In a week’s time, I’ll be a 20-something married woman.
I’ll be transitioning from my current “single” civil status to writing “married” on government forms.
Just a few days ago, I had the sudden realization that I won’t be using my current name for much longer. Soon, I’ll be taking my husband’s last name. The moment the thought hit me, things felt even more real.
Older people have told me things will definitely change once I’m married, almost to the extent that I become a completely different person when my status changes. My interactions with other people — friends, family, even random strangers — could change. Indeed, there is something dignified about the mere concept of a “married woman” (or “married man”), something that indicates maturity.
There’s a plethora of blog posts, books, and even scientific papers out there that seek to help young people assess their readiness for marriage. This is seemingly a testament to the idea that marriage is a serious matter, and definitely not something to be taken lightly by anyone.
Throw in the various theories surrounding the fundamental concept of marriage — some claiming marriage should be done for security of some form (whether financial or genetic), others going even further by claiming no sensible marriage is founded on love alone — and you get the idea of how complicated of a matter marriage is said to be. It’s no surprise people of my generation tend to delay marriage until they can confidently say they are ready.
But how do you know that you are ready?
It’s easy to apply the typical assessment metrics when you’re dating an “ideal” person — someone without a health condition, mental illness, or another form of being “different.”
- Are they independent from their family?
- Do they earn X amount of money (supposedly an indicator that your partner can support you and kids)?
- Are they emotionally ready to be in a lifelong committed relationship?
But not everyone is that “ideal” person. Some people differ slightly from society’s perception of “normal.” That includes my husband-to-be, who has severe hemophilia B and epilepsy.
If I were to apply to him the conditions on popular dating books to “assess” whether he was qualified as a husband, it would be almost as good as saying he didn’t deserve to marry anyone. And I don’t think that would be fair to him, a person so full of kindness who’s demonstrated time and time again his ability to be a good partner to me.
Sure, he can’t drive, at least not yet, because of his epilepsy. Can he drive our kids to school one day? Maybe, we don’t know. But for now, I can do that.
His job options may be limited, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do anything. Right now, we do business together. We both acknowledge that it may be a struggle, but isn’t that how it is for any entrepreneur who’s just starting out?
Why even compare him to standards that were obviously not written with the needs of people with disabilities in mind?
In our four years of partnership, I’ve realized that the material stipulations don’t matter as much as the emotional ones do. It’s relatively easy to readjust in terms of one’s career or daily activities, so you can both continue to enjoy a stable life. But if your partner isn’t emotionally ready to be in a lifelong committed relationship – that’s a different story.
In my history of relationships (and heartbreaks), I’ve learned that it is far easier to make necessary (material) compromises for someone with whom you actually feel secure, than to be in the company of someone who is chronically unfaithful or emotionally immature.
When I enter marriage next week, I will do so with the thought that I am ready.
I have faith in my partner and I have faith in us.
I have made my choice, and I will continue to choose it for as long as I live.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.