Sharing my learnings from the book, Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle
Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle
Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another—and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, commit to living true—true to themselves and to each other.
Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.
- Glennon Doyle chooses early fall for her wedding to Craig Melton. The turning of the season promises a fresh start. And, as she waits to walk down the aisle, Glennon can almost persuade herself that this marriage will be the fresh start she so desperately needs.
- The truth is, after years of disordered eating, binge drinking, and self-destructive behavior, Glennon wants this wedding to mark a turning point, wants it to be the event that puts an end to her downward slide. It isn’t, of course. In the end, this wedding is just another pit-stop on the slope to rock bottom. But what if rock bottom, when she finally hits it, is the place Glennon needed to be all along?
- Glennon grew up in a loving, stable family. As a young girl, she was articulate, confident, and beautiful. Glennon came to understand that being beautiful is important.
- In her pre-teens, something shifted. She was no longer as slender as her sister or her cousins. At family get-togethers, as the other girls splashed about in the pool, Glennon would remain stubbornly clothed. She was still beautiful. But her confidence was evaporating. By the age of 13, Glennon was in the habit of taking two cups into her bedroom each night, one filled with food, the other for vomit. She was bulimic. High school struck Glennon as a place full of unspoken rules – rules about how girls should look (thin) and act (bland). Her eating disorder helped her follow these rules. If, in high school, the rules for girls had remained unspoken, in college they became explicit. Glennon pledged to a sorority where girls were reminded to flush the toilet after purging. She attended parties where women were admitted according to their physical attractiveness and reputed sexual availability. To loosen her inhibitions, Glennon drank. She slept around. She stayed thin. And she dressed and acted just as she was expected to. In other words, she perfected the art of fitting in.
- But when college ended, she was unable to shake these habits. She moved back to her hometown and started a new relationship with Craig, a sweet and sensible boy she’d known since high school. Despite these positive developments, she continued to spiral into bulimia and alcoholism. When, early in her relationship with Craig, Glennon got an abortion, she spiraled further.
- Now she’s here, facing her parents, who have decided to act. The intervention they’ve called her home for turns out to be a stern talk with a local priest. But it can’t stop the spiral, only pause it for a few weeks.
- Six months later, Glennon gets pregnant again. She’s still drinking, still unstable. But the blue cross on the pregnancy test feels like a sign – a chance for something new rather than a problem to be dealt with. Glennon gets sober. And married. Maybe things are looking up.
- From the day she hit puberty to the day she got married, Glennon walked a challenging path. Throughout middle school, Glennon felt big. Heavy. Like she was taking up too much space in the world. In a way, she’d simply absorbed the message that society has for all girls: there is an ideal of femininity, and you need to conform to it. She learned that performing ideal girlhood didn’t start and end with simply being thin. Glennon performed the role of popular girl so well that she came to think of going to school as putting on a mask and cape, a disguise that allowed her to walk undetected among her peers. But at some deeper level, Glennon also knew she was being untrue to herself. Glennon isn’t oblivious. Throughout school, college, and early adulthood, she knew that she was denying her authentic self and that this denial was causing pain to her and to others. But knowing something is one thing. Acting on that knowledge is something else entirely.
- When her first son, Chase Doyle Melton, is born, Glennon feels for the first time in a long time like she’s done something right. Motherhood makes her feel alive and fills her with a sense of purpose. Craig, too, is besotted with his young son. But the joy of parenting can’t paper over the cracks in Glennon and Craig’s marriage. Not forever.
- In an effort to save their marriage, Glennon and Craig schedule a weekly date night. Date night is designed to help them rekindle their early chemistry and connection. It doesn’t go well. In fact, it leaves Glennon doubting that she and Craig ever had much chemistry or connection to begin with.
- After a while, they stop trying to work on their relationship and instead pour their energies into what they’re good at: parenting and family. After Chase, Glennon gives birth to two girls, Patricia and Amanda. They might not do a good job of loving each other, but Glennon and Craig love their family fiercely.
