Tag Archives: love

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)!

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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!).

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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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The destructive effects of birth control on marriage…huh.

So, not every blog I follow is one I actually agree with. In this case, my interest in home schooling and it’s positive and negative effects led me to start following the wife of Pastor Steven Anderson, notorious homophobe and generally rude person from Arizona.

She wrote this post on “the destructive effects of birth control on marriage” this week and I only got about a third of the way through when I realized I had to comment on this and that my comment was probably more than a comments section could stand. So here I am.

First, birth control is SOOOO much more than The Pill in 2016! There are condoms, patches, IUDs, tubal ligations (and other surgical sterilizations for women), vasectomies (and other surgical sterilizations for men?!? I don’t know this one),  and probably a few more that I either haven’t heard of or can’t recall off the top of my head. So you notice how that Pill curve seems to be tapering off and maybe even decreasing? That’s not something anti-birth control folks should cheer about–it’s just that there’s so many other options to choose from.

The lesson I’m hoping to teach here is that people need to understand their graphs and that one is very unimpressive at best!

But it doesn’t seem that Mrs. Anderson is trying to make that kind of point. I think she was just looking for a picture to illustrate her point and was LAZY.

It seems that the point of this post is that men are more important to women. In all cases, but most importantly in pregnancy.

First, let’s insult men and women because “There are the unspoken insults to the other spouse and children – I don’t want your kids, I don’t want any more of you.” Which is pretty barbaric because as a child (which we all are), I definitely didn’t look at my mom after learning that she’d had a tubal ligation after my brother’s birth and think that my mom was somehow hurting me because she wasn’t having more children.

Actually, now that I’m older, I’m PROUD of her for stopping at 2 kids. It would have been interesting having more siblings, but I accept that my mom isn’t a great mother. In fact, I’d say she failed every standard “good mom” test when I was growing up. She has her issues, but she means well. She came from a stereotypical Italian family that SMOTHERED their children so that they were ill prepared to live their own lives and my mom definitely never made an effort herself to become independent. She’s always had low skilled jobs and now that my brother and I are grown, she really has no life. I wish I could convince her to have a passion for something, but all I can do is try to convince my dad to get her to go to therapy for their issues.

Anyway, the next thing Mrs. Anderson said after insulting women  was insulting men and women because “There is even the very practical aspect that when there are no children in the home, it is far easier and more likely for one spouse to commit adultery.” Uhh…as a newlywed, I’m not sure how this works. So because there’s a child or 4 in the house, the husband (or wife) can’t sneak away for a quickie with some other man or chick?

First, that scares me that the parents have no life outside of each other and children. My husband has his best friend since he was a teenager. They see each other weekly and often a 1 hour visit really means 4 or more because they’re car-heads. Gonna be honest–it’s boring to hang out with them for any extended amount of time because even though I’m content to read my book, there are no comfy chairs in the garage/yard/house (he’s a recent bachelor with two daughters in there twenties) and then there’s always the weather to deal with if I want to sit in the car. So usually he goes on his own, especially after our bowling league which is on a weeknight. Also, my husband drives a tow truck, so he’s OFTEN out of the house between 11 pm and 3 am. If we had a child, neither of these two events would change one bit, so if my husband wanted to have an affair, all he’d have to do is fake a police call or say he’s going to his BFFs house and not. I trust him, so it’s not like I’m going to call if I know where he’s supposed to be and it hasn’t been way too long (sometimes he’ll get called again while he’s already out at 2 am). OH! And he also mows his stepmom’s yard at least every two weeks and I don’t always go with him. Me, I don’t care to have much of a life. I’m content to stay home by myself and catch up on my quiet activities (reading, writing, crafting, etc). I’m an introvert so I need my weekend to re-coup from all the socializing I do at work all week, though I do volunteer at the church next door (secular historic church, so don’t get excited, haha).

I guess Mrs. Anderson’s reasoning is that parents don’t socialize with people besides their spouse and children, so there’s no significant amount of time when they’re actually outside of each other’s sight. Here’s two anecdotes that disprove the theory that children insulate a marriage from adultery. The first is that my husband’s first two wives (I’m number 3) both cheated on him. He had his son with the first. His second had a son from a previous relationship. He was at times the stay at home dad, though he was also at times a long haul truck driver, gone for days at a time in order to put a roof over their heads and food on the table (mostly the latter case). So…it’s more about the person you’re married to than the idea that children keep the wife faithful.

