Wednesday, June 30, 2010

gender and the never-ending struggle

In my 24 years of being a female, I've learned that in certain situations, I'm going to get less respect than my male counterparts. For example, if I pay at dinner, the check gets returned to Steve to sign (almost always). I can deal with that. I may tip less than normal, but I can laugh it off. But, something happened yesterday that got my blood boiling.

As many of you know, I recently bought a new car. I saved for the car, I made the down payment, and my name is the only name on the paperwork. Yet, when the thank you note came from our salesman, it was addressed to Steve, thanking him for his business. Yes, he was there asking questions and did a lot of the corresponding with the dealership, but it shouldn't be assumed that when we went back to talk to finance that he was the one paying. Afterall, I was there too, and I wasn't playing the dumb fiancée role.

I imagine this will only get worse with the marriage, as I've seen many organizations call my parents' house, ask for my dad, only have him tell them that his wife handles the finances and hand the phone back to her. Even when we bought our wedding rings, the jeweler smirked when I said we were splitting the cost.

Steve and I are a couple who try to divide all obligations evenly. Housework, finances, etc. are both of our responsibilities. We're a team, a couple, and equals. Of course, sometimes he can afford to put more time or money toward things than I can and sometimes it's the other way around. I believe that's what the partnership of marriage is all about.

I know this is probably a fight I won't win, especially since I've decided to enter into a marriage - an institution that is built on traditional gender roles (unfortunately). But, I'll continue to fight it and am thrilled that I've found a man who respects my independence and pride.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Untraditional: A Matter of Perspective?

For those looking for expensive centerpieces, a huge cake, and the same vows they've heard at every wedding before, you won't find that at our wedding. Steve and I have known from the beginning that we wanted our wedding to be untraditional.

What's remained important to us all along is that we want the day to be about the promises we're making to each other and pure happiness; not an overpriced show. We wanted to take the wedding focus back to what we feel it should be: the life we're starting. So, don't wear a suit and tie because you'll be dressed more formally than the groom. This day is about family, love, and fun. And perhaps a little tradition because it's a tradition in my family to have a damn good time. :)

I'm not meaning to put down people who have chosen to do everything by the book with their weddings or implying that their days weren't filled with love and family support. I'm simply stating what's important to us in ours.

Some things that may be a little different at our wedding than what you're used to seeing:
  • Steve won't be wearing a tux and I won't be wearing a veil.
  • We don't have wedding parties.
  • We wrote our own vows.
  • Our guests will stand to make the moment more intimate (don't worry, the ceremony's very short).
  • We're having a cupcake cake!
  • No garter or bouquet toss will take place.
  • There might be some yard games involved.
We hope our guests will have a good time at our untraditional wedding. Perhaps, we'll start some traditions of our own!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Family - The Reason I'm Here

The wedding and life in general lately has made me think a lot about what family means. My family has always been my NUMBER ONE priority, and I'm truly blessed to have what I feel is the most loving and supportive family on the face of the earth. If I ever have a problem, no matter how big or small, I know they'll drop whatever they're doing to solve it for me the best they can. This is something that I've taken for granted at times. But, lately, seeing other families, I realize that a family like mine is a rarity.

When I wake up and go to work in the morning, it's not for me; it's for my family and all of those I care about. When I save money, it's to protect all of us; not just me and Steve. When a family member is sad, I can't rest until they feel better. I know that members of my family feel and do the same. My dad, for example, has given up everything he's ever earned to give me and my brother lives that we can be proud of and lives that we want. My mom supports my over-the-top liberal ideas even when she disagrees and has always trusted and encouraged me to march to the beat of my own drum (something I feel has made me the person I am today). And, my extended family travels miles to show their support for graduations and now, the wedding.

I'm also marrying into a family that is amazing. Despite many trials in the last couple years, my in-laws have not only remained strong, they've remained true to their love for each other. And, in that time, they were able to accept me and love me as one of their own. That's special and something that will never be forgotten.

Also, I'd like to point out that my family isn't limited to those blood related. I have friends who have gone out of their way when I am having a rough time or when big events in my life occur in ways that many blood relatives I've seen would not. This isn't lost on me.

I'm a lucky girl. I hope my families know that I appreciate their support and love more than they can imagine and that I will ALWAYS be here for them through every struggle they encounter. Families like ours are rarities these days and mine is something I cherish.