I’m happy. Yes, blissfully happy with a partner in crime that has allowed me to grow and experience life as an adult. Mistakes are allowed and forgiven but not forgotten for learning purposes. There are many things that I have gone through as a modern working wife that gave me enough insight to write this list. I hope it resonates and educates the masses. Here are the 10 things that I hate about being married:
1. Everyone thinks of you as a unit.
Marriage is a partnership but the people in it figuratively, and not literally, become one when they sign the contract. I am still me and my husband is still his old self, which means we are not identical people. Marriage didn’t change our personalities, likes or dislikes. For exanple, I adore social media, he doesn’t and has 0 accounts. Just because we got married my facebook account doesn’t become ours! When people assume we are alike, that we agree on every view point or that one’s opinions represent the entire family’s they do us a disservice. Many invitations are lost and misunderstandings occur when you generalize that what one part of the unit says goes for all. We are still two people, and we can do stuff without the entire family present. Overly simplified the point is that if he doesn’t like Brussel sprouts don’t assume his significant other won’t either.
2. The expectation placed on a married woman to become a housewife overnight and want babies.
Coupled with the discussion above, I felt that immediately after the wedding people assumed I was going to stop pursuing my dreams and goals, shed my personality and become a Stepford wife. What irks me is that the opposite is not true. No one asks of my husband to be a better man or pitch in with the chores, etc. Even my mother started to nag me whenever I stated that I refused to cook, clean and carry children just because it was expected of me. I had never done any of these things prior to the wedding day and we had been living together for 7 years at this stage. People ask things of me because I am the wife that they don’t expect of my husband. It gives him the incorrect notion that somehow I am not living to my end of the bargain when in fact I am. He knew who I was going in and what to expect. Why does a ring have to change that?
3. Constantly being asked why I didn’t change my name.
In many countries women don’t shed their identity to become a part of a new family. People that expect this to occur are usually raised in patriarchal households or religions. My heritage is matriarchal and no one expected me to change my last names, yes we use both paternal and maternal, once I got hitched. Living in the USA and knowing that there is no law that requires me to make this happen has allowed me to educate a lot of people about the custom. A wife is not property and she has a right to even ask that her name be included in her children’s registration paperwork. We shouldn’t assume women have to change their last name or that they did after signing the marriage certificate. Always ask her even if you know the husband. Men are doing it too, changing their last names. Welcome to the future.
4. Being asked when it will be our time to have kids.
Not all married couples want or can have children. This information has no value for the public and the question should be removed from coloquial exchanges. Reproductive choices are not polite conversation unless prompted by the person with the issues. Don’t tell them it is God’s will or plan to decide if they can and when they will have children. That undermines their free will, pain and feelings about the subject. If they want to talk about it they will volunteer information. Patiently wait for the cue. Ah, and if they have children they will tell you. No need to ask. 😉 Sit back and enjoy the natural flow of conversation. Silence is okay too.
5. The assumption that all his assets and debts are yours and vice-versa.
Money problems are the #1 cause for divorce. People use money to hold victims hostage in abusive relationships, and to control them in one provider scenarios. Every person in the partnership needs to have access to communal funds but that doesn’t mean that all funds must be communal. There were many accounts and investments that were brought into the relationship when we were legally single and in our state we are entitled to keep those separate. (Check locals laws.) In case of a divorce that money is mine, not ours, and vice versa. What my husband earns is his to keep after paying the bills and the same appliesa to me. He can do whatever he wants with those assets too as long as it doesn’t cause hardship. I don’t owe his debts and he doesn’tdoesn’t owe mine either. That’s why we have insurance to pay off everything upon our passing or injury. Better safe than sorry.
6. The incorrect notion that supporting each other’s bad habits and encouraging them are part of the territory.
When my husband drinks too much I cut him off. If it wasn’t for his high blood pressure and his close calls with DUIs, I wouldn’t have to police him. My friends think it is funny to get him hammered which is not very fair to me. The alternative, letting him drink the Nile, can cost me everything we have worked so hard to achieve and acquire. This is why I believe wives and husbands shouldn’t have to cover or enable each other’s vices. They should actively work to help each other overcome them. If you are not improving yourself and the relationship you are wasting the best part of being together: falling in love everyday with the better person you and your significant other have become.
7. Judging our relationship’s success or performance based on your own’s.
Many couples assume we are like them, all lovey dovey and doting with gifts and romantic gestures. The moment they realize we are not like them they get turned off and assume we won’t last or aren’t happy. They start giving us advice to be more like them! Ugh. First off, we are very together and in love. Did you ask? Our story has had a lot of twists, turns and unfortunate events, and is unique: We don’t buy each other fancy crap unless it is Xmas, we pay for each other massages and if there is a new video game coming out we reserve it for the other as a surprise. Half this stuff doesn’t make it into my facebook newsfeed. People don’t know abiut our idiosyncrasies. Think about that before you judge people’s relationships. They don’t have to mirror yours to be successful.
8. Complaining about your partner automatically qualifies you as disloyal.
My husband was raised to think that a person that discussed their relationships with friends and family was a gossip and disloyal. For any support system to work, the members need to have as much data as possible without violating trust. However, in some cases, the issues of the marriage are very serious and the only way you can figure out if your situation is normal or healthy is by sharing information and comparing with others. Don’t confuse this with measuring your relationship against others. Sometimes we have no idea how good we have it until we listen to the realities of others. Make sure you are sharing and comparing wisely, and that those in your inner circle can actually help. Asking for advice and getting help isn’t disloyal. It is the right thing to do.
9. Asking for space or to do things on your own is frowned upon.
I always thought married people should spend 24/7 together, thinking about each other. Boy was I wrong! Once you give up your personal space to share it eternally with another human things can get dicey if you can’t claim some of it back. In our case, we both love video games and many fights centered around TV time ownership. We were adamant we wanted to share one TV. That didn’t work because we wanted to play different games at the same time! We have second game TV now in a room that we can escape from each other. A neutral zone. The same applies to other activities like travel and hanging out. We are allowed to do things alone and away from each other. It doesn’t signal the end of the marriage.
10. Being told I have to ask for my husband’s permission or opinion before making a decision.
Unlike number 1, this goes to show how we as a society view women; we are taught to not trust their judgement and intelligence when it comes to making decisions. To me it is insulting that many think I am incapable of choosing wisely without counsel from a man. I am very capable of deciding how to live my life or execute plans by myself. What my husband thinks is irrelevant unless it concerns his well being or quality of life. I can talk, see and engage whomever I want without his blessing. He is not my father or legal guardian; he doesn’t own me. The inverse is true. He doesn’t need a kitchen pass or my okay. No one should give up their independence for the sake of their marriage. Negotiate and discuss ahead of time what requires consultation and what doesn’t. Oh, and if I tell you that he doesn’t need to approve, don’t lose your mind because we disagree with you. That’s the whole point! We trust each other to do right by ourselves and thus for each other.
As we age many of these will change, evolve or be substituted by other problems and concerns. Do your best to learn what your friends need from you when it comes to relationship support and guidance. Avoid empty questions or clichés when they finally open up or request assistance with their relationship. Modern marriages are different than our grandparents and if it is working, we have no right to take away from their success. Help build other’s marriages up and abstain from judgement. It will be better for everyone involved if you cooperate. Even the bible and religious ceremonies say so…