Category Archives: Advice

Our “Christian” Wedding

So, you already know that we consider our wedding to have been non-conformist. My husband and I are Deists, not Christian. But while writing a review of The Pilgrim’s Progress, I realized that there are a lot of Idols and Symbols associated with a modern wedding that aren’t what I consider Christian.

I really feel like my husband and I had nearly the most “Christian” version of a wedding–there were no frills, no Idols, nothing but us in front of the very few people who matter most to us. We actually planned it, rather than a quick elopement, so it was done with purpose in a place that felt special, but wasn’t ornamented to make us seem any more special than anyone else.

The only thing we “splurged” on was our clothes, because I wanted to be pretty on my wedding day and I wanted him to be drop dead gorgeous (because we’re not the type of people who dress up, ever). However, the actual amount of time and money spent on our clothes was relatively little. My dress took about an hour to order online. Three quarters of that was debating if I really wanted the dress that immediately caught my eye in comparison to the rest that were available. It is black and white hounds-tooth patterned and doesn’t conform with any Idolized Ideal of a wedding dress (a tradition started by Queen Victoria and isn’t in the Bible, so far as I know). The rest of that hour was getting my husband to measure me.*

My husband’s clothes took a bit longer because we had to go to multiple stores, but the overall look was relatively cheap: Jeans and a gray button-down. New boots, which he needed anyway (and we did this trick again for his son’s wedding: they looked fine under his tuxedo). The most expensive item was his suit-coat, which we got new, but could have come from a thrift store if we really wanted to search it out, though he’s a big guy, so our choices were limited. But time is money and getting his suit coat new also got us a great relationship with that particular Philip Michael’s store in Chesapeake Square Mall, who helped us out when we needed to measure my husband for that tuxedo.

If being a good Christian means being austere (and really, I don’t think you can be both filthy rich and a good Christian), I think a big, audacious wedding ends up being more a status symbol than a sacrament. A few choice items, picked for their importance to the couple are wonderful, but more for the sake of filling up the space, well, maybe you shouldn’t be getting married in such an empty room!

We didn’t have a registry for gifts. Honestly, I find this entire idea a bit nauseating. I’ve seen the movie My Fake Fiancé where two broke people pretend to get married for the gifts, but really, as a person, I hate any time someone wants me to tell them what to give me as a gift! My least favorite part of Christmas is the gift exchange because I hate the idea of gifts being an expectation instead of a surprise. Ideally, I’d only give gifts when I feel inspired to give gifts and it seems stupid to literally hold onto items that you know someone will love because of the unspoken obligation to have something for them to open at Christmas. Seriously, I’ve started working on my Christmas presents for this year and I will have to store them for the next 8 months. Is there any wonder why people wait until the last minute to buy and wrap their gifts–that’s where all the incentive is.

When we invited everyone to our reception in May, I specifically told everyone not to bring a gift, but to bring a dish to share (it was potluck). Honestly, I loved packing up all the leftovers to fill our fridge! That was the best gift we could have asked for because I won’t be tripping over random stuff for the next 20 years. Okay, I will be, but it’s all stuff my husband had from before we married.

We didn’t have a cake either on our wedding night or at our reception. Wedding cake is yet another unnecessary Idol/Symbol/Tradition. While I’m amazed by the amount of work that can go into a gorgeous wedding cake, at the end of the day it will either be eaten or thrown away. It is food. I think everyone should take a moment when they buy their cake (and their flowers) and decide if they are getting it because it’s something that means a lot to their relationship or because it will make a good statement piece.

I guess there’s a fine line between a bride getting her vision and the audaciousness of a $50,000 wedding. And I guess that if you can afford it, you should get what you want. But, I think it’s important to keep your priorities in check with everything you do. I actually do have a really big problem with the divorce rate being 50% and while I’m libertarian enough to say that folks are more than allowed to do whatever the hell they want, I think society would be better off with better marriages, not more of them!

