Thursday, June 13, 2013

GRAB(ook) Club: "Measure of Love" by Melissa Ford

I am so happy that Melissa at Stirrup Queens is kicking off another incarnation of her online book club -- particularly since my desire to participate in the Barren B*tches Book Club was a key reason why I started this blog in 2007. : ) 

This time around, participants have been asked to post a single question on their blog (as if we were all sitting in a room together talking about the book), which everyone can answer in the comment section. All of the posts will be compiled in a linked list on Stirrup Queens ( Discussions are also taking place on Facebook and GoodReads too -- post your question there if you don't have a blog and dive into the discussion.

The first book up for discussion is Melissa's own new novel, Measure of Love -- a sequel to Life From Scratch (which I wrote about here) -- featuring the further adventures of blogger/cook Rachel Goldman, her ex-husband Adam and her best friend, Arianna. If you liked Life From Scratch, I'm sure you will also like Measure of Love. Along with the old favourite characters, there are new ones introduced to keep things interesting, and new dilemmas for Rachel to face, including weddings (plural), meddling inlaws and challenges to face in her friendship with Arianna.

If you haven't read Life From Scratch, you could still read Measure of Love on its own -- but you'll probably get more out of it if you start with the first book. 

There were lots of questions I considered throwing out to the field (and I hope someone else will ask the other ones I had...!) -- but I settled on asking this one. My question to all of you:

If you are married:  Could you relate to the pre-wedding jitters and doubts described in the book? Did you have them yourself?  If so, were they related to the person you were marrying, the details of the wedding, or your doubts about the institution of marriage itself?  If you're not married (or if you were a supremely calm & confident bride), was there another time in your life when you doubted the path you were following or wondered if you were doing the right thing?
My own answer: 
I was actually a pretty calm bride. One of my girlfriends/bridesmaids can actually be heard on my wedding video as they helped me put on my veil, marvelling, "Look at her -- she's so calm!"  The minister commented that she'd never seen such an organized bride (and this was before the days of computers or the Internet -- all my organizing was done inside a good old-fashioned three-ring binder -- which I still have, by the way.

Probably the biggest problem in planning the wedding was finding the bridesmaids' dresses, but my sister finally found the perfect one. The minister at my mother's church in the town where my parents had recently moved was decidedly lukewarm about marrying us (much to my mother The Church Lady's ire) -- but the (female) chaplain at the university where dh & I had met -- which seemed like the perfect place for us to get married anyway -- responded warmly to our request.  And I had to convince my skeptical dad to cough up $400 to hire a newfangled thing called a videographer to make a video of the wedding -- something I saw at a wedding show & decided I would regret not doing. (Of course, guess who wound up showing the finished video to everyone within a 200-mile radius?)  Of course, back then, weddings, while still a Big Deal, were not quite the production they have become these days, influenced by well-publicized celebrity weddings, reality TV shows like "Say Yes to Dress" and Internet forums like Pinterest. There were fewer details to obsess over and not quite as many Joneses to keep up with. ; )

Dh & I had a long-distance relationship for the better part of three years before we got married, so I had plenty of time to think about what I was doing & whether this was what I really wanted.  I was just so happy that we were finally getting married & getting to be together for good. I think that outweighed any cold feet I might have had.

I will admit there was one moment, shortly before the wedding -- I remember looking at him and it just HIT me -- " Holy cow -- THIS is the guy I'm going to spend the rest of my life with??" It was like, "Who is this guy??"  The moment passed.  That was almost 28 years ago, and while we've certainly had our ups & downs, I know I definitely made the right decision. : )

I did have a moment of "OMG" panic just as the doors to the chapel swung open and the bridesmaids began walking down the aisle... not so much, "Get me out of here" but "Omigod, look at all those people -- and they're all going to be looking at ME next!"  I took a very deep breath just as my dad & I started our own journey down the aisle -- which the photographer happened to capture for posterity. Ugh. :p 

And now, over to you. : )

After you answer my question, please click over to read the rest of the book club questions for Measure of Love ( You can get your own copy of Measure of Love by Melissa Ford at bookstores including Amazon (


  1. Two of my friends and I had destination weddings. All three of us freaked out shortly before the wedding for reasons completely unknown. One girl threw her engagement ring, causing a mad search in the gutter for it. One girl had to leave a concert she had gotten us all tickets for, because she couldn't breathe. I had a screaming meltdown in the street - over what I can't even remember. I think marriage is such a major life change that an excessive or unusual emotional reaction is almost necessary, just to offset the stress of the change.

    Great question - and I loved reading about your wedding!

  2. So fun to be doing another book club with you! This is a great question and I do recall having a few doubts before my husband (of now 13 years) and I got married. We dated for four years before our wedding day, so that did help us to really get to know each other well. Part of that time we were long distance and would spend hours talking on the phone at night about our opinions regarding spending our life together. It was especially important to me that there not be any surprises when it came to how we intended to parent our future children and/or whether I would be a SAHM, among other things.

    I get that as much as we discuss how we want our lives to be as a married couple and eventually as parents (if we are able to have living children), there is still so much we cannot prepare ourselves for, that we have to address in the moments when find ourselves having to choose how to act/react.

