What “Gone Girl” Can Teach Us About Marriage

Spoiler alert: It is impossible to discuss the book Gone Girl without revealing some of the plot. It is an enjoyable read and one that is best if you enter with an unsullied mind. Please read the book before you read my post. Thanks!

Our first glimpse into Nick and Amy’s marriage is that of an outside observer. Marriages are never what they seem to the external world. The gentle man at work may be the enforcer at home. The confident woman strutting through the mall may be insecure behind closed doors. The couple that doesn’t touch much at the movies may spent hours intertwined once they return home. Nick and Amy wanted to project the image of a healthy marriage. A lie that slipped in through the cracks of the closed doors of their relationship.

Amy entered into the marriage as a character. She cast herself in the role of the “cool girl,” losing herself before the vows were even spoken. The facade wears thin, as all masks do, and she begins to blame her husband for a role she chose for herself. When the book opens, she has disappeared. At first, we shift the blame for her supposed abduction to her husband. Then we realize she is the one to blame for her own actions.

Obviously, the actions in the book are more extreme than in a usual marriage, but they still have ties to common marital issues. Amy completely subjugated herself for the relationship. For the image of a perfect marriage. When she realized she was unhappy, she chose to shift the blame for her actions to her partner that was unaware of her deceptions. She ran away to run from the persona she created. This pattern of failing to take responsibility for one’s own happiness and then blaming the spouse for the lack of contentment is all too common. Just as the pattern did not work too well for Amy, it doesn’t work in the real world either. You can disappear, but the unhappiness will be on your tail.

Amy was not the only weak link in the union. Rather than face his growing feelings of isolation and shame related to his failed career, Nick chose to seek attention in the arms of another. He tried to solve one problem by creating another. He also ran from the marriage, but his trek didn’t take him on the road.

Nick and Amy lived in a world of facades, more concerned about the illusions than the realities. In the end, they decide to settle for the illusion. It is an ending that has received much complaint and push-back. Perhaps because we want to believe that they can conjure up real love from the smoke and mirrors.

If we want real love in our lives, it has to start with authenticity. Be true to yourself and reveal yourself to your partner. Take responsibility for your actions and your own happiness. Love comes with imperfections and acceptance. Don’t get so carried away with the face of the marriage that is presented to the world that you forget to nurture it behind closed doors.

Gone Girl makes a much better read than Fifty Shades of Grey, but I still think the latter makes for a better party theme.

And now that you’ve read Gone Girl, check out Lessons From the End of a Marriage🙂

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