Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What kind of woman would that make you?

I am the frequent recipient of the question that automatically flies out of every friend and stranger's mouth when they come within a 2 foot radius of a newlywed,
"So, do you feel any different now that you're married?"
(And for the record, I'm always quite touched at the concern and kindness of everyone who does ask). 
The proper response to this question is, No. Nothing feels different (thank goodness!) One may also chuckle and make a joke to play down the seriousness of weddings and marriage. A ball and chain metaphor might be handy, complimented by a shrug and a smile.

shot from my wedding party

The truth is, yes, it feels different. But it's so much simpler to say No and spare an almost-stranger an explanation of the intimacies of your brand new marriage, a soliloquy on your most personal thoughts and beliefs.

Of course it feels different. Of course your world shifts a little.

Your relationship to your family, and your spouse's, will never quite be the same. You have a different title, even if you didn't take a new name. On official forms you will now tick a new box next to 'relationship status'. Bank accounts may be rearranged.

When you illegally park in front of a store while your partner runs in to grab a carton milk and someone starts yelling at you and you have to explain that 'My husband just ran in for a carton of milk!'

Now there's a new word for him, too.

Of course it feels different.

But when faced with that question, it's so much simpler to say No and come across as a modern woman for whom her marriage and wedding were not the be-all and end-all. The kind of woman who can roll her eyes at the insanity of it all. Who acknowledges the material excess of weddings, the sickening expense of it all. Who is a modern, progressive, feminist, intellectual, eclectic, and non-tradtional person. Who would really leave or take weddings, and might not have married at all, but for the good party.

Because what would everyone think if you said what you really thought?
Yes, it all feels different now. Marriage is the best thing that happened to me, and I loved my wedding.
 And what kind of woman would that make you?

18 comments :

  1. Jess, if this is a glimpse at what's to come on The Stroke, I'm ecstatic.

    You have written so beautifully and have eloquently touched on the dilemma that many of us modern women face. How do we continue to be modern with finding such joy in tradition? It's certainly a thought-provoking topic.

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    1. Thank you!

      I often feel like I'm one huge contradiction, hating and loving (some) traditions at the same time. I wonder how other women (and, heck) reconcile this. Maybe it's not reconcilable, or not until you reach some magic age or milestone.

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    2. I also feel like I'm one huge contradiction - this expat housewife thing is one of them.

      Perhaps it's reconcilable as we age. Between 29 & 30 I let go of a lot... maybe this will come later. Then again, maybe something else will fill it's shoes.

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    3. I look forward to letting go of it. But until then, I guess the doubt and deep thoughts are all part of the ride, right? :)

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  2. Gosh, what raw and beautiful insight. Of course it feels different, and the same, yet different... in the most sweet way. Your own reflection made my heart pitter patter in anticipation of being faced with such a question.

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    1. Oh, that's so lovely Danielle! Made me smile. :) Thanks

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  3. Love this post... and am excited to follow The Stroke :) Since I'm not married yet, this gave me a sweet glimpse of what's to come. xxx

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  4. this is so cute, and true! same, yet different in a better way. your blog is gorgeous, i love it. can't wait to follow along! xo

    the well-traveled wife

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    1. Thank you emi! I'm happy to have you along for the ride :)

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    2. Also, how lovely is your blog?! Super jealous about your Google connection ;)

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  5. Marriage is most definitely the best thing that ever happened to me!!! My husband says he didn't feel different after we got married, because he knew from the moment we met that we were going to get married one day. I feel SO different after we got married. Something changed and my love for him deepened, even though I thought that would be impossible. Isn't saying husband so much fun?

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  6. ABSOLUTELY ditto to Jay! I'm the same as - I do say no. And I do mean it for the big things! No, I don't love him exponentially* more now than I did before. No, I don't think he'll be a better father (one day) now than I did before. No, I don't compromise for him more now than I did before. I did all those things before we were married - that's how we knew we were ready to get married.

    That being said, our wedding was one of the best days of my life and I get a thrill every time I call him my husband. Every time I send an email from my new email address with my new name, I want to shout DO YOU SEE THIS? I HAVE A NEW NAME BECAUSE I AM MARRIED!

    I don't think all of these things contradict each other - or, if they do, I am the kind of woman who is okay with holding lots of contradictions within her :)

    *I love him more every day, but the day-to-day increase hasn't changed since our wedding. Does that make sense?

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    1. First off, I think you brave women of the blogosphere (shout out to Jay too) are slowly convincing me that it's okay to hold lots of contradictions within you, so really, sincerely, thank you for that.

      The exponentially comment made me giggle :) And, I totally also want to shout that!

      Sort of unrelated to your comment - I did notice something else change after we got married though. It's likely got to do with my personality type, but I get less annoyed with silly things than I used to. Socks left on the floor, dirty dishes on the counter. Who cares? We're in this forever, and forever is a long time to complain about socks and dishes. (I hope this particular shift lasts, although I know people refer to it as the honeymoon phase, we've been together nearly a decade, so I'm not sure we're entitled to one of those).

      Thank you for contributing to the conversation Betsy, and for mentioning it on your blog and Twitter. Reading your blog and following the conversations that Wedding Wednesday generates has given me proof that every relationship, every wedding, every life is different but fascinating. I can't get enough.

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  7. Great post! Very interesting question. I totally agree with you. I definitely thought it was different, but I still wasn't sure how to answer that question.

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    1. Thank you! It's a tricky one, especially since it's such a casual question but the response is undoubtedly very personal :)

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  8. I think back when we first got married and we looked at each other and curiously called each other by our new terms. It was a responsibility that grew overnight, post-festivities. But I didn't truly feel upset until I realised my family had let go of me so that I was no longer just their daughter, but also the daughter of another family. That was the saddest part of marriage for me. Too traditional for my liking, but deeply moving all the same.

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