Don’t let the state of American politics fool you--it is in fact 2017. For a second there I did have to check, though.
I will say that our country is in serious need of a conversation about what it means to live in a modern world. In a modern world, men and women are equal and are treated equitably. In a modern society, male and female aren’t the only gender options. In a modern society, words matter.
So what’s going on with all of this gendered married stuff that I keep seeing? As the co-founder of a progressive marriage blog, it’s my duty to explore the vasts depths of the internet to ensure that you’re being provided with the best marriage content known to woman, man, and [insert every gender in-between]. And based on everything I’ve encountered/read so far, here’s my general diagnosis:
WE. NEED. HELP.
When you find yourself silently rooting for your husband as he poops with the door open, or when you spend the whole day on the couch next to him without even looking over, or when you notice that the only things you text him are Miss J gifs and bank account information, you may one day look to your husband and ask, “What’s happened to us?”
At this point, you may summon vague images of your former self. That lithe, quick-witted person. That person whose clothes always fit them just right. You might remember sitting in the sun with your then-date-now-husband and talking for hours. You have forgotten what you said back then. All you can remember is what it felt like to be interesting. You want to feel that feeling again. You want to feel that feeling, but cannot summon the energy to say something clever. Your synapses are no longer firing in the way that makes you articulate things that are both heartfelt and electrifying. So you sit. And you fall asleep next to your husband at earlier and earlier intervals.
Yeah yeah yeah...every marriage blog and their mom wants to recommend 5 fun date ideas to you. But no one ever wants to talk about how expensive they are! Also, most of those date ideas are kinda stupid, so we came up with our own list.
With Annie taking some time off of work to take on a graduate program, we’ve had to get really creative about the kind of dates we go on. Date nights will always be a priority in our marriage, even though our wallets right now can’t really support the more conventional date ideas most of the time. That’s ok...we’ve found a few ideas that really work for us:
1. Monday Movies in Nature
2. Tuesday Tasty Video Nights
3. Wednesday Walk Abouts
4. Thursday Thurstay!
5. Fake Identity Friday
(On Saturdays and Sundays, just sleep in and go to brunch!)
Title: “Will You Still Text And Drive When We Have Kids?”
Abstract: I see you, what you’re doing there. Just a quick one. Just a quick text. The light turns green and you’re searching for the peace sign emoji. We’re on the highway and your football thread is exploding. It’s Fantasy Draft Day. We’re just trying to get home. Once, you tried to watch a basketball game while driving home from work. I made you pull the car over and let me drive. I know I should not read into this about how much you value my life. But sometimes I do.
Concerns: It’s not as funny as I think it is / Puts us on too much of a binary / I’ve done it too / I’m not trying to pick a fight / This makes you sound more reckless than you are / And when you start having blog posts that mention offspring in the title, too many folks start pondering the contents of my uterus.
Act One: The Call
1. The Ordinary World
Me. Girl. Mid-twenties. Eats vegetarian food. Watches How I Met Your Mother, often alone, often while eating rice pudding or strawberries. Goes to yoga. Goes to church. Has a normal job. Drives cautiously. Has never gotten a speeding ticket. Spends nights painting flowers and trees. Acrylic on canvas. Values: Comfort, Beauty, Trader Joe’s.
2. The Call to Adventure
Jack. Husband. Skinny jeans and a Banana Republic non-iron. A reckless driving ticket knocked down in traffic court. Possesses: A Stage Presence. Together, we watch How I Met Your Mother outside on an iPad with a thermos of gin and tonic. Does not value: Comfort Zones.
3. The Reluctant Hero
I’m not ready for a baby! I’ve just gotten my thyroid problem under control!
4. The Mentor
I’m not ready for a baby, I tell Dr. Stanfield. She nods. She points to the IUD on that little chart of hers. A triumphant 99.9% effective. It takes out the human error, says Dr. Stanfield. You can just forget about it.
5. Crossing the Threshold
At installation, the uterus seizes up in a single contraction, like one during childbirth. A quick irony, spending a few seconds doing exactly the thing you are trying to avoid. They did not tell me this until I was on the table. Before, only a vague warning to come with Tylenol.
When you think of marrying the love of your life, there are so many magical things that come to mind. You think about the life that you’ll build together, the children you may have, the endless romance you’ll cultivate, the places you’ll go, and the challenges you’ll overcome. Disney Films and romantic comedies glamorize marriage in ways that make us so eager to tie the knot that we often regret it. We’re given dreams and illusions of grandeur and love. We’re promised that marriage is about finding your other half. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll gain 20 pounds. And really, to some extent that’s true. Marriage is great. I’m happy with my choices.
But marriage, in so many ways, is boring AF.
So it wasn’t a gluten intolerance after all, you tell me. And now you have filled our kitchen with real bread, with pita chips, with French’s crispy onions. You say, Let’s get pizza, and you get the real kind, with the real crust, the kind that holds together when you pick it up. I am jealous of you and your newfound freedom, your ability to “go big” at bakeries. I am jealous of your cake. I am jealous of your biscuits. I am jealous of the crumbs delicately clinging to the surface of your chicken.
We used to be in this together.
I married a nice medium guy. But when I stand next to him, I tend to slouch my hips, one up and one down, as to not appear freakish, like a giantess, like a side-show, like a man.
Once, in college, I got into an argument with a man at a swing dancing class. He told me there was no way I was only 5’10”. I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “No, you’re not.” I pulled out my driver’s license and said, “Look!” He said, “You can still lie on your driver’s license. It’s not like they check.”
Another time in college, I danced with a man who was 6’7”. I felt what I imagine smaller women feel like every day. Normal? Comely? Petite? (Would Gloria Steinem think it’s a sin to want to feel petite? Would Judith Butler?) I did not love this man, though.
As a woman, it is better not to take up space. As a woman, it is good to be small. When I am with little men, this is my problem. When my husband says, “I wish I were taller,” I think, No. You are fine. I am the one out of the range that is considered normal.
Hey Friends, Annie here.
Jack and I watch a lot of television. Name a TV show, and it’s more than likely that we’ve seen at least a few episodes. Probably more. Jokes from How I Met Your Mother were one of the first things that brought us together. Even on our honeymoon, we spent a few nights bingeing The OA on Netflix.
As they say on Master of None, we really are living in the golden age of television. But, balancing our Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and HBO subscriptions can be a dangerous game. There are times when we’ll spend an entire night watching episode after episode, eyes glazed, barely grunting to acknowledge each other. As my mom used to say, too much time in front of the tube will melt your brain (and maybe your relationship, I might add).
After months of work, and with the help of some amazingly talented friends, we now have a wedding video to show the world! We hope you enjoy reliving this day with us <3
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Annie & Jack
Love. Marriage. Teamwork. Art. Offsetting the patriarchal footprint. These are some of the things we're thinking about.