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.
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.
Before Annie and I got married, I had a dream about us moving in together. In the dream, she arrived at our apartment with a few bags and a rolling suitcase. I, on the other hand, showed up with an entire moving truck of stuff. And as she opened up the back of the moving truck, she gave me a disconcerted look and said, “I don’t know if I can live with all of this.” I still think about this dream to this day.
I entered into my relationship and marriage with a lot of baggage. The more I process my feelings, the more baggage I find. It often feels infinite. Anxiety, depression, vices, anger, past relationship woes, you name it. I never used to talk about it with my significant others, mostly because I never thought I could. How could they be with me if they really knew everything about me? It seemed so much easier to live a partitioned life.
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.
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.
Members and Allies of The Millennial Marriage Movement,
Jack here. This week, I’m being honest as hell. You’ll learn some things about me today that I’ve never been public about, so buckle up. Make sure you don’t have any small children with you and prepare yourself for the darker side of #ANNIEGOESJACK.
I’ll start off by saying that I find it really ironic that as the co-founder of a millennial marriage blog, I haven’t always truly believed in marriage. I always knew that marriage was something that I’d inevitably do, but mostly because it was a status symbol that I needed for my own personal security. If I’m really being honest with you, I didn’t (and to some extent, still don’t) quite understand how lifelong partnership works. How can two people stay together forever? When I think about my favorite foods, movies, music, [insert anything I really love], it’s tough to picture myself doing those things forever without getting bored.
Annie & Jack
Love. Marriage. Teamwork. Art. Offsetting the patriarchal footprint. These are some of the things we're thinking about.