Oh. One final note is necessary. It’s actually really easy to identify when you’ve crossed the line from getting the wedding of your dreams and the wedding meant to please everyone–you’ve felt even the smallest twinge of regret over at least one choice. If you feel overwhelmed, you’ve definitely crossed this line! Yes, things can (and do) go wrong, but if you feel unable to run with whatever life throws at you, STOP. You need to reevaluate the situation. There is no need to rush into anything and I can tell you from personal experience working in a print shop, RUSH means that someone, somewhere screwed up (and because of that, more things will go wrong). There is no such thing as a job marked RUSH where everything was done right from the beginning.

*By the way, while my husband is a good sport about measuring me, keep in mind that husbands will shrink you an inch around the waist, where it’s easy for you to inadvertently suck in your stomach when he pulls the tape too tight.

Our Non-Conformist Wedding: Part 3, Finale

Well, I’ve got 3 posts in progress this morning and I just realized that I never offered a real conclusion describing our actual wedding :-). So, over a year later, let me answer some of those hanging questions!

We did get married at St. Luke’s.

I absolutely LOVED my dress! I decided that instead of hemming it to make it shorter, I bought a petticoat so that it would poof out instead of hanging drably. Perfect! Well, except for my adventure with the petticoat on the morning of the wedding when it decided to fall down, but I got that figured out and it was fine.

We were married by a former sheriff of Isle of Wight County. My husband has always respected him and the sheriff’s wife works in the office of the body shop husband tows for, so it worked out great. He was really awesome, didn’t mind that I wanted things short, sweet, and to the point. He had a favorite ceremony that he read to us and I thought it was perfect for us. Seriously, if I didn’t know that it was one he used often, I’d think it was written specifically for us!

The ceremony went smoothly, except that my husband and I both ended up saying “I will” 3 times instead of 2 because we both interrupted at the same wrong spot, haha. I did it even after I heard him do it and thought to myself that I wasn’t going to do that! Oh well. We had a moment.

I didn’t cry one single tear at my wedding! With my Stepson getting married this past Feb, I can confirm that I have cried at every wedding I’ve attended, except my own. Actually, I cried more at during my Stepson’s rehearsal (I was a bridesmaid), because I knew when to brace myself and look away during the actual ceremony.

But yeah, during our own wedding, I was grinning ear to ear during the whole thing! I was wearing my (now) daughter-in-law’s over-sized sweater to the church (they drove me over) and I’d stuffed some paper towels in the pocket for my waterworks, but ended up just forgetting about them. She texted later asking about them and I told her they were clean!

I did walk my own self down the aisle. St. Luke’s is set up with 3 “sections”, which are all well separated from each other. There’s a foyer, where I was able to leave the sweater, the main pews, and then the front set of benches situated in front of the alter, with a 3/4ths wall separating them  from the rest of the pews. When I called out that I was ready to walk, Charlie (the Sheriff) instructed everyone to rise and while I could see their heads, I don’t think they could see me (they were seated on those couple benches right up front). I could see my husband, though, but I don’t remember really looking at him; I was too busy trying not to fall over in my heels.

Oh! And my husband didn’t wear a suit. In fact, after seeing him in tuxedo pants at his son’s wedding, I hope to never see him in suit pants again, haha. I put him in a new pair of jeans, a grey button-down shirt, new work boots, and a suit coat. He didn’t wear a tie, his shirt had the top button undone. He was yummy looking. Perfect!IMG_0184

Yes, there is a step up for the actual alter (which, since it’s a historic church, is out of bounds), but my husband was able to help me onto the 6 inch wide step outside the fencing for our kiss and the first set of pictures. In real life, I’m a foot and a half shorter than him.

Oh! And since I hate PDA, I thought it was very sweet that by putting me up on the step for the kiss, we ended up with his back to our audience, so we could have a private kiss(s). He gave me our usual 3 pecks and a hug.

And then I nearly fell over when getting off that step by myself. He had to grab me/I had to grab him to keep me upright, haha.

We left from the church for our super short honeymoon (we got married on Monday and I wanted to be back at work on Wednesday). We didn’t get very far because my husband realized he didn’t have his nitroglycerin tablets which meant he didn’t have his house keys. And of course I didn’t have my house keys! The Kids were supposed to lock up the house when they left. So we spent a good hour and a half trying to get in contact with them because we really needed the rest of his pills that were forgotten.

