With many placing blame on the rape victim in the Steubenville rape case I have thought about how women are viewed in our society and what traditional views guide the way women are perceived in various circumstances. I have also questioned how important women’s rights and gender equality are to me. What I realized is that, despite some baby steps toward progress, women are still unequal to men, both financially and socially.
By accepting Jesse’s proposal last November, I acknowledged that I was ready to get married and spend the rest of my life with him. Until recently, I had not given much thought to marriage in the context of gender equality. I now realize that this topic should be discussed by all couples who are considering getting married.
A good friend of mine is a bridesmaid for one of her closest friends whose wedding is this summer. My friend has confided in me about her concerns about her friend. She has told me that her friend’s fiance is very controlling. This friend has to ask her fiance for permission to do practically anything. This couple already shares a bank account and this friend has, in so many words, told my friend that they probably will not see one another very much once she gets married.
I share this story because it is, in my opinion, an all too familiar case of a woman who is limiting her potential in order to be with a man. I will acknowledge that, in her view of reality, her relationship probably seems logical and she may not even feel like she is being controlled. (And, if she does, maybe she thinks that is how all relationships between a man and a woman are supposed to be.)
In my last post I discussed compromise in a relationship. I reflected on how challenging it can be to accept and support your significant other’s wants and needs if they conflict with your own. In this post I want to further reflect on the importance of support in a marriage.
I love the Practical Wedding blog because many of the posts address the difficulties couples encounter in a relationship and marriage. I think one of the biggest challenges I see myself dealing with is supporting Jesse when I am unhappy or not finding much success in my personal ventures (jobs, friendships, etc.). Already, I have spent a lot of time worrying and getting upset about moving with Jesse. Going to law school, Jesse will be embarking on this new, exciting journey that he’s been anticipating for years. Meanwhile, I am going to be searching for a job (not fun) and figuring out how to adjust to my new role as the sole financial supporter in our relationship (also not fun). Then there’s the stress that comes with adjusting to a new city and making new friends. And the cherry on top is not knowing how much time I am actually going to be able to spend with Jesse. Where is my silver lining in all of this?
Support has been at the heart of a number of discussions on a Practical Wedding. The posts I’ve read on this topic have helped me look at my upcoming situation with a more positive outlook.
In “Reclaiming Wife: Making Your Own Luck,” Emily reflects on the importance of setting yourself up for success and how having a supportive spouse makes the journey into an uncertain future easier to confront.
The beginning of Emily’s story sounds a lot like my own:
“Before graduation, my post-college plans were incredibly vague. I was going to get like… a job….When getting married became the new plan, I embraced it.”
Despite having almost six years of higher education under my belt I don’t know where to begin my job search. Sure I have latched onto a job idea here and there, but none of my ideas spark my enthusiasm (most likely because I am not ready to grow up). I am more eager about marriage because it will provide me with stability in an otherwise uncertain future. This uncertainty is scary because I have always been a planner. These past few months have been difficult because I have had to accept that there are circumstances that are out of my control and cannot be planned for. Emily points out that
“…it’s okay to not have a plan. It’s easy to get discouraged if you set a goal for yourself and you’re not quite sure how to achieve it.”