How to Marry a Gilbert Blythe

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Who doesn’t love Anne-with-an-E and Gilbert? Falling in love with L.M. Montgomery’s wonderful books and the miniseries by Kevin Sullivan is a beloved memory of my childhood and I return to them every year (except for Anne the Continuing Story which was a horrifying disaster that my poor eyes can never un-see!). Let’s look to the Anne-girl for some recommendations for marital bliss. The bottomline? Marry a Gilbert Blythe.

Marry your best friend. He may start out as “just a chum” but don’t let a misguided ideal of sentimental romance (ahem, Roy Gardner) keep you from a happy marriage with your kindred spirit.

Marry a man who can say he’s sorry (Canadian accent not required, but recommended.) The day will come that he does something to upset you, and a genuine apology can help mend the rift. Besides, who knows…in time, you might warm up to being called Carrots!

Marry someone who challenges you, not because he’s competitive, but because he admires you. Being around him should encourage you to be the very best version of yourself.

Marry someone who’s excited to give you a standing ovation when you succeed—and who won’t be deterred by the infuriated Josie Pyes of the world.

Marry someone who loves you, even in your most ridiculous moments. You want the sort of man who will rescue you from drowning as a result of your dramatic reenactment of Tennyson…but it’s reasonable for him to chuckle as he helps you into the boat while you firmly insist you were just fishing for lake trout. (You wouldn’t want to marry a man without a sense of humor, now would you?)

Marry a man who is too confident to be manipulated by you. He won’t stand on his head for you…but that won’t stop him from making the romantic gesture of stealing your dance card—even when you thought it was utterly beyond his imagination.

Marry a man who forgives easily—because you’re liable to break more than one slate over his head during decades of marriage.

Marry someone too good for you, the sort of man who puts your needs before his own. Whether he’s giving up the Avonlea School for you or waking up early with the baby so you can sleep in for an extra hour, a selfless man will keep you scandalously in love with him year after year.

Marry someone who will stand by you even in the saddest seasons of your life. Grief, loss, sickness. No one can avoid suffering, but you can choose who will be at your side when it comes—choose well.

Marry a man you will love until your dying day even if there won’t be diamond sunbursts and marble halls–the joy of growing old with your best friend is more than enough to live on.

image sources: 12, 3, 4


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  1. says

    I loved this!! Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite series (book and t.v. series). What a lovely message this was 🙂

    Also, just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog! I found it through Bonnie’s awards and am so glad I did 🙂

  2. says

    Ohhh, you are SO right (and I totally read “sorry” with a Canadian accent, haha!) I have always considered my sweetheart to be a Mr. Darcy (always willing to do the right thing without having to announce it to people, but terribly self conscious about dancing in public) but you’re right, Gilbert is a romantic ideal for the ages as well, and pretty modern, too, if you think about it. He wasn’t a foil for Anne, but a partner. And their equal strengths (and weaknesses) made their relationship so special.

    I used to love that week as a kid when we’d get Disney Channel for free on cable and they’d play all the Anne shows!

    Have you ever read “looking for anne of green gables, a biography of LM Montogomery?” its an amazing book, and explores the character of Anne through the author’s own life and childhood.

    Love this post, you must be a kindred spirit 😉

    • Haley says

      I haven’t read that one! I know that L.M. Montgomery had some traumas in her life and I’ve always been a little bit hesitant to find out too much lest it makes Anne depressing or something. That’s probably silly. I’ll check out the book 🙂

  3. Michelle Johnston says

    My favourite of all time because I did marry “my” Gilbert….

    “Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.”
    ― L.M. Montgomery

  4. says

    What a great post!! My husband loves the Anne movies and tries to channel Gilbert, so I know he will get a kick out of this. Thanks for putting all these great qualities into words. I think this will be a new favorite post for both of us!

