Theory

The title of this book by Margaret Bradham Thornton got me thinking about love, relationships, and especially marriage. The word theory has several meanings in the dictionary, two of which stood out to me.

1. A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgement.

and

2. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge.

Many people marry in their twenties, by age alone, that is not a whole lot of living under the belt. According to #1, what beliefs or principles are you basing your idea of marriage at this point in life? It might be the marriage of your parents. Was it marvelous and you want to replicate it or was it a massive disaster and anything different would be a huge step in a positive direction. Those are both fair and realistic thought processes, but can they hold up when they are meant to stand the test of time in another relationship? I don’t know and honestly it seems too simplistic to place anything of substance upon that train of thought. Yet vows are taken and lives are promised with the utmost hope attached.

The second definition makes me think of someone marrying for the first time at any age. Your information of/on marriage is a limited knowledge of assumptions. Again-sort of a crap shoot. And really- on the flip side, how can marriage be anything short of a gamble? I’m not saying any of this light-heartedly. We are all so different. Our backgrounds, the way we think and process information, and how we view the world we live in varies on extraordinary levels. Do you want to marry someone exactly like you or do you prefer someone opposite? There are solid rationals for both, how do you choose? Is it better to jump in, eyes closed and fingers crossed at twenty years old? Or do you wait, sift through a bazillion creepers with baggage and hope to meet and ultimately marry in your late thirties, forties, or even later? By then, have you missed the boat on having children (if that is your desire), maybe not, considering all the options available now.

Like anything, overthinking can get you in a world of trouble, yet getting married (in my opinion) should require a lot of thought and honest self-evaluation. Where is that elusive fine line? That happy middle between thinking and overthinking? If you know, by all means please leave specific directions and instructions in the comments.

This book is Thornton’s follow up novel to Charleston, which is a wonderful book. A Theory of Love follows Christopher, a half-American, half-French lawyer turned financier and Helen, a British journalist. They happen to meet on the west coast of Mexico. The various locations alone are enough to satiate any traveler’s (or wanna-be travelers, like me) heart. The two marry and begin their life together. Their story and subsequent lives together is one where they will face how much they need from each other versus how much they still remain true to themselves. Any successful marriage requires the perfect amount of both. You cannot lose your sense of self to another simply because you say I do.

A large part of the draw of this book is the way Thornton writes. It’s simultaneously intense and calming. It’s not a quality that I come across often. In fact the only other authors that (I have read) accomplish this are Lea Carpenter and Billy O’Callaghan. If you are familiar with these two and like them, I can about guarantee you will also like and maybe love this book. Otherwise, I don’t know- maybe jump in, eyes closed, fingers crossed or just think about reading it for a few years, let the idea marinate for a bit. Either way you choose, unlike the fifty percent marriage survival odds, I think your odds of liking this book will be substantially higher.

“May the odds be ever in your favor.”

-Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

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