Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Marital Counsel by Way of a Quote

When my boys were quite young and I was a new Christian, we would have conversations over dinner about how things would be when they were grown up.  There were several areas to which my response would invariably be, "I don't know how we're going to do it yet, but we won't be doing it the way Mama and Papa did it when we were younger."  And I would wonder silently to myself in follow up - how will we do it?

Dating was one of those areas, so understand we do not support the kind of dating for our children which we ourselves engaged in.  That kind of dating leads down one of two roads - heartbreak or marriage - and we would rather that our children live out relationships with others with greater care and honor than we did at their ages.  

Now the issue of the one they chose to marry was something else entirely.  Of course they should all marry someone possessing particular qualities well suited to their character.  And as the primary woman within our home, well attending to their individual person, they might do well to look for an example of some of these gifts in ... well, me.

I say this only partly tongue in cheek.  If any of my sons should be reading this, I'd wager they would tell you there are only a few grains of jesting in this confession.  They'd tell you there is more dogma than theory in what I have professed.  But do they really know?

The following quote is quasi-reflective advice for my boys from a young lady I read online.  And the best part is, she's a blogger.

(Oh, and since we've been blessed with our daughters: they, of course, should marry someone very like their Papa.  I tell them so on a regular basis.)

 A Quote-Worthy Quote:

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes."
— Rosemarie Urquico


  1. I liked everything up to the quote, then not so much. I wish that didn't sound harsh. Some things that Ms. Urquico said weren't bad.

    I much more liked what you had to say. I, too, see the American dating thing as a symptom of very bad child rearing.

    The old Jewish methods of matchmaking are actually very good, and very misunderstood and mischaracterized by outsiders.

    I think you would very much enjoy the book "Sotah" by Naomi Regan. I would bet you would like all her books.

  2. Thank you for your comment and recommendation, Moshe. Yes, the writing is secular and by definition,limited in scope. I considered editing her piece (or simply writing my own version so that the advise would ring truer to myself), but thought I'd honor the author by keeping it as is.

    For instance, I woke up this morning thinking of the alternative list of authors I'd give - Elliot, Tozer, Mahaney, Bridges, Keller, ten Boom, Piper, and Deibler Rose.

    I expect my sons to sift this piece. ;D And I will look up the book you mentioned. Thank you and God's peace to you and your's.

  3. Marital counseling is a way to enrich your relationship so that it has every opportunity to grow into a satisfying and stable marriage. Marital counseling will give you clearer pictures of yourselves as individuals, and of your relationship as a couple; you will learn your strengths, and identify areas where growth is needed. By learning more about yourselves, you will be better able to spot problems developing long before they become a serious threat to your relationship.

    counseling Massachusetts