There’s a comment discussion going on over on Facebook about how to answer when/if your little girl asks you why she can’t marry her father. I know that’s a stage most small children go through and there’s nothing creepy about it, but apparently some of the commenters think it’s incest or perverted or something.
One of the commenters said that a little girl’s father is her first love, her first “crush” so to speak. That got me thinking.
When I was that young, I never wanted to marry my father, like some girls say. I never even wanted someone like him to marry. Even though I wasn’t sure of all the intricacies of marriage, what I saw did nothing to make me desire it. To me, a marriage was the same thing as selling your soul away to some man in exchange for a roof, food, and a place to put your clothes (recall, I was 5 or 6 making these assumptions, so sex never entered my head).
I looked at my mother’s life married to my father. She never saw any of her friends, never went out by herself or with them. She hardly talked any of her friends, because my father didn’t care for them. She never did the things she wanted to do. When I asked her once when I was a bit older why she never went out for a girls’ night, she looked at me and said “Because your dad doesn’t like that.”
Even to 9 year old me that sounded sad, and I thought she was being stupid.
All her time was taken up catering to him and what he wanted, what he thought. Granted, my dad doesn’t think very deeply about much of anything, but my mother was so busy trying to keep his tantrums at bay that she had no time for herself–and had somehow talked herself into believing she was happy with this situation for years.
I looked at that, and at other marriages I saw (mainly my aunts and uncles). They were all full of unhappy women saddled with the housework and the bill paying and the children while the men got to basically sit on their asses and think and act like they were kings–at least when they weren’t acting like cranky 3 year olds. And the women told us (their daughters/nieces) that this is what a happy marriage looked like!
If being married meant getting stuck with somebody like my dad (or my uncles), if it meant becoming an appendage of my husband, if it meant not living for myself and being a slave, then I vowed to never be married, to save myself the heartache and brainwashing that those women had obviously had.
My opinion of marriage hasn’t changed much from then, I’m sad to say. It still seems like slavery and a sucker bet most of the time. Have I seen good marriages? I’ve seen marriages that looked good from where I was standing as an outsider. That doesn’t mean anything, though. I think there are good marriages out there, but they’re few and far between.