The second anecdote is when my mom called me crying because she’s found out that my dad was using a phone sex service and she felt that this was cheating. Sigh. I really didn’t need to be my parents marriage counselor, especially when it comes to their sex life! But in any case, my parents are NOT going to divorce EVER because they come from a different generation. Yes, they have their bumps and bruises and NEED TO SEE A THERAPIST! but, their marriage isn’t going to dissolve. So, again, children didn’t stop the cheating. Period. Do not have them because you think it will rescue your marriage–it won’t!

(By the way, I don’t consider this situation as my dad having cheated on my mom, but I do accept that because they never discussed what types of porn are acceptable, if any, that she is entitled to consider it cheating. One of the first conversations my husband and I had on the issue of cheating was what forms of porn are cheating because I don’t believe reading erotica or viewing porn both static and video are cheating because the “source” is a stranger that you have no contact with–there is no emotions crossing any barriers. I would consider calling a phone sex line cheating for us because you’re actually having a conversation with another person (in a manner of speaking). BUT, it is the RESPONSIBILITY of a couple to determine what and where the lines are and for each to respect the opinions of the other person. If your significant other views all forms of porn as cheating and you think that’s crazy, YOU ARE NOT COMPATIBLE. So, in my dad’s case, he gets a “pass” from me on the issue of cheating because they never had a discussion on where the boundaries of porn are, which is their fault and not my problem. When it’s not discussed, the socially agreed upon, overly-simplistic definitions of cheating are the boundaries that must be condemned; anything in the grey area is up for debate unless set in stone by the two (or more) parties involved. Case in point, my husband knew his second wife wasn’t very good with monogamy, but he told her he would accept her having other lovers so long as she was open and honest with him. She wasn’t and claimed that she wasn’t sleeping around behind his back even though by 4 months into the “marriage” he caught her sleeping with his then best friend in their bed. Had she been open about her sex life, he’d have probably climbed in bed with them, but as it was, she lied and he kicked her out.)

You’re probably wondering where Mrs. Anderson gives so much power to men (and declares that women are entirely too weak minded to know their own feelings on the subject of children): “I say “men” because in virtually all cases where couples intentionally prevent having children, the driving force behind that decision is the man, or at the very least he is failing to win over his wife to where she would desire children. Virtually all women, especially Christians who love the Lord and trust in his provision, would want nothing more than children if they felt supported and appreciated, and felt that the children were a great source of joy to her husband.” One of the sweetest things my husband has ever said (even though I disagree with him) is that men need to get their asses out of the abortion debate because it’s a woman’s body that is at issue; there is no reason for an all male panel to be making laws about abortion, he says, when men aren’t the ones having these children. Ain’t he the best?! Like I said, I disagree with him on this because I think that the FATHER has the right to discuss things with the MOTHER about the fetus–really these are the only two people who have any right to make abortion decisions in any instance since it’s the life that they created that’s in the balance. I feel like his position negates the opinion of the father of the fetus, though ultimately we both agree that there’s no reason for ANY third party, male, female, whatever to have any say.

Mrs. Anderson doesn’t mince words as she continues to blame men for women not wanting children: “If your wife does not want a baby, you have failed to make her feel safe, loved, and supported. She doesn’t want children because she doesn’t want more of YOU. She doesn’t want to hear you gripe more about the finances, or how the kids are a burden, or how you wish you could do XYZ instead. Nobody wants to have kids with a selfish whiner who is a spiritual weakling.”

