Tag Archives: marriage

Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood–Chapter 3

A ha. This is the chapter that I knew would piss me off. The title of this chapter is The Happy Call to Holistic Provision.

First of all, I am the primary “breadwinner” in our family. I have a full time job at a print shop and am now in school to become an elementary teacher. My husband is on disability and works part time as a tow truck driver. He would love to work more, but is physically unable to return to his preferred profession (OTR truck driving; he cannot pass the DOT physical with a defibrillator in his chest) and is physically unable to drive a tow truck full time (he gets easily overheated especially in summer months and between the vertigo and nerve damage on his left side, standing upright for long periods of time is nearly impossible). When we crunch the numbers for him pushing himself beyond his limits in order to work more, he’d have the choice between paying bills or paying for his health insurance. At least with disability, the health insurance is paid for, even if the bills are usually more than he can afford.

He fully supports me working because it is something that I enjoy. He fully supports me being considered the breadwinner because I am the one with the 8-5 job even though between the disability check and his part time work, we make about the same amount. Being the one with the regular work hours means that he has to take my schedule into consideration and he understands that he needs to pick up more of the slack around the house just because he’s home and I’m not.

We have an egalitarian marriage. He is not the head of me and I’m not the head of him. We make decisions together. Why these Christian men (and unfortunately women) cannot seem to understand that partners can work together without someone having to be in charge is beyond me, especially when I’ve read numerous blog posts by Christian women who seem perfectly willing to explain that their husbands are more or less clueless about the duties that are in the wife’s domain!

I guess that’s what gets to me. In our egalitarian marriage, we do have different roles and duties. I work all day and am in charge of most meals. He works when he gets called and is in charge of dishes, trash disposal, lawn mowing, and he’s supposed to wash clothes. I fold clothes, put dishes away, and run the weed wacker, because of the nerve damage in his left hand that makes these tasks uncomfortable. He’s also in charge of most of the major house cleaning because a) he’s great at it when he gets the ambition and b) because it’s mostly his mess.

All egalitarian marriages have some version of this compromise. But it depends on what the individuals in the couple enjoy doing chores-wise and what they’re good at.

In a Christian complementary marriage, it’s not so about what an individual is good at, but what they were born with between their legs that determines what their chores are. I’ve read at least one woman’s blog posts about how amazed she is by her husbands ability and willingness to cook! Like, it took a few years of marriage for her to feel comfortable with him doing such “women’s work” especially after he’s been at work all day. I can only assume that she had kept her boy children out of the kitchen because it’s pointless for them to be there since boys aren’t capable of cooking or would even enjoy cooking, but once her husband finally got into the kitchen, maybe she’ll realize that boys can be interested in cooking without damaging their masculinity.

What truly baffles me is how willingly these complementary wives are to give their husbands all the credit for the work that they are obviously expert at. I mean, since he’s the head of the household, obviously he must have been the ringleader that got all the kid’s schoolwork done (because more often than not the kids are homeschooled), got the housework done, and all the errands completed. While I realize that this “headship” isn’t supposed to take credit and is supposed to graciously praise his wife for all the work that she does, in a “marriage” where the head is an asshole, he can all to easily come home and disrupt every aspect of the wife’s hard work (send the kids outside when they’re supposed to be doing their school work; decide to go out for dinner even as supper is on the table; tell her that he’s spent the grocery money on a new boat) and she’s supposed to smile and say “Thank You, Dear”.

If my husband did any of these things, I’d be a single woman so fast he’d get whiplash. Especially the last one since I take our finances very seriously.

The United States was founded on the principles of “checks and balances”; that’s why we have 3 branches of government. This complementary marriage has no checks or balances. A wife is supposed to just accept whatever her husband does as law and can’t voice any opinions which question his authority.