    Also, there is one time I recall vividly, right before we got engaged, when I questioned if my husband was the best fit for me to spend the rest of my life with. I had gotten close to a male friend in grad school who had a lot of different interests and personality traits from my husband. Note that he was not interested in me as more than a friend at the time and ultimately came out years later (which made sense to me in retrospect). Back then I struggled to determine which interests and traits were most important in a relationship/marriage and which ones were nice, but not essential.

    In the end I decided that there was enough that I loved about my husband, that it was okay that he wasn't interested in some of the things this other guy was. I told myself that no one man could be all things to and for me and I shouldn't put that much pressure on him or myself. So from then on I committed (in my mind and heart, as well as saying "yes" when he proposed) to spending my life with him as a married couple.

    I also love that you answered your own question and really enjoyed reading what you had to share! I can totally picture you being a calm bride. :)

  3. My first marriage, I totally had that feeling. I should have listened! However, the second time around, I was totally confident. Totally different experience!

  4. When I was getting married, I had a complete and utter meltdown over bridesmaid dresses and thinking that my sister was trying to take over the wedding because she found a dress that looked great on her and everyone else, but it wasn't the dress that I liked. It was so bad that we didn't speak for a month.

  5. I had a long-distance relationship with hubby as well. The distance between our home countries was so great that our financial situation couldn't really help much - meaning I could only visit him once before we decided to get married HA HA...meaning my parents met him in real life only a few days prior to our wedding day. :-D

    We had known each other online since 1999 and we got married in 2006. I think I was an excited and yet calm bride ha ha...excited 'coz I got to meet hubby again in real life after a long time (we met in real life for the first time in 2004). We had known before our meeting that we were meant to be, but we just hadn't had the proof yet.

    We had a very simple wedding and the only thing that made me a bit anxious was about saying our vows in front of my priest and our guests. I felt that it was a very sacred moment 'coz it was a promise made in front of God and so many witnesses - but turned out it was one of the best moments on our wedding day. The moments when we said our vows, I felt as though the whole room just "vanished" and it was just me and him, promising to stay together come what may. :-) Just like in a movie where they zoom in on the couple - never thought it would happen in real life, though LOL!!!

    I've "only" been married to hubby for 6.5 years but until now I've never had any moments when I thought I married the wrong person. I hope this continues until death do us part ha ha ha...

    The biggest "worry moment" that I had was actually when I was on the plane to Finland (when I was moving to Finland, only bringing 27 kgs of my earthly belongings with me). One moment on the long plane journey, I just started thinking of worst case scenarios possible (such as: "What if he died young and I was left when I still couldn't find a job 'coz I hadn't mastered the language yet?", "Would I enjoy my new life in a small village when I'd always been living in a big city all my life?", etc.)...but I managed to stop myself from thinking about it completely and just focused on the present he he...

    Btw, I also love reading your wedding day. :-D And a BIG SALUTE that you've been together for so long...*bowing in respect*

  6. mhm. Not married. And after my brothers wedding stress almost ripped the family apart, my partner and I decided that was quite enough.
    Now, 6 years later, my family helps building our new house. So more of a commitment in bricks than ceremony. If that makes any sense.

  7. ha ha ha, one of my "Please prove you're not a robot" words was SINS....

  8. Why yes, I did have pre-wedding jitters right after college. I think I knew deep down that the relationship wasn't made to endure.

    But I was one of those confident brides 10 years later when I married my husband. We're coming up on 18 years. We still look the same, though.

    (Yeah, right.)

    I'd love to see a post about your 3-ring binder!

  9. Was there a time in my life when I doubted the path I was following or wondered if I were doing the right thing? Ummmm, YES!!! Lol! But questioning the path I was on is what ultimately led me to becoming an SMC so in hindsight I'm grateful for having had that doubt. A great quote from the book that resonated with me was, "Too many people let fears control their decisions & they end up missing out on living" This was me.

  10. I was a ridiculously calm bride. Not a doubt to be found. Perhaps that was due to the fact that I dated a LOT, and I just knew that I had found someone I could really live my life with. And... we had already had a child together. To me, that was an even bigger commitment than walking down the aisle!

    These days though, I struggle with every career decision I make. I have a great career that pays extremely well, but I hate it. I want to leave, but I am torn between keeping the secure job with the excellent salary and pension for my family, and doing what would make ME happy. It's tough, and I wish there was some middle ground. So I could totally relate to Rachel's uncertainty on that level.

  11. My husband and I eloped and got married at the Justice of the Peace's house with 4 friends present. I didn't have any wedding jitters the day of, but definitely had them for years before the wedding ... not b/c I was worried about my relationship with Bob, but I was worried about how to plan a wedding around my family dynamics. Once I sorted this out and realized I could marry without my family there, everything got a lot easier! We had a great day - now happily married 7 years!

  12. Well, even if I am married I can't relate to the stress of organizing a big wedding. So I was the calm one, nervous yes, but no particular wedding stress in getting it all sorted.

    It was the two of us, our two good friends as witnesses and the woman who held the ceremony. A dress, but not white, flowers and then a nice lunch with our friends after, before we went away to a place just the two of us for dinner and overnight stay. That's it. And it suited us just fine at that time.

  13. That "holy cow" moment you speak of right before the wedding, I felt it the night before, after Josh left my hotel room to go stay in his own for the last night before the ceremony. I had a moment of, "oh crap, this is really forever and this is huge and whoa, you've just been going with your gut with this." And then I remembered that going with my gut usually served me well with big decisions, and sure enough, all has been fine :-)