Our guest blogger for this month is Felicia Peoples the co-editor of my book The Art of Starting Over.
Have you ever really paid attention to traditional marriage vows? “Trust, honor and obey; Til death do us part; I now pronounce you MAN and wife.” Really? We all have our opinions of how these vows should really read but who takes the time to really execute them once the ceremony is over. It’s tradition and in keeping with tradition, men and women by the thousands take these vows every year. The institution of marriage and the principles and ideas surrounding it is steeped in tradition. Years ago, a woman’s future plans and ambitions were to become a wife and mother. Even women who went to college had a secondary, if not primary, goal of finding a husband while there. Traditionally, once married, the husband worked and the wife stayed at home to take care of him and the children; and yes, you were expected to want children. If a woman wasn’t married by age 25, people began to look at her sideways. If a couple was married and didn’t have children, they were pitied and people wondered which one of them couldn’t make it happen.
Although society and some of its ideas about marriage and family have changed significantly, many of these traditional ideas linger on. There is no problem with this unless you are allowing these ideas to dictate your happiness or lack thereof. What if being married and starting a family by age 25 doesn’t fit into your plans? What if you’d rather wait until you’re 40 and have accomplished some of your personal and career goals? Is it strange if you and your husband have a long distance relationship because you work in different states? Are you abnormal if you and your partner consensually decide to have an open relationship? If you’re financially successful and in a loving marriage but don’t want children, are you selfish?
The answer to all these questions is…..there is no answer. Instead, you have to focus on making decisions that work for you (and your partner) regardless of how different they are from the ideas of traditional society, your friends or family. We are so quick to accept ideas and principles just because that’s how it has always been. But maybe these rules don’t work for your life now. Should you decide when to marry, whether to start a family, or whether to work or stay at home based on someone else’s ideas of what a happy marriage looks like? Absolutely not! Make decisions in your life and marriage that work best for you and your partner….period. There are no right or wrong decisions; just what’s right or wrong for you.
To illustrate this, I must allude to the Bible of Life: “Sex and The City;” the movie (part two). Carrie and Big made two extremely non-traditional decisions that worked for them. First, they decided to never have children. Although a happily married couple, they decided that children just didn’t fit into their lifestyle as a dual career, social, NYC couple. They even had rings engraved to commemorate the decision: “me and you; just us two.” Second, they decided to retain Carrie’s old apartment so that once or twice a week, one or the other could go over there to have privacy and space. He wanted to lie in bed and watch TV, which irked her, and she needed the time away to clear her head so she could write. They had both been single for a long time and found that, though madly in love; they still needed a little space from time to time. Her friends thought it strange at first, which made her insecure, but in the end, they ended up using the apartment themselves when they needed a little R&R away from hubby and home.
So whether it’s separate apartments or separate bedrooms, no children or 10 children, marriage at 20 or marriage at 40, the choice has to be solely dependent on you and your partner. Even if it’s choosing swinging over monogamy, the survival of your marriage and personal happiness depends on you being brave enough to make the choice that’s best for you.
Doing You……Now that’s presidential
Felicia is a Writer/Editor and Attorney. You can find her blogs at: Lounge Around Atlanta (loungearoundatlanta.blogspot.com) and The Other Half of the Journey (theotherhalfofthejourney.blogspot.com) As I mentioned she worked on The Art of Starting Over. She has a writing and editing service: Word Mogul (website: wordmogul.com) email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Babying Your Marriage When Trying to Conceive (babyzone.com)