This chapter talks a big game about how a husband is supposed to “serve and give his life for another” (i.e. his wife), but with a wife who isn’t supposed to question his judgement, how can he know that he’s really serving her when she feels like he’s undermining everything that she’s trying to do. To go back to those three examples from earlier:

  • He comes home and sends the kids outside and feels so proud of himself for giving her some free time with her husband. She’s upset because she had finally gotten them all to work after fighting all day.
  • He decides to take everyone out for dinner so she doesn’t have to cook. Except, she’s already cooked the meal and suddenly has 4 kids who are begging for pizza instead of being happy to eat the rice and beans she made. To keep the peace, she consents to save the meal she cooked for the next night. She can’t lecture him on the importance of calling when there’s a change of plans.
  • He thinks he’s buying a memory creating object when he buys a boat. Depending on the family’s finances and who controls the checkbook (I think these women are more often than not in charge of paying bills to save their husband’s the headache), that money might have been earmarked for any number of things. Because he made a unilateral decision without consulting her, there’s no telling what sacrifices she may have to make in order to make up the difference. She’s forbidden from questioning his judgment and lecturing him on frivolous spending.

Having a well functioning marriage depends on both partners being free to not only express opinions, but to put their foot down when someone wants to do something that is not in the best interest of the family unit. For the most part, I let my husband do what he wants with his money, but he’s not good at keeping money in his savings account and as it dwindles, I get more and more say about what he buys, since he’ll become more and more dependent on money that is in my account.

What is troubling about the section of “Taking Cues from Christ’s Self-Sacrifice”, is this emphasis on how a husband must sacrifice his life for that of his wife and children. Looking back at our three examples from earlier, it is way too easy for a husband to believe that he’s making personal sacrifices when he decides to send out the children (he could have gone into his mancave and ignored everyone instead of saving his wife from their constant presence), it’s his money that’s going towards paying for dinner (he could have used that to buy a new…book? probably not a video game), he feels like it’s his personal finances that is taking a hit when he buys a boat (since he’s the one slaving away for “the man” to make the money that pays for it).

Making the male headship’s life all about personal sacrifice gives him the perfect way to guilt trip his wife about anything and everything. He’s the one sacrificing his life in order to give her everything that she wants. He doesn’t want to work at his lame, boring, dead end, whatever job, but he can’t quit and pursue his dreams because he’s supposed to sacrifice his life’s ambitions to taking care of his wife and children. If he’s not sacrificing something, he’s not a very Christlike husband.

This chapter breaks a mans different types of “providing” into 4 types: physical (food, shelter, clothing, etc), emotional (….?), intellectual (education…), and spiritual (church).

Mmm kay….wow. So, apparently husbands and wives are similar in that they both want to ensure that all 4 of these types of provision happen. BUT, it’s specifically a husband who worries more about these things, especially for providing those physical aspects.

Yeah, I know that my husband is depressed because he feels like he can’t provide the physical things that I may want that he once was able to do (with his first wife, she stayed home while he made all the money that she did a great job spending (sarcasm)). However, as a working woman, I am more than capable of paying the bills that we have. In fact, because of our age and health difference, it is imperative that I be capable of keeping a roof over my head and food on the table in the event of his suddenly passing away. Knock on wood! The reason I worry less than he does about our finances is because I have the savings that I need in case of an emergency (he’s really bad at saving money). If I didn’t have these savings, I would be as worried and depressed as he is. The idea that a husband is supposed to worry more about finances that “the little woman” puts undue stress on men while disenfranchising women. Men don’t have more stress because they are born with a penis. They have more stress because society tells us that men are supposed to provide financially for their families.

Both my husband and the rest of the world need to lighten up and relax. We’ve got this!

As for the emotional provision…ummm…wow. This guy admits that his wife is much better at judging the emotions of the household. That she “better monitors and cultivates the emotional wellbeing” of the household. Apparently, he’s supposed to make himself pay more attention to what’s going on in the household, being more “emotionally present” after being “drained from a long day of breadwinning”, and that he’s supposed to resist the urge to come home to a house full of screaming children and a crying wife and want to tell everyone to sit down, shut up, and solve the problem (or as he words it: “resist the urge to manage behavior”).

Well, first of all, if a man needs to pray in order to realize that he shouldn’t give his wife and children the cold shoulder just because his job is “intellectually and emotionally draining”, he’s an asshole with very little (no) empathy.  I usually want to talk about my day at work, whereas my husband usually wants to brood about whatever is bothering him. There are plenty of women who prefer to brood and men who like to talk through their issues. My husband doesn’t have to pray in order to listen to me talk: he just knows what kind of person I am and listens with earnest when he can. And when the vertigo is kicking his ass and his left side is driving him insane and he’s feeling drained and all around miserable, he simply says “Cathy, I don’t feel like talking right now.” And do you know what happens then? I say “okay,” and I do my own thing. I wait for him to be in a chatty mood and talk then. That’s called respecting others. When he’s extra broody, I let it go as long as is normal, and then I try to get him to talk about what’s bothering him because he always feels better once it’s out on the table. He realizes that he’s being unfair when he doesn’t communicate with me and has been working on it.