We went to Luray, VA and toured the cave and various museums there. He had wanted to take me to the Eastern Shore for our honeymoon, but after discussing his first 2 marriages and honeymoons, I vetoed all trips east (both went to beaches)!

4 Tips for an Egalitarian Marriage

My pinterest homepage is full of the usual mix of crafts (especially note cards), gardening, recipes, funny animals, and “helpful” blog posts about making your marriage stronger.

I’m a curious soul, so I generally read these latter posts, figuring that somewhere in them there must be something helpful.

Yeah…not really. All of the ones that propagate my pinterest are those that at face value seem great, but when you really start thinking about them, they’re really sexist and misogynistic, even though they’re all written by loving wives.

Here’s the problem: they all are written with women in mind and generally that woman is actually seeking help for a problem in her marriage. Most of the “solutions” offered are ones that the wife can implement without her husband even really understanding that there is a problem. When I picture my own marriage trying to do some of these tips (“Have a weekly husband/wife meeting” for example), I can only snicker. I mean, the idea is that you pencil each other into your busy schedules so that you can discuss the upcoming week, which is pretty ridiculous when this is your spouse we’re talking about. “Honey, I want to schedule a meeting with you so that we can discuss scheduling future meetings…”

This is as bad as scheduling sex! Or really scheduling anything in your marriage!

I guess life is different when you have kids, but honestly, if your husband in involved with the kids (like he should be!), he doesn’t need to have a weekly meeting for you to tell him that Timmy has baseball practice on Thursday and it’d be nice for him to be there. Because, you know, he should already be planning to attend like he does every week.

If Suzie has a tonsillectomy scheduled for next Monday, Dad shouldn’t need a meeting to tell him that Suzie will need him to help hold her hand.

The tips that piss me off the most are those which tell women that they should “love their spouse more”. You have to remember the type of women these posts are going to affect most–those who feel like their marriage is on the rocks. Most of these bloggers are very anti-divorce. For them, it is a woman’s responsibility to keep the household together, regardless of her personal feelings.

It’s really easy for a desperate woman to forgive her husband for everything, but it’s not emotionally healthy. She can decide to be submissive to his will and smile to the world while inside she’s dying. This is abuse. And telling a woman that if she just loves her husband more he’ll change is flat wrong.

Yes, it is imperative that you love your husband! BUT, loving him should not mean sacrificing any aspect of your own well being! If you find yourself wondering why you married him, you need to identify the actual problems with your marriage (are you working too hard so that he can play?) and address them. Trying to remember the good times of your relationship won’t help if your husband is no longer the man you married. People do change and that’s both a good and a bad thing in a marriage (depending on if you are growing and changing together).

Anyway, enough of my rant. Here’s my 4 tips for a happy and healthy egalitarian marriage (because you two are partners in life).

  1. SPEAK. AND LISTEN. Seriously, your husband should be your best friend. Treat him as such. Talk to him about what’s going on in your life. Your likes, your dislikes. Vent to him. Listen to him when he needs to vent. If you ever feel like you can’t say something, anything, to your husband for whatever reason, run, don’t walk away from this relationship. That isn’t what a marriage should be!
  2. SPLIT THE CHORES. You both live in the house, you both have equal responsibility to keep it clean. Of course, your family situation is probably different than mine and that’s cool! Dividing the chores equally doesn’t really mean that the chores are divided perfectly in half. A lot of tasks make up all that goes into running a household and you should split them up in such a way that makes the most sense to you and your family (children should also be put to work maintaining the household).

    When splitting chores, be mindful of the time you and/or your spouse spend working and commuting (seriously, give each other extra credit for that commute!). Since I work full time and my husband works part time, it is more fair for him to do more of the housework. Plus, he’s the real mess maker of the two of us.

  3. SPLIT THE BILLS. I realize that this is difficult in families with only one income earner…

    Actually, I’m scared to picture my life if I were dependent on other people for money. I’m one of the odd people who in high school was loaning my parent’s money. Even though I wasn’t earning all that much to start with (just mowing/raking my grandma’s yard), but I didn’t spend it, either.