    • Haley says

      Daniel has watched the miniseries with me without complaint, although I don’t think he would watch it by himself 🙂 But at least he knows what I mean when I say I’m “in the depths of despair!” or some other wonderful Anne nonsense 🙂

  5. annie says

    I love everything about this post. I love these books…I should dig them out to read again you know because half a dozen times isn’t enough. 🙂

  6. Rebecca says

    As someone who is a single redheaded Canadian I like this, but I have to know what you think a Canadian accent is? There are like 85 different ones…..I like mine best 🙂

    • Haley says

      I am totally ignorant of the various kinds of Canadian accents, but I’m sure there’s plenty variety (there a bajillion different accents in the American south, so I can only imagine!). All I know is that the way Gilbert says “sorry” is the most adorable thing ever. ; )

  7. says

    Ok, right, I’ve never read this “Anne of Green Gables” and I’m suspicious of the whole thing. It seems vaguely earth goddessy for me. Is this really a environmental treatise? Are “Anne” and “Gilbert” really allegory? Are there Marxist overtones? I don’t know. I’m suspect of the whole thing.

    • Haley says

      I can just tell that you’re already on Daniel’s side of my ongoing campaign to name a future son Gilbert…..Thanks A LOT, Cari.

  8. Hope says

    Sent this to my sister who is seriously dating a good guy. Fabulous advice, and I love how you tied it to the book.

    One thing I tell her is that sometimes the least (or most!) you can do is just BE NICE. Treat him with common courtesy. It goes a long way, whether or not it is a romantic and happy day or season.

  9. says

    You forgot “willing to give you a spanking if you need it.” Ha!

    My husband hates AoGG…, but he’s totally my Gil, and he even says “soory” sometimes.

    Loved this.

  10. says

    This put such a smile on my face. Oh Gilbert. I was very happy as I read this that my husband seems to line up perfectly. Although his “sorry” comes with a Texan drawl. I guess that will have to be ok.
    What a fun post! I have loved reading your blog and hope to be able to make it to the Edel Gathering to meet you!


  11. Hannah says

    This is fantastic. I haven’t read the books in years but oh how I love Anne/Gilbert! These all match up with my husband, too 🙂 Love it!

  12. says

    Oh my goodness…yours was the first blog I ever actually “followed,” and this post proves why. One of my favorites you’ve ever done! (Which, by the way, is saying a LOT).

  13. says

    Ooo, I think I married a Gilbert Blythe. I absolutely love this! I’m a die hard Anne of Green Gables fan.

    True story: I was sorely disappointed when I saw the movie because Gilbert’s accent was not how I heard it in my head when I was reading it. I was in 3rd grade and had no idea about Canadian accents.

  14. says

    As a Canadian, and reader of all of L.M. Montgomery’s fiction, I love this post! I’ve been to PEI and they really don’t have much of an accent. At least nothing like they do in Newfoundland.

    If you’re a fan of Montgomery, do check out Mary Rubio’s excellent biography, The Gift of Wings. Rubio is the most well-known Montgomery scholar and it’s a wonderful read despite the sad ending.

    It is my feeling that Rilla of Ingleside is actually the best of Montgomery’s books.

  15. says

    I married my Gilbert Blythe! I didn’t even recognize it until this post; this really lit up my night, thank you!

    True story: I didn’t know Anne of Green Gables was a series until highschool. I had loved the book in elementary school, but I think discovering the series and reading it then watching it was the best thing I did in highschool. I can’t wait to share it with Lucy.

  16. Carrie says

    We had words from Anne & Gilbert’s relationship quoted at our wedding:

    Perhaps after all romance didn’t come like a knight riding down…perhaps it grew out of a beautiful friendship (or something like that)

  17. Jess says

    Thanks for sharing this, Haley! I, too, adore Anne and completely relate with your evaluation of The Continuing Story. XD Your advice is sweet and encouraging to this single gal.

    Have a lovely day!

  18. Kate says

    We just found out we’re having our first little girl (we were pretty sure it was another boy!) and the first thing I thought was “Now I have someone to read my Anne books to!”. My mom passed on her Anne with an E love to me. The only requirement for our baby girl’s room is a bookshelf.

