Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Respect Each Others Paths

You know, against my better judgment, I post my two cents to certain threads on message boards from time to time.  Even though I do it much much less than I used to, I still can find myself emotionally entangled by these "discussions".  Luckily, I'm wise enough now to know that I should quit early and I do.  Luckily, I have this blog to lay out my thoughts and get it all out.  Hopefully, I will learn that I shouldn't get involved in the first place because I really don't have the extra energy to spare.

Anyway, one such thread I posted to was about the fact that in regards to finances, it's more difficult to be single.  My comment was that while I'm happily married, I can't help but feel a little anxiety at the thought of being completely on my own financially.  I've never had the experience of living completely on my own having left from my parents house right to my husbands house.  It would be a real learning curve but I know within myself that I am resourceful and smart and that I could get on my own two feet.  Some folks responded to my comments as if I would stay in a horrible relationship because of what would, in my opinion, be normal anxiety at a complete change of lifestyle.  Others simply stated that they would advise all women to live completely on their own before marriage.  This was the comment that got under my skin.  There's nothing quite like someone implying that the decision you made for you life was wrong, or worse, stupid.  What happened to respecting other folk's paths and decisions?  Of course, I've wondered at times what life would have been like had I rejected the hubby's proposal and remained single . . . would I be amongst the statistics of women who are simply not getting married these days?  Maybe.  But that's really not the main point:  there is not one path for everyone and not more than one generation ago, it was the norm for people to move out of their parents home into their marital home.  Furthermore, as I have discovered, having married at a young age directly from my parents home, I have learned quite a lot--things that I see my unmarried or newly married peers are yet to grasp and may not ever grasp such as learning how to keep your mouth shut sometimes or letting your husband take the helm (not relinquishing your own power but acknowledging that things work better if one person is steering the ship and knowing the differences) or realizing that certain things you may think your husband can give you, he cannot and you're wasting your time looking to him for those things.  How was that for a run-on sentence? It's been interesting growing up within a marriage and I'm blessed to be with a man who really gives me the space to change, grow and be me.  At this point, I am firm in saying that if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the exact same way.  As it stands now, I'm done having children and by the time my children are fully grown, I will still be relatively young, which is awesome.  But even though it has been a positive experience for me, I wouldn't advise all women to get married at a young age out of their parents house.  I would say to listen to your gut (intuition) and make a decision that's best for you

Another thread about finances discussed the fact that some women feel the need to have a secret stash of money just in case.  My opinion is that unless there is some kind of abuse or gross mismanagement of funds, this is not necessary.  But I can respect that a woman may have that need inside her to keep something for herself, completely away from her husband especially if she has seen things go horribly wrong in her mother's relationship to her father.  I don't have that need.  I kept my own personal (pre-marriage) account until I couldn't anymore because I didn't have consistent income coming in and they were charging me to keep the account open.  I closed it and for a number of years, we just had one joint account.  During that time, I was able to develop a deep and abiding trust and confidence in my husband, which is priceless.  However, when I started my job, I got my own account in my name alone.  It certainly feels nice and is a huge boost to my self-esteem to have my own money yet I wouldn't say this is something every women must go out and do.   I (foolishly) shared my experience on this thread and the response was (and I'm paraphrasing), "You idiot! Don't you know that anything you open after marriage, your husband has access too?" Well, obviously!  Anything you do while married is potentially something your spouse could lay claim to.  That goes both ways.  So because you're married, now what? Don't invest? Don't open any accounts? Don't do anything for fear that your husband may one day go insane and try to take all your stuff?  I totally don't get it!  It kind of flowed along the same lines as the other discussion, i.e. it's best to be on your own completely before marriage and then to keep all your own stuff after.  Now, don't get me wrong:  I see nothing wrong with that approach but I also can acknowledge that other ways of going about things could work well too. 

Anyway, this post is more of a venting post that anything else.   I'm fascinated (and sometimes saddened) by all the different ways people approach this often challenging thing called marriage.  To each his or her own, I say.  It's a reminder to me that it doesn't feel good when someone decides how they did it was the best way to do it and is how everyone should do it and those who don't do it that way are  misguided, living in a dream world, stupid or just plain wrong.  It reminds me to respect the path and decisions of others--even if I don't necessarily agree.  And to stay the hell away from these threads.  LoL!


Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

Hit dogs will holler!

I completely understand your position. When I married my 1st husband I left from my mother's house. I did work and I was educated but never 100% on my own. When he died, the bottom fell out of my world. It's just as scary as you imagine. But I managed to figure things out.

Most of the time I was married to hubby #1, I was a housewife. Can I tell you the bile and nastiness I got from surprisingly women who resented my lifestyle!

Posts your posts. You have every right to. But don't go back to look at the responses.


Anonymous said...

letting hubby steer the ship? if im not part of that steering- aint no steering jumpin off.

The Original Wombman said...

Anonymous, lol, I can respect that. What works for one, won't work for all.

In my relationship, I have come to realize that some things, my husband is better at handling. I let him handle them. Other things, I'm better at handling. I handle them. I won't insist on being at the helm at the time . . . like they say, too many cooks spoil the soup. In my marriage, we have the things that we "do" and we do them well. We can help each other in those things though. I've seen situations where one partner is insisting they have to be involved in every aspect of running the household . . . many times, it leads to confusion and resentment. But that's my own personal experience.

80sBaby70sSoul said...

Sounds like you've found a good balance in your marriage. Congrats!

I often find myself in conversations with unmarried women who claim to know more about how to find a keep a man than I do. Eventually I throw my hands up and say "I guess that's why you're still single!" Rude, i know. But you can only lead a horse to water. You can't make 'em drink.

I don't claim to have all the answers and I don't think my way was/is the "right" way. I just share my experiences and hope for the best.

And in terms of letting your husband steer the ship, sometimes that's the best decision. As long as you are given the respect and space to share your thoughts on where yal are going...I'm cool with that!

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