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How I Know I’m Married

May 19, 2010

Ever since I started telling people that I would be getting married this spring – which wasn’t that long ago, since we only set the date a month or two before – I have had the strange feeling of living in some strange, alternate universe from the one in which I’ve resided these past fifteen years. 

As a separated and then divorced single mother all this time, I had gotten used to the “I’m so sorry” response to any mention of my status.  Checking the “Divorced” box has always meant skipping over the first-place “Married,” second-place “Single,” and third-place “Widowed,” in a placement that seemed to suggest, “Let’s see, what’s left?”

Now, instead, I’m greeted like some kind of heroine. The Men’s Warehouse saleswoman turned from dour to positively radiant the instant I mentioned that the shirt I was here to buy was one I needed my son to wear at my upcoming wedding.  Running into an old married friend who hasn’t invited me to her house in years, instead of “Keep in touch” I hear, for the first time in years, “When can you and your husband come for dinner?”

I’ll admit to mixed emotions. When a fundraising event invitation arrives with a $75 admission charge, I realize, with some dismay, that the evening will now cost me $150. It’s been decades since the words “I’ll ask my husband” have crossed my lips – not even when addressed to an auto mechanic or construction contractor.  I haven’t used that one yet.

Old habits are hard to lose.  When I received that notice last week that my Triple-A membership was up for renewal, I reflexively wrote out a check for my individual (plus one driving son) membership, completely losing sight of the fact that most memberships include spouse. 

But here’s the hardest part.  When people now refer to “your husband,” I get a small, uneasy start. That word has had so many negatives attached to it for so long.  Ownership. Conflict. Marital Rights.

In truth, I’m having a hard time getting the H-word out at all.

I suppose I’ll get the hang of it.  But this all does feel a bit weird.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2010 4:30 pm

    It’s a transition just like from married to single … Just curious .. are you changing your name?

    And about those forms that ask for marital status, why exactly is this information needed? I went to my physical therapist the other day and it was on his form. He couldn’t tell me why it was needed so I left it blank.

    • June 2, 2010 4:03 pm

      That is such a good point – why do they have to know, anyway? No, of COURSE I didn’t change my name. I never changed it the first time. Soon that antiquated practice is going to go the way of the dowry.

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