On Being Married to a Non-Reader

When I first met my husband, I thought his not being a book lover would be a deal breaker. Although I read for pleasure much less now than I did as a child and teenager, I still consider reading part of my identity. Many of my childhood friends were bookworms, and so was my first boyfriend. When A told me “I don’t read,” I had to discard certain fantasies. Curling up on the sofa with our separate books and reading passages out loud–that wasn’t going to be part of our shared future.

But then I realized a few things. First of all, A wasn’t exactly telling the truth. He does read online news, and Pop Candy, and CHUD.com. And occasionally he reads a book. Though that doesn’t make him a reader of the wormish sort, it’s not the same as thinking books–or reading–suck.

Second, I realized that dating a movie lover was just as important to me as dating a book lover. Maybe more important. People go to movies together. We read books alone. Bonding over The Lord of the Rings films was just as good as bonding over Ondaatje.

Third, I realized it didn’t matter. My brother Y isn’t a reader, and I still loved _him_. (He has only been known to read books by Robert Jordan and he has convinced me–not on purpose, but pretty much convinced me–that even video games can be “literary.”)

Finally, I eventually learned that A loved me enough to go to a Michael Ondaatje reading _when I was out of town_ to buy me a copy of _Divisadero_ and get it signed.

What more could a book lover want in a spouse?


6 thoughts on “On Being Married to a Non-Reader

  1. Kathleen

    Nice one! AJT and I bonded over movies even before we bonded over books, and although we do sometimes read passages to each other we spend a lot more time watching movies and TV shows and talking about how well (or not) they are written. Plus, having people around who change one’s ideas about what is art — as A and Y do for you — is the most important thing of all!

  2. Sherri

    Bob and I are the same. He reads now and then but loves movies. And more important, he can talk about anything and everything. I too wasn’t sure if I could ever fall in love with a non-reader but here we are. After years of losing myself in books, it is actually good to be more outward than inward, if that makes sense. And I still have my bookworm friends and family to talk with about what we’re reading, want to read, just read, etc. Thanks for the post, Eman!

    1. equotah Post author

      Yes, having the family and friends to talk to–also key. And it’s the same for Andrew in the realm of sports–if he wants to talk about them, he usually has to go elsewhere than me. And Kathleen, I agree with your final sentiment whole-heartedly.

  3. Al Romack

    I can so identify with this one. My Lovely wife is not a reader also. Recently she has gotten into a series and read nearly 4 books in 2 years. Whew. This is a bit slower than me, but at least she can now identify with my love of books and the compulsion to read and read and read. Course I am going to need a bigger house soon, or learn the library’s hours.

  4. carrie

    I feel exactly the same. The movie and music love is enough to bond over for us. And D will listen to me talk about books. And then you and I can talk about books and let A and D go off and NOT talk about books. 🙂


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