Argue With Me

You can never have too much Data

You can never have too much Data.

Not so very long ago, our beloved Mary Ann Rivers knocked all our Wonkomance socks off with her post on using classical appeals to back up your wonky love story. This post, which involved Shakespeare, Aristotle, and Star Trek: The Next Generation, was so brilliant that I had to read it three times.

“I want to lean against a marble column and talk about this in just a little bit more depth than the six elements of poetics,” Mary Ann wrote, “because this is where I begin to suggest a complex and useful craft tool for writing and responding to successful wonkomance. Namely, that a story can be epically, immensely wonked and be satisfying to an extremely wide audience of readers, possibly for hundreds of years, as long as it forwards a winning argument.”

Then she said a number of clever things about logos, pathos, and ethos that mostly went over my head, but I didn’t mind because I was soothed by the Data and Picard photos.

Then I promptly forgot and went back to bashing my head against a novella I was trying to write.

In due time, and with a lot of hand-holding and loving nudges from Serena Bell and Mary Ann both, I finished the first draft of this novella and then started thinking about how to revise it. I read it and filled my Scrivener document with questions and imperatives. “What is this scene even about, anyway?” “Make this make more sense.” “This chapter is all over the place. Fucking hell, woman!” Times four hundred. Serena asked me some very smart questions. I had no idea what the answers were.

I hate this book I hate this book I hate this book, I thought. I sent Mary Ann an email that was mostly like this: “? o_0 :-( !!!” She wrote back, “Remember that you had an argument? Maybe look at that.”

Beams of rainbow light broke through the cloud cover and washed the prairie in glorious brilliance.

Like this

Like this

An argument! Right! I did have one. In fact, this was a story that I’d written for the express purpose of making an argument. This was a story I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about writing, that I’d badgered my agent and editor into letting me write, that I’d blogged about and daydreamed about, synopsized and planned, and yet somehow I had forgotten all of that, because the act of writing it had clobbered me over the head so hard that my brain fell out.

But once I remembered that I had an argument, everything fell into place. And I mean that. EVERYTHING. I sat down, wrote out my argument longhand, wrote down what the evidence was for my argument, and then went through my Scrivener file and answered every single question I had asked myself, easily. All in the course of about two hours.

It was miraculous. Easiest revision ever.

Then I went and read Mary Ann’s post again and understood it more clearly.

So let’s look at this argument business a little more closely, shall we? Because it turns out to be an interesting way to think about not only writing but also reading and wonkomance.

To make a winning argument, Mary Ann / Aristotle suggests that the author has to

  1. make a convincing chain of evidence to support it (logos)
  2. appeal to the reader’s emotions so that they will either feel good about accepting the argument or feel bad about not accepting it (or both — this is pathos), and
  3. appeal to the reader’s sense that the author — or a major element of the story — can be trusted (ethos).

So one of the first things that occurred to me, once I started thinking about argument, was that category romance is really good at argument.

Yes, even this, she will do. The poor woman.

Yes, even this, she will do. The poor woman.

I recently read Maisey Yates’s Heir To a Desert Legacy, which is a sheikh book in which the heroine is a graduate student in physics who’s recently given birth to her half sister’s baby. The heroine agreed to be a surrogate, partly from love of family and partly because she needed the money. It just so happens that her half sister was married to the ruler of one of those made-up Harlequin Presents Middle Eastern countries, and it also just so happens that the half sister and this ruler died in a car accident on their way to pick up the baby. So the story opens with a very angry, freshly minted sheikh knocking on the door of the heroine’s Portland apartment to retrieve the heir to his throne (whom — it just so happens — he wasn’t aware existed). And the argument begins immediately — both literally, in the sense that the heroine won’t give him the baby, and figuratively, in the sense that Yates starts telling us what this book is going to convince us of or die trying.

The argument of the first half of the book is about love and how it changes the heroine. It goes like this:

(1) It is difficult not to love a child who you’ve grown inside your body and cared for from birth.

You can tell yourself that you’re just in it for the money, you’re just caring for the baby until you figure out what’s next — but the truth is, even though you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re tired and fat and your breasts are leaking, you would rather stab a stranger in the eye than let him take this baby from you. Which is how you begin to figure out that you love him. (The baby. Not the stranger. That part comes later.)

(2) Once you fall in love, all your priorities change.

