Aila and Ben are living what most would call a dream life: great kids, a happy marriage, a good house in a safe neighborhood, and financial security. By all appearances, they live comfortably together in their Pacific Northwest suburb with no problems or troubles.
But as we all know, appearances are never what they seem, and marriage is more than money in the bank and a tidy house.
In her book The Cracks Between Us, author Caitlin Moss dives into a marriage that appears to have a smooth facade. Yet upon closer inspection, there are cracks between these two people.
Aila and Ben have been married for fifteen years. She left a career in communications to be a stay-at-home mom to their three boys, while he is building a successful career as a lawyer at a firm in Seattle. They live comfortably; their kids are loved and cared for; the lawn is always tidy and things are picture-perfect to everyone else.
But Aila feels like something is missing.
Ben works long hours, leaving before they awake and often arriving home well after dinner. She is the partner who manages it all and feels taken for granted. She loves being a stay-at-home mom, but she also misses her identity and her marriage. They seem to be going through the motions, something many people can relate to.
I feel like military partners can relate to her feelings, too.
If we are married or in a relationship with someone in the military, we are often the ones at home taking care of everything else. We all know the mission comes first, and the duty day is inconsistent. We often find that we cannot rely on our service member to be the caretaker, bill payer, landscaper, etc.
It can lead to feelings of resentment, isolation, or unhappiness. That is how Aila is feeling when she runs into an old friend, Jackson.
The two were friends in high school who liked each other romantically but never pursued it. Jackson’s landscaping company is taking charge of Aila’s neighborhood. It starts innocently, with the two chatting while she walks the dog. But chats turn into texts, then visits to her house, and then more.
Every marriage or relationship has cracks in it. Slights and disagreements happen. We bite our tongues on things that bother us or make concessions when we may not want to. But with enough cracks, there can be division.
The more Aila meets with Jackson, exploring a life that could have been, the more the cracks between Ben and her are made significant.
Without revealing too much, Aila must decide what and who she wants in her life. Who does she choose? You will have to read this book for yourself.
Our book club enjoyed this book and discussed how situations like this are never one-sided. Marriage and relationships take honesty, work, and a willingness to adapt as the years pass. It sparked some good conversations at our meeting!