Marriage Monday: This Is Not The End

The other day, while I sat in the Victoria’s Secret breakroom eating a snack, I overheard my 21-year-old coworker say, “I want to be married before I’m 24.” It fit into the context of the backroom processing conversation. Before I could say, “Nothing wrong with that,” one of my managers popped in with, “Girl, don’t get married before you’re 24! You’re so young! You have your whole life ahead of you!” Note that she is definitely under 24 and unmarried herself. She might even be younger than me.

I had to speak up. “Life doesn’t end when you get married…”

My manager said, “I’m not saying it ends, just that you can’t really do much anymore” while aforementioned coworker called out, “You know she’s married,” to her from the processing table.

Annoyed, I replied, “All you really can’t do anymore is date other people.”

“I don’t mean just dating people, I just mean, like, you’re married! You can’t go out and meet new people and travel and stuff.”

I stopped trying at that point. I knew arguing further would get me nowhere. I really didn’t care enough what she thought about marriage to try to convince her that her viewpoint was incredibly narrow. But what I wanted to say was that when you meet the right person, you don’t care about dating other people anymore. That won’t be something you miss. If you get married, it should be because you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, and only them. If you get married and then regret it, you probably shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.

And if getting married suddenly means you can no longer make new friends, travel, enjoy hobbies, maintain agency and autonomy, and fulfill your dreams, then honey, you have married the wrong person. Marry someone who wants to do life with you. Don’t compromise your hopes and dreams and goals for someone who doesn’t care about you being your own person. The right person will travel with you, make new friends with you, let you have your own friends, enjoy your hobbies with you or let you enjoy them by yourself, and will stick with you forever. Life does not end after “I do.” 

While I’m a big advocate of taking as much time as you need to make sure you’re ready and willing to be married before you make that commitment, but I’m also a big advocate of not telling other people how to live their own lives. If you believe that you’re ready to be married at 22, you understand what it means, and you really want it, then that’s great. If you don’t want to settle down until you’re 65, more power to you. As long as you don’t preach your personal philosophy on marriage to everyone else. Because life is so much easier when we live and let live.

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Tacky Tuesday: We Have An Interference

You know what’s tacky? And in fact, the tackiest of all tacky things? Offering your unsolicited two cents on someone else’s relationship. Obviously, there are exceptions to this: Urging a friend with an abusive partner to seek help and try to find a way out. If you know for certain that your friend is in danger in their relationship, then you say something. That’s obvious. A real friend just doesn’t not say something. But that’s not what this post is about.

There are many reasons that people tend to interfere in their friends’ relationships when they don’t need to. There are many motivations. Such as…

1. Friend wants to be in a relationship with their friend and would never be at peace with whatever relationship their friend was in, no matter who it was, if it’s not themselves.

2. Friend has a need for control and doesn’t approve of one thing and therefore has to say something.

3. Friend has a different idea of what makes a couple ready for engagement/marriage and thinks themselves a marriage counselor, despite no training or education at all.

4. Friend has preconceived notions about the internet, the kind of people who frequent it, and the manner in which humans get to know each other and become ready for a relationship.

5. Friend just wants to watch the world burn??

6. (Rarer) Friend is ignorantly judgmental about certain types of people and cannot accept their friend’s partner for whatever deluded reason.

 

If you recognize any of these reasons in a friend, do not feel bad for ignoring anything they have to say about your relationship. It’s your relationship, not theirs. Nobody knows your relationship better than you do. No one knows the ins and outs of your relationship than you do. However, if you ever feel unsafe or unhappy with a partner and want an outsider’s opinion, a true friend will tell you their objective perspective, but only when you ask. I recognize that my friends’ relationships are not my business, so I keep my opinions to myself. If they ask for my opinion, or if they appear to be in danger, I say something because I care. But until that happens, I let people live their own lives. I just wish that everyone thought that way.

Photographing People: Ten Tips From NomadRuss

For future reference. 🙂 Great article!

The Daily Post

Russ Taylor, aka NomadRuss, is a cultural documentary and NGO photographer, as well as wilderness guide who’s been leading trips for over twenty years. His adventures span the globe, from Southeast Asia to South America, and throughout the United States, too, which he documents on his photoblog.

From gorgeous landscapes to snapshots of people, his photography is varied and full of life, reflecting the many places he’s trekked and cultures he’s observed. Last fall, he published a blog post with tips on photographing people that is practical, accessible, and inspiring — and the accompanying images are incredible. We’re happy to invite him as a guest contributor to share it with you. 

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Marriage Monday: Cuddle-buddies

Everyone should have a cuddle-buddy. Well, unless you really don’t like human touch. If so, I respect that and will not force any cuddles on you. But for eVERYONE ELSE…

I’m just playing. There will be no forcing cuddles on anyone, because I already have a cuddle-buddy. I don’t need to seek them out from friends (though that is always nice) or strangers (because that’s weird), because I have my husband. A husband is like an eternal cuddle-buddy. You make those vows to love and support each other for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, and you get an eternal cuddle-buddy out of it. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

When Kurt and I first got married, it took about a month for us to become cuddle-buddies who could actually sleep through the night. It’s definitely something to get used to, having a person in your bed. No matter how many times I spend the night in the same bed with a girlfriend, I never sleep as well as when I’m in my own bed, by myself. But after 8 months of marriage–heck, after 2 months!–I never sleep as well alone as I do with Kurt next to me. We always fall asleep with our arms wrapped around each other, or at least touching somewhere. I usually have my head on his chest with his left arm around me and my left arm across his chest, my right arm wrapped around my own stomach. I love when he brings his right arm across and cradles my head or my neck. It feels safe. I feel loved and cherished. If we ever start to go to sleep not cuddling, it’s only because we’ve been fighting, and I can never go to sleep like that. We resolve everything completely and go right back to being all lovey-dovey and cutesy like normal.

I hope this never goes away, because it’s my favorite part of being married. I get home from work at the end of a long day and a long bus ride. It’s been cold and wet, and my feet hurt. Kurt gets home, smiles and kisses me, and we figure out what’s for dinner out of our sparse fridge. We sit down and watch whatever show we’re due to watch that night, be it Bones or Supernatural, or any of the countless other shows we watch together. It’s usually about midnight when we decide to go to bed, and I am super excited just to snuggle under the covers, bring my face real close to his and tell him I love him. The everyday problems of just starting out in the big city and trying to find ourselves and our futures together melt away like the Seattle fog in the middle of the day. We don’t even notice how it happened. We’re just happy because we’re together. It’s the best.