Well, here’s the thing: I’ve never been particularly drawn to having a biological child. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but it was always towards the needy kids in the foster care system who I’d adopt the moment they said they wanted to be my kid. One of my earliest memories of this is walking home from high school in probably 10th grade with my best friend (who is black) and telling her that I could just see me calling her up because I’d just fallen love with the most beautiful black little girl and I had no idea what to do about her hair! Seriously, my plans for my future never involved having a husband or sperm donor as my family grew. Now that I have a husband, my plans haven’t really changed. Yes, he wants another biological child, but he’s also not certain if he’s even still fertile (he’s 19 years older than me and was defibrillated 14 times 7 years ago when he suffered the “widow maker” heart attack). I’ve never opposed biological children, they were just never my priority simply because I never expected for find a suitable husband. I’ve always been on the fence of “if it happens, it happens” and he’s in agreement with me. So, in case you care about our sex life, as Mrs. Anderson seems to, we use condoms when my fertility tracker says I’m fertile, being slightly extra careful because of the Zika virus and because I’m supposed to be a bridesmaid in Feb 2017 for my stepson’s wedding, and going unprotected the rest of the month.

Mrs. Anderson seems to be a few years out of date on her obstetrics training: “It is no coincidence that permanent birth control measures are virtually always pushed and performed during pregnancy or birth.” While my mother’s and my husband’s first wife’s tubal ligations were performed immediately after the birth of their last child (both c-sections so while mom was still wide open), apparently this isn’t done as regularly anymore. We found this out when we were talking to a friend of my stepson, a young woman who was pregnant with her 3rd (4th?) child, who was ready to make it her last, but was told by her doctor that she had to have the tubal ligation in a separate surgery months after the birth. It took my husband a few minutes to comprehend that the recommendations had changed in the 20 years since his son was born.

Again, she illustrates that men are the all powerful being (interesting since she’s the spokesperson for their family via this blog): “So men, before you do something permanent like getting a vasectomy or pushing your wife into a tubal ligation, please consider that sooner or later, your wife will come to the painful realization that she would like to have more children, even if you don’t.” Because, women don’t know their own selves. Though, I suppose she’s also insulting men for being “selfish” by not wanting children in the first place. I guess this hints at another unhealthy aspect of this ideal relationship she pictures: one where children are entirely the domain of the wife. Because obviously since this husband doesn’t want more children (he’s considering a vasectomy) he’s still supposed to let them continue to come for his wife’s sake. This makes me wonder the nature of the relationship where the wife wants children like Mrs. Anderson encourages, but the husband is done–I guess that’s when she blames him for pressuring the wife to stop having them–the poor man can’t win!

I don’t know about you, but shouldn’t the husband and wife be entirely in agreement on this issue? And what REALLY matters is that they’re IN AGREEMENT? Who gives a damn if they choose to only have 1 or 2 children (or none)–that’s their life. Children AREN’T going to fix a crappy marriage (my husband is an example of this) and having a child as a way of forcing your husband to stick around (plenty of women do it), is a HORRIBLE foundation to raise a child on! THAT is selfish!

It is NOT selfish to look at your individual situation and decide what is best for your marriage. It IS selfish to make a baby because a baby will love you when your man won’t. Mrs. Anderson needs to sort out her priorities instead of guilt-tripping women (and men) who are confused!

I shall leave you with one final anecdote. This is from 1962 or so. My grandma had recently given birth to my uncle, her 8th child, who was born at least a month premature. Back then, this was even scarier than it is today for a parent because the survival rate was so low for premies. The technology just didn’t exist that we have today. Anyway, this scared the hell out of my grandma and even though my uncle survived and is fine, a few months later when my grandpa called her from the ship he was stationed on (US Navy) he mentioned that they were being offered vasectomies. Grandma told him that he’d better get one! Because she didn’t want to risk having another premature birth and losing the baby. My grandfather did just as requested because he respected the decision of his wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This sounds an awful lot like a night with my husband:

“Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4)” by Diana Gabaldon –

““Do ye not understand?” he said, in near desperation. “I would lay the world at your feet, Claire—and I have nothing to give ye!” He honestly thought it mattered.

I sat looking at him, searching for words. He was half turned away, shoulders slumped in despair. Within an hour, I had gone from anguish at the thought of losing him in Scotland, to a strong desire to bed him in the herbaceous borders, and from that to a pronounced urge to hit him on the head with an oar. Now I was back to tenderness.”

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Our Non-Conformist Wedding: Pt 2 Actual Wedding Plans.

