Friday, June 3, 2011

Presidential marriages

I just finished reading Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History, which I highly recommend. I never really enjoyed history class in school and thus have such a shaky working knowledge of our country's past that I am not qualified to engage even a three-year-old in discussion.

But this book is not really about history anyway. It is about the men who became president and the women who were along for the ride (or, as in some cases, who DROVE) and how their relationships worked. A side effect of reading about these marriages is that I have a much greater understanding of all of the important decisions that were made in the last one hundred years or so. (I never knew what went down in the Iran Contra scandal, and now I do. A little. I believe there was a rogue aid who sold weapons to the enemy who came back and said that he was Luke's father or something of that sort.)

But far more interesting to me were the analyses of how these marriages worked. Most of these women put up with unfaithful husbands, whether that meant they had affairs (like FDR, LBJ, and JFK. . . Wait a hot minute-- if Ryan ever wants to go by his intials, I should suspect that he is up to no good as it seems there is a trend here.) or forsook their marriage for their careers (like Nixon). There were some marriages that seemed to work well, perhaps even better once the men became president (like the Fords and the Carters) and some that were close no matter what (like the Reagans).

I wonder what people would say of our marriage. I like to think we have a really good marriage, that there is a bond of loyalty, a give-and-take approach to each other as individuals, and a genuine enjoyment of each other. But it is often easier to acknowledge the good than the bad. So today, I am going to spend some time reflecting, pretending that Ryan is president. (He already likes me to treat him like he is POTUS anyway, so it won't be much of a stretch.) What would a book on presidential marriages say about us? About me as his wife?

Heavens, I may not want to know.

What about you? Have you ever wondered what your biography would read like? Or a book on your marriage?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks about stuff like this, because then this post will just dangle awkwardly in cyber-space, and no one wants an awkward dangler.

1 comment:

  1. Why yes I have thought of this. I would choose my biographer if I could. Kitty Kelley would focus on the dirt, and she would find plenty--I don't even cook my POTUS breakfast!! But I would hope that Angelina Jolie would play me in the movie version and that she would bring some sympathy to the character. And lots and lots of nice clothes.