B is 34 years old. She has been married for 8 years to her high school sweetheart, has no human kids and no plans for them. She lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Why did you decide to get married?
There we a few reasons D and I wanted to get married. The first and silliest was I have always wanted a pretty white dress. I got no pretty white dress growing up, so a wedding was my opportunity. The other reason was that D and I wanted the recognition of being married. After 11 years together, with 6 years living together, we didn’t think being married would really change anything for us, but to the rest of the world being married was important. It meant you were serious about your partner and you were willing to put the work into the relationship. It meant forever. It usually meant kids, but we didn’t (and don’t) want kids. We wanted the legitimacy.
What did you think marriage would be like?
We figured being married wouldn’t change much. We had been together so long and been through a lot already so we weren’t expecting much different after the vows were spoken. We were still us. We were still together, living and struggling through the world as a couple. We weren’t any more committed to each other because before we were married we were committed to each other. We expected taxes to be easier.
Where do you think you got your ideas/concept/narrative about marriage?
Many of my ideas in how the world works I have formed on my own from watching my family and doing something different . I always watched other people’s relationships, evaluated them critically and then judged their relationship against my ideals. From those evaluations, my ideals became solidified. My parents are still married, but for many years they were not happy, and certainly not friends or partners. Because of the lack of partnership in my parent’s marriage, the idea that marriages were supposed to be mostly about two people being partners in life became all the more important to me.
How do you feel about the word “wife”?
I like the word wife. I’m proud of being D’s wife. When I am called his wife, it feels good. When D calls me his wife, I feel snuggly and happy. After so many years of being the “the girlfriend”, wife is a good upgrade. I don’t like it when we get mail and it is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. ___”. That bugs me. I don’t like being “Mrs. D__.” I’m more than that. I am NOT “the little Mrs.” I’m an equal partner in the relationship, and I expect the world to treat me as such. I don’t even use “Mrs.”, I use “Ms.” “Mrs.” bugs me more than “wife”.
Why did you make the decision you made about your name?
My family and I do not have a good relationship. I was very happy to change my name to D’s because I love him. I was so happy to be called “Ms. B __” the first time. It also went with my idea of announcing to the world that we were married. I felt that it showed in another way our partnership and cohesiveness.
Do you think your relationship with your partner has changed since you got married?
I can’t really say. Would the past 8 years have been the same if we had not been married? Probably. We have been through very high ups and very low downs, and all have made us stronger individually and as a couple. I don’t believe that the marriage has changed us or our partnership in any way.
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been married?
I don’t believe I have learned anything I would not have learned just through being with D for all these years. I was never a believer that marriage makes anything different or better in a relationship. Either you have the commitment or you don’t. Having a party, saying some words and getting a piece of paper means nothing next to that. I believe the partnership is more than being married. Being married is cool because the world seems to think it is special. (In reality, divorce is common and being married means little.) Either you and your partner are in it for the long haul or you aren’t. Your marriage certificate is just a piece of paper and your party was an excuse for a pretty white dress.