Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

October 16, 2009

Thinking as a 'We'

I am trying to learn how to adjust to the idea of being married so that by the time I get married (see countdown in side bar - yay!), I will be that much ahead of the game. One of the biggest challenges I am coming across is the whole thinking of 'me' now as a 'we.' It's so difficult to get my mind wrapped around the fact that my life is not my own. For example, I realized that I am particularly attached to my last name. I never thought I would be. I never thought I'd be that woman who refused to change her last name. I mean, after all, what does it mean to become one flesh with the man as the head (and the woman as the neck, of course!)? I always thought only angry feminists refused to change their names.

But, as I am faced with this immanent reality, I realized my name is part of who I am. I've never been anyone other than Edith Magdalene for 26 years! When I told my fiancé that I wanted to hyphenate my last name, he did not approve one bit. I guess it's a 'man thing' to give your name to your wife and children, to immortalize and to perpetuate it. I am coming to accept that I will change my name - though we've comprised that my PhD can be hyphenated. That's good with me.

But name changing is not the only challenge. It's laughable the things we are going through right now. As my fiancé slowly moves his possessions into my apartment, which in a few months will be 'ours,' (gulp! I am learning that I am territorial creature!) there's been a battle about whose furniture is better and why and what needs to be sold. Our friends just laugh at us, and eventually we laugh too. But the transition to a 'we' is real world thing, and it sure isn't easy. It makes me grateful for the Lord, who redeems all things and walks the way of our lives with us.


Margaret Perry said...

you could always keep it as a middle name...

William Eunice said...

My wife kept her middle and last names and just added mine so she has 4 names.

Its good you are recognizing this now. To me the hardest thing to adjust to after getting married is realizing that its not just single you + single him. Your spouse is not an accessory that hangs out and waits for you while you go do things with your friends. Too many people think that today. If you accept that you are called to give up yourself FOR the marriage, it will go a long way.

And I will say this for the benefit of your future spouse. :) Sacrifice is explicitly called for in his role -- "as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself up for her" (Eph 5).

Singleness is a gift. You have to give that gift up when you get married but marriage too is a gift. In fact Frank Sheed wrote that "marriage is, undoubtedly, the ordinary means of salvation for the ordinary run of men." It is filled with grace (being a sacrament) and the more tuned you are to seeing it the closer you will draw to God.

Focus on the image of Christ and the Church. You will learn a ton about that image first hand soon and it will help you to understand your faith much better. Also understanding the relationship between Christ and the Church will help you to better live out your role as a spouse. Its a win win ... Congrats again and God bless.

Julian said...

Obviously I do not know what it's like to change pronouns from 'me' to 'we', but I know that you and Peter can do it. I don't think it's going to happen instantaneously after the vows. Well, in a sacramental way it will, but what I mean to say is that you'll both be working on it for a bit. In fact, a lifetime! How FUN!

Edith Magdalene said...

William -- thank you so much for your input!! Your marriage and family life is a gift to us!! And your insights are totally right!! And just so all of you know -- I have decided to keep my maiden in my 'official' legal name. One fabulous thing that happened -- I realized that my new last name is the maiden name of one my patron saints!! How awesome is that?

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