I recently had the opportunity to interview two good friends of mine, male and female, regarding some of their views on marriage and feminism. The commonality between these two is that they are recently engaged, to be married sometime in fall 2012, and they have positive views on feminism. Perhaps like some of you, they didn’t always feel this way, so read on!
The following interview was done on the phone with Lauren, whom I met in trapeze class last September. She has been one of the most supportive people in my quest for airborne grace! Read on to hear her thoughts on marriage, family, and feminism!
Me: You recently got engaged! Congratulations. Who proposed to whom?
Lauren: thank you! he proposed to me, although I had a feeling it was coming. I definitely knew it was coming that weekend; we had planned to go to St. Mary’s where he went to college… on the fourth of july they have fireworks… it was a tradition of ours to go, and it was where we met, so I thought he would probably propose that weekend… he had packed everything… and he took me to a secret beach where we were out on the water, he got down on one knee and it was perfect.
Me: How long have you been together?
Lauren: It’ll be 3 years in November, but we’ve known each other for about 5 years, we were good friends for a while before we dated.
Me: Had you ever discussed your engagement before?
Lauren: yeah, we had discussed it right before we moved in together, because that’s a pretty big step. I definitely wouldn’t have moved in with him if I didn’t want to marry him. I wanted to live together for about a year before we’d get engaged. We wanted to talk about our life goals, that way we knew we were compatible way before he proposed. We both felt very confident in the decision.
Me: How long is your engagement before your wedding?
Lauren: Well, ok, so we don’t want to be engaged for too long. We thought it would be good to have it Sept 2, 2012 on Labor day weekend. Someone pointed out that the Grand Prix is that weekend next year, so we’re probably pushing it back to Columbus day weekend. I was kind of grumpy at first, I don’t like the Grand Prix anyway. I am glad someone pointed it out, though.
Me: Since you two already live together, how much do think will change?
Lauren: I say the biggest thing that will change will probably be combining our finances. He owns the house, so I would probably get myself on the mortgage. Right now I write him a check every month since technically I’m a tenant of his. We would then pay the mortgage out of a joint bank account.
Me: What appeals to you about marriage?
Lauren: Wow, that’s a big question. I like the idea that we are in some sort of official way, in a permanent relationship. We’re committed to each other. I’ve always known it but it’s nice to actually know he wants to be with me for the rest of his life. To actually hear that, is a wonderful feeling. And I hear… there are tax benefits, but I don’t know. We’re basically a married couple already, but we know we’re in this for the long haul and we can plan our lives around each other.
Me: What in your life influenced your concept of what marriage will be like?
Lauren: I think both John and I were very lucky in the sense that we have parents who have been together, their marriages have worked out from the beginning. We’ve had very stable family lives. It’s been a really awesome example and constant reminder of what a relationship should be, to look at my parents. Also, John and I are very similar to my parents. They have 30 years together and are very happy, and they have a similar dynamic to their relationship. If it works for them, it will work for us. It’s very encouraging.
Me: What about the wedding are you most excited for?
Lauren: I’m excited to just have it be an awesome party. At this point in the planning stage, I feel a little overwhelmed. I’ve never really been a social hostess sort of person. Thinking about decorations and catering… it’s a new world to me. We literally had not made any decisions other than we’re getting married. We want everyone we love to come to a big party. We just want everyone to have an awesome time. If that happens I will be super excited.
Me: How many guests do you plan to invite?
Lauren: Not huge, most pricing is per person. We’re hoping for 150. It’s a little tough because John’s family is really big. I think we’ll have to send out a preliminary round of invitations to see who can make it. And then we can send them out to people who are not family, but whom we really want to be there…. you only have one wedding, so as long as we are not going to fail at life due to lack of money after the wedding, we’ll do what we can afford.
Me: Is your wedding more for the two of you or for family and friends to see or both? why?
Lauren: That’s a great question. Initially I thought I wanted it to be all about John and I. I still feel like when it comes to the big picture… it’s about what we want. I was talking to my mom, I could tell she was a little shell-shocked or overwhelmed…. she said she was happy I was getting married and proud I’ve been getting organized (I have an excel spreadsheet comparing prices). She told me she’d like to be a little more involved. It should be what John and I want, but definitely make other people happy. For both our parents, we’ll be the first kids getting married… I’d like to get my mom more involved. I know she won’t be bossy, this is her last big thing to be a part of before I do things on my own as an adult and I want to give her that.