  19. says

    I love this post. LOVE. I didn’t realize how Gilbertesque my boyfriend is until reading this, so it was a lovely eye-opener. I’ve always loved the Anne books and rooted for Anne and Gilbert. Timeless, fantastic books – and this post shows you’re definitely of “the race that knows Joseph.” 🙂

  20. says

    Yay! I married my Gilbert, too! 😉 And this confirms it – it’s time to reread the series! Maybe I’ll start tonight with a glass of (non-currant) wine.

  21. Theresa says

    When I was in third grade I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time and have been enamored ever since. I was (and maybe still am) so dramatic right around then, and my mom always blamed it on those books, which I get such a kick out of now. I was dramatic without Anne’s influence and I loved these books because I could relate to her. I am not incredibly poetic as her, but I aspire to be that way. Anyways, my sister sent me the link to this post when she saw it and it made me laugh and ache to read all the books again. Also, I want to watch the first two movies, but never the third one. I literally threw away the third one, because it was so wrong.

  22. says

    I could go on forever about so many things but for now I say, thank you! My email is, my first license plate was AN SHRLY and now is GRN GBLS, and my fledgeling blog is named “a little gypsy wind…” after a beloved quote “A LITTLE GYPSY WIND…came down the lane to meet them, laden with the spicy perfume of young dew-wet ferns” from Anne of GG that just gives me shivers, and Anne truly is my alter-ego, so I couldn’t not say a word! Honestly, I adore Anne of the Island and Pat of Silverbush & Mistress Pat are two of my other Montgomery favorites. Again…I could wax poetic, but I will leave it at that and say hooray for find your blog!! 🙂

  23. Bernadette says

    Thank you so much for this!!!!! I love the Anne of Green Gables books and I firmly agree that “Anne the Continuing Story” was indescribably awful!!! I LOVE Gilbert and this explained everything that Gilbert was!!!!!! Thanks again 🙂

  24. says

    I love this post! I’ve read the Anne series at least a half a dozen times (I pick up my copy of Anne of the Island about once a year … the binding’s getting pretty love-battered, so I love the reference to Roy Gardner). But even though I love the series so very much, I’ve never given much thought about why I loved Gilbert’s character. I’m happy to say that I did marry my own Gilbert … after a couple of false starts like Anne. Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

  25. Lindsay says

    Oh this made my day! Such fond memories watching this classic as a child and now reading the books to kiddos. And I love the bit about the “Sorry” in a Canadian accent. I’ll never forget how Gilbert sounded saying sorry…I swooned as a 10 year old.

  26. Miriam says

    Loved this post! I recently found my very own Gilbert, and I can’t wait to marry him… or to watch/read that fabulous classic again! Haley: your posts never help me reduce the size of my reading/DVD list! 😉

  27. Sonja says

    I live in Nova Scotia…hop skip and a jump away from Prince Edward Island…hopefully one day you can make the trip to Green Gables…Lake of Shining Water etc etc. It really is lovely

  28. says

    So precious! Thank you for this! Until reading this, I didn’t even give my husband credit for being a Gilbert-type. So many of this list are things I’m grateful for in the man I married. Thank you for reminding me of them. 🙂

    Now I have an Anne-and-Gilbert shaped hole in my cravings that should be remedied.
    AND yes. The Continuing Story. You said it with horrifying disaster!

  29. says

    haha- about Anne the Continuing Story- one of my sisters called me in tears, warning me never to watch it. I have told my girls (14 and 13) – some movies are appropriate for when they are much older- like watching Tess of the d’Ubervilles when they are past 18. I’ve told them that there is no age appropriate to watch Anne Part 3 😉

  30. Karen says

    Aww, this was sweet! Filled me with warm fuzzies on this cold wintry day! Thank you!
    If we have a son someday, I hope to raise someone’s Gilbert Blythe!

  31. Joan says

    I so agree on the continuing story of Anne! Talk about the depths of despair!!!! I wanted to throw a “slate” at the TV screen!!!!! I wish I had never seen the awful ending!! Even the set was dark and dreadful. I am sharing this post with my 15 and 12 year old daughters!! They are Anne fans and secretly have a crush on Gilbert. (but moms know everything, right? wink wink)

    • Haley says

      “Talk about the depths of despair!!!! I wanted to throw a “slate” at the TV screen!!!!!”


