Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Having enjoyably read Gilberts previous book – Eat, Pray, Love – I was thrilled to hear from a friend that she had published this new book.  I love the way this woman wrestles through issues, demons, in her life.  Her authenticity is refreshing.  The depth of research on her topic is obvious.  Thus, in this book, you will learn a lot more about Elizabeth and her family as well as about marriage.

As a pastor/counselor I would highly recommend this book to anyone either contemplating marriage or within a marriage.  There are a plethora of nasty cultural notions out there that need the light of day focused on them. Elizabeth does this well.  She had to.  She had been married, divorced, didn’t want to get remarried, but would have to again – to continue in a relationship with Filipe, the man she loved.

This book wanders somewhat naturally from her real-life, personal experiences, then into brief forays into research about marriage.  Her presentation of the academics of matrimony are almost always just enough to explain her context, yet not so much as to bore the reader.  Similarly, her travels and nostalgic recollections are just enough to engage the reader, yet not so much as to create a book merely composed of the anecdotal.  I found this a creative and useful blend of the profound and the personal.

Lack of knowledge, as well as fear to duplicate a previously noxious life encounter, predictably paralyzes millions of us from moving into joy.  Elizabeth had created and existed in a box of anxiety regarding marriage.  Circumstances, though, well described in her book, compelled her to re-examine her self-imposed parameters for relationships.  Her study was self-help, cognitive-behavioral therapy at its best. She chose to admit and confront her preconceived notions about marriage with the facts.  She chose to listen to the experiences of friends and family who shared with her the truth that her fears, though legitimate, were not the whole story.

Finally, Elizabeth breaks free from her past and embraced what she had previously and adamently rejected – marriage.  Armed with a revised and healthy perspective, she chose to marry her beloved.

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