This Is Not the Story You Think It Is: An Empowering Story of Saving Your Marriage By Doing Nothing

Every so often a book falls into my life and rescues me. I ingest it whole - cry and laugh along with it, nod and smile, read and re-read passages, and when done, close it and think, that's exactly what I needed.

Meet This Is Not the Story You Think It Is

Laura Munson lives in rural Montana with her children and husband. For years they'd been happy basking in the beauty of a state that birthed the term "Big Sky." They owned a house on sizable property, were financially stable, and were working towards actualizing their dreams. Munson, determined to devote herself to her writing full-time, wrote countless novels, memoirs, short stories etc. But as the years wore on, none of them were published. And then her husband dropped a bomb on her - he no longer loved her and wanted to move out.

Munson's New York Times article, Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear, made waves when it was published and its contents spawned this book. Right at the outset of her memoir, written while she was experiencing the heartbreak of her husband's rejection, Munson says: 
You might think this might find me in a place of intense pain. Panic, even. State of emergency. But I am choosing something else. I am choosing not to suffer. [italics mine]
Munson recognized that her husband was experiencing a crisis of pride. He'd started a business a few years back that was making him miserable and his lose sense of purpose had started to infect other areas of his life. He no longer felt at home with himself. This all had nothing whatsoever to do with his affection for his wife, and Munson knew it.

So she deflected his barbs, his attempts to make her react in a way that would justify his abandonment. She put aside all her pain, her indignation, her self-righteousness, and she waited for him to return to her. Because she loved him. Their marriage must survive; there could be no alternative.

Some may paint Munson's strategy as weak. But I see it as tremendously courageous. It's a tenant of Zen Buddhism that doing nothing at all is an incredibly powerful stance - to say neither yes or no, to simply be in the moment, as the moment presents itself.

Choosing not to suffer - what a powerful concept. For all of us who wrestle with love's insanity, in its various manifestations, this book must be read.

Author's website
Video with the author

This Is Not the Story You Think It Is / Laura Munson / Putnam / HC, 2010


Errant Knave said...

Hmm. I've been looking for a book to recommend to my parents, and I think this is it.

B.Kienapple said...

Ahahaha. You think this book is for boomers!?

Confirming what I already suspected: I am an OLD.

Errant Knave said...

Hah! My apologies. That's not what I meant at all. I just read the NYT article and thought Munson's positive experience could give a new perspective to people in strained relationships.

B.Kienapple said...

Ah! OK. I hope your parents find gold to be had in it - it's incredibly hopeful. A must for any relationship in crisis.

steph said...

Oh yeah, I read her article and heard about the book. Glad you liked it so much, that's pretty convincing. I think it sounds good regardless of the state of relationship!

lauramunson said...

Thank you so much for your lovely post about my book! I'm so glad it touched you! I wrote it to help people know that they can find freedom even in the darkest corners. Sometimes pain really can be our guide. yrs. Laura


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