You’ll follow the baby to a made-up Middle Eastern country, even if it means disrupting your doctoral work. You’ll pose as his governess. You’ll even enter into a marriage of convenience with a difficult, assholeish sheik, if the alternative is to have to leave the baby behind. (You saw that coming, right?)

(3) Once you understand how love can change your life for the better, you will seek love instead of living in fear.

Even if you’ve spent most of your life avoiding risk, love can change you–very quickly–into someone who’s willing to go toe-to-toe with the angsty sheikh and demand that he crack himself open, turn himself inside out, and refashion himself into a lovable man. And also that he have sex with you.

Now, this is just half of the argument. Part II is the sheik’s part, but I’m not going to go into that, because I don’t want to bore y’all. (Not that the sheikh is boring. He’s terribly broken in that way that Yates does so well.) My point is that the argument drives the whole story, and everything serves it: the action, the characters, the emotion, the turning points, the sex. Category romance is an efficient argument-delivery machine.

What’s so interesting to me, here, is two things: first, the idea that I might love an author’s work, love her characters, but hate her argument so much that I can’t even read her book. (Not the case here, but it happens.)

And second, the idea that I might dislike an author’s writing and her characters, her plot, and her style, and yet find her argument so fascinating, so convincing, that I can’t put her book down.

Both of those things happen to me, as a reader, on a pretty regular basis.

(It also helps to explain how entire lines of category romance don’t work for me as a reader. Category lines tend to promote clusters of arguments — Blaze books make arguments about sex, for example, while other lines might forward arguments about the value of sacrifice for love — and if I don’t want to engage with the arguments, I’m not going to like the books.)

The other way in which argument interests me is that it gives me a tool — again, as both reader and author — to pick apart a story. As a reader, I might say, “I love the argument and the emotion, but I could never trust the author after she slut-shamed so virulently in chapter 1.” That is, the ethos was off: the author lost my trust, and there was no way to get it back. This can happen, say, in a book with an infertility plot where the heroine miraculously gets pregnant at the end. “Fuck you,” many of us say, closing such a book. “I will never trust you again.” This is an ethos-based reaction to an ethos-rooted failure. The argument falls apart when the ethos fails the reader.

Or, say, “She’s trying to argue that true love can reform a bad man, but when he sleeps with the prostitute during the dark moment, she completely undermines his reform and sinks her own argument.” That’s a logos problem. You can’t build a chain of evidence and then take a giant pair of chain-cutters to it in the final third of the book — not if you want to keep your readers. The evidence has to be there, and it has to make sense.

In the case of Yates’s book, I’d say that I bought the argument but I wasn’t as affected by it as I might have been — the pathos wasn’t quite clicking for me, and I think this was because I needed more grounding in the heroine’s professional/social world in order to understand emotionally what she was giving up to be with the baby. She made me sniffly, but she could have torn out my heart and stomped on it, and if she’d done that, I’d have been more convinced and loved the book all the harder.

So those are good tools for reading and reviewing, offering one more way to think about what works and what doesn’t work in a story. As an author, moreover, I can give myself some emotional distance from feedback — and thereby use it more effectively — by asking myself “What part of the argument wasn’t working for this person? Is this an evidence problem, an emotional support problem, or a trust issue?”

And, as Mary Ann pointed out to me in an email conversation, argument is a great drafting tool. When you’re just trying to get words on the page, overwhelmed by everything you don’t know or don’t think you know about your book, it helps a great deal to know what it is that you’re trying to argue.

Looking at a romance from the point of view of argument rather than genre convention allows you to skip over all the crap about what characters are supposed to do, how they’re supposed to behave, what readers will and won’t tolerate. All you have to do is make a good argument. That’s it. Show me a clear argument, a logical chain of evidence, emotional support, and a trustworthy author, and I will show you a successful story — wonky or not.

So play with me here — can you analyze a recent reading or writing experience using this perspective? Does it open anything up that you’d missed the first time?

Oh, and I’ll share the argument of my upcoming novella in the comments.

About Ruthie Knox

Ruthie Knox writes witty, sexy romance novels for grownups. Read more >
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35 Responses to Argue With Me

  1. I love you guys.
    Every time I read one of your posts here, I just run around saying, “Hey, did you read Wonk-o-mance? They did a really good post on…”
    This one is really timely, too. I’m sucking the life out of myself trying to stay on task with my WIP, and I love the characters, but they’re just kind of wandering around Scrivener flapping their arms around, getting nekkid here and there, but not getting anywhere. Actually, getting nekkid a lot. The problem with that is, it’s a romantic suspense, so unless the bad guy shows up and gets nekkid, too…and then I’ll have to do some sub genre remodelling…

    Thanks, Ruthie, this helps. And thanks, Mary Ann, for getting this argument argument started!

