At a party a few weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to his new girlfriend.
“Jean, this is Bear’s fiance, Erin.”
She immediately frowned before saying…
“Don’t you just hate it when men introduce women as ‘someone’s wife’ or ‘someone’s girlfriend’?! I’m sorry, but I’m a whole lot more than this girlfriend!!” She all but held up her beer for me to cheers her.
When I moved in with Bear, I gave up a lot. I gave up clean kitchens and clothes in the hamper. I gave up sinks without hair trimmings in them and nights without CONSTANT snuggling (don’t lie, you know you need your space, too). I gave up having an opinion all the time, doing things “my way” all the time. I knew this was the deal, though, when I agreed to commit to him.
He gave up a bunch, too. He gave up being able to ask, “How was lunch?” and receiving a less-than-20-minute answer. He gave up toothpaste squeezed from the bottom and toilet paper rolling OUTWARD. He gave up setting down an empty glass and finding it there in the same place 5 minutes later. He gave up spending the entire weekend on his boat and leaving for an out-of-town trip at the last moment.
He knew that was the deal, too.
So when this woman helped me to feel offended for the fact that I was labeled as “someone’s fiance”, I couldn’t help but run through all the things in my mind we’ve both given up for each other in order to earn that label. (And I kinda wanted to smack her.) I’m all for feminists and whatever; do what you do, boo. But I don’t think I can actively commit to a partner without who I am, or at the very LEAST what I do, changing a little bit. Pastor Steven Furtick once said in one of his sermons, “Marriage is the best thing, but it’s not the easiest thing.” It’s HARD! It’s HARD to understand how Bear appears to physically melt from the front door to the bedroom if you follow the trail of shoes and clothes. It’s HARD to just be ok with my garage looking like a homeless commune. It’s REEEALLY HARD to accept the fact that I will never again be driven somewhere by my significant other without a detailed and sometimes offensive spray of “let me tell you about you” aimed at the cars here in Jacksonville who “DON’T KNOW HOW TO EFFING DRIVE.”
(Probably he doesn’t understand a few things about me, but this isn’t his blog…)
Partnership is about what you can give to the other person, not what you can get. And it’s certainly not about your individual ego’s reign. When you commit to be part of a union, you give up a little of what makes you comfortable. Bear says, “Bedrooms are only for two things.”
Which is why we don’t have a TV in our bedroom.
This makes me very uncomfortable.
But so it is.
“Oh,” I responded to her without lifting my beer up to clink hers. (Who “clinks” beer cans anyway?! They don’t even clink. They just awkwardly slap together as you try not to dent your can.)
“Right?!” she said, Arsenio-Hall-ing her own statements.
“Oh, I AM Bear’s fiance. We are partners. Give and take. I help to carry his load and he helps to carry mine.”
She just stared at me.
“I don’t feel slighted in the least when someone calls me Bear’s fiance. I feel really proud, actually. I’m also proud to be Abe’s mom and my mother’s daughter. You know?”
More staring. I couldn’t tell if she was disgusted by ME or with her own interpretation of what it meant to be introduced as someone’s partner. I didn’t stick around to find out. Because not only do I wanna be Bear’s wife, I wanna be his TROPHY wife! (Aaaand all the feminist’s heads just exploded.)
Y’all. Seriously. If someone else giving you a label threatens who you are as a person (especially when the label is TRUE!), rethink some stuff…