Me: How do you feel about feminism?
Lauren: It’s funny, I had a really negative opinion of it going into college. I guess my only examples before going into college were very extreme views. I am not an extreme person. I think anything taken to an extreme can be bad. When I got to college, I met a lot of strong feminist people, women and men, it’s not about hating on men, it’s about appreciating women, and the way women and men interact. College really changed my view on it. I’m much more positive now.
Me: How does your fiance [John] feel about feminism?
Lauren: We’re very on the same page. He actually came into college feeling the same way I did. He dated a girl in college for a year and a half who was very feminist, and although they broke up, I think he came out of it with a bigger appreciation for feminism. We’re definitely on the same page now.
Me: If John is having a rough day, how would you react?
Lauren: Well that happens sometimes. John and I react to tough days quite differently. I tend to vent immediately, I say everything that’s on my mind at the time even if it doesn’t make sense. John tends to get very quiet. It made me panic at first, like ‘is he mad at me?’ I have learned though, when he gets quiet I think he’s kind of giving himself a talking-to in his mind. I let him know I’m here and he can talk if he’s upset. I think one of the best things is we don’t harp on the issue, we watch a fun TV show or movie that we really love. I think that makes it easier to talk about it later, what is really wrong. Its definitely something I had to learn, though.
Me: Do you hope to one day have children?
Lauren: At this point, not really. We’ve talked about this a lot. At this point in our life, we so do not want children that it’s difficult to imagine wanting them. We’re both open to the fact that maybe we’ll change our minds but for the foreseeable future we’ll be moving around a lot, we’ll be busy a lot. I’m not convinced I would be the best mom. I’m not super-domestic. I like a lot of change. I like to travel a lot and do things with John sporadically. I think at this point in our lives children would be a huge added stress. I was adopted, my birth mother had me very young and wasn’t ready to be a mom. I have always been really cautious about being 100% ready and being very safe. I just would have to be 100% sure I wanted it, and I’m nowhere near that right now. Some people look at me like I’m an alien when I say that. Some people are born to have children, and that’s cool. You don’t want to raise a child in a family that’s not 100% devoted to the child.
Me: What is your next step right now?
Lauren: That’s probably the biggest question yet. I think I really want to find something that I’m passionate about. I got this job at another college. I had no idea what it was when I took it. It’s nice to have a steady secure job, but it’s nothing I’m passionate about and that bothers me. I’m trying to find what I’d be willing to do every single day. I want to focus on the commute aspect first. Right now I commute four hours every day. And I’m not a workaholic by any means- I want to do other stuff with my life when I come home! This job doesn’t allow for much wiggle room as far as extracurricular activities go. I’ve been …[looking around for other closer jobs], it’ll be a baby step, but at least it’s closer to home. I’m just tackling one problem at a time. Once John gets his PhD he will apply for teaching jobs. I hear schools get 100s of applications per job, so when he does find a position we will probably just move there. I am so excited to do something completely different. I would love to move to alaska or abroad. It will be really hard to move away from all the people I love, but it’ll be an awesome excuse to start something new.
Me: Why did you choose this time to get engaged?
Lauren: I think it might be easier to answer why we didn’t get engaged at other times. I didn’t want to get engaged during college, college is very different than the real world. You get totally different stresses in the real world. I think it was important to experience some of those events together before deciding this is forever. I also wanted to live alone for like a year, maybe out of stubbornness. I wanted to prove I could do it all on my own. I always missed him and wished I was living with him. At this point I’m glad I did it. It was a period of independence. Then we lived together for a year because we wanted to make sure we were living-compatible. I wanted to make sure he wasn’t the messiest person I’ve ever met and he isn’t. So two years in college, two years on our own, and one year living together: it was a good amount of time to know that we could do it together.
Me: What do you think of the marriage amendment recently passed in New York?
Lauren: Oh I am one thousand percent for it- I was very excited! I am a big supporter of equal rights for everyone no matter anything. We’re all human beings and it think its absolutely ridiculous to tell anyone who they can love. I think some of this stems from my adoption background. It doesn’t matter who people are race-wise or sexuality-wise, children are born into awful households every day. I think to deny a gay couple a child is absolutely ridiculous. I was excited for new york!
Blessings on you my friends, Mazel Tov, y tenga un casamiento feliz!