Accidental Marriage Book Club: Chapters 15-16


Welcome to the Accidental Marriage Book Club! We’re reading Accidental Marriage, by Roger Thomas.

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One of the main characters, Scott Kyle’s, dream of leaving his hometown really resonated with me. Like Scott, my hometown held painful memories, such as my parents’ divorce, horrible school years including being tormented by a classmate, as well as some not-so-good dating choices. The idea of a fresh start, away from the haunting memories, was very appealing. I dreamt of being a famous writer, and returning only, as Scott expressed, “to share in my great successes.” For his part, Scott felt no nostalgia for the town in which he grown up and from which he’d worked so hard to escape, and before I ended up settled back into the town, neither did I.

“Seeing his hometown her [Megan’s] eyes helped him realize that many of his memories of Lexington as a dull, dingy little town had been formed over a decade earlier, in the imagination of a sullen high school student. It might not be where he wanted to spend the rest of his life but it wasn’t the end of the world.”  Unlike Scott, who did get out of his home town, I never really left. I married at 21 years of age, and after a few years renting in surrounding towns, we wound up buying our first house (where we remain 25 years later) in of all places — my hometown.  Once, we contemplated a job offer on the West Coast, but in the end stayed put. I guess despite the past, I found comfort in the familiar.

This walk down memory lane that Chapter 15 took me, including an eerily similar conversation with one of parents, about how ill-informed I was about past situations, was perfectly met in Chapter 16, with this remarkable understanding of the role of grace in our lives.

Roger B. Thomas writes, in an interior dialog of character Scott Kyle, the phrase – “All because of Grace?”  In this moment he is struggling with the current circumstances of his life, and the Grace he is referring is his little daughter.  As he starts to elaborate all the situations that he can trace back to Grace, I started to feel a ‘Wonderful Life’ moment happening.  It was in reading this chapter, that I first realized the genius in the baby being named Grace (yes, it truly took me to nearly the end of the book to make that connection; I am not ashamed to admit it), and I recognized the ripple effect of one life on the lives it touches.  More importantly, as I watched the dialog of this chapter unfold, the incredible role of the grace of God in our lives’ ripple became even more astounding.

Even in the most painful of memories from my early life, I can see how God’s grace was at work making me who I was today.  Although my initial desire was to get as far away as possible from those childhood recollections, there was something that drew me back and called me to stay.  Perhaps remembering how far God has brought me, that thorn that remains (2 Cor 12:7) that keeps me dependent on God, was at work in my subconscious when looking to plant roots.   After all, “if it hadn’t been for grace,” God only knows where I would have ended up.

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. What criteria did you consider when discerning where to plant your roots?  What role, if any, did your hometown play in your final decision?
  2. Grace is such a remarkable force in our lives; how do you see it at work in yours?
  3. How do you handle those feeling of being overwhelmed, which inevitably come, in parenthood?

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.

Next week, we’ll cover Chapters 17-18. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Accidental Marriage Book Club page.

Copyright 2014 Allison Gingras


About Author

Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." Her ministry focuses on the grace of prayer, Scripture, and sacrament. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization and hosts A Seeking Heart podcast.


  1. I think it wasn’t an accident that you were asked to reflect on a chapter that you could relate to so closely. Wow! I moved from my hometown when I was 15. Like you, there is pain associated with it, including divorce. I suppose I could have gone back for college, but it didn’t really cross my mind. It was so far away, and the ties were not strong anymore. I was closer to family, and that was important to me. If I would have moved back, my life would be completely different than it is now, and so I am grateful that I didn’t feel the pull to return. Maybe that was grace working in my life … I don’t always recognize grace in the moment (at least not how strongly it is working), but I do see it very clearly upon reflection. I’ve lived here longer than I lived in my hometown, so this is really HOME now. But home is so much more than a place … Home is the people with whom I share my life and where I am living closely to God’s will.

    • Yeah Sarah I do not believe in coincidences AT ALL!! I loved that last sentence in your reflection, reminded me of scripture, “wherever you treasure is there you will find your heart,” aka “home is where the heart is” 🙂 There was so much in those 2 chapters that struck a cord, it always amazes me when fiction does that – shows the commonality of people, which was nice in a book that includes a topic that has polarized so many. Nice to be reminded of that too …. just loved this book!

