Advertise With Us||Links||
Submission Guidelines||Subscribe to Feed||Contact
A Lady Laments About Marriage
by Jennifer Philo
It's hard to read a headline like that and not immediately think of Al and Peg Bundy, at least if you've been alive long enough to remember the show. If you haven't been alive long enough to remember the show, please inform your parents you're on-line and a twenty eight year old, unmarried mother of two is about to reveal all of the hushed subjects they've been putting off since your own conception. In lieu of you, of your now stressed parents, childless couples everywhere and to those anticipating cupids arrow this Valentines' Day, I dedicate this article.
The show was a comedy, a simple, sardonic half hour sitcom about a shoe salesman and his under-sexed wife living with a promiscuous teenage daughter and a smart-mouthed son. Although it made us laugh (and in some cases made men sneer at the remote possibility of having a wife or girlfriend who wanted to have lots of sex), the show was a far cry from the glorious world of Ozzy and Harriet or June and Ward Cleaver that our parents had to endure a few decades before. Shows like Married with Children, Roseanne and even Just the Ten of Us (please tell me I wasn't the only one who watched it) put the fun back in dysfunctional and had us looking at our own lives in a whole new perspective. We didn't buy into reaching for the stars; we aimed for about waist high and felt proud of our decision and finally our televisions reflected that.
I bring up the shows of my youth not just because I lived/ live vicariously through the t.v, but because it was a pivotal point in my own perception of how my parents' marriage related to the "norm". It validated that parents got angry with their children. It confirmed that yelling was in fact a form of communication. It reassured the world that even if you moved to an elite neighborhood, there was a slight possibility your son's best friend would be named Boner (Growing Pains, come on people). Above all else, the new revolution in television proved that love and marriage took more than a batch of homemade cookies and Stepford-like children to work.
Love was never the hard part, even outside the realm of television. In fact, my eight year old greeted me at the door recently to relay some very exciting news. He and a fellow classmate were in love and apparently plan on attending the fifth grade prom together, that being two years from now. I smiled, tucked him back into his Incredible Hulk comforter, kissed him on the forehead and then proceeded to ingest more asprin than warning labels recommend I take. Last week girls were, and I quote, "gross"; this week we're picking out prom dates. That's how quick love works people. Even in the world of eight year olds, love is alive and well. On the flip side, my three year old still considers me his girlfriend and in a few years will understand how "gross" that was.
Love is defined by Websters as "a strong affection or liking for someone or something". Marriage is defined as "the state of being married" (o.k...) or "a union". Now, I don't know about you, but I don't put merit into a definition that uses the actual word you're trying to define in said definition. Quite honestly, I never put much stock into marriage at all. Marriage to me seemed more like an establishment than a celebration of love everlasting. Aside from being introduced to the more patriarchal rules and regulations of marriage at a very early age ("My name is Jennifer and I'm a recovering Catholic...") traditions that were implemented thousands of years ago are no longer applicable, at least in mass quantities, to our society. Women no longer have dowries, monarchal and tribal mergings exists in a world far away from the small confinement of Vermont, and my personal favorite, arranged marriages, are seldom announced in your local paper under Weddings and Engagements. Despite having indisputable evidence that marriage is nothing more than a piece of paper and a blood test, Matt and I are getting married at the end of June this year. Settle down children, I'm not sewing on my scarlet letters rendering me a hypocrite just yet.
In light of my own discoveries and theories concerning marriage, I've always seen adjusting rules and bending regulations beneficial in numerous walks of life. From helping children do homework beyond our comprehension ("I'll just check your answers on this calculator") to inviting Betty Crocker and her fabulous one box creations to your next potluck event, we constanly tweak the rules of engagement to accomodate our ever-hectic lifestyles. Using this philosophy in respects to marriage proved to be no different. Matt and I have been together for ten years this past October. We have two children, a house, two vehicles, a dog and a cat under our proverbial belts. To further exploit how together we are, we work at the same hardware store. What if we looked at marriage as the prize at the bottom of the Cracker Jack box rather than the start of the feeding frenzy to find it? In other words, why not take the journey together instead of waiting to see the fairytale begin after you say "I do"?
Ten years is a lot of time to get to know one another. In fact, one might argue that we've earned our right to get married. We've made it through ten years of good and bad times, and patiently saw each other through the really bad times. We watched the time pass together as my contractions for each child hit and patiently held one another close when our youngest drifted off into a medically induced sleep under the watchful eye of a plastic surgeon; twice. We've also watched each others waist lines expand and felt no apprehension when it came to telling one another that fat isn't fun at any age. After all of this, we still love each other, so we're going to get married.
Getting married shouldn't be about being able to wear Vera Wang or china patterns. Getting married should be about an evolving friendship that doesn't dull after Lionel Ritchie sings some ode to ceiling dancing. When Matt and I get married, we know what to expect. I expect that he'll still make me laugh when I need to, he'll still make me cry over stupid arguments and he'll still make me angry for not rinsing the cups after drinking milk. And I'll expect to love him unconditionally for all of these things (the milk thing is pretty annoying though) and more.
As the song says, love and marriage "go together like a horse and carriage". Please note that it didn't specify which one has to come first. We assume the horse has to pull the carriage, but after doing a little investigating, you'll find that by tweaking the carriage, it may run without Mr. Ed's help at all. Don't use marriage as a reason to be together. Use marriage as the final step in a union that you took the time and effort to work at, for the sake of keeping love alive. Mr. Ed will thank you for it.
Jen learned everything she knows about housekeeping by watching Mr. Belvedere.