Accidental Marriage Book Club: Chapters 9-11

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

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I hope you caught last week’s Accidental Marriage Book Club post by my friend and fellow contributor Kirk Whitney. I loved hearing a man’s take on Roger Thomas’ very interesting novel. This is my second read-through of the book and I’m certainly enjoying all of the conversation that is happening around the book and its characters!

Chapter Nine opens with Scott and Megan settling into a new routine together. From learning to drive a new car to making things run more efficiently around Scott’s (now “their”) place, Megan seems to be adjusting very well to her new life. As the chapter progresses, we learn that Scott is on the receiving end of some jokes at work, but that his home life seems orderly and comfortable. Megan’s pregnancy progresses until we finally meet little Grace Marie Kyle at the conclusion of this chapter.

I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the scene in the delivery room. Scott seems much like many of the new fathers I’ve met: anxious, uncertain, and perhaps a bit helpless. But after little Grace is born and Scott compliments Megan, her response “Likewise, Dad… I couldn’t have done it without you” is teasing, but also true!

Chapter Ten opens with Scott returning to work. While he seems to be not on the best of terms with his co-workers, one–Jake–offers some kind support. Work gets much busier for Scott, but he seems to truly enjoy coming home to Megan and especially little Grace at the end of the day. One night, Scott experiences a terrific nightmare which is described in great and foreboding detail. At work, Scott begins to notice small anomalies, but is too busy to take much notice. Scott arrives home late one night and Megan surprises him with a glass of wine. She reminds him that the day is actually their first anniversary. When Megan thanks Scott for his friendship and support, Scott’s response, “I get a great household manager and a delightful little playmate in the bargain,” is a telling remark about the state of their arrangement.

When Scott heads into work the next morning at the start of Chapter Eleven, it’s clear that trouble is on the horizon. Scott’s meeting with Brian becomes his last day at work due to a buyout of the company. He acts foolishly by tearing his severance check into pieces. When Scott goes home and informs Megan about what has happened at work, things seem even more hopeless. After a fight and some sharp words, Megan and Scott seem to be able to come together by the end of the chapter to consider what might possibly be coming next for them. And while the options don’t seem too bright, at least the two parents are looking at them together.

These chapters of the book reminded me of a few moments that Greg and I experienced as newlyweds and new parents. While we obviously never faced the strange circumstances that Scott and Megan find themselves in, we had our fair share of financial strain, parenting snafus, and impatience. I look back now and realize that it was our faith in God and the strong example of loving marriages in our lives that helped us to find our way through the stress and challenges. Certainly, for our characters, the lack of a spiritual support system is definitely not making life any easier!

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. If you are a parent, what do you remember about the first moments in which you met your precious newborn child? What memories do you have of your spouse in that moment?
  2. If you are married, how did you celebrate your first anniversary? What might you do differently now to mark that occasion with your spouse?
  3. Have you or your spouse ever dealt with a financial crisis or unemployment? How did your faith sustain you during your challenges?

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 12-14. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Accidental Marriage Book Club page.

Copyright 2015 Lisa Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

5 Comments

  1. When we were newly married and then new parents, so many things happened in a very short amount of time—kind of like Scott and Megan, but in a more conventional, traditional relationship. One month after we were married, we were faced with unemployment … Three months after that, we found out we were expecting our first baby (still unemployed) … A few months after that, my husband found a new job (career) as a college instructor. And we celebrated our first anniversary at our favorite restaurant with me about ready to leave the working world and give birth to our firstborn. When our baby was born, my husband’s fatherly nature kicked in immediately, while I had to test the waters of motherhood a little more hesitantly. I would say that is A LOT of change and transition for a little over one year of marriage! I think our faith carried us through all of these new situations, especially the grace of the sacrament of holy matrimony. We were still just getting to know each other, and learning how to make decisions and work through things together. So, yes, that grace was invaluable! In some ways, I do not know how Scott and Megan sustained such circumstances! I think that their initial relationship of genuine friendship really helped them stick with each other. Each of them has a desire for the best to happen for the other … And the best for each just happens to be together. I also see inherent goodness in each of them that might be magnified when together. In other words, they recognize that being together in this unique situation is better and more holistic than being alone.

  2. Ah, first year of marriage — 25 years ago. Birth of first child, 19 years ago. Crazy when you face those questions and put years with the memories! Both seem like just yesterday – cliche but true. We actually celebrated that first year with a home-cooked meal and tried to eat our (not so well packed away, stuck in freezer, absorbing ever odor in there) cake top – yuck!! Not sure who decided that should be a ANNIVERSARY THING, but it is gross! My first baby born 2 months preemie, so it was days before I could really cuddle with the little (5 lbs) guy – but I do remember that overwhelming feeling of love and responsibility – all covered in tears! We have been blessed that all of these years my husband has been employed at the same place, and they are a great employer with good benefits and support to families. ME on the other hand –I went through jobs and CAREERS actually like popcorn … spent lots of years trying to find ‘myself’ until I found God and finally decided I’d just ASK HIM! However, those years of un- and under-employment have created a debt and financial bump we are still trying to overcome. Instead of being discouraged, I look at this as our ‘thorn’ that keeps us reliant on God – and for that we are grateful, witnessing God’s providence in our life has truly been one of the greatest blessings in our life!!

  3. Well, I have to say I really don’t remember how we celebrated our first anniversary (gasp!). Oh my…

    What I most remember about the birth of our first son is my husband’s tears. I guess a certain part of him had given up on having a family. He was 37 when we got married and almost 40 when our son was born.

    Faith has been most definitely what has sustained us during difficult financial times. Twice my husband has been laid off -at different times and places- and sure enough those two times -with no health insurance- we found out I was pregnant. Coincidentally, both times the pregnancies did not survive the first few weeks and we ended up not having those babies here with us. The second time he had no job was when the entire country was in crisis, and it took a long time to find another job and regain some balance. It was most definitely a time of trial but we made it through with God’s help.

  4. The loss of Scott’s job marks a critical turning point in the relationship. Before that, Scott was able to be the complete benefactor, generous toward Megan and Grace with his resources. It’s true that he’s given a glimpse of how much he needs Megan when she nearly departs, but he resolves that by “hiring” her – still retaining the superior position in the relationship.

    But when he’s thrown out of a job and loses that advantage, he can’t maintain that illusion any longer. He’s as needy as she is, and they’re thrown on just one another. Note that his first instincts are to take what is for him a familiar path: cut and run. Ditch the obligations and leave (this urge shows up several places in the story.) But this time, it’s different – he feels the counterpressure of his obligation to Megan and Grace. Hitherto that obligation has been an easy load, because of his better economic circumstances. Now its weight bears down on him, forcing him to consider things he’s never considered before.

    Also note that, unbeknownst to him, Scott is being faced with pressures similar to those which his father faced. The external circumstances differ, but the emotional and mental tension has many parallels.

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