I saw and fell in love with the story before I read the book Persuasion by Jane Austen.
Plain Anne, now in her late twenties, rejected the love of her life eight years ago. He had no connections, no wealth and was about to embark upon a dangerous profession. Anne was persuaded by her Godmother, Lady Russell to break off the engagement.
I saw the movie when I was living in Hobart. It was 1995. I must have been in my first year at University. I vaguely remember watching it at the new State Cinema.
There were two movie theatres in town when I was growing up. The State Cinema where they showed more “art-house” movies and Village Cinema where they showed films made by Hollywood for commercial success.
The movie starred Amanda Root as Anne and Ciarán Hinds as the self-made Captain Wentworth, Anne’s long lost love. My heart went out to both their characters.
It was only years later I began to read the book and understand more of the relational sensitivities around Anne’s decision. It wasn’t just a matter of wealth or social connections that led her to break off her engagement. It was Lady Russell’s concern over Wentworth’s character. He was too confident. Brash even, for her refined sensibilities.
Silly Anne swallowed her feelings and broke both her heart and Wentworth’s because she didn’t know any better. Sometimes love comes once in a lifetime. No matter how long you wait, nothing better takes its place. Anne was learning that lesson the hard way when I met her at the begining of the book.
Thankfully it ends well.
I was determined not to make that same mistake when it came to my own life.
I was put in a difficult spot when S. proposed. He had no connections or social standing. Wasn’t a lawyer, doctor or engineer. He was also outside my race and had no idea of my culture.
But he was kind, decent, faithful and dependable. And he had taken up a space in my heart I thought could never be filled again.
My parents were worried. We were so different. We came from different backgrounds. They were concerned this marriage would fail before it even started. So the pressure to walk away from the relationship mounted when we got engaged.
From fights in the middle of the night, to constant talks about failed marriages, the pressure was relentless. It was driven by fear and their desire to protect their daughter. I understood that.
But I also knew I had to make a decision and stick to it long before I walked down the aisle in a fancy white dress. I had to withstand their concerned pleas to break this engagement. I had to stand by S. even if it meant losing my family.
It was a difficult time. What kept me going was S’s quiet understanding and the knowledge that God had placed this man in my life for a reason. Whatever it was. If this was going to be a colossal mistake, well it was going to be mine to make.
I wasn’t going to let S. go and wonder for the rest of my life what could have been.
I am glad I wasn’t persuaded.
On our wedding day my parents relented and permitted S. to call them by their names. It is something elders in my culture never do. It is a sign of great dishonour to call an elder by their names if you are younger than them.
My husband refused. He honoured them by calling them ohmoni (mother) and ahboji (father) instead.
My wedding day was a good day. It led to many other good days. Rough days too. But I am glad I was able to walk through them with S. by my side.
Maybe I will write a book one day and title it The Obstinate: A Love Story.