Tag Archives: Marriage

Hating on Marriage

Recently I have seen a lot of articles hating on marriage. More specifically, married women. Which could lead me into an entire diatribe of why society feels that when men get married it shows that they’re committed and honorable and when women get married it shows that they’re desperate and need a man to define them. But that’s a topic for another time.

Right now I want to discuss why society is hating on marriage. I mean, there’s a huge global movement fighting for the rights for marriage. Gay marriage has been a hot button issue for my entire adult life and yet, getting married is selling out or losing yourself or giving up your freedom. If that’s what marriage is for heterosexuals, then the homosexual community should turn back now! Do not enter! This marriage place is THE WORST!Tandem Love

Except that it’s actually not. And that’s why they’re fighting for it.

Obviously the real aim of these articles is to celebrate being single which I fully support. I just don’t think you have to hate on marriage to love the single life. In fact, I think if you need to hate on marriage to love the single life then you’re really not loving your single life, but rather rationalizing why it’s better than marriage. I won’t rationalize to you why being married is better than being single because I’m not trying to convince myself that being married is better than being single. My path ultimately led me to marriage. Maybe yours won’t. Both are still good paths.

I know a lot of women. I have known a lot of women. Married, single, divorced, old, young, feminists, pro-life activists, religious, atheist, gay, straight, smart, not so smart, funny, mean. A lot of women. I am a woman. I’ve been on this planet for twenty-seven years. It was bound to happen.

Some of the women I know started looking for marriage at a ripe, young age. My freshman year of college I was introduced to the “Ring Before Spring” concept. That is, the girls that go to college simply to find a husband and fully expect to be engaged before they graduate – and maybe even forego graduation in favor of marriage. Some of those women are happily married. Some are still single. Some are maybe divorced.

I know other women, like myself, who were never going to marry. That’s right, I’m writing a blog post talking about NOT hating on marriage and yet, when I was twenty-one I could have written a post on exactly the opposite. Namely, why marriage is an unfounded institution that is the work of governments to keep better track of their citizens. But you know what? I didn’t hate on married people. In fact, I used to tell my parents – who have been happily married for over 40 years despite that they married at a young, impressionable, hardly knew themselves age of 19 and 23 – that they gave their children unrealistic expectations of marriage because theirs is so wonderful. So, despite not needing marriage to find fulfillment in my own life, I recognized that marriage could be an incredibly beautiful and powerful union.

I knew myself before I met my – now – husband. And I know myself now. And they’re not the same people. Because I have had some significant life changes. I opened myself up and let myself be vulnerable. I moved to Cartagena, Colombia without much of a plan and loved/hated every minute of it. I learned more about the immigration process than anyone should ever have to know. I have had multiple real, life-altering experiences with God. I road-tripped across the United States. I picked up my home base and moved it across state lines permanently for the first time in my entire life. Oh yeah, also, I got married.

Wedding DayAnd you know what? I love being married. Not for the title – in fact, two and half years later and it still freaks me out a little bit that I’m someone’s wife – or the security, though sometimes that is nice, but because I love my husband and we both know that our marriage took work and significant commitment before we ever said any vows or signed any papers. That sounds sappy and a little ridiculous even to my own ears and I don’t know if I would feel exactly the same if I was in a committed relationship with the same man and we never signed papers. If we were just partners instead of husband and wife – because marriage really is just paperwork in many ways. But marriage was the path for us – the best path for us and I don’t regret it for a single second.

Sure, sometimes I long to buy a plane ticket and just take off. And I can’t. And, you know what, that moment sucks. And then I think about why I can’t do that and it doesn’t suck quite as much anymore. I remember how much I really love my life now and maybe taking off to a foreign country isn’t the right path or direction for my life in this moment. And when it is again – and it will be, I assure you – then everything will fall into place and we’ll come to it on our path.

The moral of this story? Being married isn’t a bad thing. A married woman isn’t a sell out and a single woman isn’t going to be a cat lady. Being single is amazing and if you are single, enjoy every second of your single life. But don’t love being single because you think I, the married woman, am miserable. Because I’m not. And you don’t need to convince yourself that I’m miserable in order for you to be happy.

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Bathroom Blues

I was reading an article recently on marriage. It was written by a man who had been divorced twice and, fair enough, he was writing an article on what NOT to do to keep a happy marriage. Or, at least, some of the things he’s sure went wrong in both of his own. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

I found one of the things he mentioned really interesting. It’s not the first time I’ve heard someone mention it in relation to their marriage, but it’s the first time I’ve heard a man mention it. And it’s in a category that many marital fights have started over – bathroom etiquette.

If you have ever shared a bathroom with anyone – ever – you have had fights or at least repressed anger about how they used it. Maybe they didn’t clean up after themselves well enough. Maybe they hogged it in the mornings leaving you barely enough time to brush your teeth. Maybe you shared toothpaste and they left the cap off or – and I personally hate this – left some paste on the top of the tube so it gets all gummy and disgusting! This man was not against any of these things. Well, he might be, but he didn’t mention them. What he did mention was defecating with the door open.

