When Laura Munson's husband told her one day that he didn't love her anymore, she replied, "I don't buy it."
In "This Is Not the Story You Think It Is," Munson writes about a difficult time in her marriage and how she took charge of her happiness and survived.
Check out an excerpt of the book below, then head to the "GMA" Library for other great reads.
5:00 a.m. Summer. Montana.
At this moment in my life, I am strangely serene. In fact, I may have never felt more calm. Or more freed. Or more certain that these things owe themselves to a simple choice: to accept life as it is. Even and especially when it really f*** sucks. Even and especially if my husband left last night to go to the dump after announcing that he isn't sure he loves me anymore . . . and nine hours later, still hasn't come back.
You might think all this would find me in a place of intense pain. Panic, even. State of emergency. But I'm choosing something else. I am choosing not to suffer.
How is this possible? you might ask.
Let me introduce you to my bedside table (see page 338), which at present holds a perversely vertical half-cracked and sometimes devoured stack of books telling me all about it: inner peace, harmony, love, non-suffering, freedom...from the Buddha to Jesus to the Sufis to the Christian mystics to Dr. Seuss and beyond. (I've always been a seeker of wisdom. I'm not picky where it comes from.) And they all hint at, or even proclaim, this simple truth: the end of suffering happens with the end of wanting.
The end of wanting.
I've read this hundreds of times, in different word arrangements, ever since I had my first metaphysical thought a long time ago. But up until just this blink of a moment (that's how it happens, finally—in a blink), I have bashed myself bloody. Because with all this arsenal of wisdom, I have never been able to understand how not to want.
How, for instance, am I not to want my husband to walk through the door and tell me some drop-dead beautiful story about how he sat all night at the dump and was spoken to by heavenly hosts and sung to by an angelic choir and experienced an epiphany that resulted in him realizing what I've just learned? That we both have been psychically touched by the same odd angel who has let us into the secrets of the universe:
Suffering sucks. Don't do it. Go home and love your wife. Go home and love yourself. Go home and base your happiness on one thing and one thing only: freedom. Choose freedom, not suffering. Create a life of freedom, not wanting. Have some really good coffee and listen to the red-winged blackbirds in the marsh. Ignore the mosquitoes.
But my husband doesn't come home. He doesn't call. He doesn't answer his cell phone. And I get to practice this ridiculous "bliss."
Probably the wisest words that were ever uttered to me came from a therapist. I was sitting in her office, crying my eyes out over my then unsuccessful writing career and my husband's challenges at work, and she said, "So let me get this straight. You base your personal happiness on things entirely outside of your control."