Posts Tagged With: wife

the honeymooners

Our wedding was beautiful and now we’re resting and delighting in Barbados.

image

The view of the Caribbean from our balcony.

YBW keeps saying: My sweet wife.
Makes me giggle every single time.

Categories: love, peace and wellbeing, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the name dilemma

I read an interesting Buzz Feed article by Jill Gallagher: After My Husband Left, I Kept His Last Name
It resonated with me as I’ve been in the process of deciding what my name will be after I marry YBW.

I’d always just assumed I’d add YBW’s name to the end of my own name.
Then doubt crept in.
I was caught on the fence between the argument for and against.
Is my last name nothing more than “some man’s” name? Would trading one for another really make a difference?

I feel strongly that I’ve given up so much of my life to be in my relationship with YBW that holding onto that last bit of my “old life” felt important.
But here’s the reality. This name I carry is MY name. It’s my identity. I’ve had it for more than half my life. I’ve often said that if the former husband’s name was Jones I would have taken it just to get rid of Smith.
I have always despised my “maiden” surname. The name of a man who essentially abandoned me when I was just five years old.
I wanted the name of the man who really raised me, Grandaddy. But it wasn’t to be so.
So when I married the former husband at the age of twenty, I was happy to have his name. Not because it was his, but because it was my new name.

I’ve had my name for over twenty four years. I like my name. I identify with it. I don’t know if I’m ready to simply choose a new name and learn to own it. I don’t want to feel like I’ve given up any more of me.

On the other side of the fence is the fact that if I’m going to have “some man’s” name, it should be the man to whom I’m joining my life.

I had conversations with YBW, Sundance, and my friend and mentor about my change from knowing to confusion.

Sundance, in her perfectly direct way was adamant I drop my current name and take YBW’s. She finished her tirade with: Why do want any more to do with the former husband? So, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know where she stands.

YBW looked at it differently. He was very clear to assure me he never expected me to take his name as tradition dictates. He asked how I would do it: would I drop my middle name (which I love) and use my current last name as my middle and his as my last? Would I just have four names? Would I hyphenate? Mostly he assured me that he would support whatever choice I made.

My friend and mentor listened in her typical, patient fashion and really heard my dilemma. She told me she could hear me struggling.
Then she shared her story with me. When she and her husband of twenty-odd years divorced, she had a very similar conversation with her mother. She wanted nothing to do with the name of the man who did her wrong. Her mother reminded her that her sons had that name, that she would always be their mother. That was more powerful than the man.
She sat with that for a while and decided to add in her “maiden” name. The name that she got from her beloved father, the name that shaped her young life and prepared her for the world. She chose to use both her last names because each of them shaped who she had become.

I took all this information, these points of view, and mixed them together with my own and let them settle. I stopped actively thinking about it for a while.
And as I drove home on Tuesday, just as suddenly as I questioned it in the first place, the answer came to me.

Friday I read Ms. Gallagher’s article and immediately sent it to my friend and mentor with the following:
This article came at just the right time.
I’d actually decided a few days ago to hyphenate my name. Because it’s MY name. The name with which I made and raised my babies. Worked at the most wonderful job I’ve ever had. Met people who changed my life just by knowing them.
The name with which I made the scariest decision of my life.
I didn’t consciously know all those reasons until I started writing this to you. I just knew that was my choice.

To which she replied:
Oh my sweet friend! I so dearly and sweetly love you! You have worked hard to think about this decision about what to call yourself as you go forward. It is such a privilege to be with you on this journey. I so adore you and love you!

Her love is something I feel every single day, but this, this got me deep in my gut: privilege to be with you on this journey.
I’m not good at paying attention while on the journey, or even to the journey itself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a destination girl.
I want to get where I’m going…never much matters how.
But this simple sentence gave me pause. Made me stop and take a look around me.
The name I have is the one I chose. The name I share with my girls. For how much longer, I don’t know…Thing 1 has a ring on her finger and will eventually marry N. She’s said in passing she’ll most likely drop her middle name and use our last name as her middle then take N’s name.
Thing 2 has expressed her disinterest in marriage. She thinks she and D will most likely just “shack up” for however long and she’ll always have her name. I wonder if as she grows that’ll change?
Even though they’re girls and may not keep the name we share, we started our lives together with the same name. That’s important to me.
I am me. I’m not “some man’s” version of me. The me I am is a girl who owns her name and doesn’t really care how she got it.

