Hands down, the question I have been asked most frequently in the last six months is "How is married life treating you?"
"Exactly the same as before except now I have more paperwork to store" is apparently not the right answer, even though it is the truth. Nothing has changed. Personally, I'm glad; I didn't really want it to. But in every conversation I have about this, I come away feeling like I'm doing it wrong, like I am being silently judged, like that one kid at the party who pops one of the balloons and the whole room goes quiet and stares at them because that is not how you balloon.
Well you know what? Sod that.
Before we got married, we were happy. We cared for and about each other. We treated each other fairly and with respect. We wanted to spend all our spare time with each other. We made each other laugh - sometimes on purpose. Why on earth would I want that to change? After being together, and living together, for years, why would six months with an additional piece of paper in the cupboard make any of that any different?
I think I was "supposed to" change, to adapt to fit a gender roll. Be Mrs Wifey McWiferson. To do laundry because I Am Wife. To wear cute dresses and do my hair to look lovely because I Am Wife. To start reading blogs, books and magazine articles written by other wives because I am now part of some elite club that the poor unmarrieds cannot simply understand or relate to. Oh sorry, did I say that out loud? I meant to say because I Am Wife.
I won't let myself be one of those people who changes their entire identity into being just a wife. I have more to offer than that. I am first and foremost Squarah. My relationship status cannot come before that.
I hear so many people around me saying things like "I should learn how to bake muffins so I can be a good wife", or, "I was a good wife today, I hung all the laundry out on the line and now our house smells like daisies and kittens and lovely girly wife smells." Paraphrasing of course. There is nothing in this world that could inspire me to want to be a "good wife". I think I have a good relationship and I try to be helpful and do my bit, but I just can't bring myself to be so freaking hetero-normative.
Somebody told me recently that I should do something because it was "my duty as a wife". Naturally, I did not do it. I did not even consider it. I do not believe I have a "duty", but if I did it would be to be true to myself and do things that I believe to be meaningful in my relationship, regardless of what any other jobsworth thinks.
The biggest thing in all of this, I think, is that I don't identify at all with the word 'wife'. Toben and I agreed to call each other Thing One and Thing Two because we just weren't 'husband and wife'. And 'hubby' makes me feel squeemy and icky, so that's out. I know it makes it sound like we weren't ready to get married if we can't deal with being husband and wife, but that isn't it at all. We are completely committed to each other, just not to gender stereotypes.
I'll leave with this glorious little nugget. An older woman on the island said to me it must be about six months I've been married now. I did a quick count up because I have really not been keeping track (see above with the whole fail wife thing) and said that was about right. Her response?
"Well, you're looking awfully well for it, considering."