My old friend, Patty, had just told me she was getting married next year. I was about to congratulate her on the good news (it is supposed to be good news, right?) until this statement put me in doubt.
“Why? Don’t you love him?” I asked.
“He wants me to drop my current job so I can be a full-time housewife. He wants to have someone waiting for him when he comes home, who takes care of the house and… the kids. Because, he said, ‘Why would I have a wife if I have to take care of myself in the end? I’d rather live alone if that were the case!’”
I can hear my sarcastic self screaming in my head, “Patty, leave him already! He’s looking for a maid, not a wife!”
But I never had the courage to tell her that. Instead, I told her about this other story from my other married friend, Nina, who had just gotten through her first 6 months of marriage.
“Just like any other wife and woman, I want to be a good wife to her husband, a good mother to her children. I learned to cook, and I washed his dirty clothes without him even asking me to do it. But, still, it seems he cannot appreciate me more! He doesn’t even care if I’m so tired after working in the office all day! He’s acting like a toddler who cannot take care of himself! He annoys me so much these days!”
All the complaints sound too familiar to me. But I can’t help cringing when I heard about the situation, because, well, how does becoming a wife means either you becoming a naggy “emak-emak cerewet” mother or a full-time-free-labor maid? Wasn’t he suppose to marry you so he could have a partner to spend the rest of his life with?
One time I asked my boyfriend what kind of wife he was expecting of me, when we do get married.
“Am I going to end up stressed out like Nina and everybody else? Are you going expect me to do all these chores?”
“Hmm…we’ll get a maid to do that,” he replied, grinning.
My boyfriend knows how much I hate doing house chores. Chores suck. Face it, people! Chores suck, OMG! Yes, we have to do it sometimes, but it doesn’t mean a girl can’t hate it. And it doesn’t even mean I suck at keeping my room or house clean, I just prefer not wasting most of my time and energy just for that.
I don’t make my bed every morning – whenever I can, I choose not to. Go on, call me a lazy girl for that, I don’t care. Heck, boys don’t do it everyday and most of you are just going to say, “You know, boys…lol.”
Expectations. It is something I was never great at. Heck, being honest to myself is hard enough already, so I never believe I will live to become this people-pleaser. Ever. But in life, in society, I believe each of us will always be faced with expectations.
Expectations become standards. Standards become norms. Norms become morals. And that’s when life becomes complicated and stressful.
I was lucky enough to have a relationship that is built upon trust, honesty, and free of gender-bias. After three years of rocky start, we can’t be any more sure that we are in this together.
We are in love with each other’s talents.
We are in love with each other’s creativity.
We are in love with each other’s dreams.
We are in love with each other’s insecurities.
We are in love with each other’s vulnerabilities.
There is no other expectation than to accompany and be accompanied by this other beautiful soul for the rest of our lives. We will continue helping each other grow to become a better person, one that is free of burdens of gender roles.
And when the time comes, we want to marry each other not because, “I am looking for a husband so I don’t have to worry about my financial security,” or “I am looking for a wife so I can replace my mom and have someone take care of my house while I work.”
Because fuck that.
Be true to yourself.
Why do you get married?
CJ Camelia Jonathan is a green-haired petite lady who sings & shouts. CJ is an aspiring singer-songwriter and collaborative art maker who enjoys intellectual conversation with strangers. She worships her holy trinity; Nina Hagen – Bjork – Imogen Heap and currently working as editor, music director, sound engineer for Narrative Design podcast. Tweet her @CJcamjoe.