    But, if you’re cool about getting an allowance from your spouse, that’s fine. That’s your life. I wouldn’t want it, but that’s me.

  4. HAVE TIME FOR YOURSELF.  You and your husband are two individual people. You are not joined at the hip. You have separate interests. So, enjoy them! Apart! Do not be afraid of your independence.

    You and your husband should spend lots of time together. I recommend eating together 99% of the time, but you know what, sometimes your husband is going to get a police call in the middle of you cooking dinner and if you don’t eat you will literally tear him a new asshole because low blood sugar affects you that way (true story).

    But, if your husband enjoys working on cars, you don’t have to be involved with this. I quite enjoy shooing him out the door to play with his friends so that I can watch what I want on TV instead of having to share with him. This actually makes the time we do spend together that much sweeter!

 

I imagine that the author’s of those blogs I mentioned earlier would have a conniption if they read that last bit of advice (about spending time apart). I guess they feel like a marriage on the rocks is one in which the individuals of the couple are “growing apart” and the only way to combat this is to spend more time together.

I think it’s important to identify why your relationship is “growing apart”, because honestly, you can spend every waking moment physically together, but not be connecting emotionally. It’s funny that they’ll recommend remembering the “good old days”, but would be afraid for people to reconnect with being independent.

I just finished a book where the main character thought that she wasn’t ready for marriage because she didn’t want to give up her independence. What had instigated this thought was her sister’s husband clarifying with the sister her plans to going to the main character’s house for a late evening. It is not losing independence to tell your husband that you are going out. But, you have lost your independence if your husband tells you that you aren’t allowed to go out (this is an abusive relationship: RUN!).

marriage-2
A cute couple, but I don’t think couples can be defined by gender. You love who you love! 🙂

Ready for marriage?

Before We Kiss (Fool’s Gold Book 16)” by Susan Mallery –

“Sam glanced at the door and thought about bolting. This wasn’t his area of expertise. Yet even as he inched toward freedom, he realized that he knew exactly what she was doing wrong. His mother would be so proud. He took a seat across from Fayrene.

“This has to stop,” he told her. “Put on your big-girl panties and tell Ryan what you want.”

She rolled her eyes. “I can’t.”

“You won’t. There’s a difference. If you’re not prepared to ask for what you want from a man who loves you very much, then you’re not ready for marriage. It’s a full-time commitment. It requires everything you have, and being honest about how you feel is the cornerstone to success. If you can’t be honest about this, what else won’t you be able to talk about?””

This is some excellent advice :-).

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A Routine Traffic Stop

I have never been pulled over by the police, except for that one time when they were having a DUI checkpoint when I was driving home from the bowling alley. But, this doesn’t stop me from feeling like I have to have a plan should that ever happen to me.

This morning as I drove to work I evaluated the situation in case a cop decided to pull me for whatever reason. I have a slight lead foot (I end up going 5-7 mph over the speed limit usually) and drive a 20 year old SUV. I don’t pay attention to my taillights and could have one out without knowing it (I nearly always turn my lights on, even in broad daylight).

Anyway.

This morning, I realized that if I got pulled over, I would find myself in a bit of a pickle. My wallet, with my driver’s license in it, was in my backpack, which was on the floor of the front passenger seat (this is true about half the time, with the other half being my backpack is in the actual passenger seat). Now, the last time I reached over to the passenger floor while wearing my seat belt, I pulled a muscle in my back/neck and thought I was going to die because it hurt so bad. Virginia has a seat belt law, so taking my seat belt off before the cop sees me wearing it seems like a very bad idea.

Plus, there’s the whole issue of the cop seeing me reach around into my floorboard before he gets the chance to walk up to my car window–what’s he going to think I’ve grabbed?!?!

Did I mention that there’s a whole host of random crap in my backpack and my wallet is usually somewhere at the bottom?

And my registration is in my glovebox, I think (it may be in the center console). One of the two. So again…do I break my neck or risk a lack of seat belt ticket?

So. I guess I should leave my important stuff in their places until the cop gets to the window so he can see my seat belt is on. But then…what’s he gonna think when I ask to start rummaging (seriously, there would be some rummaging going on) in my backpack and my glovebox?

