L is 26 and lives in Texas.
I don’t think we actually decided to get married. One day the conversation changed from “my kids” to “our kids” and from that point on we knew we were going to get married. It took a long time for me to get there though. Being that we started dating when I was 17 and he was 19, and that he was my first serious boyfriend, I was always very reserved about our future. I figured that everyone thought that they were going to grow up and marry this person and it was only a matter of time before we would break up like everyone else. But we didn’t. I was adamant that about no “promise rings”, no engagement until I was at least out of college and he totally agreed, though he did move in with me towards the end of my junior year of high school. I married T because I apparently am incredibly lucky and found my mate on my first try.
I didn’t have an idea of what it would be like, I only knew how our relationship was. Neither of our parents’ marriages lasted past early elementary school, due to both death and divorce, so we didn’t really know how a marriage was supposed to work. I imagined (and hoped!) that marriage would be like the previous 7 years of our relationship.
Where do you think you got your ideas/concept/narrative about marriage?
I know how marriage works on TV. The husband works, the wife doesn’t. They fight so much that I wonder why these people are even married in the first place. Why are these women married to such selfish husbands? Why are these men married to women who seem to despise who they are? I knew things would be different that because I knew I absolutely was not going to stay home with the kids (when we have them sometime in the next few years) and he was 100% on board with staying home with them. Without question. So I didn’t really feel like there was a marriage I could look to in order to get that insight.
How do you feel about the word “wife”?
I don’t feel personally any like or dislike. It is a word that describes a relationship. To society it seems to mean more. Like our relationship is more real now that I am his wife instead of girlfriend. I feel like it demeans the relationship we had before when it was just a serious as it is now.
Why did you make the decision you made about your name?
I made the decision about my name because I didn’t think about it until 4 weeks before I got married and freaked out. I had never thought I wouldn’t change my name and then realized that I would miss it a lot. My name is unique and I was always proud of it. His name isn’t even easier to spell. But I also thought it would be an asshole move for me to go back on what I’d always said I’d do. Its not that important to me to have the whole family have the same name. Because my parents divorced so early, I don’t actually remember my mom ever having the same name as me and things were fine. But it was important to him. I just needed to let him know that it was important to me too. So the comprise was that I would have 2 middle names and will give a daughter my maiden name, which I think was a great compromise.
Do you think your relationship with your partner has changed since you got married?
I feel like the trust has gotten so much deeper. That started to change on my end once we got engaged. I let go of some of the things I was holding back because now it was official that I am going to be with this person my whole life. I could feel it from his end too. That now we are partners and he trusts me completely as well. It is so incredible to be with someone with whom I have no fear of rejection. He knows all of me and I feel no reason to hide even my deepest thoughts.
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been married?
I learned to accept that I make mistakes too. I have learned that alone time is VERY important. I have learned that when I am less selfish, the favor is returned. I learned to listen and that his opinions and ideas are just as valid as mine.