Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Already Knew I Had a Keeper

Ever since the wedding, I have been asked repeatedly if the ceremony changed anything. Usually, the person doing the asking is a married person who fully expects that I will say "yes, surprisingly, getting married has changed everything, even though I didn't think it would."

Well, it hasn't. Really, it hasn't changed anything other than the fact that I have an insane urge to giggle inanely when referring to my spouse as a spouse and not a significant other. But then again, I made my decision to keep my partner long before we got married, so the wedding was not that final moment of irrevocable commitment I think it must be for so many other folks.

I also wonder, though, whether the "it changes everything" experience doesn't also have something to do with a set of expectations that are suddenly triggered by married status. I read once that even though young women are under tremendous social and psychological pressure to be the "perfect girl", young wives are under even more pressure to be the "perfect wife," as evidenced by the fact that the relatively few women who resisted the dangers of "perfect girl" syndrome are still likely to fall prey to "perfect wife" syndrome. (I think this came from The Erotic Silence of the American Wife by Dalma Heyn, but I am not certain.)

There do seem to be some very strong social messages about what husbands and wives are and do. I know that my married sister is constantly categorizing my relationship with my partner in terms of gender roles and/or in comparison to our parents' marriage, a rubric that she also applies to her own marriage. She seems bothered that my relationship with my partner does not fall into her proscribed boxes very well, and that many of the gender roles seem to be reversed or scrambled between us.

I do not think that I have many expectations for gender roles or a different way of life labeled "married." Instead, we chose to become "married" as a prerequisite for having children, not as a lifestyle or attitude change (other than those that will come with kids). So for now, every time I am asked the excited question, "So, did marriage change anything?" I just reply, "No, I already knew I had a Keeper."

1 comment:

Lannae said...

Awww! I like your line. :)