Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the gazillion-selling Eat, Pray, Love is out with a new one called Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage. Committed follows off from where EPL leaves off and explores the institution of marriage.
I haven't read EPL yet, so I can't say much either way about it. I am curious to read Committed though, because I am fascinated by marriage and learning about what makes for a good one.
An interesting statement made by Ms. Gilbert in this interview on the Goodreads website is that marriage does not benefit women as much as it does men.
Her thinking is that women go into marriage with extremely high ideals and are frequently brought crashing to earth in disappointment. Men, on the other hand, enter into legal unions with reluctance, scared of losing their independence and becoming trapped, and then find themselves pleasantly surprised and think "Oh, this is actually quite nice." Of course, I am sure that traditional gender roles play a big part in adjusting people's expectations once within the institution.
Another interesting thing she says, which goes against popular thinking is that the more educated, independent and successful a woman is, the more content she is in her marriage. I can't count the number of times I have heard it said (and it's usually from men, sorry guys) that the more educated a woman is, the less likely she will make a good wife (the characteristics of a 'good' wife is a subject of discussion for another day).
Well, the truth is that many women are brought up with romantic and unrealistic notions of marriage. You are told to wait for 'your Prince Charming', 'white knight on a horse'; that one day 'your prince will come.' Fairy tales end with the maiden and her prince 'riding off into the sunset' or 'living happily ever after.'
I never really wondered how come boys aren't reared on the same delusional stories. However now that I think about it, I realise that it's no wonder that there can be such a difference in how the sexes largely approach relationships.