*cringe* That sounded way more harsh than I intended. Don't leave; you can stay! :)
I had planned on publishing this post on Valentine's Day, but when a silly idea for a different post came to me yesterday I decided to run with it. (Which by the way, if you read it, I hope everyone was aware that I was completely being sarcastic and poking fun at some attitudes expressed in certain period dramas. I wasn't in any way making fun of single girls. I am one myself. ;)) (Just wanted to be clear.....I tend to live in fear of hurting someone's feelings! :P)
This post will also be in participation of Cordy's Lovely Blog Party, going on now till the end of February. Be sure to check it out! :D
So today I want to talk about five of my favorite married couples in literature. I have so many favorite fictional couples, but only a handful of them are actually married earlier than the end of the book! Sometimes I find this lack of good married couples in fiction rather sad, because honestly the wedding is just the beginning of a couple's story in life. There's SO much conflict and joy that comes even after marriage, and I appreciate it when stories portray this in a realistic, admirable way.
There's so much that goes into making a good marriage (so I've heard; it's not like I have experience :P) and I think these five couples are wonderful examples of the dedicated love marriage requires. (And they're freaking adorable together. ;))
Gilbert and Anne Blythe from Anne of Green Gables
It's so easy to forget about all the joys and hardships that Anne and Gil go through, long after the days of slates-broken-over-heads are long past. But there's so much more to Gil and Anne's story than just "carrots" (as adorable as that is). They struggle with some very real and heartbreaking circumstances, from the pain of moving away from their very first home to the devastating loss of their first child. There's even a time, later on in years, when Anne worries that her husband no longer loves her. (Spoiler: of course he still does! Read Anne of Ingeside for the story.) And yet despite this, they only grow closer together in love and dedication. Their married life is never painted as easy—but no matter what happens, they always find hope and happiness down around another bend in the road of life. Of course, as the series progress, the story focuses more on their children than Anne and Gil themselves. I always found this a bit disappointing, but we still get snapshots once in awhile of Gil and Anne as they work together to mold their children's minds and hearts with love and tenderness.
All in all, I find Gil and Anne's marriage an admirable example of how a couple can face adversity together—and still come out of it with a love and trust unshakable by any storm they may face.
Only recently, I read a trilogy by Susan Kirby consisting of three books, Prairie Rose, As the Lily Grows, and When the Lilacs Bloom. I started the first book VERY skeptically, thinking it just another lame CFR novel. :P AND OH BOY WAS I WRONG. This trilogy turned it to contain one of my favorite heroes ever (he may be on the top ten) and one of my favorite couples ever. Their names are Ike and Libby and I adore them and I really should write a review for Priaire Rose because more people to need to know of these awesome books! (Great, now I've committed myself to yet another blog post I'll never get around to. :P)
But anyways. About Ike and Libby. I love so many things about their relationship, one of which is that the books go on past their courtship to their marriage. The highs and lows of newly married life are played out, as they learn to work together and encourage each other amidst the daily trials of life. Their fortitude and faith in God are put to the test with different troubles, the biggest being their inability to have the children Libby so desperately wants. These books don't shy away from the difficulties Ike and Libby face together. But throughout it all, Ike and Libby learn to grow in their faith in God and their love for each other and it's just so special. <3 (I found the characters in this book refreshingly imperfect but still admirable. A rare thing in CFR novels, I think! :P)
Though I wasn't completely satisfied with how some aspects of this story ended less-then-happily-ever-after, I did appreciate how realistic it was. Ike and Libby found their joy and contentment in Christ, not in a perfect dream life here on earth. They learned how to be grateful and joyful even amidst life's disappointments. They learned contentment with what God had planned for them, not what they planned themselves. It's a beautiful and rare thing to find in fiction these days.
