E is the first engaged women I’ve interviewed. She’s getting married in November.
Why are you choosing to get married?
I feel like I am not “choosing” to get married, so much as it feels like a natural progression in our relationship. G and I started dating my sophomore year of college. I felt ready to date, and G just happened to show up at the right time with dark eyes and a loud laugh. My attitude was, “I’ll date you until it doesn’t feel right any more, and then I’ll drop you” However, G illustrated to me over and over again what a thoughtful, caring, giving, loving, and dependable person he was. He slowly won me over, heart and soul, and eventually, after a challenging first year living together, I realized that it was time to commit without looking back. After that, I knew that whether we married or not, we would be together, and it was just a matter of time and life circumstances until we got married. So, why get married at all? I think it just feels like the next right step–proclaiming our committment in front of our families, and becoming each other’s families in an official way.
Is there anything so far about being engaged/wedding planning that you find remarkable or surprising?
I think the most surprising thing to me is the captivation of my friends and family both in our engagement and the wedding process. My friends are constantly asking me about it, my parents are very involved and helpful, and it was like my birthday on facebook when we changed our status! People I didn’t even know were congratulating me. I remember calling my friends to tell them I was engaged, and it was like we’d had a baby. They screamed, congratulated us, and asked us for all the details. G and I have been dating for four and a half years, so it really shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. It certainly wasn’t a surprise for me! And yet, based on the reaction from those around us and the continued fascination with wedding planning, this is a Big Deal.
What do you see the role of a wedding to be?
I see the role of the wedding to be stage marker, like a bar-mitvah or graduation; it a momentious and symbolic event that signifies transition from one stage of life to another in front of the community. For me, it is a transition from a personal relationship to a relationship that the community is witness too, cementing the concept of commitment. It is also a transition from simply being in a relationship, to G officially being my family. Lastly, to me, it is a ceremony that gives me the green light to begin a family when I so choose.
How do you feel about the word “wife”?
I feel uncomfortable witht the word wife. There are too many connotations with the word “wife” that I dislike, including the idea of the “little wifey” who cooks, cleans, and cares for her husband, all with an apron on and a perfect coif. G and I are partners–the end. We don’t have different roles. We split responsibilities based on what we like. For example, I like to plan dinners, but if I forget an ingredient, G is great at improvising and throwing a delicious meal together. He is also much better at scrubbing down a kitchen counter than me. So, in conclusion, I definitely rebel against being called a “wife” and prefer the term partner.
What decision are you making about your name? Why?
I am changing my last name. The reason is quite shallow. I don’t like my last name at all, and I like his much more. If I felt a connection with my last name (or didn’t have two brothers to carry it on) perhaps I would feel more strongly about it. But, as it is, I am excited to join his family–I admire and like his sister and mom–and to take on his last name.
What do you expect marriage to be like? Are you expecting your relationship with your partner to change?
While I know there will be challenges, I think overall marriage will be wonderful! G and I are both really excited to be able to traverse life’s adventures together. As he is an academic, we might be moving around a bit. We both know there is no one we’d rather move with because we support each other in making friends, exploring new places, and creating a home. I also think our relationship will get even better with time. I base this on the fact that, in our short time together, our relationship deepens and improves every year. One day, I fully expect to be that adorable old lady holding hands with her tiny stooped husband, kissing in the streets and cuddling on the subway.