Marriage, Inc.Written by Shannon Szyperski | | email@example.com
Marriage seems to be the talk of the nation this week. Battle lines have been drawn all across the Internet, especially via social media. If you linger around certain conversations, you might get the idea that there is no other issue with as much weight and as much importance in the U.S. right now as the future of marriage.
Regardless of the millions of opinions being flung about, an open-door marriage policy seems like an imminent and inevitable turn of events. All of the arguing and protesting and nose-to-nose verbal combat will culminate into a new dawn of American life. Whether you’re OK with it or not, marriage will likely be welcoming a whole new crowd into its mix next wedding season.
As a 14-year marriage veteran, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge that I could offer the new class of married citizens. I could get into the nitty gritty of marriage and offer up sage advice for many a situation they are sure to encounter along the way. Yet, with all the build up and anticipation hanging ever so thickly in the air, I feel that there is really only one thing that needs to be said. When the licenses are signed and the cake is cut and the honeymoon is over, just know one thing:
No one is going to care that you’re married.
I’m not talking about family and friends and all of the people who really love you. I’m talking about society. Unless you have a surname change issue you haven’t properly addressed or the Westboro Church is in town, it’s not going to matter a lick to the general public that you now have a ring on your ringer. I say this not as a plot to kill the euphoria but rather as fair warning.
When I began my new life as Mrs. Szyperski, I thought I would be viewed as an equal half of a cherished whole. My husband and I were entering into a partnership that would be recognized and esteemed by anyone lucky enough to encounter it. I wasn’t just a girlfriend anymore; I was a spouse, and a spouse has authority in the eyes of world. Except that it doesn’t.
I’m guessing there was a time when I could have answered a call for my husband, explained that I was his better half and been granted immediate power of attorney to attend to the issue at hand. I could pay a bill, open a credit line or sign him up to donate blood with nary a legal concern from the representative on the other end of the line. I would have been his proxy and he would have been mine. A married couple was one in the eyes of the energy company and the BMV.
Somewhere along the way, however, someone apparently played that grade school trick of ruining it for the rest of us. Today there’s absolutely no spousal cross representation without express written or verbal consent, I can tell you that much. Unless I pretend to be named Michael and born in 1972, the conversation will go nowhere other than “we’ll call back at a better time.”
In fact, over the last few years it has come to pass that my husband and I aren’t even granted the same account number. My card has one four-digit ending and his has another. I can’t order an item online and have him pick it up at the store after work and he can’t return something I purchased using his card as a receipt, even though the money itself is all flowing through the same single place. We are two when it comes to all things business.
I find it ironic, actually. I’m forced to accept whichever random company representative I’m given, whether they’ve only worked there for five minutes or are 8000 miles away, yet that same representative can insist with conviction that I have no right to represent the person I’ve lived with for 14 years and have three children with. Fascinating.
If we were all on the same page and honed in on what we were really seeking by marrying, we would probably come to our senses and figure out a way to instead incorporate our families. We could again be considered a single unit and control our public representation however we saw fit on a day-to-day basis. We could revive family crests in the form of our own corporate logos and finally find real tax relief. There would no doubt still be an awkwardly high failure rate, but at least we could walk away with big bonuses for sinking the ship instead of just broken hearts.
I jest for now, of course, but you just never know.
Shannon Szyperski and her husband, Michael, are raising three children in Sylvania. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.