A Confession

I needn’t go into all the reasons why, but a couple of weekends ago I had to go to the ER.  Feel free to make one of them jokes about doing an x-ray of my head and not finding anything. About 3:30 on a Saturday morning, I got up, tried to find clothes in the dark, and attempted to sneak out before I woke Chuck up. The thing is, I’m not a neat person so there was much rustling about in piles of clothes and more than a little cussing. I think it was the cussing that woke him up. He asked if I was okay. Yes, I said. I’m going to the hospital. He asked if I could at least wait until he put on pants.

“Did you think I wouldn’t take you?”

And this is when it dawned on me that I still don’t get this marriage stuff.

Of course I knew he would take me. I knew I wanted him to take me. But it is not easy for me–even after almost six years–to say I’m hurt and I need help. I realized one of the reasons for this is that I believe I’m not supposed to think marriage is a big deal. We didn’t need to get married. We both had jobs, we weren’t planning on more children, we had no farm to run. Marriage was the paper that said I choose you. I choose you today, and I’ll choose you next year when you’re complaining about your knees. It was paper that said we’d stick together even when plotting ways to escape. And I foolishly thought that’s all there was to it.

Because I knew so many people who chose not to get married and so many people who couldn’t get married, I thought it was just a formality. I was so determined not to let marriage define me that I missed the point. The point of marriage is that it does define me. My life is inextricably linked to another’s. You don’t have to be married to have that, obviously, but you’d better have it if you are to be married. There is nothing I do which exists in a vacuum. Every grocery store trip, every sweater I buy, every meal I plan, trip I take impacts my Other. And just as I fret because The Man Who Never Gets Sick comes home and pukes his guts up, he frets when I’m up before dawn trying to sneak out to the ER. And he frets less about what’s wrong with me and more about why I won’t let him DO SOMETHING like drive me there.

My problem has been that I thought I was too cool for school. I thought I could be married and still be single. I don’t mean mess around with someone. I really don’t see the point in being married if you’re going to dip your nib in someone else’s India ink. I believed there was weakness in leaning on another. The thing I missed is that the extra support makes me stronger. It’s kind of simple, I know.

I guess what I want to say is that I’m formally rejecting Generation X’s position that marriage is just a piece of paper. I need my husband, and this is why I married him. This is why I will stay married to him. This is why I believe anyone should have the opportunity to be married. It is more than a piece of paper. I don’t give a rat’s ass that you think it’s an antiquated system of oppression. I’m over all that. Marriage matters. If people like me continue to downplay the importance of it, it just becomes more difficult to make the case that marriage should be for everyone. If it’s not important, what does it matter that couple over there can’t get married? You just said it was no big deal.

I got married because life made more sense with my husband than without him. It still does. My goal for this year is to say that more. You know– to him. And I want to work harder to make sure that one special person, that one person you want to annoy the rest of your life, can check the MARRIED box when you have to go to the hospital at 3:30 on a Saturday morning.


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    That is a very great post loved it.

  2. I LOVE this post! As a single 40 year old woman, I try to convince myself that it’s okay and that I don’t need anyone, but then, like you, I got sick a week ago. I didn’t need to go to the hospital (although there were moments when I seriously considered it), but I did puke my guts up for about 15 hours. When I finally fessed up to being sick to my SO, his first words were “what can I do to take care of you?” I insisted nothing and continued puking. Finally, about 12 hours later when I was completely dehydrated, still not keeping anything down, AND we were in the midst of our first Chicago snowstorm, I called and asked him to bring me popsicles and anti-nausea medicine from Walgreens. He didn’t even hesitate to say yes and 30 minutes later, he was inside my house handing me a popsicle and anti-nausea meds. It was in that moment I knew what I’ve tried to deny for a very long time. That once in awhile I do need to be taken care of and I love that he does it so damn well and with ease.

    Your post gives me hope. Thank you.

  3. amy giles williams says:

    I love errrrrrything about this blog post. Hope you’re feeling better. I’m glad you have each other.

  4. twindaddy says:

    I believe all of that is possible without the piece of paper, but it’s great to know that you have that companionship whether you have the paper or not. Sometimes the hardest thing for someone to do is ask for help.

    This is an excellent post.

  5. Jeez, I was having such a good day, then you go and hold the mirror up in my face.

    1. Gita says:

      @rollingmyeyesattheworld (dang that’s a long handle): She was holding the mirror up to you while she was ferreting around in my brain. She found my “I don’t get the hang of marriage, kinda” brain cells and picked them. I’m going to wear tin foil on my head, and I suggest you do the same.

Just spit it out, already!

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