      • I agree, Allison. This book does an excellent job at showing the commonality of people. On one main point, I can’t relate to Scott and Megan at all. But I can definitely see myself in their story, in their human struggles, in the decisions they make … This topic, and others, can polarize many, and I think it might be because we end up looking at the issue and we forget that all of us are human beings, children of God. The issues are still the issues. But this book does a great job of elevating the dignity of every person, no matter where they are on a particular issue’s spectrum.

  2. I married young and once I graduated from college we moved our hometown because I believed we would not have survived if we stayed near our families. After almost 30 years, I think I was right :(. Sad but true.
    In regard to grace, I have come to see it as it is given, which is a grace in and of itself. I still it it more clearly in hindsight, but have learned to pay attention during the struggles of life to see the grace! I could talk about grace forever!
    I think it has been interesting to see how many of the reflections written for this book were easy to tie into each person’s life. As was said, probably not a coincidence!

    • Yeah, Grace is such a remarkable topic – I did not even know about it until I was in my mid 30s, and even begin to be able to give any type of definition or to experience myself even later. What a gift – God is so good, too bad it is so hard for many to see the God and the good in their circumstances. I love that this book focused on Grace, without doing so overtly – makes it all that more evident (at least to me) how part of the ordinary, everyday God make it!

  3. Motherhood hasn’t and doesn’t come naturally to me. Since choosing motherhood over my professional career, I’ve battled feelings of resentment, loneliness, depression – wanting to be anywhere but “here,” wherever here in that present moment may be at that time. To sum it all up, I have often felt anything but love. It all boiled up one day and I finally broke down and prayed to Jesus: Please, Jesus, let me love my family like you love me. Show me how to love like you.

    And that has been my prayer for much of the last few years.

    Not too long ago a friend asked me, “Is pink your favorite color.” Not particularly, I responded. Why? And he said, “Well you just have a lot of pink stuff. Your phone is pink. Your iPad cover is pink. Your shoes are pink. Your coffee mug is pink. Your coat is pink.” And sure enough, I started taking inventory of all the pink stuff I’ve accumulated in the last year or so. My phone is pink, my iPad is pink. My shoes are pink. My coffee mug is pink. My coat is pink. Several years ago I would have equated the color pink to weakness, submission, a color for that the nice, lovely, quiet woman in the church choir.

    Now if you are into color psychology at all, you know that the color pink represents compassion, nurturing, and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding – it tones down the physical passion of red and replaces it with a gentle loving energy. Well I think all this pink stuff I’ve been accumulating is very clearly an outward expression of how God is writing straight with the very crooked lines of my heart. It’s a manifestation of how God’s grace is working through me to increase my capacity to love those precious souls who He entrusted me with. It feels good, it really does. Thank you, Jesus, for pulling me in deeper.

    So that’s my VERY long answer to #2 and sorta #3. 🙂

    • Allison Gingras on

      That was a pretty awesome answer to those questions. I LOVE when God illuminates something in our lives – as simple as Pink stuff — to allow us to see the Grace of it all. So cool!!! NOW I need to go look up the psychology behind PURPLE…

  4. Unlike most of you, I don’t live in or near my hometown. Shortly after we were married, Hubs took a job at the other end of the state so that we could afford to live on one income and start a family. We’re 75 to 150 miles away from family, but it might as well be 10 times that sometimes.

    I like what Deanna said about seeing grace in hindsight. I’m usually too wrought-up about stuff to find grace in a moment of crisis.

    And now I’m going to go learn more about color psychology. Sounds fascinating! (Blue, for me.)

    • Allison Gingras on

      First… I wrote my response to Lisa’s and then notice Barb you had the same FINAL thought about color psychology lol !! GMTA!!

      Hindsight is Faith’s best friend — at least that has been my experience!!

      ps. there were definitely moments in the last 25 years I wish I was that far from family and my home town, but I am grateful most days that I am not. God has definitely used some of those experiences to grow me in love, compassion, patience and understanding !! Emphasis on some (I am a slow learner lol)

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