Monday, January 4, 2010

Another Long Post

I touched on this the other day but I wanted to bring it up again. At the six month countdown mark, I am less and less interested in visualizing how the wedding is going to look and more interested in how my marriage is going to be. The wedding is one big, honking fun day that I'm super excited to experience but the marriage is the whole point, right?

It's funny that before I was engaged, and even in the first few months of engagement, I never really thought about what marriage might be or what marriage meant to me. I honestly didn't think that marriage would change our relationship at all after being and living together for almost five years. I'm starting to think, however, that I could be wrong. Recently, things seem to pop up that make me realize, ah yes, this is what I think I might want marriage to be like. And some of these realizations have surprised me and rocked some ideas I had about myself.

I find that a lot of my ideas about marriage stem, not surprisingly at all, from my parents. My parents celebrated their 32nd anniversary last year and their marriage has always been an inspiration to me by proving that love, though not always easy, is possible and can endure. There is a certain dynamic in their relationship, however, that I find myself thinking about but that is a deep contrast, it appears, to what I had always expressed. Like my mother, I consider myself an advocate of equality between the sexes and can sometimes preach feminist notions or at least preach against sexist cliches. That is why it is shocking to look at their relationship now from a soon-to-be-married person and realize how traditional it really is. The responsibilities that each parent took on sometimes resembled traditional roles. Though both worked full-time
jobs, my mother cooked, cleaned, took (most of the) care of the kids and my father paid the bills, played handyman and fixed the cars.

Now I am certainly a hardcore supporter of shared household responsibilities but sometimes I expect my husband-to-be to take on a job that I am certainly capable of doing myself. Because, why, my father did it in our house? Or because part of me wants to feel taken care of? This is a very strange and very new feeling that I am having and I'm not sure I'm a fan of it. I always thought I was a "hear me roar, I can take care of it myself, grrl power" kind of chick so wanting a husband that wants to sometimes take care of me surprised me AND him.

It has sparked conversations (and this is the whole point, folks) about what we think marriage means and what aspects are important to each us. I am very wary not to put the words "what marriage SHOULD BE" or "SHOULD NOT BE" in this post because I don't believe it SHOULD BE anything. That is determined by each couple and is based upon their own beliefs and values. What I desire and believe certainly might not work for anyone else and, unless someone is manipulative or causing pain to their significant other, a couple's marriage can never really be wrong if it is working for them.

All and all, I think it's OK that there is a glimmer of something that might resemble tradition in our relationship. We certainly live alternatively in most of the other areas of our lives to make up for it.

Have you thought about what you want not just your wedding but your marriage to be like? Have any of these feelings surprised you?

{precious moments photographed by Steep Street}


Cupcake Wedding said...

We talk about our marriage a lot-- when we should have children, how many we should have, how we should argue, what being supportive of your spouse's dreams means-- it is a lot more fun than looking at fabric samples, I'll tell you that.

Sealicious said...

We've been bickering alot lately about dishes (dishes?!) - which I realize later is really about this very topic. My mom took on almost all the household chores (except for yardwork and billpaying) on top of working a full time job. It just doesn't seem fair and I think my sensitivity about having to do too many dishes is me trying to prevent that from happening to us.

Sometimes, it's nice to let a man do the traditionally "manly" things . . . because it is always nice to be taken care of by someone, no matter what their sex is. As long as you are ok with the balance you've acheived in your relationship, maybe the actual tasks themselves don't matter too much.

tulle and feathers said...

i love this post. my idea of marriage is also defined by my parents being happily married for 33 years-- i totally get it:)

Meghan said...

Amen. I too have been with my boy for 5 years, and we've lived together for most of it. I am so excited for the MARRIAGE at this point, being his Mrs., that friends/family are wondering why I'm not going crazy bridezilla. Sure, I want it to be beautiful and the best par-tay EVAH but I'm excited to be US afterwards.