In the winter when "spare" time is easier to come by than in the spring or summer, reading and knitting are always battling each other in my mind for this rare commodity. But in the last few months, I've read a few books that have really caused me to think ... hard.
My sister, Jennifer, sent me Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace With Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert for my birthday with a post-it note attached saying "I haven't read this yet, so don't think I'm trying to send you some kind of message." Ha! Well, I skeptically began reading it because quite frankly it pertains to the near future, and I finished it in three days. The author and I had way too many similarities to count and I found her research and findings on the institution of marriage to be refreshing--and just what I needed. Marriage, in the old days, was a somewhat casual agreement between couples until the church hijacked it in the Middle Ages and made it an iron-clad contract that there was no getting out of. Through her cultural and historical anecdotes, Gilbert shows how marriage means different things in different cultures and how it has transformed through time. What it boils down to is that while marriage is good for a society (stabilizes people, procreation, families), government has always tried to interfere and prevent people from marrying because the bedroom--and what married couples do and say behind closed doors--is one bastion that cannot be controlled. The mister read it on one snowy Sunday and of course, we laid in bed--behind closed doors!--and analyzed its arguments.