Intellectual provision. Ooh. I love all the digs about people putting too much (or too little) faith in intelligence. Sarcasm.

Personally, I don’t think anyone can be too intelligent. Of course, people can be condescending when they think they know everything and hurtful when people admit ignorance, but I’ve found that most people who think that their intelligence makes them better than someone else are usually not very intelligent at all. They’re faking it to make themselves seem smarter than they really are (Trump). Intelligent people don’t have to brag about how intelligent they are; intelligent people usually just want to share their knowledge so that everyone else can benefit.

Wow: way to make husband’s seem extremely self-sacrificing dude! “Outside the home, for the wife (my emphasis), there is continuing education and community education and book clubs and friendships with thoughtful individuals–none of which will happen without the provision of the husband to have the kids and cover the home while mom is out engaging and sharpening her mind (again my emphasis). See, ladies! Your husband is completely incapable of pursuing his own intellectual ambitions because he’s too busy taking care of the children and the home so that you can pursue your interests. Sarcasm.

Believe it or not, husbands and wives can pursue whatever interests they want so long as they work together to plan a schedule. Only a husband would make himself seem like such a huge sacrifice to take command of the kids one evening a week so that mom can see her friends or join a book club.

Mmm… also love the dig about field trips for the kids and how “a curious dad with energy enough to ask and engage [the content of the trip]–or better, lead or join the trip himself.” Why oh why is it way too easy for me to picture the dad who comes on the public school field trip (with a female teacher) and spends most of the trip trying to lead it. How comes there’s no encouragement for mom to join field trips and maybe even try to butt in and lead them.

Oh wait. Most of these kids are homeschooled, so most field trips are mom-led, with a half-dozen kids in tow. This writer is mostly saying that dad’s should take the day off work to join the kids’ field trip and show mom how she could do it better his way!

Oh yay! There’s going to be a chapter on discipline in this book. I’m not sure how that relates to manhood and womanhood, but I guess we’ll see.

As for spiritual provision…make sure the kids and wife go to church, learn the bible, and don’t be too pushy because only God can change people. Mmkay. Well, at least it says that men shouldn’t try to push their wives into a certain belief system, but without knowing how a woman is supposed to react to this kind of disagreement, who knows what actually happens.

Oh shit.

“Though holistic provision for women and children is a greater burden than a man can fully bear, he is not alone. Precisely in the most desperate moments, when having the masculine role feels most unfair, when we’re our most tired, running on fumes, and need to keep providing in all these aspects, this is when the provision of God (my emphasis) tastes the sweetest.”

As a wife, I feel like chopped liver! Apparently, women are such a huge part of the burden of men that they cannot help alleviate that burden. Only God can give that kind of comfort.

Well, I’ll be honest with you folks. If my husband told me that the stress of providing for our household was so much that he had to ask God for help, I’d tell him that then God can be the one who sucks his dick. I am a woman, but that does not make me an incapable mooch. If I’m taking up too much of my husband’s ability to provide financially, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually to our relationship, and he’s not asking for MY help, he can leave.

The first thing a woman can do when her husband is feeling too much pressure to provide is get a job. This will bring in some income so that he doesn’t have to work so much. This will give him more time to pursue his personal interests, which will in turn relieve the stress that is keeping him from connecting emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually with the rest of the household. If money or the job isn’t the cause of his stress, then he’s an asshole who doesn’t have any ambition to connect emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually. In other words, him working less and playing more wouldn’t change his stress levels.

Now, I realize that my husband seems to be the poster-child for the case of when a working wife doesn’t solve a man’s stresses. This is both true and false. It’s true because there’s nothing I can do as a wife that will make him feel like he’s providing as much as he once did. I can only reassure him that we’re fine financially. He knows this and is fine with this but it doesn’t ease his own feelings on inadequacy. Except, that in some small way it does ease them.