So, if you read part one, you know that BF and I are engaged and how that came to be. You’ll know that by the time he properly proposed (where I accepted him rather than giving him a verbal rejection sticker) we already had a wedding date, location and dress on order.

We’d also decided on a general guest list: NO BODY. I suffer from stage fright and I hate crying in front of people, so I didn’t want to stand in front of a bunch of witnesses bawling my eyes out and admitting that I actually love someone. But, I guess not all conventions can be thrown out the window, so while no one is invited to this wedding, we do have a (very) short list of people who can randomly show up at the right place a the right time and happen to sit in on our private ceremony.

The reception will be HUGE, though. I’m opening it up to anyone and everyone. It’ll be a potluck picnic in a park (haven’t decided on the place) sometime in early summer. We’re getting married Feb 29th, 2016 at St Luke’s Church here in Smithfield, VA.

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The first visible bit of non-conformity will be my dress, which is a 1950’s style dress that hit’s just below the knee (hopefully, I still need to hem it). But it ain’t white. It’s black and white Hounds-tooth:

houndstooth-pattern-6964376

You see, I’m a bit old fashioned. One thing I love about pre-1850 or so is that wedding dresses weren’t white and were most likely just a woman’s best dress, possibly bought/made for the day, but intended to be used again later. I rarely (read: pretty much never) wear dresses, so I didn’t want a dress that I couldn’t wear again if I needed to. Here’s the thing about getting married on Feb 29th–we’ll only have a “real” anniversary every 4 years, which I’d really love to go all out for (to some extent). For me, I picture our first real anniversary as us dressing up in our wedding clothes (since I doubt we’ll have occasion to wear them in the mean time) and go out for a nice dinner. And since he’ll be in a normal suit (sans tie) and me in my unconventional wedding dress, we’ll look fabulous, but the true meaning will be lost on everyone but us. Of course, I hope that we can have dates like this at any point during our marriage since we don’t have the convention of an annual anniversary.

I ordered the dress from Unique-Vintage.com and when I went there yesterday to see what search terms are needed to find my exact dress, I couldn’t find my dress. I guess they sold out of it, which makes me very glad that I bought it when I did!

Since BF and I are Deists, we don’t have much of an idea about who will marry us. He got some advice from St. Luke’s when he booked the church and will make some appointments to talk to them this coming week. I come from a Catholic family while his family was Methodist, so he’s been joking that he’ll find us a nice Catholic Priest to do the ceremony (I told him that I doubted any would since a Catholic Marriage is a sacrament that involves classes, counselling, etc). But I did realize something the other night as we talked: I feel uncomfortable getting married by a woman. I guess it’s the Catholic-ness poking it’s nose out because in my mind priests/pastors are men. Or maybe it’s because I really just want a cut and dry, no frills ceremony and I’m afraid a woman might try to add the stuff I don’t want because of some mis-guided belief that I do want it even though I say I don’t. BF told me that St. Luke’s organ works and that we can either invite someone to play it or they can recommend someone and I was like “No. If we need music, we can hum.” Period. I don’t want an organist!

Anywho, I’ve been thinking the past couple days about whether I’ll walk down the aisle or not. Ooh! I just had an epiphany that I’ll try to explain.

So, St. Luke’s is literally right next door to our house. I can see tombstones from my window. I thought about walking to the ceremony, but there’d be mud and I’m planning to wear heels since I’m short and he’s tall (plus, I want to look “va va voom” for once in my life). I’m a little superstitious, so I don’t want him to see me in my dress before the wedding, though part of that is that I want to look my absolute best at the moment he sees me. Since it makes the most economical sense for me to ride with him (since any and all “guests” will just randomly appear at the church on time) and I was thinking of wearing my dad’s Navy peacoat (formerly my primary winter coat) over my dress to hide it (he’ll see the bottom poofiness, but that’s okay) as we make our way to the church. Then, we’ll split up. He can be outside greeting people while I’m inside puking (or at least feeling very nervous), though hopefully everyone will already be in their seats when we get there (I’ll need to make sure this happens). I’m not sure how the church is set up, but I hope there’s some separation between the seating area and the door. In this foyer, I want to get ready for him, then let him come in and see me and we can have a moment, then we can walk each other down the aisle.