Now, it's been awhile since I read the book, so much of what I say here will be based on the 1982 movie. Despite that, I had to include Sir Percy and Marguerite, because I just re-watched said movie and goodness gracious I forgot how adorable and squee-worthy these two are! (yes, that's a word)
Unlike the previous two couples, Percy and Marguerite live a less-than-normal life, filled with espionage and secrecy and suspense. For most of the story, Percy and Marguerite live nearly separate lives, he, as the Scarlet Pimpernel, rescuing dozens of French aristocrats from guillotine in revolution-ravaged Paris, she, unaware of his alter ego, living a glittering life at the center of society. Much of the pull of this story revolves around the moment when secrets are revealed and decisions made. But underneath the drama, there is still much to be admired in the marriage between these two. Percy, always loving his wife, but unable to show it, works not only to protect her, but her brother as well. He shows his love by a steadfast devotion and protection, even when he has lost all faith in her. Marguerite, on the other hand, showcases faithfulness and trust, even when she is certain her husband no longer loves her. She never hesitates to rush to his side; he never hesitates to protect her. And eventually, their courage and devotion bring them together in a beautiful moment of truth.
For anyone who has read more of the Scarlet Pimpernel series, can you tell me if Percy and Marguerite are in the sequels? Because they may be bumped up on my to-read list if they are. ;)
Yes, yes, you read that I right, I said Wynn Delaney. Contrary to the hallmark TV show (which I love, don't get me wrong), the Mountie that Elizabeth married in the When Calls the Heart books is actually called WYNN DELANEY NOT JACK THORNTON. (For the record, I like Jack better much more than Wynn, but for the sake of literary excellence I still had to point out this desperately troublesome inaccuracy. :P)
Wynn and Elizabeth get married by book two—unlike Jack and Elizabeth who are still unmarried though I've heard they already have season 5 out?!? I haven't even finished season 3!!!
|knew I had to work a gif into this post, right? :P|
'Hem. Let's try this again. When Wynn and Elizabeth marry, they are immediately thrown into a difficult time; Elizabeth especially. They go through a LOT together between their first argument (about a pair of pants, no less) and the great strain of moving far away for Wynn's lonely posting in northern Canada. Elizabeth finds herself faced with difficulty after difficulty as she adjust to the life that the wife of a Mountie leads.
I hate to say this again, but it's been awhile since I read all four of the WCTH books, so my memory is a bit foggy. But I do remember loving the way Wynn and Elizabeth's relationship was portrayed in the books. Loving and gentle, but determined and steadfast.
(By the way, the Wynn and Elizabeth in the WCTH movie is pretty much exactly how I pictured them. Why couldn't that dumb movie have been completely about them like the book instead of about her niece or whatever she was??? :P)
Charles and Millie Landreth from the Millie Keith series
AGAIN, it's been awhile since I read this series (I guess this post is also called: A Bunch of Books Natalie Needs to Re-Read) but it's my very favorite from the A Life of Faith series. (Or the Martha Finley spin-offs, whatever you want to call them.) Charles and Millie have a rocky relationship from the start, in which Millie turns down his marriage proposal due to him not being a Christian. But years later, when Charles is saved, they still find they love each other and begin their married life together.
When they feel called by God to serve as missionaries to Bolivia, they obey and have a series of ensuing trials and difficulties—some life threatening. I just love how Charles and Millie are dedicated to serving the Lord with their whole lives, regardless of the inconvenience to themselves. They work together as a true team, each respecting and believing in the other. Charles gently leads and protects his wife and Millie faithfully follows and supports. They are the pattern of a Biblical marriage, with each valuing the other and putting each other before themselves. And they're missionaries. That's just awesome. :D
How could I possibly write this post without a Barnery and Valancy reference? These two belong to my favorite L.M. Montgomery novel. Their story makes me so happy. Unlike all the couples above, these two didn't expect to stay married. Barney agreed to marry Valancy, knowing she was ill with a heart problem and likely to die within a year.
I just love their day to day life together. Every day is an adventure with them, or at least most of their days are. They have a wonderful time just being together, whether they're tramping through the snowy woods or sitting on the porch in summertime. They take care of each other and work together, in a very adorable camaraderie. Everything about their marriage and life together is unconventional, and yet it's beautiful and happy simply because of that very fact. And of course, when Valancy learns that Barney's tenderness is more than just pity for a dying woman...well. ;) It's just wonderful, that's all.
Happy Valentine's Day (again)!
Who are some of your favorite married couples in fiction?
Do you like stories that go past the wedding?