- one day, she’s scrolling Facebook when she notices friends sharing a list: “25 things about me.” She could write a list like that, she thinks. And she’d like to write it as honestly as possible. She begins to type. The first item on her list? “I’m a recovering bulimic and alcoholic.” The list strikes a nerve. It’s shared by friends and friends of friends. By the time she logs back in, Glennon has gone viral on Facebook. So she begins to write, waking at 4:30 in the morning to get her thoughts down. She starts to share her writing on a blog. She is finally starting to express herself.
- When Glennon is diagnosed with Lyme disease, it feels like a blessing in disguise. Sure, there are days she’s so tired she can’t move or speak, when even the slightest touch leaves her yelping in pain. But Craig decides humid, tropical air will cure her. The family takes a trip to Naples, Florida. And, miraculously, Glennon begins to recover. Even more miraculously, Craig suggests they stay in Naples permanently. So, they move. Craig works from home. Glennon writes full time. Their family is closer and happier than ever.
- And, like all those failed fresh starts, this one also turns out to be a false promise. Her marriage hasn’t found a new calm. This is simply the eye of the storm. One day, she opens Craig’s laptop and discovers it is filled with downloaded porn. For Glennon, this is a breach of trust. During a marriage-counseling session, Craig confesses that he’s been unfaithful. In fact, he’s had a string of one-night stands. The first one took place only a few months after their wedding. Glennon is stunned, then outraged. Then, still stunned, she locks herself in the bathroom and slumps onto the floor. She realizes she’s been here before. She thought she’d crawled off these tiles, thanks to marriage and motherhood. So why is she back here again? And how is she going to get back up this time?
- Contemplating this new rock bottom, this disaster, Glennon is reminded that the roots of the word disaster are dis- meaning without and astro meaning stars. She tells herself that disasters happen when we lose sight of the light.
- Glennon and the children are working with a family therapist. One day, the therapist pulls her aside and tells her it’s time to make a decision. Children are okay with divorce, she says, and with reconciliation. But they’re not okay with prolonged periods of uncertainty. So, Glennon decides. Craig will move back in. They will try again. But she is apprehensive. Up until now, she’s been trusting her voice. Her voice hasn’t told her to take Craig back. She is far from sure that this is the right decision.
- Craig is home and the family is whole again. Everything would be perfect if Glennon’s pesky feelings didn’t keep getting in the way. She still feels betrayed, unsafe, and angry. It would be convenient if she could ignore these feelings. But Glennon knows how masking and silencing her truth has turned out for her in the past. So, she turns to therapy.
- To her surprise, her therapist, Ann, isn’t so interested in discussing Glennon’s marriage. What she wants to hear about is Glennon’s past. Ann says that Glennon needs to find a reunion. Not a reunion with Craig. A reunion between her body and her mind. Slowly, Glennon works toward healing this mind-body rift.
- Later, on a beach in Mexico, Craig and Glennon stand facing each other. They renew their vows, just the two of them. They know this is not a fresh start, but it feels worth doing anyway.
- Glennon goes to a hot-yoga class where the teacher asks her to set an intention. Feeling intimidated, she says her intention is simply to stay on her mat, no matter what. That’s what she does. While the other attendees twist and bend, she sits on her mat. All the painful memories and emotions she’s been trying to outrun catch up with her. She wants to leave. She doesn’t. She wants to cry. She does. At the end of the class, she is still on the mat. The teacher tells Glennon that there is a name in yoga for what she has just done. It is the Journey of the Warrior.
- Now, sitting on her yoga mat, Glennon starts to understand that reckoning with her pain is an act of courage. It’s an act of liberation, too. Because when we can’t give in to pain, we lose the ability to give into other things. Joy. Connection. And, of course, love.
- Thinking about the Journey of the Warrior, Glennon realizes that a warrior isn’t someone who doesn’t feel pain. It is someone who doesn’t keep the pain inside, but shows it to the world – and isn’t afraid to look at it. She hasn’t mastered pain. There are no guarantees she won’t meet it again and end up back on the bathroom floor. But the next time pain comes into her life, Glennon is ready to invite it in and meet it as a warrior.