I'm getting married in the fall. November. Prior to getting engaged I thought long and hard over one issue - my name. Will I change my name or won't I? If not, why not? I vacillated over the issue, blowing hot and cold from one day to the next. The reasons for changing my name to take my future husband's were:
Don't get me wrong, I am proud of the person to whom I am getting married. I love him dearly but I love myself too. I love my free spirit and I think I will make a better partner if I maintain my character, if I don't lose myself in the marriage and changing my name could be the beginning of such a transition. I summed up my thoughts by thinking of marriage as a joint venture rather than a takeover. As I was toying around with this analogy a good old friend came to visit. She quickly told me that after some years of marriage, she'd pulled out of the alliance. Her story of the marriage helped me clarify the analogy.
A joint venture marriage is easy to define. It's a partnership between two people where you look after each other and mutually discuss how household responsibilities will be divided. It is a healthy relationship in which each partner has a sense of self plus the knowledge that they are loved and appreciated for who they are rather than what they have or what labour services they are expected to provide. This is the sort of union I hope to form.
Now, the hostile takeover of a marriage: he has a character U-turn the moment your position goes from Miss to Mrs. Regardless of the fact that you both work (you might even have a more demanding job than him), he sees all domestic chores as a woman's responsibility. You do all the cooking, cleaning, ironing and washing of clothes. On all matters, it is his way or the high way because he is, after all, the head of the household. If you complain about this strict adherence to roles he spins some story about wanting to follow the "traditional" model of marriage (the model where woman fusses over man and man sits around waiting to be fawned over). "Tradition", dredged up time and time again by men who need to control their women. He convinces you that he is right, you're being too radical, so you decide to play the highflying career woman by day and the submissive woman without an opinion by night. A few years down the line, the compromise inevitably wears you thin, you don't want to play along anymore but more often than not it's too late, now you have precious little Johnny to consider.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I'm always thinking, debating, considering and revising my views - some of those deliberations will be shared right here.