(photo by me)
K is a 24-year-old graphic designer who lives in Michigan and has been married for 2 years.
Why did you decide to get married?
Honestly, the military had a lot to do with speeding up that process. I had been dating my now husband (who is in the Air Force) for about a year, but we had known each other for quite a few years before we started seeing each other. One day we were talking and throwing the idea around and decided together that it just made sense. Basically for insurance purposes, tax purposes, larger paycheck purposes and if-he-goes-somewhere-cool-I-get-to-go-too purposes.
And of course we love each other. We have all the same or similar values and beliefs. He’s extremely laid back which helps counteract my neuroticism. He has old-fashioned manners without being old-fashioned. He’s funny, which I couldn’t live without. Someone I knew once made the observation that if you could make me laugh, you could get in my pants.
We’ve actually been in a long distance relationship the entire time which downright shocks and appalls some people. If it were any person other than him, I wouldn’t have done it. I know he’s an amazing person and it wasn’t a hard decision to make.
What did you think marriage would be like?
Nothing different than what we were already doing before, just with piece of paper making it official. Because of our extreme situation, although we’ve been together for three years, we haven’t been able to live together.
When I graduated college, I planned to move to where he was and get a job there. Then I got a job in my home state instead. Then we found out he was going to South Korea for a year and families can’t accompany there anyway, so we did what we had to do. He did his job, I did mine and when it was over we could finally be together.
Fast forward to now, he is in Italy where I am also supposed to be with him. Due to a clerical error getting my government passport, I ended up being here for five months longer than I was supposed to.
I told a long story to answer the question, but I’m still looking forward to what marriage will be like. I think it’s going to be awesome. I can’t wait to be able to see my husband every day instead of having broken Skype conversations. I can’t wait to sit around the house in our underwear and watch movies. I can’t wait to share meals. I can’t wait to explore Europe together. I can’t wait to live together. Period. (Dammit!)
Where do you think you got your ideas/concept/narrative about marriage?
I would say my mom influences most of how I see things, and I am grateful for that. Even though my parents are divorced, I know I have a good grip on reality and what kind of marriage I want to be a part of. I’m not going to be the submissive, quiet housewife who “knows her place” and fetches my husband’s slippers when he comes home because he says to.
We’re going to take turns doing the crappy chores, try not to argue about money, and be good to each other. And I get to pick out the furniture.
How do you feel about the word “wife”?
Eh, people like to label things and in a way it makes things easier. I don’t particularly enjoy the terms husband and wife (sounds old), or girlfriend and boyfriend (sounds juvenile), but what else are you going to say?
We actually address each other and sign as husband and wife when we have to email or leave a note for the each other. It’s funnier to me, rather than to use our names. Like, come on. He knows what my name is.
Why did you make the decision that you did about your name?
My maiden name was very long and people massacred it every time they tried to say it (even though it is spelled exactly how you pronounce it, no silent z or anything), and then teased me for being Polish. I saw this as my ticket to a less complicated name. Hyphenation was out of the question because it sounded ridiculous, and just added length to an already lengthy name.
I’m still the same person, it doesn’t matter what my name is. Now I just have an easier time with paperwork and signing things.
Do you think your relationship with your partner has changed since you got married?
If anything, it’s brought us closer. We look at each other sometimes, remember that we’re married, and giggle.
What have you learned about yourself since you’ve been married?
That I would actually get married! Growing up, I was the not the girl fantasizing about my fairytale wedding and princess dress. I was dreaming about my sweet-ass career that afforded me the independence to do whatever I wanted. I still want the career part, and now I have someone to help me reach that goal. I still have the same reserves about “traditional” marriage. Minivans, kids and suburban living make my skin crawl, and we won’t be traveling down that perfectly paved, landscaped according to code path. The only babies I want have four legs, fur and smushed faces. (Pugs. We will have pug babies.)