Wednesday, July 30, 2014
I first saw it mentioned on A Cup of Jo, as a sweatshirt. I thought it was definitely cute. I think the Mrs. necklace from Kate Spade is cute, as are new family names signs...eg. the Smith family, est. 2014. They are trinkets, announcing a new identity. One could argue that a-you don't need anything beyond a wedding band or b-you don't absolutely need to announce a change to the world. But I wanted the cute stuff, the kitchsy Pinterest identity come to life. Humans want to fit in and I'm no different. Maybe I wanted a tangible way to show, aww, cute, we're a new team.
Maybe I liked the shirt because my husband and I each kept our names (I use the phrase specifically because the onus is almost always on the woman). I don't use Mrs. either.
I'll say it outright, it's hard being one of two women in a group of married couples who kept her birth (maiden name, can you please die a slow death?) name. I've been told I'm not really a real wife because I kept my name, a fact my father-in-law loves to ignore come Christmas card season. When I asked him why he refused to use my name, I was told my real title was Mrs. Husband's Last Name. You can imagine why I'm not close with this man.
I also haven't fully accepted the "wife" part of my identity. Four and a half years in, you would think otherwise, but I'm a stubborn one. I worry about being seen as only a wife-nothing else. But is it bad to be seen as a wife? I'm not ashamed or regret being married and I realize it doesn't cancel out the rest of me. But since there is such a focus on women's relationships as being the sum total of their being, being married kinda takes precedence over my other identities: college graduate, photographer, etc.
I'm not sure if I'll ever feel completely comfortable with the wife title. I've seen marriages go horribly wrong but I've also seen beautiful love stories. Only time will tell. But in the meantime, I think it will be an ongoing process and confronting, in a good way, what marriage is and what I can make it, which will include how I label myself.