The “New” Marriage, or Why I’m Taking the Plunge
In the past, I’ve been accused of being a bad fiance because of my views on marriage. It is with great hesitation, therefore, that I pen the following words. Try to keep in mind that I try, everyday, to question the common knowledge topics we take for granted, and to understand WHY they’re considered common knowledge, and whether I truly want to subscribe to them or not. This is one attempt to investigate.
I posted to my Facebook wall the other day that sometimes I feel like I’m cheapening the institution of marriage by getting married. I know girls who were ALL ABOUT their weddings in the many months leading up to them, and when the day came, it was all about them. I know women who have actually gotten jealous and territorial when the spotlight has been taken off of themselves and their big day. Its like weddings these days are just ways to show off and be self-centered without getting called out on it. The bride is the most important person in the world.
I don’t feel like that. My entire mantra for the past 10 months has been if everyone else is happy, than I’m happy. I’ve actually been told that I’m wrong to think that way, that it should be all about me.
I bet you can’t give me a clear answer besides “it’s the bride’s day”. Sure, but its the groom’s day too. It takes 2 to get married. And my fiance cares about how the wedding turns out, so why is it fair to claim singular possession over a celebration for the both of us? And on that note, I’m an only child. My mother will only have one child get married (hopefully) ever. My father will only walk one daughter down the isle. They’ve both looked forward to this monumental life shift since I was a little girl. They love me unconditionally and support me in my future, so why can’t my day be about them too? Why is it all about me?
To me, its silly to take marriage so seriously. Its an antiquated ritual at best, a socially acceptable method of control and domination at worst. I’ve been told about the numerous things you “just do” or “just don’t do” once you’re married. For instance, did you know if my friends don’t like my husband, regardless of how well they treat him, I shouldn’t be friends with them anymore? And if I have any male friends, I have to say goodbye at the wedding (if they’re even allowed to be invited) unless I see them solely when my husband is around. I can agree with my husband becoming the most important person in my life, but that shouldn’t make him the only person.
Marriage is about dedicating yourself to another person, mind, body, and soul. Its about finding someone you want to spend your life with. Its not about changing your life, or your personality, or your body to suit your spouse’s needs. And its about partnership; we are a team now, and things are handled as such.
Marriage used to be about ownership and procreation. Obviously we’re living in a modern world with developed ideas of love, sex, and gender. The fact that I can write this is proof. Some people just haven’t outgrown old traditions, though. I support the preservation of our past, but I cannot get behind purporing traditions simply because its what we’ve always done without scrutinizing the who, what, where, when, and why of those traditions. Marriage is simply one of those traditions.
I bet you’re wondering why, after all this, did I agree to get married. Because the man who asked me is caring, supportive, funny, tolerant, and loves me. Because he asked, and its something that he wanted, and as much as I take issue with certain aspects of the ritual, its not enough to disappoint him. Before we asked, we had many discussions about whether or mot I even wanted to get married. I did not enter into this life change lightly and wothout serious thought on the matter.
Ultimately, I know I made the right decision, because when I first said “I don’t know if marriage is really for me”, it took David all of 5 seconds to support my indecision and still love me for it. When I decided to keep my maiden name in an effort to display and protest my issues with the whole tradition, he told me it was my decision and he’d support whatever I wanted to do, and even offered to change his last name to a hyphenation if I wanted to do the same. This man realizes that I don’t take social morms for granted and loves me anyway, lives me because of it. That’s how I knew that saying yes was the right choice.
But that doesn’t mean marriage has to be the right choice. Marriage shouldn’t be a public affair; its personal, its completely between the two people pledging their lives to each other. (Ask me my opinions on same sex marriage – go ahead.) People keep asking me if I’m nervous, excited, stressed – all because these are things I should be feeling. But I’m not, because no one will know how much thought went into this decision for me. And that’s the way it should be: choosing what’s right for you, because its right for you. Not because its what society says is normal.
And on that note… My wedding is in 8 days. If I’m quiet for a couple weeks, that’s why. While David and I aren’t doing a traditional honeymoon, we will be doing lots of small trips, so I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures!. I’ll see you all in the fall.