An American Wife

On the recommendation of my fried K.D. I have begun reading American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld. You may recognize the author from the best seller Prep, which is another novel I highly recommend. 

Without giving anything away, American Wife traces the life of a woman that eventually becomes First Lady. She marries an Ivy League boy with a penchant for partying, who eventually becomes a president with a penchant for war. Did I mention he is from Texas? Yes, this story is the fictional account of the life of Laura Bush, who I must admit I have always been intrigued by. 

Throughout her journey the "character" in the novel adapts a considerable amount of her beliefs into her husband's beliefs. For example, did you know Laura was previously a Democrat, and was Pro Choice? It's hard to even consider that given the "conservative" values her husband stands for. All the while she quietly stands beside him, supporting him while he speaks (spews) some things that would rock any person with a conscience to the core, especially someone who hasn't always shared such values. It's amazing what a girl will do or put up with for love.

This made me consider my own marriage, and marriage in general. It is completely normal and accepted for someone to abandon the religion that they were raised with to that of the person they are betrothed. Or to abandon a political party in honor of marital harmony.  I am someone who has adapted to my husbands beliefs and values. I can definitively say that I have changed who I am much more that he has. I always figured this was because I was 22 when we met, and he considerably more intelligent than I will ever be. The things that are important to him never were at odds with what I believed, so I suppose I just adopted those beliefs as my own. Perhaps because it was right, or perhaps it was because it was just easier. Those same values and ideas are now being passed on to our son. Things like our passion for the environment, distrust of religion, liberal values, and an overall desire to make the world a bit of a better place, no matter the cost. I wonder if someday he will meet a girl who will then adapt her ideas to his, or vice versa. 

I doesn't bother me that I have somewhat changed who I am. In fact it seems that over the normal course of a relationship that is generally what happens. In the end, I'm just glad that I'm not married to George Bush!