I guess it’s a good thing that I’m a tiny white girl and not a black guy of indeterminate size. Cop is totally going to assume I’m harmless.

Which got me thinking–what would I do if I actually was a black guy of indeterminate size?

Ya know what? I think that if I get pulled over, I’m just going to do what everyone recommends black guys of indeterminate size do: I’m going to leave my seat belt on and I’m going to keep both my hands on the steering wheel (I may even turn my car off so that the cop doesn’t think I’m a flight risk). I will already have the window rolled down. When the cop comes to the window, I’ll be polite and tell the cop that my license is in my wallet in my backpack and that my registration and insurance are in the glove box (you know what? I think I’ll make sure these items are  in my glovebox in a clearly marked envelope). When the cop tells me that I can reach over and pull them out (because that’s how tiny white girls are treated), I will calmly tell him that I’m more comfortable staying as I am and give him (or her) permission to retrieve the relevant items. When the cop looks/acts uncomfortable doing this because I’m a white girl…well, that’s not my problem.

Hmm…thinking about moving my period supplies from their private pocket in my backpack to the main compartment with the rest of my crap, just to add to the awkwardness of the situation, in case the cop is a squeamish guy.

Anyway, what do y’all think? Good plan?

 

An interesting dream/idea

I had an interesting dream last night. I was at a science museum with various family members. One of the items we saw was a windmill that didn’t really rely on wind. 

Its blades were made up of multiple weights on tracks that slipped around as it turned so that the balance was off just enough to make it keep turning. Kind of like the “Wonder Wheel” on Coney Island in terms of the weights tracks, though it keeps itself moving because of gravity.

I’m not much of an engineer, so if anyone wants to play with this idea, have fun, but let me know how it goes!

Parenting

Father in Training (Hometown Heartbreakers Book 3)” by Susan Mallery –

“Her head snapped up. “You’re not a parent. How would you know—” 

“Having a child of your own doesn’t give you instant access to magical skills, so quit acting like it does,” he interrupted. “I might not have raised kids, but I’ve been around them my whole life. I see messed-up ones on the job just about every day. You make it sound like you were out with me while the house burned down. Chances are, even if we’d never met, you still would have sent the kids to camp. They wanted to go.””

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Fairness

I just saw this Louis CK meme under the heading “Parenting Done Right”:

I have to say that I totally disagree with this meme and this idea of fairness. This says that fairness is an idea that will never happen and that kids should just accept that as a fact when really it’s mentalities like this that CONTRIBUTE to fairness being a pipe dream!

Let’s start at the beginning. The girl complains that someone got something and she didn’t. That implies that they’re literally standing right next to each other, were doing the exact same thing, and one girl got the gift and the other girl was left out. Hell right this isn’t fair! It’s also discrimination unless the only reason the other girl got the gift is because her name was randomly picked in a FAIR drawing (which would then make the gift giving FAIR).

Now, if Louis had explained, “Well honey, it’s her birthday and you’ll get gifts on your birthday,” then it’s a different ballgame! [Insert whatever hypothetical reality you want that gives a reason for one person to deserve a gift over another person while still being considered fair. Yes they exist as I’ve just given one above.]

The concept of fairness is that two people in identical circumstances deserve to be treated identically. This is what we need to teach our kids, NOT “life’s not fair, get over yourself”. Because honestly if we just ACCEPT that the world can NEVER be fair, then the world will never BE fair!

If people like me didn’t step up and say “what makes that other girl so special?” then girls like this one will continue to make less than their male counterparts WHEN DOING THE EXACT SAME JOB, poor black men will continue to be killed by police at a rate higher than poor white men WHEN COMMITTING THE EXACT SAME CRIME, etc. Unless, of course, folks like Louis CK want this reality for their children.

True for many things in the non-wizarding world too:

 “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling –

“Sirius did not hate Kreacher,” said Dumbledore. “He regarded him as a servant unworthy of much interest or notice. Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike. . . . The fountain we destroyed tonight told a lie. We wizards have mistreated and abused our fellows for too long, and we are now reaping our reward.”

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