Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sick of It

Recently, my husband and I visited my family, as a family member of mine was getting married.

Not that I was expecting anything less, but our families had us stay in separate houses and continued to refer to us as "boyfriend" and "girlfriend." In fact, one of my cousins even referred to my husband as my "friend" at one point. We didn't want to make a scene out of it (especially as it was someone else's celebration), but I am honestly getting sick of it.

When we visit our families, we constantly tiptoe around their feelings. We are very respectful and do everything their way -- Shabbos, kashrut, going to shul, etc.. I get that this is part of their worldview and that their belief system is really strong, but so is ours and I don't see why we don't even get a modicum of respect back.


Philo said...

Does your family know that you're legally married and that you live together?

Abandoning Eden said...

i would flat out be like "we're married, we're staying in the same room in the same house or we're not coming at all." And then don't come at all.

Philo said...

What if you had a small chuppah, no family or guests, just for practical reasons. While I know you feel that the ceremony is sexist, if you did it just to smooth relations with the families, things would probably be easier.

On Her Own said...

Philo -- Yes, they know. In fact, they've visited us here.
I don't want to do the ceremony because it is against my value system. From the way I see it, it's more than just sexist; it actually would constitute my husband and I entering into an unequal relationship, one which has real world, practical ramifications. And I've already decided that I won't go against my values just to make people happy.

AE -- I think I've decided to do something like that, with the modification of "we're staying in the same room in the same house or we're staying in a hotel." We don't want to completely sever our relationships with our families but it's really kind of ridiculous as is.

Philo said...

Personally, I think you're overstating the meaning of the ceremony. All religious ceremonies change and evolve over the centuries and millenia so that the meanings are adapted to our own age. So it doesn't have to mean that he is "buying" you, as it would have meant 2,000 years ago.

Still, I understand your discomfort, and I agree with AE that your families are being ridiculous.

On Her Own said...

Philo - I don't think I'm overstating the meaning of the ceremony. The fact that there are agunot in the world is pretty solid evidence of that. Additionally, the fact that it is impossible for a man to cheat on his wife (he can "cheat" another man by sleeping with a married woman, but there's no real violation involved in his sleeping with an unmarried woman) and not vice versa, is highly offensive to me.

Philo said...

I think it depends on how the ceremony is interpreted. Yes, those who have a fundamentalist interpretation of it do perpetuate opression of women. But there are also many people who see it in entirely different terms.

As far as the cheating thing goes, that also depends on how you interpret the ceremony. If you see it simply as a halachic transaction, then only a halachic interpretation of cheating counts. But if you see it as only a small part of the commitment between 2 people, why should the halachic stricture matter? Cheating is cheating.

I'm not trying to convince you to have a chuppah. I understand your issues. I'm just pointing out that there are many ways to view the traditional ceremony. My wife and I had a traditional ceremony, but we viewed it in modern terms.

On Her Own said...

Philo -- I hear you and I'm not trying to condemn your choice to have a halachic ceremony.

I do support everyone doing what they are comfortable with/what makes them happy and I don't think that just because someone chooses to have a halachic ceremony it means they don't care about having an equal relationship and/or are sexist.

I guess I do get caught up in how the rabbis of the system itself would view my relationship. It bothers me endlessly that Orthodoxy treats me unequally because of my gender and, as such, I tend to stay away from its having anything to do with personal ceremonies in my life.

The most "traditional" a ceremony that would be okay with me is a Conservative one, and that wouldn't do anything for my/his parents (which, at this point, is the only reason I would do something like that).

kisarita said...

Philo, why should she engage in a practice that goes against her values? Especially something so important as a wedding.

Do you think just because she isn't frum her values are somehow less worthy????

People are always expecting the less frum person to be more accomodating as if our reasons were any less important than their halachic mishugassen.

And I agree, we should be more accomodating but not to the point of violating our core.

kisarita said...

Respect yourselves.
Whatever they say about your "friend" just smile and say, "Yes, me and my husband..."

By all means if you can afford it go to a hotel. That would be my first suggestion. An added benefit is that you won't have to tiptoe around all their other issues either.

Jewish Atheist said...

That is ridiculous! So far beyond acceptable behavior. You're MARRIED. That's too big a thing to hide. I think you have to put your foot down on this one and say that you're not going to hide it. If they can't handle that, tough. This is way beyond reasonable accommodations of their delicate feelings.

Lubab No More said...

I think you are doing yourself a disservice by giving in to their terms. In my opinion, by going along with sleeping in separate houses and letting family members call your husband your boyfriend you are confirming to them that their point of view is correct.

Rent a motel room or stay with friends. Don't give them the chance.

kisarita said...

wonder how they'll deal with it when/if you have a kid. I imagine it will be most convenient then for them to forget this mishigoss of theirs but you never know.