We’ve come a long way from when we first started getting to know each other (as partners during a summer league) when we used to fight over who was going to pay for our bowling. I didn’t even know he liked me at the time, but I didn’t (and still don’t) like the idea of anyone paying my way. At that time, I’d just started working part time after 2 years of unemployment where I’d run through all my savings, so I was extremely emphatic that I was going to pay my way and the fact that I had enough left over that I could pay for him made me feel even better. It got to be a fierce competition between us over who would get there first to pay for bowling and I think by the end of it, I had been one week up. Sigh. I miss those days when he made a real effort to get to the bowling alley before me, haha.

When we first started dating, our argument over who would pay continued. To keep things simple for our waitresses, we’d go “double dutch” (a term I’m inventing here and now). We all know that “going dutch” is when the two parties pay for themselves; well, with us and “double dutch”, we would alternate who paid. If I paid last time, he could pay this time and vice versa. I highly recommend this system if you’re dating exclusively. If it’s a one-off date, go ahead and just pay for yourself.

As we continued dating, I realized just how tight his money was and started insisting on paying more often. He was slow to accept this, but eventually he didn’t see it as a weakness. Since then, he’s actually started asking me to pay for stuff. He just gave me the water bill to pay on a permanent basis! I’m trying to get him to split the bills evenly so that he can rely less on me for bailing him out at the end of the month.

His stress level has definitely decreased with every bill he gives to me to pay. Even as he feels bad about needing to rely on me, at least he doesn’t have to worry about how he’s going to pay back money he has borrowed. They are two different kinds of stress. And no, God isn’t going to miraculously put money into his bank account, but I, as his wife, can.

I can also support him emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually (which doesn’t really apply to us) in a way that God (which is to say, himself) cannot. God rarely (ever?) offers up new ideas to an individual. I’ve often heard men and women say how God works through people. Like, if one person can’t figure something out, they ask God, who apparently in turn, has someone come up and volunteer the answer that the first person needs. As a wife with a husband, I’d much rather cut out the middle man and have my husband directly ask me for help, a shoulder to cry on, an opinion, or for advice instead of him talking to God and hoping that I’m paying enough attention to give him what he needs (in secular circles, we call this kind of behavior passive aggressiveness; where one person has to infer what the other person wants based on the other person’s actions because the person doesn’t want to admit that there’s a problem).



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!).

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 :-).

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/2gu8T4M

On marriage

 “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik –

“What Wiesenfeld meant by “alternative,” and what was hinted by RBG’s use of the phrase life partner was a marriage in which the woman didn’t lose herself and her autonomy, in which two humans shared their lives and goals on equal footing. It wasn’t so common anywhere, least of all among people who came of age in the 1950s.”

Start reading this book for free: http://amzn.to/2e3722j

The destructive effects of birth control on marriage…part deux

You know it sucks trying to be a well-rounded, well-researched pain in the ass when you have to write a part two of a post that was never intended because you forgot what your initial complaint was…

So…that sentence above got a little lost. What had happened is that when I first saw Mrs. Anderson’s blog post I got so pissed about her graph and how incomplete it was, I quit reading it and started thinking about everything it implies, but is so wrong about. It took me a few days to actually have time to right my response (because I don’t usually do much of anything after work except veg on the couch with the hubby). When I did finally take some time to write my response Friday night (as we vegged on the couch) because I knew I could stay up as long as needed, of course the historian part of me said that I couldn’t respond to something I wasn’t entirely sure of the context of, which meant I had to go back and read her post and you can see the rant that was the result of that. I’d gotten so caught up in the sexism of her post that I’d completely forgotten about the scientific and historical arguments I’d thought up at work. It wasn’t until this morning when my husband added another theoretical point on my “he only comes to bed in the morning when I use the bathroom” chart that I laughed about “correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation” and had a literal “oh shit” moment.

Because yeah–I think it’s important for women who are confused enough to seek out the marriage advice of folks like Mrs. Anderson have someone like me writing about everything she wouldn’t dare mention. Like the fact that her chart needs to be read with the understanding that “correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation”.

Here is the offending chart:


In my previous post I hinted at my offense at this chart because you’ll notice that the blue “Pill” line seems to be tapering off even which some may cheer for, but it doesn’t mean less people are using birth control, just that they’re switching to non-pill methods.