You see, besides not wanting/needing my father to give me away (I’m my own woman, thank you very much), I didn’t want to lose my independence upon marriage. Not that that would change physically, but there’s something about having to give up your name that is unacceptable for me. My last name has a lot of history attached. History that I’m proud of and want to pass along to any foster kids that want it. BF and I had talked about this sometime over a year ago and he said he was happy with hyphenating, though since we hadn’t talked it over since, I wasn’t sure if he remembered. But we discussed it again and decided that we’ll both change our last names to the hyphenated one. An idea which I happen to love! We both keep our old identity while gaining a brand new one :-). I know he’ll love the idea of us walking each other down the aisle for the same reason. He may hate me for potentially leaving him outside in the cold for awhile, but we only have the church booked for an hour, so he won’t be out there THAT long, haha. He’ll live. Especially since I told him he didn’t have to wear a tie. A dark suit yes, with a non-white long sleeved shirt and dress shoes that tie. But other than that, he can do his own thing, haha.

So we still need to guarantee a minister of some kind, get some actual wedding rings (and get my engagement ring back from being resized–it’s taking forever!) and confirm that we have a photographer of sorts (I think my dad will be fine with the duty since I only have 2 pictures I have to have–one of us inside, one of us outside). Oh and we still have to get the wedding license.

I still have to buy some cheap heels so I can get my dressed hemmed, a strapless bra because of the wide neckline, and either find or buy a nice necklace because I need something for that neckline. Hopefully a thrift store or two will supply the shoes and necklace and probably Walmart of Kroger Marketplace for the bra. Given that we’ll have this wedding put together in a total of one month, I’m very happy.

‘Course, there’s still the fight of getting BF into a suit because I doubt he’ll be able to find one off the rack. He is a procrastinator!

Our Non-Conformist Wedding pt 1: What is a marriage?

So, last Thursday (January 14, 2016) Boyfriend proposed. Woohoo, I guess, haha. I’m definitely not one of those women who has been dreaming of being married ever since I learned what a wedding was, hence the lack of exclamation points above :-). That’s not to say that I’m not excited to get married to him, it’s just that for me, the wedding is nothing more than us making our marriage official.

First of all, as I’ve kept reassuring my dad who has been unexcited about the fact that Boyfriend (I guess I should upgrade him to Fiance, but meh, it doesn’t matter to me either way) is 19 years older than me, none of my grand goals of life involve a man. A man was always seen as a nice addition, but not a necessity. My goals involve having a fantastic house with room for my dozen or so fostered/adopted children. I may exaggerate about the dozen, but I plan to start with one foster kid and adding from there as it’s appropriate (some children need to be an only child due to their previous experiences, so it’s really playing it by ear). This would be a life-long commitment, so a dozen kids wouldn’t be strange over the next 40 years or so since I prefer older children :-).

Boyfriend is cool with both these plans, though he wouldn’t mind another biological child if possible. I’m not a huge fan of babies and he doesn’t even know if he’s still fertile, but I’m not afraid of him widowing me with a little one–he and my dad are, but I’ll deal with it if it happens. Like I said above, single motherhood has never frightened me and I’ve always been open to accepting whatever child steals my heart even if it’s a baby. In high school I remember joking with my best friend (she’s black, I’m white) that I KNEW the first kid I’d get would be a little black girl and I’d be running to my friend to learn how to take care of her hair. Though recently I’ve learned about natural hair for black women which I find beautiful, so I’m less worried about knowing what kind of grease/relaxer to use.

Anyway, this is supposed to be a wedding post, haha. Though I still need to explain our feelings on marriage. You see, for us, a marriage is a choice by two people who decide to make a commitment to each other. A wedding is the government way of making it legal. Two people can have a long and happy marriage without ever having a wedding and two people can have a wedding with no marriage ever existing.

This article I found a couple years ago shows how a man married his wife long after the wedding. ‘Course, he says he “didn’t love my wife when we got married”, but I don’t agree with his terminology-yes, he loved her. Period. He just wasn’t married to her when they had the wedding. The marriage came later.

