The Romgi: Frenemy?Posted: September 16, 2009 Filed under: War and Peace 7 Comments
I read Graceling by Kristin Cashore last night – I’ll post a review soon, but in the meantime I wanted to rant a little bit about something the main character expressed in the book…
Does the majority of society view marriage as confining, restricting, and a hinderance to one’s independence? Do they see marriage as a fundamental change to one’s nature, for the worse? Is it a loss of a woman’s identity?
I won’t pretend that there are no sacrifices involved in marriage, and certainly on a basic level we give up a certain type of relationship with others and commit to our spouse. But I wouldn’t call marriage a cage. I don’t feel trapped. It’s an immense comfort to be so inextricably linked with my best friend, to know that we are each a top priority to the other. If I have changed, it’s for the better. Spouses uplift and edify each other, working together to improve. To me, it’s a beautiful partnership, one that is definitely worth any freedoms I might have had to give up (though honestly, I don’t feel like I have given much up).
I think the Romgi and I have together expanded, expounded upon, and refined my identity. I don’t feel a sense of loss for who I once was, or that I said goodbye to anything fundamental about me. Instead, I am more myself now than I was before – a better self, as I said. I think marriage makes us more than the sum of our parts. We’re better people as spouses than as individuals. The Romgi is not my enemy for taking away my identity. He’s my best friend and has completed me (awww, sappy).
And now I’m done ranting, because the Bwun is tearing a napkin to shreds. Feel free to share your thoughts – and don’t hesistate to disagree with me; I want to hear what you think.
To be honest, I think those that don’t know who they are before they get married, and are looking for someone to complete them, are the ones that may feel they have lost themselves, only because I don’t think another person can complete you. I think another person can inspire you to be your best version of yourself, and you can have a relationship that is complete because of what you each bring to the table. I have never felt that marriage has made me lose my identity (if anything – working too much or not focusing on the right things in life have made me lose or forget pieces of myself). I don’t feel trapped by marriage – in contrast – I feel that more opportunities are open to me because of that step I have taken. There are places I can’t end up (Thinking of glories and the Celestial Kingdom) without my spouse. I need him, he needs me. Because I now qualify for that blessing, I am free to focus on something truly difficult – you know – like having charity or some thing crazy like that.
I don’t disagree with what you said, I just have an idea or two to add.
Personally, I think that anything you do in life is about sacrificing something. There are just a lot of parts of life that you can’t do at the same time. You can’t be at two different colleges, you can’t be both single and married, you can’t even sleep and be awake at the same time. Granted, I’m sure that someone could come up with exceptions to all of those things I just listed, but fundamentally, life is about choices.
For me, the choice to be married, and to make that my life is much better than the choice to be single me, even though that life wasn’t bad at all. While I give up some parts of my single life to choose married life, I gain a lot of great things in the process. I think unhappiness comes from any decision when you can only look at the things you lose from one path, and stop looking at anything you might have gained in the process. I’ve found much more happiness, comfort, peace, and security in being married. While it is a sacrifice of some things (honestly, I’m having difficultly thinking of what I’ve really given up, apart from perhaps spending money without thinking about anyone/anything else), it’s a choice that I made. This is more empowering than demeaning.
No one forced me to get married. My identity is still growing and changing with me, just in a different role, and with different assistance than it would have if I’d chosen not to get married when presented with the opportunity. I like that Nate influences who I am–I like who he is, and that I influence him too. That’s why we got married–we like each other and our identities. I’m sure I would have been influenced by other people anyway if I hadn’t gotten married, and would have still grown and progressed there too. Being married really has just allowed me to pick who my most constant influence is, and he happens to be someone I think is pretty swell, and I’m glad we’ll grow up together.
Yes, I think a large part of society sees marriage as a bad thing. But how it is for you depends on how you see it for yourself. I’m thinking of getting married myself one day . . .
And did the Bwun EAT the napkin?
this is an interesting topic that i have been thinking about a ton in the past year since my boyfriend and i are coming up on five years. i’m really enjoying reading people’s responses! i wish there were more! i know i’m going to get some flak for this since everyone that has posted so far is married but right now in my life i do see marriage has a hindrance and something that i definitely do not want a part of. i love my boyfriend and i think we’d make great spouses to each other and there have been times where i’ve thought i could just run away and marry him that very day. we discuss marriage at least once a week and talk about our future together daily but the thought of planning a wedding and living together forever does not sound good to me.
i know that marriage offers comfort, security, support, and that seeing someone you love everyday shouldn’t be something to dread but at this point in my life i would feel tied down. i am getting ready join the peace corps and move to africa for two years. it would be very difficult to do this if i were married. after that i want to go to grad school and if i were married i would have to consider my husband, his career and goals, his side of the family etc. the career i plan to have demands long hours and hard work and i can’t be expected to care for someone else in the way that husbands should be cared for. nor do i want to be obligated (legally or otherwise) to have my finances be intermingled with his. if i decided that moving abroad would better my career i would have to think about how moving would affect his career options. and i’m even talking about kids right now! basically, i know what i want for myself and i don’t want anything to get in the way of it because i know how much these goals mean to me. if i had to sacrifice any of these things i would be resentful. i know this because i’ve given it years of thought.
on the other hand, marriage feels like the next step in our relationship. i’ve always known that if i did get married, i’d marry him. we’re an awesome couple and we could do awesome things together. we’d be a great team, great parents blah blah blah. plus i don’t think i could buy a house on my own without another income. and i really really really want a house so maybe one day i’ll be married and buy a house and share my money. but not now. i’m moving to africa. and i want to have the freedom to stay in africa if i like it or move to wherever without feeling guilty about leaving someone behind.
i have a strong personality and identity and if i became a wife than i could add to that identity. though, i do believe that i feel like part of my identity would be lost if i took his last name upon marriage. he said he would be happier if i took it, but i don’t want to. so that will have to be addressed somehow. anyway, i feel like this answer is disjointed and sounds a bit hostile compared to all the others that agree with you. but yeah, i think marriage can be great but it could also be horrible. so what do you think, should we get married? just kidding. i guess i just don’t feel like it’s something that needs to happen right now and can wait. and i’m really good at procrastinating. :)
While I am in the camp of people that may not get married, I do agree with your views Mika. Very well put. I think that you need to know who you are going into a marriage. Being secure in your own identity allows you to grow with your partner and me able to become better people as a unit and individuals. Kevin and I may have settled on the term “life partners,” but I feel as though he has done nothing but give me strength and show me who I am.
I don’t think any father could be more pleased than I am with you and your choices, Mika. It is delightfully satisfying to see that your intelligence and eloquence are in full bloom.
I’d just like to add a couple of observations from the male perspective. It may be true that many men get married and expect that they now have a full-time support system that will allow them to pursue whatever education, career, or even years of foolishness they might want. The smart ones will quickly realize that they may need to change goals, change careers, put aside some dreams in order to make sure that the most important thing in this life is nurtured and cared for properly, and that is family. Some of us learn it over a lot of years, and some never learn it at all. No offense intended to Jessica, but “I want to do the Peace Corps, I want to do grad school, I want to keep my money separate, I want, I want, I want…” is exactly what you need to learn to let go of in order to find something better. That isn’t just for women, it’s for men as well. If we are really that focused on what we want for ourselves, then why be in any relationship?
Just some thoughts from an old married man (35+ years and loving it.)