My idea of marriage was always guided by sets of rules. These rules were based on my religious upbringing and being straight. Here are a few of them:
Find a person you semi like, but don't get to know them too well or too personally before marriage or bad things will happen. I could never figure out what those bad things were. Also any boy you talk to longer than 5 minutes might become a potential mate, so better to avoid them all together.
Get married within a year of knowing each other, because marriage is the only way you can touch the other person in any way. Hand-holding, accidentally brushing arms, or taking walks unsupervised are not allowed.
Get pregnant on your honeymoon, or be judged for not doing it right. Doesn't matter that you have no idea what "right" means or how that works, and most likely the person your marrying doesn't either. If he does, BEWARE, that's a whole level of things to deal with years later.
Never talk about sex, periods, or any "girl" things with your spouse. Those are for girlfriends and mothers only. Any concerns you have with him should never be brought up with him.
Be available to him in whatever way he likes, in any thing. Now we aren't just talking sex here, we are talking about everything in life. What he wants goes, girls don't have opinions.
You must have a career, but you aren't allowed to use it after marriage or succeed too well before hand. He is the provider of the family and you only get to continue that career if something happens, but we can never talk about that, so don't worry your pretty little mind.
Sex is done one way only, not for pleasure, least of all yours. It's only purpose is for the creation of the dozens of babies you'll have to raise on your own, because men provide, not parent.
These are horrifying to me now, but it took me close to 8 years of dating to figure out that this was not the only way to be married. I also figured out that Kevin found these ideas to be just as disgusting as I did.
Before that I figured we would date forever, because that was the only way I could see things staying the way they were. Because even if you break most of those rules, I always had this mindset that after marriage the person I married, Kevin, would suddenly change his mind on everything. That piece of paper signed upon a wedding would suddenly trap me in roles I wanted nothing to do with. This is month we hit year eleven. We're also married and guess what? We still aren't following the "rules". Life has changed drastically but it's our own.
I am a house-wife now. It wasn't something we had planned to happen but circumstances have forced it. It's so different from what I imaged. I'll have a post about that more. The important thing is that we set the rules and do what's best for us. Respect is so important in a relationship, and while there is no "right way" to be with someone, there's also no wrong way. We do what works for us. When it comes to the pressures others put on us, we need to take a step back and see what path we actually want to take. And if you want any of these things in life, that's okay. It's good to know what you want in life. But it's even better to be honest and upfront with your partner about those things and how they are to come about.
Here's my response to the "rules":
Finding a person I liked was important and came from an unexpected source. He just wanted to be friends and didn't want anything else from me. He never asked me to do anything that made me uncomfortable and created a safe place for me to be. It was so unusual from anything else I had been around, it just made sense. How you go about finding someone you like is up to you. But never do anything that compromises who you are or who you want to be. We spent months talking and building a friendship before taking it further and I am thankful for that. It set the base for our relationship.
Get married on your timeline, not your parents or your peers, or don't get married. Do what feels best for the both of you. It's your relationship, not theirs. Also touch lots, if that's what you want to do (take precautions in certain actions) but touch is important, especially coming from someone who truly loves you. Once we started dating, things moved fast. From first date to moved in was about 4 weeks, not something I recommend, generally, but it was perfect for us.
Babies is a personal matter and not anyone else's business but your own and the person you are with. I don't want babies and take precautions to ensure it doesn't happen. When people are rude and ask when we are having babies, they follow it up with "accidents happen" when they are informed we aren't having any. I've gotten to be pretty blunt in my responses, because it's none of their damn business. Babies are beautiful special creatures and can bring you joy, be that in the form of motherhood or fatherhood or an awesome auntie or uncle.
Be vocal! If your partner can't handle "period" talk how the hell is he suppose to live with you, ever? And seriously, girly things are a part of who you are and your partner should want to be a part of that too. Or "boy" things, or whatever your thing is. You're allowed your things and they should want to be apart of that too.
You should always have full control over your consent. In all things you have the right to stop before, or even in the middle. Consent is vital. If you aren't consenting than your partner shouldn't be taking. There's no gray area in this rule, and it's a rule that everyone should live by.
If you want a career, go for it. We can have it all and we don't have to have it all. If you want it, go get it. Find someone who supports you in what you choose not what your told.
Find what turns you on. Fuck everyone else's rules.
The point is, be who you are. And if you aren't sure who you are, go out and explore until you find who you are.
See a previous version of this post, written before we were married.
I'm a lifestyle blogger, covering deep subjects including body images, battles with food, and overcoming how I was raised. I try to be as authentic as possible and I don’t sugar coat how I see things.