Saturday, May 10, 2014

"Why are you not married yet???"

Timmy and I have been in a relationship for seven and a half years. Upon hearing this, many people ask us why we are not married yet. Because of gender biases, I imagine that many people assume that the reason we are not married yet is because Timmy has not asked me to marry him. Truth be told though, we are not married because neither of us are enchanted with the idea of marriage. Many people also assume that when someone is not interested in marriage, that this is because their parents are divorced. Timmy's parents have been married for forty years and mine for almost forty years.

When people ask me why we are not married yet, it is a difficult question to answer. First, because there are so many reasons. Second, because it is difficult for me to express all the reasons I am disinterested in a wedding and marriage without offending those who adhere to traditions. Many girls grew up dreaming of their wedding day, however, that was never me. Instead when I think of engagements and weddings, I think of all the misogyny that encompasses the traditions.

While some girls grew up doodling their first name with the last name of their crushes, I pondered the (un)fairness of being expected to give up my last name when I got married. Names are a huge part of identity, and last names play a significant part in family identity. Over the years, I have pondered several possible solutions to this; everything from using a hyphenated last name, to using our last names to create a new last name. The latter solution seems best to me, however, I still do not like the idea of giving up my family name.

Engagement traditions bother me too. The expectation that the male be the one to propose not only places unfair pressure and responsibility on the man, but simultaneously puts the female in a weak position of dependence. Onto engagement rings. Firstly, they could be interpreted as the relationship equivalent to a dog peeing on a fire hydrant (marking territory); as if a physical sign is needed to dissuade possible suitors because the spouse could not possibly do it on his/her own. Second, someone's love should not be evaluated by the amount of money they waste on a mineral.

One tradition I particularly despise is asking the female's father for permission before proposing. I would never marry anyone who thinks it is acceptable to ask my father for permission to marry me. While I love my dad and respect his opinion, I am an adult human being, and not my father's property; I am perfectly capable of making my life decisions without my father pre-screening them. On a related note, I also dislike the tradition of the father walking the bride down the aisle. I would appreciate the sentiment if the root of the tradition was about being there for support, however, again, the tradition is rooted in females being treated like property.

The above are only a few of my issues with the idea of marriage; this post would be endless if I were to get into them all.

Of course, if I mention any of my misgivings surrounding marriage, the typical response is that I can make my wedding my own (or skip the wedding and just get married). While that is true, it is also true that we do not have to get married simply because others expect it of us. I assume that Timmy and I will eventually get married, however, it won't be because of any romantic notions about the idea of marriage; instead it will be out of practicality because of two major legal benefits. First, in emergency situations, I want us to be able to see each other and be able to make medical decisions. Second, when I die, I want to be able to leave my possessions to Timmy without him being subject to a high tax rate. While, I know that either of those situations could happen to us while we are still young, I currently struggle with justifying marriage solely based on those reasons.

1 comment:

  1. Just so you know, you should be able to give Timmy Power of Attorney for the event that you're sick and he needs to make health decisions for you without being married. I did that for Brian just to make sure it was extra clear if that were to happen who I wanted to make those decisions for me.

    But yeah, the 2nd benefit (not being taxed to death... ) is pretty much a marriage only thing. Which is why I think it's so important that this country legalizes marriage equality.

    Don't let anyone pressure you! :)


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