Am I "A Reliable Wife?"

My husband used to buy me books, scads and scads of books and comfy sweaters. I love books and comfy sweaters. But, even though I'm not a Cosmo-reading, cosmo-sipping, high heels and long earrings kind of gal I also like the occasional girly gift - like some nice understated earrings or perhaps a spa certificate. So, after about three years of marriage and 7 years of being together I finally got the gall to mention that I might like a pair of earrings.

Okay, what I actually said was (upon opening a book birthday present) "there's a woman behind this brain, you know."

Good choice of words, bad timing? Bad choice of words, bad timing? Who knows. But he took it to heart.

Never a book as present since. Heck, I'd have to literally beg him to bring me home a book from the library WHERE HE WORKS!!

And then this Valentine's Day (even though we never exchange presents, just cards) a surprise! Two new books for little ol' me - brand new, not from the used bookstore or loaners from the library. I thought that I had given up my consumerist thrill in new books, but the idea that my fingers were the first to brush their tips through the pages completely titillated me.

I finished the first in two days (I'm way too quick a reader which is why I have mostly given up on the idea of buying new books for myself). It was A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, an absolutely amazing novel set in rural Wisconsin at the turn of the twentieth century. I must write a proper review of it as it was stunningly brilliant in its subject matter, the writing, the use of character and landscape. If you want to be a writer you read a novel like that and think to yourself "this is who I want to be - this writer."

But that's not what this post is about. See the novel revolved around two characters: Ralph Truitt, a wealthy widower who places an ad for a "reliable wife," and Catherine Land, the woman he choses. Land, however has hidden motives upon hidden motives, some obvious, some not so. She lies to him from before they meet, at first hiding herself from him in order to fulfill her motives and then hiding herself from him in order to keep him from thinking badly of her.

Okay, so I've never planned to kill my husband (not really, there've been moments where I've pondered his death with a little more relish than grief, but fleeting moments in which I was not truly myself), but I wonder if I'm a liar too.

After all, it took my 7 years to reveal to him that I might like earrings sometimes. Just last night he finally learned that I'm afraid of the dark. He was really surprised, actually, which I find remarkable as I thought it was obvious. It's not something you want to confess to people as a grown woman, though, is it? I've done it now though and confessed, but it'll take a while before I reveal why I'm afraid of the dark.

There've been other things that he's been shocked to discover too: my feelings about certain controversial subjects; secret fantasies (no I'm not talking about my imagined letters post); aspects of my childhood; aspirations.

Considering we've been together 10 years you'd think I'd have no secrets by now. There are only two explanations:
  1. 1. He's incredibly dense and needs to be told literally everything.
  2. 2. I'm incredibly secretive.

It's probably a combination of both, though I probably am a bit of a secretive person. I'm the worst kind, actually, the kind that seems very forthright and open but holds back a lot. And he is rather dense quite often. Perhaps not a match made in heaven in terms of that . . .

What about you? Are you an open book to your spouse? Does (s)he know everything there is to know or do you still surprise each other after years together? And is a little held back and revealed over time or not at all healthy for a relationship or does it just make us unreliable?


  1. oh god no, by far not. I don't think I'm secretive and I'll tell him anything he asks but at the same time he doesn't know everything about me - he's never asked. and i don't mean that in a being secretive way either, i guess I just don't like to go and on about myself figuring if someone's interested they'll ask or figure it out.

  2. and I've tagged you over at my blog, come on over and see...

  3. I think men need to be told a lot of things point blank.

    I also find that a lot has to do with our own self confidence about ourselves. Why? Because when you share something important with a man and he either doesn't really care or just gives you an OK... then you are a bit hurt because you just opened yourself up.

    I have now split my things I tell my husband. Either there are things he wants to here. The things that don't really interest him I split into two. Things I want him to know so he understands things about where I am coming from and how I think, and things that are not important for me to share.

    The things that are important for me for him to hear, I tell him so and I make him listen. And so what if i get an OK.... after I have told him. I don't get insulted and hurt. I shared what I wanted to share and maybe he has learned a bit more about me.

    One day at a time (20 years and still one day at a time)

  4. I'm sure it's a little from column A, a little from column B, i.e., he's listening and watching but not hearing and seeing EVERYTHING but who does anyway? and you're probably a bit unintentionally secretive. There are things my husband finds out about me from time to time that shock him and I think, how could this be a shock to you? I've been like this my whole life? I think these are the gems of a marriage though and keep things interesting and real.

    PS-I want to read that book now!


Have something to add? Let us know: