Book Reviews: This Is Not The Story You Think It Is

Thursday, April 5, 2012

This Is Not The The Story You Think It Is...
Laura Munson

**Spoiler alert!**
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I really enjoyed this book. I did study marriage and family in school after all! This was the first memoir I've read. Because I read the article she wrote, I knew the basic outline of the story, including the ending. I was just excited to learn more about her experience.

Basically, her husband of fifteen years comes to her to let her know that he wants to leave and that he doesn't love her anymore. Instead of fighting, begging, pleading or a multitude of other responses, she remained calm. She told him she did not believe him. She chose to believe that his problem was about himself and not their marriage. For a whole summer, she chose daily to be happy and to create beauty with their children, despite the increasing absence of her husband.

Her writing is clear and most of all, honest. I started this book thinking she was never angry at him. But she was. Many times. But she just chose to have better reactions than those based on her emotions. And what was so beautiful about this story is that she continued to love him. Unconditionally. She doesn't make him into the villan. And I really respect her for that.

At the end of the summer, he starts figuring his life out and coming out of his funk. The reader learns throughout the story that his issues had to do with his lack of pride. Not the evil kind. The kind that pushes you to do your best and be happy with your work. Confidence might be a better description. He had lost confidence in his abilities as a provider and that affected all of his relationships. As he realized what his real problem was and through giving true service to others, he found his way back.

She makes it very clear that this is not the "magic pill" for every struggling relationship. And it would have been very, very different if he had been unfaithful. But I think she is really onto something here. You will never go wrong with unconditional love and forgiveness being a part of your marriage.

"Each marriage starts with two built-in handicaps. It  involves two imperfect people. Happiness can come to them only through their earnest effort. Just as harmony comes from an orchestra only when its members make a concerted effort, so harmony in marriage also requires a concerted effort. That effort will succeed if each partner will minimize personal demands and maximize actions of loving selflessness." -Russell M. Nelson October 2008 General Conference

My favorite chapter is entitled, "Indian Summer" and begins on page 310 of my copy. She illustrates the "pickle jar philosophy" that is especially applicable in marriage:

A friend of her's "says a whole hosts of tensions can be solved in her marriage when she hands her husband the pickle jar. She's having a hard time opening the pickle jar. She passes the jar to her husband. He opens it. She says, smiling, 'Yeah, well, I loosened it for you.' But they both know it was a meeting of intention...All she had to do was state her need. Acknowledge his 'strength.' Ask for his help. Get out of his way. And receive what he had to give. How is she powerless? She's not."

Of all the classes and papers and books I have read about marriage, somehow I missed this. When you each are working towards a goal--whether it be large or small--each partner must acknowledge the other's strengths in order to have a happy ending.

**I recommend this to everyone! Married or not, this will help with all your relationships!

P.S. Watch out, she's got quite a sailor's mouth at times!


  1. Thank you for this! I am going to buy this now. And loving your blog!


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