Thursday, June 18, 2015

Why I'm Getting Married

I realize I have posted a lot of negative stuff recently about marriage and all the stuff that goes along with it. Comments, money spent, personalities changed, that sort of stuff. So, in light of all that, here's going to be a post about all the reasons I'm excited to get married! It's a buttery, mushy post, be warned.

Why I'm Getting Married (To Ricky, duh)

1. Automatic bed warmer
2. Permanent cuddle buddy
3. Immediate expansion of my movie collection
4. Someone who will take out the trash for me
5. Travel partner
6. Expansion in my taste in music
7. Someone to come home to at night
8. Adventures. Lots and lots of adventures
9. Important stuff, i.e. bedroom stuff
10. Automatic reason to get out of doing things you don't want to (Gerald would be home alone so...)
11. Someone to miss you when you're gone
12. Another opinion on house/yard decorating
13. Easier to achieve goals with them/automatic cheerleader
14. Someone to stay in shape for
15. Second family
16. A whole other person with experiences and likes and dislikes to force you to grow and experience new things with them
17. A reason to move to California
18. Date night buddy
19. Plus one for weddings. Always
20. Two incomes
21. Someone to fight with over stuff and you know they'll always come back to you
22. An unwilling but forced participant in your April Fool's day pranks
23. Bodyguard for going through haunted houses
24. Reason to watch all my favorite action movies
25. Whole other set of experiences to enjoy life with (for example, our family pictures will always be classy and gorgeous)
26. Inside jokes for everything!
27. Wuv, twooo wuv, wiw fowwow woo, fowevaa....
28. Someone that you love, who loves you back, who is there for you and has your back, even when you're wrong. 

Love you, honey <3

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

To Name, Or Not To Name

(Disclaimer: I thought for a long time about actually posting this blog. It's a wee bit controversial, especially in the U.S., and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. I really wanted to explore the reasons behind name changes and what that meant for me with marriage. I hope this is a little bit enlightening for all 17 of my readers.)

One of the scariest parts of marriage for me is the fact that I am expected to give up my last name. All growing up I was informed that that's "just how it happened." The girl gives up her last name and takes her husband's. It always seemed weird to me, and kind of wrong, the woman having to give up some of her identity get married. I thought that hopefully I'd come around when I found someone I wanted to marry. Then I found out that some people, and not just celebrities or established business-persons, don't take the husband's last name. And to me, that was like a ray of sunlight.

There's lots of reasons to both keep or change your last name. The reasons for changing can be as simple as hating the name you grew up with, to seeing that changing it made you a family and brought you both closer together. The reasons for keeping a maiden name are surprisingly similar. To quote Elliot from Scrubs, "But...his name is Dudemeister. I'd be Mrs. Dudemeister....I don't think I could take it." Add to that a lot of women have spent a lot of time building a professional career for themselves and have degrees with their maiden name on it. All those years of schooling and work for a name that is now moot?

Here's some statistics for you. Per Women's Health magazine, only about 10% of married women in the U.S. have kept their birth names. Another 6% choose to hyphenate. When polled about changing their names, many women said they did it because that's what they thought was expected. Speaking of expected, according to a Men's Health poll in 2014, 96.3% of men said they would refuse to take the woman's last name, (hypocrite much?) and 63.3% would be upset if the woman kept her birth name. Reasons range from thinking that she didn't value the marriage, that she was putting herself first, to feeling like they were being emasculated. That him taking her last name would be unmanly, and her not taking his name would detract from his masculinity. Theme much? Cutting through it all, it seems to me that men either feel she wasn't putting the relationship first, or that she was trying to undercut his manliness. These are valid ideas, however I'm going to throw a little more knowledge into the mix.

In countries where English is spoken, it is common for the woman to assume the husband's name upon marriage. This started in the U.K., and now extends to America, Australia, Pakistan, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Ireland, India, the Philippines, and English-speaking parts of Canada. Canada is a different case though, because of French influences. In British Columbia and Quebec, and new rule went into play in 1981 that made it technically illegal for women to change their last name upon marriage. This simply means that they have to go through a legal name change, and not just view the marriage certificate as legal proof of a different name. Makes it more equal and all. But, these countries are the only ones where this is the norm. Laying on some more knowledge:

Women in Greece, the Netherlands, Italy and France are required to keep their birth names, in Greece  and the Netherlands they can socially go by the husband's last name but officially keep their own last name.

Couples in Germany can adopt either name, there isn't a precedent for one or the other I found, they are working to make it more gender-equal.

In Japan couples have to pick one surname or the other. Typically the woman changes her last name, however if the wife's family is of higher status then the husband will take her last name.

In China and Korea the woman keeps her last name, as they view their names as handed down through tradition from their ancestors. The children typically inherit the husband's name.

So, if you consider the people who live in these countries, most women in the world don't change their last names. Asian countries typically have women keep their names due to heritage, and Western countries have been moving towards women keeping their names too. Countries that were heavily settled by England tend to expect women to change their names. How's that knowledge treating ya?

In light of all this, for some women it can be traumatic to change her name. Like I said, names describe who you are, hopefully you don't suddenly turn into a different person during marriage. Here's my personal opinion.

It's my name. It's been my name for years. My whole life in fact. It's something I'm proud of. In marriage, we are always told not to try and change the other person. Why change something so fundamental about your spouse, right from the get-go then?

Maybe I'm coming off as being fundamentally flawed, you know, like those people who argue that the Holocaust never happened and Anne Frank was a myth. But still, something about keeping the fundamental integrity of my name to myself kind of resonates with me.