For those uncomfortable discussing bathroom behavior, you should stop readingPhoto credit: thejbird / Foter / CC BY now.

Honestly, my views on sharing bathroom time have been all over the place. I was raised in a house with three sisters. For a few years we had a foster-sister as well – so that’s six women in one house. (You can go ahead and feel sorry for my father and one brother – even our dog was a girl!) It was nothing to be brushing your teeth while someone was using the toilet. When we visited my cousins in Mississippi where there were seven cousins in the same family and they had one bathroom in their house – you peed with anyone in the room. I thought nothing of it.

I hit an awkward stage around puberty. (Did anyone not hit an awkward stage around puberty?) And I became friends with girls who didn’t seem as comfortable sharing their potty space. Be it that they were only children, had no sisters or were just raised in a more modest household, I don’t know. All I know is I suddenly deemed bathroom time as private time. I have a very distinct memory of locking the main bathroom door at my cousin’s house and a female cousin knocking on the door asking why in the world I locked the door?!

My first semester of college I lived in a dorm with a communal bathroom for the hall. There’s just no way around it, you had to do all your business in full ear shot of everyone else in the bathroom, even if they couldn’t see you. I got more comfortable with sharing the bathroom. I later lived in a house with two female roommates, one bathroom, you get over it. Well, I got over it. And then it’s just a matter of time once you get over it with your own sex that you stop caring with the opposite sex. Whether it’s a close friend or a partner. In the end, does it really matter? If you’re comfortable with them seeing you naked or sharing bodily fluids, who cares?! Everyone does it. Literally, everyone. Obama does it. The Queen of England does it. Jesus Christ even did it. It’s natural. It’s normal. We’re human.

The gentleman warning couples against it wasn’t putting the blame on either of his ex-wives, but mostly on himself. I’ve heard women say that they would never let their husbands even hear them go to the bathroom – have to keep the magic alive. After my sister and her – now – husband started living together they remodeled and were without a bathroom door. It wasn’t uncommon for her to drive to my parents’ house to use the restroom.

And I guess I’m curious, do you really care? Am I the abnormal one?

 

Married withOUT Children

I have been scouring the internet looking for books to compile my quarter-life reading list. There have been some common themes that seem expected – Pride & Prejudice, Feminine Mystique, Eat, Pray, Love. Some common themes that were surprising to me, but make perfect sense – The Alchemist, Garden of Eden, The Great Gatsby. Most of the books seem to be stories of independent women or the journey of finding yourself. I’m not really looking to ‘find myself’ as I feel fairly well ‘found’, but learning more about me is never a bad thing. I also appreciate any independent woman story. As long as they don’t encourage me to burn my bras (I’m busty, I need my bra) or try to convince me that men are evil.

Reading WomanWhat I also discovered, however, is that all of these lists I found on-line – every single one – had at least one book relating to being single. Like, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken or Girls in White Dresses or Seductive Delusions. Not that these aren’t all viable books for some women in their twenties, they are. They just aren’t good books for me. To contrast all the single books, there were a few books about married women. Such as, The Awakening and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Both tragic portrayals of a sad married life. Not exactly encouraging for a young, still relatively newly married woman.

So, I started to wonder. And I started to search. Where were all the married women in their 20s? Where was my representation? Here is what I found when I searched ‘married women in their 20s’:

Maybe you’ve noticed the common theme. Women who get married in their 20s were rash and are now doomed to fail. Apparently. According to a web search, which probably pretty accurately depicts society’s views on the subject. Or, at least, the way the media has decided society should view the subject.Wedding Day

I don’t begrudge them their viewpoint. A few years ago I could have written articles about why young marriages are rarely ever successful. I touted that same mantra. Being married at twenty-five with an almost 29 year old husband, I’m not sure if I fit the stereotype per se, but I was married in my twenties and, alas, it seems society is rooting for divorce court.

What I have surmised is that the vast majority of female twenty-somethings are dealing with being single and successful or married with children. Those seem to be the two camps. And the married with children camp isn’t seeking a book list to edify themselves as they don’t have time. But I exist. I am here, so I must be part of some camp. Or are married without children twenty-somethings destined to wander aimlessly through the wilderness until they conform to one camp or the other?

I’m okay with wandering. I’m good at it. I spent my young(er) adulthood jet-setting around the world fairly aimlessly. As luck would have it, along the way I found myself and my – now – husband. I promise you I wasn’t looking for either. We just kind of ran into each other. And yet, it still doesn’t seem fair that I don’t have a place to call my own. And I really like for things to be fair.

Being that I have no desire to conform by leaving my spouse or getting knocked up (people keep telling me I can’t call it this when people are married, but I disagree), and considering that the idea of creating a new camp seems beyond tedious, I have decided that my list will just be for women. Young(ish) women or perhaps young at heart. That are at least old enough to rent a car at regular rates, but not so old of spirit to be afraid of change and new experiences. For those women, you shall have your list.

Soon.