I didn’t really know why it was important, this name dilemma, I just knew it was.
Isn’t it funny that within a few days of making the gut decision I read an article that helped me understand why my gut made that choice?
Perhaps it’s not really all that funny…I believe the universe puts what you need in your path even when you’re not looking.

I don’t think I’ll ever learn to be a “journey” girl, but maybe, just maybe I’ll take Ferris Bueller’s advice: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
With my own name AND YBW’s name.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

provoking thought

I talked about the questionnaire YBW and I had to answer for A, the church rector, for our “marriage counseling” meetings in the months leading to our wedding in how very Robynbird.

The first set of questions were about each of us personally, and we weren’t allowed to discuss them (questions or answers) before we talked about them with A.
They were personal, but not intimate. General, not terribly specific. But thought provoking nonetheless. They were completely focused on the self.
1. What are your life’s goals? How will your marriage facilitate your attaining these goals?
2. What personal strengths do you bring to a relationship?
3. What areas do you, as an individual, need to strengthen for the enrichment of your relationship?
4. Do you perceive any personal losses in sharing your life with a spouse, and potentially, family?
5. What benefits do you hope to derive through your marital relationship?
6. If you are currently living with your potential spouse, will marriage change your relationship, if so, how?

The second set of questions were more focused on us as a couple.
1. What are your expectations of marriage?
2. How do you you perceive the role of a husband?
3. How do you perceive the role of a wife?
4. How do you (husband and wife) perceive your role with your children?
5. Out of your experiences together, what strengths have emerged?
6. Out of your experiences together, what weaknesses have emerged?
7. How do you perceive your relationship with the church?

The second set of questions was a bit trickier. As much of a ‘girl power, votes for women’ kind of girl I am, I’m also really traditional when it comes to gender roles in marriage.
The husband as provider.
But while the wife makes martinis wearing pearls when her husband comes home, she can change the oil in the car and replace light fixtures and still fold the laundry like a boss.
I believe husbands can be great cooks, amazing dads…sometimes infinitely better parents than their wives.

I want a husband who will take good care of me in a practical way so I don’t have to fret about finances. But not to the point I’m left clueless.
I want a husband who will treat me with kindness and respect.
I want a husband who knows I’m a badass and isn’t intimidated by that.
I want a husband who loves me because I’m flawed, not in “spite of it”.
I want a husband I can be real with. A man with whom I can say what I think and expect the same.
I want a husband who is my partner. Who will hold my hand when something is scary and when it’s pants peeing exciting.
I want a husband who will rely on me. My opinions as well as my compassion.

We’re in a trickier but overall simpler situation when it comes to kids. YBW told me once that he didn’t like being a stepfather and didn’t want to do it again. As it turns out he really hasn’t had to be.
I think the biggest challenge for me is being mindful that our kids were raised completely differently. That has to be taken into account before expectations are placed. It’s hard to parent other people’s kids. To know that you only have “so much” say. But if I am mindful and come from a place of love that’s what that really matters.

As many strengths as our relationship has I think it has a pretty significant weakness.
We’re pretty crap at communicating about important stuff. So much so that sometimes I choose not to initiate conversations because I don’t believe we’re get anything resolved.
I do have a tendency to over-talk and this frustrates him. I’ve been working really hard at reigning that in. I even made an outline the last time I wanted to talk to him about things that were bothering me so I would stay on track.
I don’t think we’re hopeless…I think we just need to keep at it. And keep at it. And keep at it.
I need to tone down my sarcasm.
He needs to realize everything isn’t a personal affront.

We’re lucky to have each other. We know that. We do enrich each other’s life. I come at him from a place of love and believe the same of him.

The questions for these premarital conversations with A are doing part of what they’re supposed to do. They’re provoking thought.
We must make time for follow up dialogue.

Categories: wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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