Today is our ninth year of marriage and tenth year of togetherness. I wish someone would have told me 9 years ago that I didn’t have to run my marriage by the books. I wish 9-years-ago-Naomi would have known someone like present-day-Naomi. Maybe I would have listened and avoided a lot of the confusion, anger, and straight up depression that came with ‘becoming one’ with my husband.
I’m not wife material.
I don’t like calling him my husband. I don’t like being called his wife.
I got married to him because I really liked him, because he was talented, had a good moral code, patient, honest, and most importantly, because I was taught that it was the right thing to do. I grew up in a strict christian church and that was really the only way to do things. “Two shall become one.”
Weeks after getting married, I hated that people called me “Mrs. HisName.” I didn’t want to be called someone’s possession. I hated the merging of friends, the checking in, the cooking, the asking before I changed my hair or clothing style, wearing a ring, always just BEING together.
We went to a marriage retreat. While the (christian, heterosexual, monogamous, child-bearing) couples were learning about boundaries, rules, proper ways to do this or that with each other, there WE were. According to the speakers, if we DIDN’T care about that stuff, we were doing it wrong and doomed for divorce. We skipped the last sessions. Neither one of us signed up for THIS kind of life. We made a fort in the living room, whipped up some root beer floats and figured we’d be done for in a few months.
I vividly remember a car ride we were taking where I just lost it and told him I didn’t want to be his wife anymore. He smiled. He said he didn’t want me to be his wife anymore either. And we broke up. So to speak.
The truth is, he never told me I had to act or behave like a good wife should. He told me he didn’t marry me to get a wife. He married me because he liked having me around. I was letting society and religion tell me what a wife should be. I didn’t have it in me. I won’t fight to be something I’m not. I don’t want to be a wife. Thankfully, he doesn’t want me to be that person anyway.
We decided to stop behaving and acting like husband and wife. I stopped cooking. I did whatever the hell I wanted to with my hair. I told him the brutal, unfiltered truth about anything he asked me. I stayed out late with friends. I wore any type or clothing I wanted – revealing, immature, unflattering, boy clothes, his clothes, pajamas to restaurants, anything I wanted and nothing I didn’t. I have late night conversations with guy friends and visit them without him “chaperoning” us. He goes out with friends and I stay home if I don’t feel like going. I stopped wearing my ring. We spend time alone doing our own sets of hobbies with our own sets of friends – some that are even (gasp) of the opposite sex. We have vastly different views about a lot of different things. This might seem like a ‘normal’ relationship to the majority of the world, but in the view of my super conservative upbringing and brainwashing, this behavior was the exact opposite of “two becoming one.”
I’ve never really understood the boundaries of marriage that society has put upon the relationship, and I’ve never understood why society starts viewing a married couple as one entity. I’ve been “invited” to hang out with our friends, when in reality, I’m just there because, well, Casey AND Naomi are a package deal, right? Why does my husband have to be invited to everything? Why am EYE not enough by myself, without him? When did I stop becoming JUST Naomi? Why does everyone view me as Casey&Naomi? It’s as if when I received the “Do You Like Me? Circle YES or NO.” letter on the playground…Wait, I mean, It’s as if when I signed my name on the dotted line of my marriage certificate that I basically signed up to become “one” with this person, and agreed that society would see me as “one” with this person as well. No. I do not want to “be one” with Casey. I don’t want him to “be one” with me. I really don’t understand why a marriage certificate is romantic, or necessary or “the holy thing to do.” It’s a piece of paper, no more binding than the playground “circle YES or NO” notes that get passed around if you really think about it. You can crumple it up and throw it away. You can break up and hate each other. But hey, nothing says, “I love you” more than a government piece of paper that says, “these two get a tax deduction.”
All that being said, we have a really good time together. We’re friends and roommates that have a lot of care and respect for each other. We’re fiercely supportive of each other. We’re brutally honest. I will fight to the death for him. We fist bump when we burp. He rolls his eyes and turns red at my obnoxious behavior in public. I cringe at the music he listens to. The bathroom is rarely a private experience. I tackle him in the aisles of stores and pretend I’m good at jiu jitsu. He invites my ex-boyfriends over to play video games.
I LOVE my person. He. is. amazing. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t deserve him. I feel sorry for all others that don’t have a partner like Casey. He’s wonderful – Do not get me wrong. But the day I decided to become my own, separate person…the day that I decided to stop ‘being one’ with my husband, is the day that I finally felt alive and our relationship started to become GOOD.
Some look into our ‘marriage’ and see the lack of boundaries as a path to divorce. I don’t care. We’re both happy NOW. I don’t know if we’ll be married in 30 years. Or in 30 days. No one really knows. People can do everything exactly how the Good Book tells you to operate a marriage, and they end up being miserable and divorced anyway. Check the stats, folks. So we figure we’ll just be free, have fun, love each other, and see how it goes. If it needs adjusting along the way, we’ll adjust. But for today, for now, it’s good.
Casey just walked in on me writing this and asked what I was doing. “Writing about how much I hate being a wife.” He smiled, batted his eyes at me, and hugged me with an “aww.”