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.
I have stopped telling strangers I’m getting my MFA in fiction writing.
“Your MFA in fiction writing?” they say, “What can you do with that?”
“Write books,” I tell them, “Maybe a novel?”
“A novel!” they say, “So you’re going to be famous?”
I kick the dirt and mumble, “Um, well, sure.”
When it comes to ambition, Jack and I are kindred spirits. I remember on our first date, sitting on a hill together in Saxapahaw, NC and drinking wine out of plastic cups, we told each other about our dreams. We each had a vision for how we wanted our lives to go. We told each other about our passions--music, writing, art. We ate mediterranean food, talked and talked. We found each other fascinating, electric. We were equally matched in our aspirations. We both wanted to be great. We liked this about each other.
They say that people are at their most attractive when they do something they love--something they’re good at. We’re our best selves when we live out our passions. Before we met, this was what Jack and I did, fiercely.
And now, I worry that our passions are bringing out the worst in us.
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.
Whaddup 3M Fam,
Jack here and today I’m gonna brag about how many wedding blogs/articles I’ve read in the past year. Not because I’m proud of it or because I’m somehow a marriage expert at this point (I’m not, somehow I feel like I know less now…). There are just a lot of things we need to talk about when it comes to the stuff we’re reading online.
First, I acknowledge that producing a marriage blog isn’t easy. So I’m not here to just take a huge dump on the rest of the marriage blogs out there because I think we’re better than them. We’re not. We’re the new kids in town and the size of our following is humble, but mighty. I’m just a little bit concerned about what I’m reading. Because I care.
I care about my marriage, which is why I read a handful of marriage-related articles every day. I care about your marriage, which is why I carefully select helpful, innovative, and progressive articles to share on our social media pages. But most importantly, I care about doing right by all married and future-married people out there. Which is why it’s time for me to say some unpopular things.
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.
People know me by Jack. But one could say that they’re living a lie. Or maybe I’m living a lie? We both are. A little more than 28 years ago, my parents proudly named me Jezekiel Sonn Bodeta Vitaliz. I’m not kidding. That’s my actual legal name. And yes, I’ve wanted to change it for as long as I can remember. Well guess what? When I got married, that wish finally came true. But first, let me give you a little bit of backstory.
“But think about the moment when I get on that airplane,” I said, sitting on the couch, staring at Jack, by this time a bit teary. “Won’t it just be too sad?”
Then Jack laughed. “Good Lord, you’re so dramatic. We’re not dying."
Recently, Jack and I have made some choices about our future. We’ve stopped thinking so much about bouquet tosses and started wrestling with what our married life is going to look like. We’ve spent a lot of late nights talking about how to weave our dreams together into one family. It’s been hard.
A long-held, quietly-kept dream of mine has been to get my master’s degree (MFA) in creative writing. I’ve been boiling on the inside for time, for connection, and for new adventure. Last fall, I decided that this was my year to go for it. Jack and I, already knowing we wanted to get married, decided I would pick seven schools, and Jack would look for jobs around those seven. Since Jack works in student affairs, and I would be attending a university, we thought we’d have a fairly good chance of finding something new. And boy (or girl) were we right! #inclusivity
Friends, Romans, country(wo)men, lend me your ears.
Recently, Jack graced us with his thoughts on our spending philosophy. It’s a great read, so check it out here if you haven’t already. This week, I’m tasked with examining something very important to me: how we think about the roles of women and men when it comes to getting married.
Here’s the rub. Weddings aren’t really my jam. I mean, yeah I’m on Pinterest. And sure, I’ve spent more than one night binging Say Yes To The Dress. And of course the PB+J Wedding episode of The Office still makes me cry. I’m not a monster. But I can count the number of weddings I’ve been to on one hand. I can count the number of weddings I’ve been in on one finger. (I was maybe 6, a flower girl, and my mom tells me I was a mess that day. Sorry, Aunt Teresa.)
Honestly, the whole process of courtship, loveship, and marriage has always made me a little uncomfortable. I think there are too many unspoken expectations on what men and women should or shouldn’t do when it comes to falling in love. The check dance. The jewelry hints. The backroom deals. The mustache twirling. I mean, wouldn’t it be easier if we all just spoke our minds?
Annie & Jack
Love. Marriage. Teamwork. Art. Offsetting the patriarchal footprint. These are some of the things we're thinking about.