“I’m never getting married!”
When I was young, this was my battle cry. While other girls my age were painstakingly planning out weddings with fluffy white gowns, ornate flower arrangements, and faceless grooms, I dug in my heels and said “No thanks, not for me.” Marriage was a way to put women in the house and exploit them for their labor. Marriage was a trap, and I was determined not to fall for it.
You see, my mom didn’t exactly sell me on the whole marriage thing. In her two marriages she was expected to fulfill all the household duties: cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids. She could have a job if she wanted, but it was more like an extracurricular: something that she could do, but if she did, she couldn’t neglect her “real” job.
Whenever I asked her about it, she would just shrug and say that that was marriage. It was just the way things were. They way they ought to be.
Well, fuck that! I didn’t want a job; I wanted a career. I wanted to make a difference. That’s what I was here to do, not clean dishes and make babies. This whole marriage thing was a scam. I was okay to have relationships, but the idea of binding myself to a man – to that life – was downright repulsive.
But then I met this guy. This wondrous man, who showed me that relationships are partnerships, and the terms were up to those involved, not some arbitrary set of “traditional” roles. He did not demand that we have children. He understood that my career was an extension of me and that it came first. We would split chores. We would take care of our home together. We would share a life – equally.
It never even occurred to me that it could be like that. Imagine, living your life with someone who wanted you to be an individual outside of your relationship. Someone who doesn’t demand you sacrifice yourself to the marriage or the home. Living in a “traditional” home, I spent my life fearing I was going to become a housewife. Anthony would rather I be me.
And that was when I realized: I still don’t want a “marriage.” I want a person. I want him. Don’t get me wrong. The legal rights are important for us to exist in our society as a couple, but, with them or without them, I’d still choose to be with him (similar to many others who still cannot marry).
I never dreamed of a white gown. I never even thought to dream of a partner for my life until Anthony. Marriage is not a paper; it’s not a ceremony; it’s not a party. It’s a person and a relationship, both of which I would be foolish to let slip away.