K is a 33 year old woman living in the Midwest. She’s been married for seven years and has a PhD in mathematics.
Why did you decide to get married?
My husband is Canadian and I am American, and neither of us had a visa to the other’s country, so our only option to be together was to be married. If I may get on a soap box, this is exactly why marriage equality is essential — DoMA means that gays and lesbians don’t have the option to bring their spouses to the country as I did, and that is wrong.
What did you think marriage would be like?
I thought marriage would be a challenge. One’s wedding day is not the end of the courtship; it only marks a change in the terrain. Relationships need to be nurtured like gardens; taking it for granted is the biggest mistake you can make.
Where do you think you got your ideas/concept/narrative about marriage?
My parents are married, though often unhappily, and I learned from them both what to do and what not to do.
What are your thoughts on the word “wife”?
“Wife” gets a decent score in Scrabble, especially with a triple word score….I tend to be literal minded and think of it as just a word for “female spouse”. I don’t really have any other connotations on it either way; “wife” is the feminine equivalent of “husband”.
Why did you make the decision you made about your name?
Two reasons, really: 1. I hated my long, German last name that was impossible to spell and 2. I hadn’t yet started my career so I *could* change my name. Had I already finished my thesis I would have remained with my maiden name. (My husband would like me to add that his short, Welsh last name is also difficult to spell so I didn’t escape much there.)
Do you think your relationship with your partner has changed since you got married?
Yes, and for the better. It’s matured and maturing. There’s something about planning a life together that takes a relationship beyond excitement and into true companionship.
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been married?
Before I met my husband, I had come to terms with the fact that I would likely never be in a real relationship. I was morbidly obese, socially awkward, and studied one of the most esoteric and boring fields in existence. And I decided that I was okay with that — I was finally comfortable with myself, with my own skin, and didn’t need the fairy tale of another person to “complete” me, that I “couldn’t live without,” etc. Then I met my husband and asked myself if I would prefer to be with him or without him, with the full knowledge that BOTH WERE ENTIRELY REASONABLE OPTIONS. I decided that being with him would improve my life, but it was a decision I did not jump into. And I think what I’ve learned since I’ve been married is that I made the right decision, but I also had the exactly right thought process for it.