Real Stories : Marriage
It’s hard work. And I don’t advise it for children or punks. (laughs) But I like my role. It’s a bible based role. I try to adhere to the standards that are set out in the scriptures. The scriptures tell me that I can be proud of the role that I play in the family. I’ve always wanted to be married. I’ve always wanted to be a family person. In some sense, I really revel in it. And there are other times where I go, I don’t wanna be responsible for anybody! I don’t want anybody to call me! I don’t want anybody to want anything! (laughs)
I don’t know if its society, meaning male dominated, or by virtue of our nature, but marriage has never seemed like a partnership to me. Especially now – like, I have to go to work and I come home and I work. I do the cooking, the cleaning. I take care of the bills. I schedule for the cars to get fixed. I take care of the taxes. And he just goes to work. (laughs) And I appreciate him going to work and bringing his money home. And I appreciate the fact that if I ask him to do something around the house… there’s so much that he can do. He’s a very capable man.
But in regards to…he believes, I’m the man, I go to work, I come home. Everything else is the wife’s responsibility. So, if it’s a partnership, then women are 70 and men are 30. But I don’t ever think its 50/50. Even in the best of relationships, once the child comes in, the man is like….. (throws hands up). They say, you had the baby. How do I bathe it? How do I feed it? Women just say, I had the baby – I have to feed it, I have to clean it, I have to drop it off at the daycare. It’s almost automatic for us to do all of this stuff. And men might do it when you ask, or something drastic has to happen and they see themselves in a bad light. And then they change.
And that’s why I say, marriage is not equal. By virtue of the fact that we were created to compliment them. I tell him all the time, dude, I make you look good. I make you look real good. Because if I let you go out here… if I don’t wash the laundry, you’ll go out of here with one green sock and one blue sock. I make you look good. As women, we are wonderfully made. We can’t help it. We take care of everything. There’s a Mexican proverb – and I love it – it says the home does not rest on the ground, it rests on a woman. If you don’t be who you are, your man will walk out of the house with two left shoes on. Its like, some things click for men, but most of the time it’s like, they only got one wheel spinning. We got five wheels spinning. It’s like, women just do everything. I tell my husband sometimes, I can’t even afford to go have a nervous breakdown. There’s nobody to catch me when I fall.
What did I think marriage was going to be like? I didn’t know. I had no clue. I thought marriage would be whatever you wanted to be at that age. You know, the sky was the limit. If we want to do this, then we’re going to do this. If we want to go there, then we’re going to go there. That’s what I thought going into it. I didn’t really have too many expectations for it. The only thing I expected was for us to play the role, husband and wife. The rest was up to us. You be down for me, I’ll be down for you. And we’ll just take this ride together.
He made goals for himself. And he had a pretty good job for awhile. But then it got rough. He started feeling like, okay, this isn’t really what I want to do, and he didn’t really have a plan after that. I think that kind of left him in a rut.
The dynamics have changed because we’re not 25, 26, 27 anymore. Now we’re older. And it’s not us with the first kid, now we’ve got 4 kids. So sometimes I feel like he’s kind of left me to weather the storm by myself. So now I’m wearing both hats in the marriage instead of just being able to concentrate on my part. Now I have to take care of my own goals, and take care of the nurturing side – and provide – while he figures out his plan and figure out how to work his plan.
We live with my parents. There’s that part in the bible that says, a woman leaves her mother and father to be joined with her husband. Well, when you move back, that’s the strain. Because now, what am I? I don’t feel like being a wife. I’m not a wife. I don’t want to be a wife under my dad’s roof. I mentally can’t wrap my mind around being somebody’s wife living in my dad’s house. So that’s a… big change.
When you have a marriage you have to be able to put energy into it. And when you have to do so much that you take out of your marriage and you never put back, you never replenish your marriage, you’re going to lose bits of pieces of it. And that’s a sign and symptom, when you don’t have money to go out and have a date night on Friday. When you don’t have money for a babysitter to just maybe go out and and maybe have a meal without the kids. When you’re always with kids or with bills. So, stress. Fatigue. Lack of… care. Where you get to the point where you really don’t care about trying to work it out because you have too much else that you do have to care about. Sometimes I don’t care if we don’t have a babysitter because I ain’t trying to go out anyway because I have to deal with this.
But I’m not last on my own list any more, I stopped that. Now I kind of feel bad because something in my life had to take the hit and I hate it but I think my marriage took the hit. Because I had to push my relationship to last on the list. I still put my kids first because they have to live on. Hopefully they’re able to live on after me. I don’t put myself on the back burner anymore. I used to and that shit was draining because, you know, you have to do for you. Women of old always say that – make sure you do for you. Make sure you take care of you. So every now and then – I don’t give a fuck if I’m broke as shit, I’m getting my nails done.
So I know that people don’t often believe in love at first sight but I want to say it was a spirit connection at first sight... my wife came to the door and it was a soul connection. That’s all I can tell you.
Even as we speak right now, we have been going through this very critical point in our lives, figuring out whether we will go another 7 years. Because the last year has been so hard. So this year we’ve been asking ourselves, you know, what will this look like for us? Are we going to go our separate ways? And if we do, what will that look like? That is real.
But I’m at peace with that. She’s at peace with that. And we’re still friends. And that is my best friend. Like I can talk to her about anything, including how I feel about her. And I love that. I love that – even if we do decide together to go our own ways, since that is my best friend I can still talk to her about, I hate you right now. And I know you’re hating me.
They call it the 7 year itch. But it is that 7th year that is the critical moment where you be like, what am I going to do? Am I going to keep doing this or am I not? You gotta decide. You’re at a critical moment where you ask, am I going to do another 7? And I’m gon’ tell you something – I am in the 14th year, and every 7th year is like, ok, what are you doing? It’s a reevaluation process. I think it’s that mother energy. Those waves, that Yemaya, that change… what are you doing now? What are doing with your life? You start questioning your life. This is the 7th year, how are you doing financially? Are you on your goals? Did you get to define yourself? Have you been loving yourself? I feel like the universe asks these critical questions of us all the time, and its whether or not you choose to hear it.
I live on the third floor of this house. That’s my space. My bed’s up there. She has her room and I have my room. And there’s nothing wrong with it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Because we need our own spaces. My grandmother on my father’s side had her own space. I would see them sleep together sometimes, but my grandma had her own room. She had her sewing room and she sewed in there, she had her bed in there. I saw her doing prayer work in there. I think elders figured it out long ago.
I used to think, why would people do that when they’re married? But I was younger. But now that I’ve been married for some years? Know that it is critical that you have your own space! You have to have your own space! Sometimes in the morning, I just need to wake up to my damn self, and she does too. It’s self preservation. And you also have to be able to have conversations with yourself and then be able to take it back to others and have a conversation with them that is more cohesive than arguing. Sometimes, you know – just being silent.