  2. Ruthie Knox says:

    Almost forgot! Here is my novella’s argument, which I present as a note to the reader. My editor asked me to add a note. I got all excited. “Oh! I can put in the argument!”

    There is romance in marriage.

    This is why it’s so often the happy endpoint of romance novels, right? Because marriage contains within it all the best stuff: joy, understanding, comfort, mutual appreciation, companionship, lovemaking, and baked goods. Not necessarily in that order.

    But marriage contains all the worst stuff, too—sorrow, alienation, incomprehension, discomfort, misunderstanding, loneliness, dry spells, burned roasts.

    Marriage is an agreement two people make to move through life together. On the plus side, this means they’ll always have each other. On the minus side, it also means that life will keep happening to them, and they will keep having to cope with it.

    The hope in any marriage—and the promise inherent in most romance novels’ happy endings—is that the couple in question will be better off coping with life together than they would have been alone.

    When I wrote How To Misbehave, I left Amber Clark and Tony Mazzara a few days into their fledgling relationship. They’d found each other and taken halting but important steps toward intimacy and trust, but on the last page of that book, Amber and Tony’s story was just beginning.

    I knew how they ended up, of course. I gave you glimpses of them together in Along Came Trouble and Flirting with Disaster—married, with three rambunctious boys and a dog, still living near family in Camelot, with Tony continuing to run his father’s construction business.

    But there was more. I knew there was more. And even though it didn’t fit in my plans, I didn’t have time to write it, and no one particularly wanted me to write it, I had to tell this other piece of Amber and Tony’s story. Because I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

    I couldn’t stop thinking about marriage—the best and the worst of it.

    Making It Last takes place twelve years after How To Misbehave. I wrote it because I wanted to tell a story about how life happens to love. About how hard it is for men who are working at supporting their families and women who are working at raising their children to keep track of who they are and what matters most to them.

    I wanted to write about how, in many marriages, there are these pausing points—ten, twenty, thirty years in—when two people who have committed to each other are forced to stop and think. To decide. Would they choose each other again? Will they?

    And I wanted to show how this choice—if made correctly, with awareness and love and open communication—can give two people the courage to reframe their notions of themselves, so that they can face the next stretch of road in front of them stronger, better, and more capable of handling whatever challenges come their way.

    I believe that the romance of marriage is about these moments of choosing—these anniversary affirmations that, yes, you’re the one I want. Still. Even now. Especially now.
    Only you.

    • We’ve been married for almost 27 years, so this is very interesting to me. Twelve years in, I’m pretty sure we were just trying to get through the day because we woke up every morning 2 parents short (4 kids, 2 parents, way too many thing to do). Our youngest went to college last fall and I feel like a new person. We finally have time to talk to each other and we are remembering things in the way back past that had completely left our minds, comparing my perspective vs. his perspective, and honestly it’s been pretty amazing. Many ups and downs over the years and many times I didn’t like him much at all, but there was never a doubt in my mind that we would always be together. One of my favorite books is an old Judith Duncan Silhouette Intimate Moments novel “Better than Before” about a couple with 5 children who’d been married for 20 years and the crisis surrounding a big all school reunion in their Canadian town and the threat of a secret coming out. This book is from 1992, so I’d only been married 6 years when I first read it, but it made such an impression on me that it’s been in my keep pile as sort of a touchpoint of a romance of a long marriage. I don’t think this book is available electronically (or it wasn’t the last time I looked) but it’s a great story. Can’t wait to read your novella because I really liked Amber and Tony’s story.

      • Ruthie Knox says:

        That sounds like a really interesting book! And a total in-your-face example to anyone who argues that category romance is always the same old, same old thing. :-)

        Will be interested to hear what you think of the story when it’s out in July.

        • Oooh, and this just gave me a great idea for a blog post. My favorite “keepers”, all of which are just random catagory romance novels…and why I kept them. Thanks for that inspiration.

    • willaful says:

      I can’t wait to read this. One of the things that has gotten me through the rough patches of almost 30 years with the same person is the concept that you can fall in and out of love with the same person many, many times.

