1879..

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    1. I wish you had been at our discussion!! I didn’t want jo to get married either…I wanted her to be single. Neither was right for her, but the professor was probably more right….I debate the whole soul mate thing. I’m trying to make the illogical logical….and though I rationally know I can’t, it won’t stop me from trying. I’m trying to figure out what makes relationships work, why some are better than others. Who knows?

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  3. SO true! My husband and I get each other, for the most part! Little Women: I was always torn between deciding who I wanted to be: Amy, Meg, or Jo? When I walked up that steep hill in the mountains, I was walking toward China but yet I felt like the responsible Meg but who wouldn’t love pretty vivacious somewhat spoiled Amy. And I still haven’t decided who I might be this week.

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    1. Cupcake, Interesting that you wanted to be all of the March girls. While I found qualities I admired in all the sisters, there was never anyone but Jo with whom I identified . Perhaps because I was the middle child in my family. The rebel in between my older brother and younger sister. I loved Jo’s strength and stubbornness and her ability to stand up to the social mores of her day. But most of all, I identified with how she wrote her stories. I was that kid too. She was the child who sought to be more than the options provided for girls in her day. Everything I wanted to do growing up (in the 1950’s) wasn’t allowed if you were a girl. And I thought Jo was so courageous! I always gravitated towards female protagonists who bucked conventionality. Jo March and Elizabeth Bennett were two of my favorite literary heroines. And Juliet of course, who defied her parents and secretly married Romeo. I took that one a bit too seriously. Lol (Married my first husband at 20 while in college) after playing Juliet on the stage. Also another tie in to Little Women… and how the March sisters would act out plays. I had all the kids in my neighborhood acting out our favorite books and Saturday morning TV shows in my backyard on weekends. The beauty about childhood in the 1950’s is that we entertained ourselves creatively. Lol

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes. My oldest son was born in 1973 and he played outdoors all the time. Neighborhoods and outdoor play was still very much apart of his growing up. My second son wasn’t born until 1988 and things were much different at that time. Imaginary playmates are the best!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, when I returned to the Catskills for a visit two summers ago…I was amazed at the crime reports in a small town. I spent hours playing in the woods and treking alone in the country. It now seems like a relic of the past but I believe it still exists in some places.

        Liked by 2 people

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