  32. Lee says

    I so agree with this post, but finding a Gilbert is much harder than one might think.
    I certainly haven’t been able to locate one.

    I love Anne Shirley, she is such a character.

  33. says

    I think this my be one of my favorite posts of all time! I’ve been holding out for my Gilbert for over 20 years now. 😉

    I so agree with wishing my poor eyes could un-see “The Continuing Story”. Sadly 10+ years later they can not. Sigh….

    I love Anne, books or movies both are amazing! Now I feel like I need to curl up with a cup of tea and Anne of the Island since I just re-watched the movies a couple weeks ago for the billionth time.

    Thank you for making my afternoon! 🙂

  34. Molly says

    Great post! My niece (to whom, I am proud to say, I introduced the Anne books) and I were just – I mean JUST – two days ago trying to explain to my sister why Anne and Gilbert are so great together and why Gilbert is so perfect. I’ll be sharing this with both of them! (My niece and my sister, not Anne and Gilbert…)
    And I totally agree, that last movie was a terrible thing to behold.
    Thank you!

  35. JanMarie says

    Dear Haley,
    I also echo the wonderful comments of your readership about the beauty and simplicity of your message I am also a die-hard Anne fan and had the privilege of working as a summer job at the Green Gables house in PEI – my home Province more than 30 years ago. I too agree with your advice to marry your best friend – someone who will support yet challenge you and one who you will get mad at, and forgive. My only additional advice is to always cherish that relationship. My husband died very suddenly a number of years ago and while he was my Gilbert – “you don’t always know what you have until it is snatched from you”. Faith, Family and Friends are also so important – do not isolate yourself from others – and most important – accept the love that is given to you. Sometimes we try to do it all on our own . God Bless you and your writings 🙂

  36. Myah Gormley says

    This is absolutely adorable and so creative. I`m hopelessly romantic and it`s torture waiting for a good Catholic guy. I`ve been reading your articles for like half an hour by now, you rock!

  37. says

    A friend posted this link on Fb…so good!!!! I still reread all Montgomery’s books…love Emily, too! (Do not marry a Teddy…ha:) 1st time to read your blog and really enjoyed it!

  38. Claire Hamilton-Farrell says

    My daughter (who commented above!) shared this post with me —and I loved every word of it! Including all the comments from other GG Kindred Spirits! Our family has cherished the Anne books and the Disney series for decades. We have gathered women friends, young and old, for Anne Sleep-Overs: lots of yummy snacks and a marathon showing of both Anne of GG and Anne of Avonlea! In 1990, after watching the movies, my husband ( a TRUE Gilbert in every sense!) decided to take us to PEI where we stayed in Cavendish and toured L.M. Montgomery’s “Green Gables” house. Your post flooded me with all these memories—and just the perfect joy of Anne and Gil. THANK YOU!

  39. Clara says

    Oh, I love the Anne of Green Gables books. I am in the middle of re-reading the series, which I do every year or two. (twelve plus times reading them through!) I just got the the first two DVDs – which are awesome! (NOT the third – I refuse to watch it, because it is a corruption of the books!)

    Love this this list. I married my Gilbert too. 😉

  40. Jennifer says

    Is the third one really that bad? I just received it as a gift and was looking forward to an extra long marathon. Sad day! I am not sure I possess the self-control needed to avoid this. By the way, my sweet little girls middle name is Anne (with an “e”). Thanks for posting this.

  41. says

    I love this!!! Thank you for helping me realize that I did in fact marry a “Gilbert Blythe!” 🙂

    Also, so glad to know I’m not the only one who was horrified by The Continuing Story! I had to get it because I love Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie (may he rest in peace!), but I can’t watch it.

  42. Harold Rennie says

    I hope that you can someday arrange a trip to Prince Edward Island, so that you can come to Cavendish, and see Green Gables Heritage Place, located in Prince Edward Island National Park. In early July, the L.M. Montgomery Festival is in full swing with special events that are tied to the author and her most famous fictional character. Let me know if your family does decide to visit. I don’t live in PEI, but I’m only a few hours’ drive away.


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