Now, I’m going to analyze this chart a hell of a lot better. The first thing to notice is that the divorce rate is staying relatively consistent now. It’s naive to think that it’s on another upward swing because anything can cause a divorce and in my opinion, divorce is highly preventable (don’t get your panties in a knot quite yet, I’ll get to that in a little while–if I forget, drop me a message and I’ll update this post).

Disclaimer: I have no talent or desire to to an actual statistical analysis of this data. I literally should have failed college statistics (thank you TA for not destroying my poor GPA, I wasn’t stupid enough to continue down that path, so you saved me and I learned my lesson!). The one thing I did eventually learn (via the Environmental Science department, where the statistics calculations we used, while I also failed at them, had more specific meaning to me, so therefore made slightly more sense) is that to be “statistically significant”, the alpha (result of statistical calculations) must be above 0.05. In other words, based on the calculations, it has at least a 95% chance of occurrence to get this FANCY TITLE. That is all that “statistical significance” is–a fancy title. So take it with a grain of salt because something may not be “statistically significant” because it has a 94.99% chance of occurrence. The same is true about a “100 year flood”. The media portrays this like it means “a flood like this only occurs every 100 years”, but in reality the way of calculating this is to take the top 100 floods, put them in order by size with the biggest as #1 and that flood is a “100 year flood” because it has a 1 in 100 probability of occurring IN ANY GIVEN YEAR. A “99 year flood” is the second worse flood and it could be a mere centimeter smaller than the one above it. So in a world with more bigger floods, a “50 year flood” could be less than a foot smaller than a “100 year flood”.

Anyway, so now you know why I’m just going to eyeball this graph to give my analysis. Besides, for what I care about, an eyeball is all I need.

So…what are some of the causes of divorce? This seems like a good place to start. There’s cheating; abuse (mental, physical, sexual, spiritual, etc); one spouse being gay, transgender, bisexual, etc; umm…”irreconcilable differences” (which covers a lot of things); this is depressing, so you get the picture. The point is that this graph is trying to narrow all these causes into one root cause: “The Pill”.

Which now begs the question: why did the divorce rate jump (it did) after The Pill became mainstream? I’m VERY glad you asked!!


Cool. Thank you very much ladies of the past for making it almost socially acceptable for my husband and I to both hyphenate our names because we’re both important parts of this marriage! Considering where things once were, there was no sarcasm intended in that sentence above. I really am grateful for these ladies and it’s a condemnation for where we still need to go that I snark at.

Women’s history is a slow, but forward moving entity. I don’t really want to go all into it, but my studies generally started with what women did during the US Civil War (the abolitionists, the spys), though there is SO much that they did before that. I just haven’t studied it as in depth, so there’s only a few names that pop out at me–Anne Huchinson is one if you want to start a little bit further back, though PLEASE, don’t think it that ever really has a beginning! Women’s history is important, even as it’s usually ignored with the rest of minority history.

To simplify, let’s look at this list of “women’s issues” (issues that women were actively involved in) starting with the US Civil War: Abolition. Rights for freed slaves. Rights for immigrants. Rights for children. Rights for women. All through this there was Temperance, weaving in and out as social ills were blamed on alcohol. Then there was the Women’s Right to Vote, which there were probably as many women for this as there were against. Remember that also during all of the above, these women activists were attacked not only for what they were fighting for, but also because they were acting outside of the realm of women–women were supposed to be under the control of their husbands and fathers or other male relative. To speak out against anything not condoned by their protector made them that much less of a woman, though even when they did have the support of their husband, both sorts of husband was still often accused of being less than a man for not controlling his wife.

Imagine the situation a woman wanting to speak out would be in if she lived in a society where her husband is expected to control her. She’d be terrified to disagree with him because back then it was perfectly acceptable for a husband to hit his wife to keep her submissive. It was legally very difficult for a woman to go after a divorce while very easy for a man to ruin his wife with one–imagine the stigma of being a divorced woman–she can’t find work because she’s no longer “proper”. Gah–there are plenty of books written about this; if you need more information to be able to imagine this Hell, feel free to find one. Or there are lots of good documentaries. Let’s just leave it that there was this “Utopian Ideal” much like the one described by “modern” women who preach about a “Good Christian Wife who is Submissive to her Husband” and then there is REALITY when there are actual laws that prevent women from being independent AND a society that finds it morally acceptable to snub (meaning allow to suffer) women who are divorced, have a child out of wedlock, and, to some extent, who are beaten (there was a line, but it was still a grey area–“rule of thumb” and all that).

