This is an interview with Anonymous, who lives in the Northeast.
Why did you decide to get married?
I decided to get married (as opposed to living together) mainly because of my Christian beliefs and background. We did live together for about 6 months before we were married, but I was never completely comfortable with that. If he hadn’t eventually wanted to get married I would have broken up with him, I think.
What did you think marriage would be like?
It’s hard to remember, but I think I thought it would be a lot easier than it actually is.
Where do you think you got your ideas/concept/narrative about marriage?
I think I got it from different places. My parents were my main example. My dad worked and my mom stayed at home for the most part. She still to this day takes little interest in their finances, and that was something I did as well in my own marriage, at first, but I needed to change, because it was putting a lot of stress on my husband. I’m extremely glad we now share the responsibility though.
How do you feel about the word “wife”?
I don’t think I have any negative or positive feelings about it, really.
Why did you make the decision you made about your name?
I decided to take my last name and make it my middle name, then take his last name. I was happy to do it. Changing my name did not bother me in any way, I think because I was 23 when I got married, so I didn’t have much of an adult identity associated with my last name. I might have felt differently if I were instead just getting married now, at 34.
Do you think your relationship with your partner has changed since you got married?
I would say it has definitely changed. There was a point a few years ago when we were having a lot of problems in our relationship, and he was going to leave me. As difficult as that experience was for me, it was good, because I realized then that if he did leave me, as painful as that would be, I would be alright without him. We ended up working things out, but I felt that our relationship improved a lot after that point; before then, I was too dependent on him for my own happiness.