20 March 2013

the mrs. complex

20 March 2013
i recently reflected on identities in relationships, particularly in marriages, and it got me thinking about the role of a bride.

it's no secret that the wedding industry has made a business out of walking down the aisle, but it seems that we have now managed to commoditize the desire to become a bride, a wife.

james christianson photoraphy via

i don't mean to pick on kate spade (they're one of my faves!), but their wedding belles line is a perfect example, with their "mrs" products. my sweet husband bought the kate spade mrs key fob for me while we were still engaged and i couldn't have been happier. i felt proud about becoming a mrs., a wife; and certainly it is exciting and should be celebrated.

but the role of bride or mrs. isn't what defines me. yes, i am someone's wife, but i am also a sister, a professional, a reader-of-novels, a hot yoga enthusiast...

i wonder if we get so caught up in being the bride, becoming the mrs., if we aren't setting ourselves up for disappointment when it's all over. there's so much thought, energy, and time that goes into getting to the i do's, what happens when we're no longer a bride? do we get the post-wedding blues? do we transition into mrs. mode and start nesting, trying new recipes, hosting dinner parties? and is that enough to keep us fulfilled?

it's not just for the brides-to-be; if we wrap up everything that makes us us in our relationship with another person, if we derive our sense of being and belonging from someone else, are we not losing sight of ourselves and trading our own inner strength for codependency? i think of the empty nester mother who has poured all of her love and energy into raising children and suddenly finds herself without an outlet for that energy and dedication. does she become depressed because she's no longer needed? does she struggle as she tries to refocus her energy? or become needy of the children she's sent off into the world to live their own adventures?

i'm not saying this happens to all full-time moms, to all brides, wives, girlfriends, but i do think that it's an easy trap to fall into. regardless of what role you play, it's important to hold fast to those inherent characteristics that define you and to those things make you happy and fulfilled. relationships certainly can be part of it, but you're more than just a mrs., aren't you?

13 comments:

Judith L Katz said...

Did you read my mind!? Such a great post! Thanks for sharing!!

Alexa Evans said...

It's definitely true. Ever since becoming a mom it's been a struggle trying to define the other parts of me. I still work (part time)...the balance is hard, but it's really worth it to me and our family as a whole. I've seen some of my other friends struggle especially in the stay at home mom role. It's definitely a difference experience for everyone. Like you say...the Mrs. role is similar, but perhaps not as life altering if that makes sense.

Jessica Lee said...

Goooood topic. I'm definitely that girl to a point! I am SO proud to be a Mrs, I love sharing my husband's last name - heck, I still love saying "my husband" after almost 4 years of marriage! And when you posted the links to those Kate Spade "Mrs" jewelery items, I was mentally checking my bank account. ;)

I think the key here is, and always will be, balance.

diane {a spot of whimsy} said...

you are speaking my language with these posts! I like what @facebook-123300068:disqus said below - the key is balance. you are a Mrs. and can be very proud of that aspect of your life. but it is not all of you (or shouldn't be) and reminding ourselves of that is so important. thanks for the good read, ash!

ashley nicole catherine said...

so glad it resonated with you! i wasn't sure how people would take it, but i guess it's something we all think about. i think it does us well to talk more about stuff like this and not just the "pretty" parts of a wedding.

Austin said...

capitalistic society is heavily invested in the conflation of consumption and identity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumerism

bulkmarketplaza said...

Thanks for sharing..:)

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Jen PearlsandLace said...

When I was engaged, I tried to constantly remind myself that although I was pouring a lot of time into details for the wedding that the end result was to be married to the man I love the most. I think a lot of ladies get caught up in the whirlwind of planning their wedding that they loose sight of the actual purpose. My mother-in-law has very much gone through the empty nest syndrome as she didn't return to work when the boys were all in school. I'm a very driven individual and visualize my life much differently and we often don't see eye to eye as she doesn't understand where I'm coming from. The key is to find a balance, much like a lot of things in life. Lovely post!


xo jen

The Now said...

I know what you mean and I think some girls totally love playing the "Mrs." role, but that is not me. I mean, yes I love being Matt's wife but it doesn't totally define me. Love these topics btw!!! xoxo

Emily Fitzgerald said...

per usual, i love this post! <3

Emily said...

Such great thoughts, Ash! I agree that being a Mrs. shouldn't define you. It's so important to maintain your own identity through your passions and outlets. Sometimes so much pressure is put on being a Mrs. that I think we forget what it's all about at the core.
Isn’t That Charming.

Staci Acquasanta said...

I totally agree with you, I loved being a bride but now I am a newly married wife and it is wonderful but doesnt change who I am...although I have to say I have the "i do" kate spade necklace and love it !

xox
Staci
www.leatherandleops.com

ashley nicole catherine said...

thanks so much, jessica! xx

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