Boyfriend and I have been married a long time. I’m not sure when it happened and it’s possible that it just happened recently. We started dating in Sept 2013 (I guess I found that article above while trying to figure out the beginnings of our relationship) and I started spending the weekends out here about 6 months later (I’m not very good with dates/time). At some point around then, I had my first meltdown where I was thoroughly pissed at his lack of commitment to cleaning his house (remnant of a teenaged son turned work-a-holic and a really bad ex-girlfriend). These meltdowns continued to happen every few weeks when I wasn’t seeing enough progress. We had plenty of fights where he’d leave for a couple hours (result of a couple of particularly bad wives) and where I’d clean it myself and be pissed off about that. But then he’d go behind me and scrub the hell out of whatever I’d yelled at him to clean which would really soften my mood.

You see, I hate constant clutter but don’t mind a bit of dust or soap scum so long as it get’s cleaned twice a year or so. He kind of breeds clutter, but when he decides to clean something, it will sparkle. So, as in the case of my room when I decided to move in, I got really mad at him for not getting it cleaned out (he was putting it on his son who was working 50+ hours a week for minimal money), so I moved all the big stuff and stuff I couldn’t throw away (because it’s not my stuff to decide) into the living and dining room with the expectation that they’d go through it and I ultimately got my room cleaned out for me. It only took me 3 hours or so. Then I got tired, told them that the rest was there’s (meaning the stuff in the living room) and went to read in bed. Both of them, instead, went into my room and finished cleaning it out. They moved the bed and bookcase around and vacuumed the floor, ultimately spending another 3 hours making it sparkle for me. Which was nice except it took another 6 months for the stuff to finally vacate the living and dining room, with more arguments between me and boyfriend. I mean, I love when he scrubs the stove every week, but the dishes start getting annoying after the 3rd day (we have an agreement: I cook, he does the dishes).

A long, long time ago I decided that I wanted to get married on Leap Day (Feb 29th). When I happened to get a boyfriend 2.5 years before such a date, I was like, okay, let’s see if he’s marriage material. Turns out that he very much was because even with our arguments, he was making progress on the house and with his smoking. And even with our arguments, I knew I wanted to keep fighting for us because progress was happening even if it wasn’t fast enough for me. Plus, I knew that he was just as upset with himself as I was for his slowness. He’s been through a lot emotionally the past couple years so I just needed to be more patient as he worked his way through them.

Which is why I suspect our marriage might have finally happened just a few weeks ago when I left him a note telling him how stressed I was about our wedding, something we’ve both talked about extensively especially since right before Christmas. I told him that despite the fact that we had a date and place picked out, we weren’t engaged until he got me a ring. I feel that the engagement ring is the best indicator of how married a couple is before the wedding. Let’s be honest, even I had a very firm idea of my perfect engagement ring long before he existed. I didn’t want one too gaudy or very expensive, but not a super cheap one, either. And it could NOT be a typical one stone diamond engagement ring because I feel like I could break that and because they’re not my style. Now, most guys* don’t have a clue about what engagement ring to get so when a jeweler says “this is what most people get” they’ll go with the standard in the price they can afford. Or they go in with their fiance and buy the one she picks out.

There are two glaring problems here:

  • If she picks one that is way out of the guys budget, he’ll feel obligated to buy it anyway.
  • If he buys something she hates, she’ll feel obligated to accept it anyway.

Both of these reveal problems in the marriage–the obligation to accept what’s handed to you. By the time a guy proposes, he should know her backwards and forwards and know exactly what will suit her tastes.

*Purely for ease of writing this, I use “guy” and “girl” in their traditional gender roles. In reality I feel that it’d be better to use “proposer” and “proposee”, but that really gets complicated quickly. So don’t feel like I’m trying to dictate something–your own millage will vary.

Boyfriend and I spent a relative lot of time discussing my ring. I needed something that wouldn’t get caught on stuff (mostly boxes and when I randomly walk into shelves) at work, something pretty but not gaudy, and something with color rather than the standard white diamond. We looked at rings online and he really wanted to order whatever one I picked out, but I refused because for the above reasons, I wanted him to be by himself, thinking about me, when he bought the ring. And I was going to be nice so he didn’t have to buy it, he just had to pick out 1-3 for me to choose from.

