(photo from offbeatbride.com)
J is a graduate student in New York .
Why did you decide to get married?
We loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. It was actually a very easy decision.
What did you think marriage would be like?
I don’t remember what my expectations were going in. I was very much in love and very excited. I knew that every marriage comes with challenges, but I also thought I would be happy – and I am. Whatever my expectations were, I certainly haven’t been disappointed.
Where do you think you got your ideas/concept/narrative about marriage?
Mostly from my parents. I am very lucky, my parents have a wonderful marriage and so I’ve had a great example set for me about how a marriage can work and what it could look like. I have always believed that taking cues on love and marriage from TV and movies is a recipe for disaster. It’s just unrealistic.
Why did you make the decision you made about your name?
After 4 years, I’m on the verge of adopting my husband’s name and keeping my maiden name as a middle name. I have definitely procrastinated and resisted making this decision. It was tough. In the end, it mostly came down to what’s easiest. I want it to be clear that I’m married and to whom I’m married. If we have the same last name, we go together. The same will be true when we have kids. I can maintain my individual identity in many other ways. And of course, I’m not dropping my maiden name entirely.
What are your feelings on the word “wife”?
I don’t have strong feelings about the word. I don’t think it has the same connotation it may have had in the past. “Wife” is only one of the many identities I have in my life.
Do you think your relationship with your partner has changed since you got married?
Of course. We’re closer, and our relationship is deeper. We continue to learn more about each other all the time.
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been married?
I think marriage has made me more self-aware. When you’re always accountable to someone else, when your partner notices every small change in mood or action, you can’t just stay in your thoughts. I’ve had to dig deeper to understand myself, so that I can make myself understandable to this other person who shares so much of my life with me. I think that overall this has been a very positive process.