Anyway, This is pre-1920, a good place to pause and acknowledge the role of the rest of the world because at this point WWI has just ended, leaving many families without a male head of household. Wars had always left many women in such a state for thousands of years, but never on this kind of scale. This is because there’d been a change in how families earned their living. Before, the work of her husband may not have been socially acceptable for a woman, but she was probably lucky enough to live in a place where since she’d been honorably widowed (and enough of her neighbors were in a similar state) that it was okay for her to take over her husband’s shop or push his plow in the fields. She could game the system in whatever way was necessary and people would overlook it.

But, before the War, factories had been invented and while it may be okay for a woman to run her husband’s general goods store after his death, it was more questionable for her to work in a dim, dirty, factory. Factory girls weren’t proper girls. It might have been okay for a teenager to work in one before she got married, but after marriage she was expected to stay home and raise the children. Once she became a married woman, dirty work was just that: dirty. Scandalous. But, a family has to eat, so a woman did what she had to do and again, because she was probably lucky enough to live in a town where there were many women living a similar life, at least the scandal was minimized and ignored. Women would never brag about their day job in polite society.

Manufacturing during WWI wasn’t such a massive scale that women were expected to work in the factories while the men were away. This was merely women taking the jobs of their deceased husbands to be given up at the time that she found a new husband. REMEMBER THIS!

With WWII, we see those wonderful “Rosie the Riveters” and the “All American Girls Baseball League”. This was a time when factories actually were RECRUITING women to fill jobs vacated by men who’d been shipped overseas. Now, lets go back to what society had been. Before, most women only worked outside of the home because they needed the money to survive. Society encouraged this ideal. If a woman seemed to step outside of the idealized role of wife and mother, she was shunned or at least talked about behind her back. I believe even rambunctious and scandalous Anne of Green Gables quit her teaching job when she became pregnant (if not when she married), thus conforming to the ideal. Laura Ingalls also quit teaching upon pregnancy if not upon marriage.

And now, during WWII, we have the US government (feel free to leave a comment if your country had a similar campaign) actively telling women that they’re needed outside of the home. That they’re actually important to the war effort. Imagine what must have gone through these women’s heads: “Wait, I’m worth more than just my ability to have a child? I’m actually smart enough that you want me to build and fly airplanes, bombs, tanks, etc? You aren’t telling me you want me to be just a placeholder, because I personally am needed?” Even if she wasn’t having these revelations, once she was actually put into these roles, she must have enjoyed the mental stimulation, especially if she was one of those amazingly brave women who were flying airplanes near enemy territory without ammunition (because we all know that a woman isn’t in combat if she isn’t properly armed)!

The same “UNCLE SAM NEEDS YOU!” mentality went into recruiting women into the factories as it did getting men into the trenches. Is it any wonder that women reacted so strongly when they were told that they weren’t needed anymore when the boys came back from war? Yes, many happily went back to being a housewife and mother. Few told their children what they’d done (it was only in 2002 that those WASPs (Women Air Force Service pilots) were allowed to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and then someone had the nerve to revoke those rights in 2015, though it went back into law this past May). But some really liked the work. They liked being useful as something more than making and raising children. So, women started actively entering and staying in the workforce even after they married and had babies.

Let’s say we’re in the 1950s, now. Women have been expanding their role. They’re still talked about behind their backs and their jobs are considered unimportant (because anybody can be a teacher or a secretary). Depending on the demographics of her town, she’ll be more or less accepted. Think deep south vs. NYC. Also at this point we need to acknowledge that demographics have changed. Fewer people know their neighbors and this downward trend is reaching rock bottom today. When you don’t know your neighbors it’s both very easy to vilify them and also to ignore them, which is why there was (is?) a wide gulf between the homemakers and the working women–both assume that the other is someone she probably isn’t. Anyway, at some point, college is suddenly considered a proper place for a woman (because education is necessary for women to be able to teach their sons to be educated and because college educated men make for good husbands), though they weren’t expected to actually complete a degree other than an Mrs. At least if a woman had a husband, her parents couldn’t completely give up hope that she’d turn out “normal”.