    • I am so looking forward to this. All lasting marriages navigate these waters and I’m always curious about how other people do it.

      This is a beautiful argument.

  3. AnimeJune says:

    This was a fascinating post! I really like the idea of the argument – because I’ve had that EXACT reaction but couldn’t really articulate why I’d had it.

    I think the most obvious example was when I read a couple of Susan Mallery’s books. She had a great writing style and writes female characters who are complex and strong and developed and amazing – but the ARGUMENTS of her books are such misogynist garbage.

    First there was SWEET TROUBLE, in which the argument was, “If you were a stanky ho party girl as a teenager, you only have yourself to blame if your intentions are misunderstood when someone else take sexual advantage of you. But the love of a good man can cure you of your slutty ways.”

    Then I remember reading FOOL’S GOLD, where the argument was pretty much “Choosing to raise another person’s child is the most selfless thing you can do – and IF YOU REFUSE that opportunity, you’re a horrible selfish monster.” This was the book where the single, one-room-apartment, career-oriented heroine’s best friend cruelly and inexplicably bequeaths her three frozen embryos before dying of cancer.

    The heroine herself is great, I loved reading about her journey to choose having these kids (ALL AT ONCE, WTF), but hated the argument that if she’d done otherwise, she would be a Bad Friend and a Selfish Career Woman. This argument is supported when her Love Interest strikes up a friendship with a foster child and is then accused by everyone of “leading the child on” by not immediately adopting him, no questions asked.

    I think I need to favourite this post because I will also help me with my own writing! Great job!

    • Ruthie Knox says:

      Thanks, June! Interesting what you say here about Mallery — I haven’t read her, but I had the same sort of reaction to a Virgin River book I read by Robyn Carr. I liked a lot of things about the book, but I think there’s a subterranean conservative argument of Virgin River that puts my teeth on edge. And I say that knowing that it’s an entirely PERSONAL reaction. There’s nothing wrong with Virgin River or anyone who loves it — but the argument just isn’t for me. And I like being able to say that — to sift away the whole “good book” / “bad book” thing and have something to point to when I say “Here’s why this didn’t work *for me*.”

    • willaful says:

      I’m reminded of when “the Lion King” came out and people complained it was sexist and other people sputtered “but… but… it can’t be sexist because the girl lion could pin down the boy lion!” And I didn’t know how to articulate yes, it bloody well still could be. Thanks to both of you for giving me these words! (I totally disagree with you on Sweet Trouble, btw, which is interesting in itself. Just as reader consent varies from reader to reader, so can preception of an author’s argument.)

      • Ruthie Knox says:

        That’s true about perception of argument. Readers will all weigh evidence differently, filtering it through their lenses of life experience / expectation / anticipation.

  4. Shari Slade says:

    Over and over again, my response to wonkoposts is “Gosh, I needed to read that today.”

    It appears I’m not alone in my response or in the things I’m thrashing over when reading/writing.

    I am not alone. *hugs wonk*

    Your mention of genre convention hit me in my shivery place. I feel like that is something I fail at…repeatedly. And it just stops me cold. I worry. I muppet-flail. I give up. But here it is, a ray of light. Not just permission, but a TOOL for abandoning the murk of tropetastic expectation.

    Now, I can flail with purpose.

    • Ruthie Knox says:

      It’s always so lovely to find your people, isn’t it? Because then you don’t have to flail alone. And it’s especially lovely to discover there are so many MORE of your people than you thought! I swear, this website has been such a source of joy and insight.

  5. willaful says:

    Fascinating! This is a great expansion on the whole concept of “reader consent,” which I find so valuable.

    “What’s so interesting to me, here, is two things: first, the idea that I might love an author’s work, love her characters, but hate her argument so much that I can’t even read her book.”

    This happened to me with the aptly named _To Darkness and to Death_. Love every other book in that series to bits, but that one made me feel like the author was reaching out and punching me in the face.

    Have to leave but will come back to read your comment more thoroughly.

  6. Amber Lin says:

    What a fantastic post! And reading the comments I see mirrored what I felt, a sense of relief. And it’s almost a surprise to realize I was *waiting* for permission, but there it is.

    There’s also purpose, like I can go back into these revisions and have a plan. My brain is very happy about the idea of putting forth an argument and providing evidence. My god, it’s like math! And theorems! I can totally do that shit.

