Monday, April 15, 2019

What My Marriage Is Actually About (It's Not Sex And It's Not Jesus)

A clip-art image of a boy and girl and dog and rabbit holding the letters L-O-V-E. Image source.
When I was growing up, Christians told me a lot of things about marriage. Things like, it's going to be a super huge big deal whether or not you have sex before marriage. Your spouse will really really want you to not have had sex with anyone else, and if you have then you'll feel guilty about it forever and have marriage troubles because of it. "Your virginity is the most precious gift you can give to your husband."

And, based on what people in church said, it seemed like the biggest difference between being married and not-married is that if you're married you're allowed to have sex, and it's amazing and mind-blowing and all that.

Also, they said the #1 thing you need to do in order to have a happy marriage is to have Jesus be the focus of your marriage. You and your spouse have to both be Christians, you should pray together, and so on. And the husband is the leader and the wife should submit to him.

All these ideas I had of what marriage was like. And now that I'm actually married, I'd like to tell you, no, my marriage is not like that at all.

My marriage is not about sex, it's not about Jesus, it's not about wifely submission, it's not about how guilty we feel over having exes, it's nothing like that at all. Yes, Hendrix (my husband) and I have sex [starting long before we got married], and it's important to me and as an asexual I have a lot of opinions about it, but it's nowhere near the most important thing. And no, my marriage is not "based on Jesus"- I'm a Christian and my husband is not, but I'm the kind of Christian who believes God gave us the ability to make our own decisions. I don't believe in "surrendering to God" anymore. As for "wifely submission"- HA, nope, don't believe in that at all. If Hendrix ever told me to "submit" to him, I'd laugh in his face. And our feelings about our exes... I mean, who cares? That was such a long time ago. Why would that matter to me now?

My marriage isn't about any of that. Instead, it's about all the ways we show love to each other every day- big ways and small ways. It's about how happy I am I get to see his cute face every day. How I can always talk to him about how I feel and he knows just what to say to support and encourage me.

It's about the slice of chocolate cake he buys for me, as a surprise, if he happens to be somewhere that has slices of cake for sale.

It's about how he pays more attention to dates of movie releases than I do, and so he's the one who's always asking me "do you want to go see [whatever new movie] this weekend?" Or he opens the app on his phone to buy tickets and hands me the phone and says "pick what day you want to see [whatever movie]." (And if I say "eh I don't know if I really want to go see it", he tries to convince me by saying "you could write a blog post about what 'good Christians' would think about it"- oh he knows me so well.)

It's about how I mentioned that my favorite flavor of yogurt is kiwi, so then he didn't eat any of the kiwi yogurt cups in our fridge- he always ate the other flavors so I could have all the kiwi.

It's about all the mental health stuff I've struggled with, throughout my whole life- how I've told him about it and he's been there to support me for all the years we've been together. And he knows what to say and what to do and how to help me better than anyone else.

It's about the time I told him I was having trouble scanning my Shanghai subway card, maybe because the card is a bit torn up around the edges, and he found one of his old cards that he's not using and gave it to me.

It's about the photo album I gave him, with vacation photos from the time we went on a cruise. He told me "before I met you I never really thought it was important to take so many pictures and save them and remember all the good times we've had, but now I'm really glad you do that for us." (Also, apparently when we were on the cruise I said "this is better than Disneyland" and Hendrix WILL NOT STOP reminding me of that.)

It's about going to aquariums and looking at fish. So many fish. I never knew anyone would be so interested in looking at fish! (He says "I like fish because they are weird.")

It's about one person cooking dinner and the other washing the dishes.

It's about how he knows what I want even when I don't say anything. This one time during dinner, I put my cup on the table and looked at it sadly and he said "you want me to get you more water" and I was like "???? HOW DID YOU KNOW? I DIDN'T EVEN SAY ANYTHING!"

It's about me scrolling through twitter, seeing a picture of a cat, saying to my husband "do you want to see a picture of a cat?", he says "no", and we both just continue with what we were doing.

It's about communication. About knowing each other so well, because we've lived together for so long, that we've both developed all kinds of little habits that complement each other. And actually, none of this is really "what marriage is about"- none of this was caused by us getting a marriage license and having a wedding. Instead, it's because we're in a long-term, loving, committed relationship. And as the amount of time we've been together increases, we gradually come to know each other more and more. It wasn't anything that happened suddenly on the wedding day when we made the transition from "unmarried" to "married." There isn't anything magical about the legal status of being married. No, we had a wedding to celebrate the reality of our relationship that already exists. We got a marriage license to reflect the reality of how we're already committed to each other. But other couples could be equally loving and committed and choose not to get married, and that's fine.

So all those things that I thought marriage would be about- sex, Jesus, caring about your spouse's exes- no, my marriage is not about that at all. It's about all the little ways that we love each other every day, and how we're able to do that because we know each other so well. And actually, none of those things even require us to be legally married.


My Marriage Is So Good, I Forgot "Unequally Yoked" Was Supposed To Be A Problem
Stats (a post about my "purity" and my marriage)


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