I finished the Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks this weekend. I have to confess that I was supposed to have finished it by Friday for my book club discussion. I was only about 3/4 of the way finished so I asked them to tell me the ending. I won't give that away here. I had read that the book was predictable but I never caught on and since I knew the ending, I am not sure I would have predicted it anyway.
But what our discussion on Friday centered around was Ira and Ruth's marriage and love story. I have to admit, I enjoyed that part more than Luke and Sophia's. I liked the story of Luke and Sophia as a novel but I couldn't relate to it much.
But Ira and Ruth's story stuck with me a lot. I loved that we saw their whole marriage and their whole life. Not just the initial love affair that most books end with. They had good times. They had bad times. But they made it through the bad times and things got better - better than they were before. Isn't that what life is about? The great love affair is not perfect. But that is what makes it great. The tough times are what makes it perfect. It reminded me a lot of the movie Up. I love that movie. I love that love story. The Longest Ride talked about the sacrifices that Ira and Ruth made to be with each other. They gave up a lot. Sometimes they regretted the sacrifices they made but they never regretted being with each other.
One thing we discussed was that we all have good times and we all have bad times in our marriage. Times of transition are typically the hardest. But we always make it though. I feel like I am in the middle of a difficult transition and things aren't perfect right now. Some days they aren't even good. But I am okay with that because I know and I believe in the greatness of my marriage. I know that this is just a time of our life and not our entire life. I love that when things are tough, there are glimmers of good. There are glimmers of great. There are glimmers of the love in my family and we are a great family. These are the moments that make it worth while. Sometimes I feel like society makes it too easy to quit. Sometimes society paints the perfect love story and doesn't talk about the other stuff. The love story is only the beginning. It's what is built upon it that makes it great. That's what makes it last. I think what I loved about the Ira and Ruth story is that we say the entire story, not just the beginning. Right now, that was exactly what I needed. That's what I want for my marriage - the whole 70 years.