I’ve been married for three months now. In that time, I completed my first quarter of grad school; my husband made a huge, unexpected, and financially challenging career move; and we spent a month away from our home doing a total of more than 80 hours of driving to see both of our families. Which is to say, our partnership has seen its fair share of challenge of late. And you know what? My husband and I are killing it! Now, I’m not saying that we know things, and I’m definitely not handing out relationship advice–that’d be a disaster, but the past three months have been sufficient to convince me that I am a legitimately married lady.
Maybe that seems like a weird thing to say; after all, I’ve had the officially stamped, fancy paper the whole time. But the truth is, I’ve been a bit uneasy about this whole marriage thing , the term “wife”, and the connotations the entire shenanigan has. The interwebs is rife with married women, and most of them are selling brands of wifery that I just don’t want for myself. There are married women trying to have it all, married women raising a brood of kids, married women submitting to their husbands, and so very many married women whose worlds are filled with sunshine and perfect craft projects. Well I’m here to tell you, oh theoretical reader, that I have no interest in having it all, reproducing, submitting to a guy, or perfection, and yet here I am, every bit as married as those other ladies. This realization seems pretty significant to me. If I’m properly married, and rocking it my own way, then so could other ladies who aren’t so into what the conventional married blogger is selling. And maybe if enough of us spoke out about our awesomely supportive spouses, rag-tag adventures, and unconventional trajectories for our marriages, we could show that marriage doesn’t have to be the limiting institution that it is so often portrayed as. So with that goal in mind, I’m going to speak out about why it is that I, in all of my humanist-y-ness, feel pretty darn great about being married.
Reason One: The rules of marriage are something you and your spouse decide. Sure, the Bible, your families, media in its entirety, and basically everyone over the age of two have ideas about what your marriage should look like, but here’s the thing–no one knocks down your door and forces you to comply. Obviously there’s a caveat here; gay marriages are still being denied in a huge portion of our country and the world. The saying “If any of us is oppressed, we all are” comes to mind here. We should be fighting vigorously for equal marriage rights if we hope to show that marriage can be as diverse and unique as the partners who choose it.
Reason Two: You take care of each other. Certainly this is mostly true for most long term relationships, but it becomes a bit more true in marriage. Already, in these three short months, marriage has granted us both large and small privileges that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Reason Three: A two person household means more resources for doing things other than slaving away for The Man. An obvious component here is finances, but my husband and I also pool our ideas, positive attitude, emotional fortitude, and skills. The outcome is that even in a period of incredibly tight finances, we have been able to transition our grocery shopping mostly to a co-op, both attend school, and make a home worth living in. The sense of continuity and stability that come with being married are an asset on this front although, again, I’m not here to throw shade on other forms of long-term, committed relationships.
I know that there are people who would say that a lady who gets married has to give up opportunities, but I argue that a lady who doesn’t get married also gives up opportunities. Being a married person is no more limiting that being a career person or a people person or a cat person. So from here on out I will wear my status as wife proudly so that anyone who is looking can see that married is just a starting point for a lifetime of unique opportunity.