  7. Serena Bell says:

    Love love love love this post. You have such a great gift for clarity, in fiction and essay. I’m going to reread and try to pick out ethos and logos issues in what I’m reading and writing. Sometimes writing feels like such a process of knowing something’s wrong but not having the vocabulary to articulate what. I’m definitely going to be thinking hard about argument in my next WIP (and making you think hard about it, by CP extension (evil cackle)).

    Also love all the comments about finding your people. Have never felt that so much since I started writing romance, and even more so since the idea of Wonkomance came into being.

  8. This is brilliant. I am so impressed by the level of discourse on this thread and this website. (At 7:00 am I was full of ideas about it, but then I taught for six hours so I won’t be pulling my weight to maintain the bar.)

    As I was reading about your revision here I couldn’t help what think about mythos, which is where questions like ‘how do we keep love alive?’ and ‘what makes marriage work?’ find their most resonating answers. I teach my students about mythos along with the other appeals, as it may be one of the most persuasive appeals when we talk story. So much of what we think of as love/attraction/marriage/etc. is caught up in the collective fabric of our culture. As much as each of these love stories is about two individuals, they speak to us on a much more communal level.

    Modern rhetoricians may use the term differently than Aristotle, but essentially this appeal works by recognizing people’s connection to heritage, culture, peer group, region, etc. through the use of shared experiences, stories, values, faiths, roles, practices. Proof by mythos most often uses narrative as its evidence, mythos says, let us connect through story.

    In large part genre writing works because of mythos, though my brain is too fried today to suss this out.

    • Cherri–

      Mythos as an appeal was so incredibly important to the development and introduction of non-canonical literature studies–right around the time you and I were in grad school. I remember its pairing with the new legitimacy of reader response and other feminist lenses for the study of literature. I don’t know if you ever took a class with Mary Helen Dunlop, but she employed attention to the mythos appeal very deliberately as a way to understand women authors’ fiction of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It really does change the entire world, to consider this appeal, and I think you’re right, it has applications in the understanding of romance fiction.

      Particularly, I’m thinking, as a way to take in trends within tropes and ethos. Ruthie and I exchanged some thoughts about this earlier today regarding how ethos is a good way to get a handle on trends. Conservatism in ethos, I observed, may have some correlation with sales, while liberalism in ethos may have some correlation with trends. And then I messed around with some statistics and Ruthie laughed at me. However, your evocation of mythos may be a way to put a finer point on ethos on a grander scale. In other words, mythos, as you define it, maybe the ethos of the genre, its subgenres, its groups and salons of writers who share similar ethos.

      It’s useful, I absolutely believe, to apply these lenses. Obviously, I believe so. I think the discussion today demonstrates that it’s useful to writers, readers, and reviewers to apply lenses to craft and to discussion not only so that we become better writers, readers, and reviewers, but so that our genre meets our needs as a culture–a fantastically diverse mythos, as it happens.

      Also, if you didn’t take a Dunlop class, she was a really fucking hard prof. I had so much screaming respect for her, however, I gathered my ovaries up, clutched them in my hand, and asked her if she would consider sitting on my thesis committee. She gave me this long, long look over her glasses and said “I think that would be a very fine consideration, Ms. Rivers.” And then I had to go lay down. Deb Marquart, my committee chair, could not believe she had said yes. Banner day. We were so young, Cherri.

      • MA–

        I think I may have sat in on one of her classes but was never brave enough to actually take one.

        Sometimes when I start thinking about the appeals–as I did today with students–they all bleed together. Maybe one of the reasons I find mythos so useful is that it’s messy, much like me and my thinking. I mean that perfectly seriously w/o even a little bit of self-deprecation. *smirk*

        • Ruthie Knox says:

          Well, you guys are over my head here a bit, but I’ll venture to guess — and Mary Ann can confirm? — that this Tony and Amber story is shot through with appeals to mythos.

          • Oh–absolutely.

            Like Cherri says, we have a collective idea of what makes a happy marriage as a culture. That gets further complicated by mythos that are part of each half of the couple’s idea of a happy marriage, as well as the mythos of the culture they share with their families.

            Tony and Amber are such a good example of this, and they bring their mythos right into the middle of their marriage. I don’t want to spoil the story, but a very strong mythos is argued for Tony, and Amber’s evolves from her matriarchal line. It’s part of why, you argue in this story, marriages have periods of great complexity, and then easier simplicity–mythos are shared, and then not shared.

