May 5, 2007

A fine, unmarried woman fine enough to marry

Lately I've been getting what I consider an odd comment, but when I think about it, I think it's just how some men compliment a woman: A couple of men have expressed surprise at my unmarried status because I am a fine woman and ought to make someone a good wife.

The physical therapist I saw Monday asked me why a fine woman like me wasn't married. I had a stock answer (wanted to figure out how to make myself happy, rather than expect a man to do so) but later wondered why I even had to answer that question. I asked it of myself, and it occurred to me that there was an assumption that being married must be a desirable goal or state for everyone.

I got this assumption a second time at a company picnic last night, when I was again asked why a fine woman like me wasn't married. Why didn't I have a man? My expression led my questioner (whom I was dancing with at the time) to start sputtering and add, "Or a woman, uh, if, er, well..."

So why am I not married? Moving away from home when I was 25, into a place of my own, introduced me to a phenomenon I had never experienced at home before: Peace. No one to argue with, no one to get annoyed with, no one else's routines to be considerate of, no demands. It was the first time in my life that home was completely undemanding. That, and my parents' divorce leaving me with the very deep and strong desire to never go through something like that in my own marriage (one divorce is enough), has made me cautious about pairing up, as in living together. Perhaps I should have been a bit cavalier with my heart, but after years of loss and bullying, I had trust issues. So I worked on that and other issues without a mate, healing and growing at my pace, in my way. I honestly cannot see how I would have held a marriage (or a household) together happily during those years. I mean, I got rid of my anger only last year, and this year I'm finally learning to not let my disorganization sabotage my daily life.

Yes, some folks would say I might have gotten over some issues and anger, etc., sooner with a mate, but the fact is, neither they nor I can know that for sure. After all, I still have to answer to myself, be responsible for myself and my needs and wants, whether or not I'm with someone. As for the future, I am no longer at an age for starting a family, so that leaves twosomeness for its own sake, and I see no point in seeking it out just because "everybody else" does. There has to be a very good reason - a very wonderful person - to get me to give up my current, happy single life. Someone who won't pull me off my spiritual path, and my newfound desire for peace and simplicity. I am also an introvert, meaning I re-energize by spending time alone, so I can't be around other people all the time. The fit between me and somebody else is going to either give me my space and alone time, or energize me, or both. I haven't yet met a romantic interest that fits that bill.

2 comments:

alice said...

My daughter and I talk about these issues some, as she's reached the supposedly "marriageable" age. I'm starting to wonder if so many marriages fail because the piece of paper is a substitute for a real commitment, and that makes me feel fairly ambivalent about the institution -- I want to see her happy, and if she chooses to share her life with someone, I want to see her in a healthy relationship. Seeing her get married is pretty far down on the list. (And don't get me started on the whole issue of having children... ;-)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Marriage isn't for everyone and I personally have never approached that particular institution frivolously. Too many people do, with some unhappy results. As for the reactions I get, I have just read that Norway has a higher birth rate per woman than the rest of Europe, because it is still expected that women shall get married and have children and are expected to want to - after they've finished their master's degree (i.e. childbearing is just delayed, not made an option). So I break all the rules and that probably baffles a few here. But I'm happy and that should really be what matters to anyone, as it does for you regarding your daughter.