I don't think all women should be required to keep their own name, nor do I think all women should be required to change it. I like the laws how they are, change them if you want, hyphenate if you want, change his name, or change both. The married couple should take a look at the business of last names and have a discussion on it, rather than just expecting that one or the other is going to happen. Plus, a marriage isn't based on names, despite what some people might argue. A marriage is based on thoughts and actions and words and deeds. My name doesn't detract from my commitment level.

For me, the jury is still out. I love my fiance, and his last name is fine. It would socially be easier, if more difficult professionally to make the change. I have 2 months until we go get that marriage certificate though, hopefully by then I'll have an answer.

Men, I don't understand why so many of you are so dead set against even considering changing your last name. If nothing else, consider this. By getting married, you will live 3-5 years longer thanks to your wife. In comparison, getting married will shave 3-5 years OFF her life. Just consider it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Of Mawwage and Mice, and also Advice

I thought I would share some gems of marriage advice I've gotten in the last two months. Some good and some bad, all of it kind of hilarious. Enjoy.

-Marriage is about vengeance. Sweet, sweet vengeance.

-Make sure that you let them know who's boss right away, and never let them forget it.

-Put a bunch of marbles in the freezer and when they're not waking up go get those marbles and toss them into the bed. They'll sink to the lowest point...namely their butt/side/face/warm parts.

-You're letting him pick what the groomsmen are wearing? How cute.

-Say something nice to them every single day, whether you feel like it or not.

-Make sure you get him to the doctors office every year, that way you know when he's going to die and you can help the process along.

-Support him and his dreams, don't crush them for a false sense of security. Be willing to take leaps with him and make sure that he'll support your dreams too.

-You think you're going to be sleeping in the same bed every night? You're so naive.

-Wake him up by running your fingers through his hair. It's really gentle and he'll love it.

-Find someone else to confide in, that way you don't annoy him with all your talking and ideas and complaints about life.

-You're going to get pregnant later this year right? Make sure he has a good job so he can support you and the baby.

-Name your first baby Stormageddon, then everyone will know how much of a Doctor Who fan you are.

Moral of the story, most people mean well, but everything should be taken with a grain of salt. Don't let people offend you, but instead think of the advice as a peek into their lives and mindsets. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Congrats, You're Engaged! Now Let's Tear That Down!

Here's part two of the previous blog. I have only been engaged for 6 weeks, and yet I've been exposed to some pretty terrible things people who should know better have said. Things people say to try and remind you how awful it is now that you're engaged to someone. Because, ya know, being engaged, the precursor to pledging to spend your life with someone is just so terrible and should be avoided at all costs.

So, this will probably be a mushy post, with a bit more aggressiveness than my last one. If you don't want mushy, go read about the war or something. Fair's fair though, I keep seeing all the passive aggressive posts where people whine about how everyone is getting engaged and having babies and how that's just TERRIBLE and ruining their day every time they see that. (The deeper question is, why? But that's another topic.) So, passive aggressiveness aside, here's some mushy aggressiveness about what you should really never say to engaged people. Because really, you're just trying to tear down their relationship. And that's meaner than kicking a kid's sandcastle.

You're going to have to marry that.
Well, yeah. Duh. That was kind of the whole point. Usually said when fiance does something funny or weird. This phrase tears down the person of your affections to a mere object, and that's not funny. I'm marrying a person, not a box of cereal. It also says that you're probably making a mistake, look how weird they are. I used to just laugh it off, but that's not ok anymore. Laughing it off is tantamount to agreeing with what that person just said. "Haha, yeah, I'm marrying that, poor me." Really though, what I've found works best is when you hear this phrase, you wrap your arms around your significant other, plant a big kiss on their face and say, "And I can't believe how lucky I am!" Usually people saying this are just trying to be funny, and I understand that for certain cases. Others of you though, should definitely know better.

We never get to hang out anymore, and I always feel like a third wheel.
Am I marrying you? No, get used to it. I really am trying to keep up my other relationships. I love friends, and I love going out and partying. Or at least having people over to watch movies. I know I always invite my fiance along. No he doesn't always come, but do you want me to purposely leave him out? He's my most favorite person in the whole world, so unless we specifically plan a girl's night. I'll be inviting him too. And because I'm a nice person, I'll bring along another third wheel for you to hang with. They'll even be funny and moderately good looking. This statement tries to make you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your significant other. Why should you though? Why would I be marrying someone I didn't want to spend time with? So excuse me, but no, you can't separate us.

You're going to get all fat and have a baby.
Um, what? First off, that's none of your business. I'll get fat and have a baby if I want to. Second off, how dare you imply what you're implying. The deeper meaning behind this is that they speaker is saying, "You're going to get overweight and out of shape because you'll get married and stop caring about your appearance anymore, and then you'll have a baby and your life will be ruined." That's a pretty hurtful comment to say to someone. Babies don't ruin lives, lack of willpower and caring does. Marriage won't break my will to live. If anything, this new journey has inspired me to try and be even better. I work out more now, I've lost weight, I've taken more care with my appearance. And as far as babies go, that's still none of your business. Also, since when did my appearance become the only thing that was important to me?

You're engaged? Why'd you go and do that?
Because I wanted to, because I want to spend the rest of my life with this person to the degree that no one else measures up. This statement again implies that being engaged is not a good thing to do, that pledging to live your life with someone is akin to a ball and chain rather than a step towards freedom. Seriously, someone to always have your back, to bail you out if you need it, to cuddle with at night? Yep, why would anyone ever want to go and do that?

So there you have it. Getting engaged is a little scary, it's hard when people poke those fears so they come out from under a rock and bite you in the tush. It also forces you to face them, so perhaps these passively hurtful comments are for a greater good, ya know? Still, don't say them to my face. I'll karate-chop you with my words.