In this candid, objective memoir of a codependent marriage, the author takes readers on a painful yet poignant journey from a failing marriage toward independence.
Moore demonstrates finesse in choosing anecdotes that portray the dysfunction of a poorly communicated union of desires and life paths. Married to Carl, Moore found herself embarking on sexual escapades with other couples in order to meet her restless husband’s insatiable desires. But, discomforted by Carl’s mounting need to control, experience and dominate Moore’s reluctant involvement with other male partners, the author began to resist her husband, only to be met with ridicule. Instances of his disgust and resentment painfully resonate, such as his insistence that Moore’s nightgown is a “bag” and telling her that she doesn’t dress sexily enough, enjoy enough alcohol or provide him with the satisfaction he seeks. In her frank memoir, Moore confronts her own rigid expectations of fidelity and marital intimacy, citing an instance of outrage upon discovering that Carl was viewing pornographic pictures on the couple’s computer. In a sense, however, the objective storytelling reveals that each partner presented obstacles to the other’s happiness. One partner sought monogamy, stability, religion and purity; the other sought openness, excitement and growing connections with other adults. Some readers might even relate to Carl. While neither partner comes across as guilty of gross abuse, both are portrayed as unable or unwilling to actively listen and understand the other’s desires. Moore paints a clear portrait of the way submission is driven by the desire for control. At a poignant moment in the memoir, Moore even admits that she suddenly recognized her own attempts to control Carl, having believed all along that he was the controlling partner. In retrospect, submission becomes a kind of conscious power play, and the unwillingness to express desire becomes just as detrimental to a relationship as the harshly honest admission of dissatisfaction. In a welcome conclusion, the memoir ends with an insightful, hopeful resolution that will speak to any reader who has endured a conflict-ridden relationship. Perhaps the author puts it best in quoting an unnamed priest: “Go where you are nourished.”
A succinct portrait of the nature of submission and one woman discovering herself in marriage and beyond.