Chapter seven begins with a wedding. Even by the casual standards of the County Clerk’s Office, this one was brief, poorly planned and awkward. Scott and Megan had no wedding rings, Megan does not even know Scott’s real first name and the ceremony concludes with a stiff, self-conscious kiss. Not a great start to a marriage.
We know that marriage was not really what Megan and Scott had in mind. Procuring health care was the goal. It goes without saying that they did not view marriage as a sacrament, yet as chapters seven and eight unfold we begin to see the sacramental nature of marriage manifest itself.
Shortly after the wedding, Megan hits a breaking point at work. Already on notice to be laid off, she experiences an unbearable level of harassment by supervisors and coworkers, most of this instigated by her ex-partner, Diane. Citing the economic security she has in their new married life, Scott convinces Megan to quit the following day rather than endure a few more weeks of workplace hell.
Scott meanwhile begins to experience his own workplace problems. A workmate sabotages an important presentation with slides that mock his role as father to Megan’s child. He now knows that he is the object of ridicule in his workplace and beyond.
Scott knows that the gossip resulting from the incident has damaged his ability to cultivate and sustain relationships in the gay community. At least he finds comfort in a home life that is calm and satisfying.
In spite of the fact that their wedding was a sham by any reasonable measure, their relationship is beginning to take on characteristics of a real marriage. A marriage entered into without the benefit of sacrament, yet taking on some of marriage’s sacramental qualities. How could this be?
Love and grace are the simple answers. It would appear that God was willing grant his grace upon their union. Perhaps because the love that has begun to characterize their relationship. Are Scott and Megan in love with each other? Not even close. But we begin to see the formation of love in it’s simple and direct form. It’s what Aquinas would describe as “willing good for the other as other.”
Scott is the one that expresses love in this way. There was no compelling reason for him to take on Megan’s plight other that his genuine concern for her as a human being. Megan responds to Scott’s loving acts with gratitude, but resistance as well. In fact, she can not bring herself to participate in their evolving domestic relationship until Scott is able to frame it in business-like terms. She sees herself as his “household manager” rather than wife.
I’m not finding fault with her character. It just seems she has not had much experience caring for others or being cared for. She is like a dry sponge. Have you ever tried to wipe up a spill with a dry sponge? It doesn’t work. It’s not until the sponge is dampened that it will absorb. Thus it appears to be for Megan. It may be a while before she can absorb the love that is coming her way.
To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:
- To some degree, all marriages are “accidental.” We have no way of knowing what our marriages will be like when we enter into them. A question for the married folk: in what ways has your marriage unlike what you expected?
- The anguish that Scott experienced as a result of being “outed” during his presentation is due in large part to his secrecy. Should he have been open about his relationship with Megan and their marriage?
- Scott comes home in chapter eight to find a despondent Megan contemplating abortion, wondering what would be the purpose in having a child. Scott replies that the child itself is the purpose. Why might Scott have this insight when Megan did not?
- In reference to marriage, Jesus said, “What God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Matt 19:6) Does Jesus’s statement apply to Scott and Megan’s marriage?
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 9-11. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Accidental Marriage Book Club page.
Copyright 2014 Kirk Whitney