A couple of weeks ago, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, my boyfriend proposed to me on the beach. It wasn’t an elaborate proposal, but it was thoughtful and sincere. He didn’t get down on one knee or prepare a speech professing his eternal love for me, but he had bought a ring and he asked me quietly if I wanted to be his partner for life. Of course, I said yes!
When are you getting married?
This single question, followed by a
confused concerned stare was enough to send me on my high horse about the institution of marriage. Still, when well meaning people, my loved ones, asked this question, I found myself clamoring for the right answer. “We’ll get married when my mom can walk again” I said to some. “Maybe this time next year,” I said to others. But, the truth was/is I’m not entirely convinced that I want to be someone’s wife again. (Yes, I was married before!) I’m not sure that marriage is necessary for me to have a happy life. I don’t think I want a husband.
But, society tells me that I need to get married first. Fall in love, get married, have a baby, maybe if you have any money left, buy a house! That is the eternal order handed down by Moses himself and I needed to follow suit! Hollywood & Disney movies brainwash us into thinking that being married somehow means we are “complete” as if we are half empty vessels wandering through life waiting to be filled again. We falsely believe that any life decision we make once we’re married will carry extra weight, even though the piece of paper weighs nothing. We convince ourselves that marriage is a safety net, a lifetime contract that promises unconditional love and security, when nothing in this life is guaranteed. Oh and don’t forget the tax breaks- mostly in death benefits, how utterly romantic is that? Still, we spend a good chunk of our youth searching for our “better half” and rush to the altar only to spend thousands of dollars to make one day count for the rest of our lives.
It’s not that I don’t love my partner, or that I don’t want to build a life with him. I do. I already am. Maybe for some
young people, marriage is a spring board into adulthood. A right of passage. But, I feel old differently. I’m not sure when it happened but, sometime between the time we decided to get serious to the time when we actually moved in together, I made a conscious decision to start a life with this man. Every decision we’ve made as a couple since then has been a deliberate and rational step towards our future. We moved in together to start saving up for a house. And, when we thought we were ready, we took the step to becoming home owners. We choose a neighborhood close to family- another sensible decision even though it added extra hours to our commute! The peace of mind and daily assistance we get from being close to (his) mom more than makes up for this inconvenience. Not to mention what it will mean when we decide to start a family soon one day. Again, sound decisions! We bring different strengths to this partnership. He enjoys cleaning, I enjoy cooking, decorating, reorganizing. He cuts the grass and takes the trash out without being asked. We’re Team RobSen! It’s never 50-50. It’s always 100-100! If ours isn’t a marriage I don’t know what is…
It’s not that I’m some kind of evolved feminist or that I’m trying to take a stand against a sacred institution. I know lots of married couples, including my parents, who are genuinely happy. Sadly, I know even more who are not. I know couples who have broken up on the way to the altar, just from the stress of it all. I know couples who didn’t last more than the first year. I could go on… And, I personally witnessed what happens when two people who start out loving each other, change due to circumstances and choices that they make and run out of love. Not even divorce could’ve saved them from each other.
Why do I need a husband when I have such a wonderful partner?
He is my equal in every way. He makes me laugh every single day. Our life is wonderful as it is and YES, I will be his partner for life! (And, if he wants to say vows and exchange rings in front of a crowd, I will happily go along with it), but NO, I won’t be needing a piece of paper to remind me how lucky I am!