He was very hesitant about shopping for one because he’s so afraid of getting something I wouldn’t like. He didn’t buy me flowers until a month ago because he thought I’d hate them (all he has to remember is “not roses” and my favorite color is orange but I love all colors). But when I told him and he finally understood that I wanted a ring that 40 years from now, long after he’s gone, would remind me of him, even if it was god awful ugly (the ugly part was kind of a joke), he went shopping the next day at the store his mother worked at before she died. He called to say he’d narrowed it down to 3 beautiful rings: a blue one, a green one, and an orange one. I know he’s wanted to get me a blue or green ring, which I’d love, but we’d yet to see an orange ring that isn’t an ugly shade. I attended the University of Virginia. I do NOT like Tennessee orange, haha. He told me that he really liked the blue, but was afraid it was too big for my tiny fingers. He liked the green. The orange looked like Virginia Orange, but he was afraid that it’d remind me of me, not him. He had to wait an hour for his salesman to come back, so I told him to go with the ring he couldn’t stop thinking about. A couple hours later he said that he bought the orange one and was heading to my parent’s house to talk to my dad.

He wasn’t going to ask for permission. He was going to bite the bullet and inform my dad of our engaged status and get the first possibly negative reaction. My dad likes him as a person, but is unhappy at the age difference. I told my dad this past Monday, after a Friday where I wore my ring, but didn’t mention it at all to him, that “it’d be okay” and he said “we won’t know that for 50 years and by that time I’ll probably be gone” which made me smile. My dad and I don’t talk about relationships and/or feelings as a rule.

Anywho, BF came to work after getting done with my dad and had the nerve to propose there. He’d asked me a few time before, but this was the first time with a ring. He was careful that no one saw (we were hiding in the relative privacy of the rubber stamp department) and of course I rejected him. But he’d needed the practice anyway because he opened the ring box upside down.

By the way, a week earlier I’d ordered my dress because a few days before that we’d picked up his mom’s wedding gown from his dad’s house and when I tried it on I realized that while we may have been the same height, she was a string bean. Like seriously TEENIE! I’d had to emphasize to his stepmom in front of him, just to make sure that he didn’t get the wrong impression, that we were not engaged at that point. So yeah, we had a date, a place (though no reservation), a freaking DRESS, and weren’t engaged.

But then we were engaged. He took me to the small beach where he’d first asked me to be his girlfriend. It was romantic for the whole 5 minutes we stood under the stars until we finally admitted to each other that we really needed to find a bathroom, haha. I hadn’t wanted to interrupt his plans because I knew he was nervous about screwing it up and he heard a boat emptying it’s bilge. So we went to a nearby Dollar General to see about borrowing their bathroom. He was going to buy a drink so we didn’t feel like “those people”, but when I came out he was surrounded by the two women who work there getting congratulated on our engagement. They then wanted to admire my ring and I was super embarrassed so we exited as soon as possible (after I emphasized that he DID NOT propose at Dollar General!) and forgot the drink. Turns out he’d been telling a Sheriff’s Deputy he knows that was outside of the store and one of the workers overheard him.

I’ll admit that at first I didn’t love my ring. The light was pretty much non-existent on the beach and in the Explorer it was poor at best. The band tapers as it hits the diamonds on either side of the orange stone and in that lighting it looked lopsided/unsymmetrical. But under the florescent lights of Dollar General it was gorgeous. We found out on Saturday (while arranging to get it resized) that the stone is a Spessartite Garnet which changes from brown to orange to nearly red depending on the light. The ring below is fairly similar to mine, though mine is in gold and this one doesn’t have the tapering that I initially took as weird.

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When I’d told BF that I wanted a ring that reminded me of him, he wanted to get a blue one because that’s what he likes. But he chose this one because he thought it’d suite me best. Well, I told him very soon after he gave this one to me that this one does remind me of him, even though it’s my favorite color because his eyes change from gray to blue to green depending on the light. And when we went to Baker’s Fine Jewelry  and Gifts to get it resized, he showed me his other top choices. The blue one was way to big and gaudy for me and the green one was kind of weird looking. He did good. Very very good.