Then came the 1960s. The era of the protest. And women whose mother had potentially worked in a factory during WWII (having been told that she was smart and special to get her there), is now in college and maybe she thinks she’s “smart and special”, too. Like, maybe she’s capable of more than just an Mrs. degree. And as other minorities start to fight to get the same basic rights as white folks, white women start to wonder why their choices are still stigmatized. They begin to protest, too.

Meanwhile, by now the Pill has been developed and is LEGALLY sanctioned for use only within marriage. Even before this condoms existed and were stigmatized even when used by married couples. So, it’s not like the US government has always been pro-free-sex, there were laws on the books that said that you had to prove marriage in order to get birth control. For a relatively long time.

Now, while I’m sure all of you are fascinated by women’s history, I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with the divorce rate. Well, I’ve shown you the progression of Women’s Liberation. From speaking out on husband-approved topics like slavery  all the way to women burning their bras. During that time, women were always faced with the tales of their mothers and grandmothers. Tales of women who, once married, were forced to stay in that marriage no matter how miserable they were. Tales from them about women who’d been shamed (as precautionary tales). But these women of the 1970s didn’t want to be forced into that life. Women-kind, as a sex, had lived through so many changes, why should they as individuals be forced into a life that wasn’t the one that they wanted. Yes, this kind of independence was still stigmatized, but if a man can run off to Paris to become a starving artist, why can’t a woman? During this time of upheaval, the simple truth that came out was “If a man can do this, why can’t I?” That is Feminism. The belief that I’m not less capable of anything simply because I was born with a vagina instead of a penis. And maybe there was/is a little chauvinism of “well, I can do everything a man can do WHILE bleeding for a few days every month AND I can grow a new person inside of me”.

So. The divorce rate. The first thing that had to change was that it became legally as easy for a woman to be granted a divorce as a man. In reality this was a slow process because there were still male judges who were less likely to grant said divorce. But, with time, this changed (that’d be that slow rise of the red divorce line way up above at the graph).

Because, let’s also head way up above to where I started my analysis: what are the causes of divorce? NONE of these are NEW. None of them. There has always been cheating. There has always been abuse. There have always been revelations that one spouse is not heterosexual or has any other sexual dimorphism (PLEASE do not yell at me for not knowing the correct terms to use here–when it comes to gender issues, I’m very sympathetic, but not a scholar. Feel free to correct me in the comments!). There have ALWAYS been irreconcilable differences.

People have always wanted to end their marriages: the problem was that it was socially and legally unacceptable. With Women’s Liberation, this changed. Yes, I’m blaming Women’s Liberation for the high divorce rate and I’m PROUD that it did! Because you know what? I think we’d live in a shitty society if people were forced to stay in relationships with people they don’t want to be with anymore! That situation cannot be healthy for anyone, but especially for any children that are involved!

Now, at this point I want to mollify those of you who got upset when I said that I believe that divorce is highly preventable. Here’s the thing: My husband was married twice before me to two women who sucked. Yes, he loved them at the time that they got married, but they turned out to be awful. Both cheated on him, though he said to at least one of them that he’d accept an open relationship so long as she was honest with him–she wasn’t honest. The rest of his girlfriends were, for the most part, not great (because, one of the things I love about my husband is that he’s always been honest, but gracious, towards his many exes, so I will not stoop to their level and call them trolls).

I think a lot of what eventually happened with them would have been solved by a few weeks of good PRE-marital counselling. I get the vibe that when he was 22 and married his first wife he was really just looking to be a husband and father and thought that what love they had was enough, though she ended up changing on him. In other words, he didn’t know her well enough before he married her. She’d been looking for a dad for her two girls and he probably liked the idea of an instant family. I think I can honestly say that whatever the cause of the divorce, it’s something that could have been spotted before the marriage occurred just by ensuring that both parties are honest with themselves about what they want and having a 3rd party ensure that both parties are being honest with each other by bringing up the hard questions. I doubt that there could ever be a time when the divorce rate hits zero, but if we begin to fashion a society where people are looking for marriages that are based on the right foundations for success, the divorce rate can get very low.

It seems like I haven’t had a post yet comparing a marriage to a wedding. I need to get on top of this.


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.






























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.


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:


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.


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.