            Much of your evidences, in fact, have dual appeals to logos, pathos, and mythos as their story unfolds. More, you create an interior mythos that is heavily metaphorized with their basement in How To Misbehave.


  9. Jessi Gage says:

    “All you have to do is make a good argument. That’s it. Show me a clear argument, a logical chain of evidence, emotional support, and a trustworthy author, and I will show you a successful story — wonky or not.”

    Ruthie, you are in the running for most quotable author ever, in my book.

    This post will give me insomnia tonight, which I will be thankful for tomorrow because while I should have been sleeping I will have figured out that thing that isn’t working for this wip I’ve got going on.

    Arguments. Brilliant. And thanks, Marry Ann for sparking this thread.

  10. rube says:

    Thank you for this thought-provoking post!

    Delphine Dryden’s The Theory of Attraction was the most achingly romantic book I’ve read recently. The last section had me moving from suspense to sadness to squee-ing. This reaction was in contrast the “meh” that I gave to the only other BDSM Erziehungsroman that I’ve read, Pauline Reage’s The Story of O (you all totally thought it was going to be Fifty Shades, didn’t you?).

    I bought the argument for Theory. I didn’t for Reage’s classic erotic novel.

    Yes, the books belong to different genres with different aims. The Story of O is a famously detached narrative with scant introspection. It focuses on the physical sensations elicited by O’s various costumes and positions, and the escalating demands of her lovers. The alienation is a deliberate stance on the author’s part: insert some blather about self-objectification here.

    Plus, sex castle! Woohoo, right?

    Well… O’s arc is that she’s supposed to become more and more of an object and less of a person, although, let’s be frank, she wasn’t really that much of a person to begin with; I found it difficult to empathize or even just understand. O starts off willing and stays willing. I have no idea why she has any emotional engagement with these men. I have no idea why they enjoy this with her. All she cops to is occasional happiness. Otherwise, it’s all sensory perceptions. But dammit, I want to know some of the why.

    So, aside from satisfying some youthful anthropological curiosity, I was bored. The heroine dutifully accepts corsets, masks, chains, and labia weights. And I was like, basically, I just read a book about clothing and accessories.

    I get that for some people, description is argument enough, especially if it’s as lovingly detailed as it is in the Story of O. For me, though, that’s not enough. Next time I want a catalogue, I’ll just page through Lucky Magazine.

    Theory, on the other hand, uses the first-person to great effect. I understand logically why Cami and Ivan do what they do. I sympathize and empathize with them (actually, I fucking love them). I think that they’re doing the right thing. Logos, and pathos, and ethos, oh my!

    In conclusion, Delphine Dryden rocks.

    • Ruthie Knox says:

      I’ve never read Story of O, but I fully support the conclusion of your argument here. THEORY OF ATTRACTION is one of my all-time faves. (Though it still saddens me that it isn’t called POCKET ROCKET, which was the title in manuscript.)

  11. Jackie Horne says:

    Great points, Ruthie. Your idea that category romance lines cluster around certain arguments (or ideologies, in the lit crit world), and that if you don’t generally accept those arguments, you’re not going to relate to the lines, resonates for me.

    My post on RNFF today is about precisely what you mention: reading a book I enjoyed, but where I found myself resisting the author’s attempt to direct my pathos…

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  13. Kaetrin says:

    I’ve never thought of a book consciously this way, but I might give it a try and see what I come up with.

    I love stories where the couple is already together and has to navigate a conflict. I’ve got this little theory going that a successful marriage is made up of lots of little decisions where the individuals choose (not all the time but most of the time) what’s best for the marriage – not themselves, not the other, but the “us”. And that marriages fail when there’s a lot of little choices which choose the opposite, until the distance seems insurmountable and the expedient thing to do is quit. (I know that’s completely over simplifying and there are circumstances where this wouldn’t work at all I’m sure. I’m not suggesting that this is the gospel-of-marriage-according-to-Kaetrin-and-all-marriage-must-bow-down-before-it or anything!) But, I do think there is something to the idea that we walk a path together and there are swings in where we are closer and hip to hip and swings outward where we are further apart and (the path bulges, if you will) and unless the couple make a conscious choice in places to step toward each other, the distance gets greater and greater and sometimes people don’t even realise it’s happening until it’s too late. Oh, that’s probably a load of wank… LOL!

    Anyway, I love reading about people who choose each other again and again.