By: Jamie Birdwell-Branson
It’s no secret that modern women are waiting longer to get married. According to an article in The Atlantic, the average age for a woman to marry is 27. In 1990, the average age for a woman to marry was 23, and in 1960, it was just 20 years old. Women are waiting longer to get married, and some aren’t even marrying at all, but why?
The simple truth is that women statistically no longer need a husband for security. Women are earning college degrees at a rapid rate and are earning enough money to support themselves—sans husband. However, many women do choose to get married, but it doesn’t mean that they have to drop their dreams for a white picket fence and children running around the yard waiting for daddy to bring home the bacon. Think you can’t be a feminist after the moment you say, “I do?” Think again. Here are just a few ways you can be a feminist after tying the knot.
- Marry a feminist. This may go without saying, but if you want to be a feminist in marriage don’t marry a man who isn’t one. Marry someone that respects women and is a champion of you and your beliefs.
- Have your own goals. While it is important to be supportive of your partner’s career, make sure that he is supportive of yours. Pursue your own goals and actively talk about them with your spouse.
- Be a team. Talk about “the second shift” with fervor. Did it used to make you crazy when you would see your mom get home from work and do all the dishes and laundry while your dad watched television? Talk to your partner about expectations and roles in your after work lives. If you feel like the responsibilities of home life are uneven, then communicate that.
- Relocating? Talk about what that means for your career. Sometimes in a marriage you have to relocate. Sometimes it could be for your job, but sometimes it might be for your spouse’s job. If you are the “trailing” spouse, be sure to speak up about what this means for you and your career. Will it be easy for you to relocate with your job, or will you have to find a completely new career path? Be communicative about what you want and what would make you feel uncomfortable. Also, don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that would require you to relocate. Always take your partner’s feelings into consideration, but don’t be timid when there are great opportunities out there for you. Also, don’t feel that you HAVE to move just because they are. It’s okay to have a long distance marriage for a few years while you both figure out your own careers.
- Ditch the idea of “men’s tasks” and “women’s tasks.” Many couples still cling to the idea that yard work is for men and household chores are for women. Switch it up and have your husband do the dishes while you re-caulk the tub.
- Have a voice in your finances. Talk about how you want to save money and spend money with your spouse. Do you feel comfortable with a joint checking account, or do you want to keep things separate? Discuss how you should split the bills and come to an agreement on a weekly or monthly budget.
Though some believe that marriage and feminism don’t go hand in hand, the truth is that a marriage must be a relationship based on equality which is very conducive to feminism. Just because you get married does not mean you are dependent on him. (Alright, occasionally you do depend on him to open the pickle jar.)
Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net
Jamie Birdwell-Branson is a copy editor and freelance writer who lives in Ft. Worth, Texas with her cat and her husband. She is interested in writing about anything and everything, but she mostly enjoys to write about women’s issues and politics. she is an avid reader and a collector of magazines.