When I got married last year, I vowed to love, honor and cherish my husband, and I feel strongly about the commitment we made. Marriage means I can’t be as selfish as I’d like to be sometimes because I have to consider his needs as well. It means that I now think in terms of “we” more often than simply “me.” However, there are some things I won’t do for him.
I absolutely refuse to say I agree with him when I don’t. I grew up watching exactly that kind of marriage play out and I will never demean myself like that. Agreeing with his opinion just because he’s the man is an antiquated relic of old-school marriage, the kind that encourages women to be subservient to their husbands in every way, including refusing to openly disagree with him. My opinion is just as important as his and I’ll make sure my voice is heard.
I won’t give him a free pass on chores just because he’s a guy. Believe it or not, there are still guys out there who think cooking, cleaning and laundry are “women’s work.” Thankfully, he’s not one of them and I would never put up with that disrespect. As long as men still need food, a nice home, and clean clothes, they can share in the responsibility.
I refuse to watch lame movies I’m not interested in just because he likes them. I love spending time together when we’re doing something we both enjoy, but I’m going to be honest if he suggests watching Rambo or something equally unappealing and I’m just not feeling it. I wouldn’t expect him to watch The Notebook with me either, so it’s a two-way street of respect for each other’s preferences.
I won’t let him make decisions about my career. If I’m considering a career change, of course I’ll discuss it with him because he’s my partner, but ultimately it’s my decision because it’s my career. I’ve been a professional a lot longer than I’ve been married so that part of my life still falls under the “me” category and always will.
I refuse to have sex with him anytime he wants it. If I’m stressed out about work, not feeling well, or just not in the mood, I’d rather be honest than give in and do it anyway. If I agree every time out of obligation, it will turn sex into a chore rather than the satisfying bonding experience it should be. This shouldn’t need clarification, but consent is still required within a marriage and nobody is owed sex.
I won’t let him police my wardrobe. I know some married women whose husbands have the authority to veto certain clothes based on their standards of modesty and that’s a ridiculous overreach of power in my opinion. I’m not comfortable showing a lot of skin, so there’s not much chance I’d be seen out in public wearing extremely revealing clothes anyway, but it’s nice to know that I reserve my rights to wear whatever I want. Attempting to police a woman’s wardrobe is a sign of ownership, not respect or love, and I’m a person, not a piece of property.
I refuse to “obey” him. Just using that word makes me roll my eyes. When I was choosing my wedding vows, I omitted that one because it’s so outdated and misogynistic. Ours is a modern marriage and neither one of us is required to obey the other. We’re equals in every way, and that’s how it should be.
I won’t let him explain things I already understand just to boost his ego. Mansplaining is an epidemic, and it’s really demeaning to expect women to downplay their intelligence in order to protect the fragile male ego. If he starts to explain something I already have full knowledge of, I have no problem letting him know that I’m already well versed in that area.
I refuse to ask his permission to make small personal purchases. We communicate about money of course, but I don’t want to spend my entire life asking my husband for permission to buy every little thing and I know he doesn’t want to ask me before every purchase either. We discuss and make mutual decisions about large purchases but we kept our own separate bank accounts in addition to opening a joint account so that we both have the freedom to spend our “fun money” on whatever we want.
I won’t let him dictate my social life. I’m sure everyone saw the story that went viral on social media recently about the girl who was texting her controlling boyfriend asking for permission to go out with her friends and him replying that she was not allowed. No adult should ever have to do that. I’m a homebody so I don’t like going out much anyway but I reserve the right to do as I please. It’s a two-way street; he doesn’t need to ask my permission to go hang out with his friends either.
I refuse to stop being friends with guys. I’ve always had guy friends and getting married didn’t change that. Marriage doesn’t mean that suddenly my spouse is the only male I can interact with; that would be unreasonable. He trusts me completely, and that’s why he doesn’t worry about my guy friends being anything more than friends. He has friends who are women as well and it doesn’t make me insecure because I trust him.
I will never share a joint social media account with him. We are two very different people and we have our own views and interests. Marriage didn’t literally weld us together into one person, so it wouldn’t make sense to share a profile. Besides, we’ve all seen the memes, right? Oh look, the Joneses now have a joint Facebook page. Who cheated? Of course it doesn’t always mean someone cheated, but I prefer to maintain my own identity and I know he does too. That’s why our marriage works; we trust and respect each other.
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