After continuing my listening to my book on tape, I realized I wanted to put a disclaimer.
I enjoy (for the most part) staying at home with my children. I feel blessed to do so, I feel blessed that my husband makes an income that allows me not to make an income. But I have absolutely no problem with anyone choosing an option other than mine. Even though I do not consider myself a feminist, I am all for women being able to provide for themselves for women having rights to choose what they want in life. (Although personally I am pro life). I think women should be able to escape an abusive relationship, I think women should have every right a man has. I am grateful for the ability I have to own bank accounts without my husband's name. But I also feel that in this choice I can choose to stay at home with my children, to give up a career at this point. Although I am extremely proud that I have a college degree, and I don't think I could feel content to stay at home with my children without being the proud owner of a piece of paper from an accredited university. But that is just me, I don't expect others to choose my life, which is why I don't want to choose theirs.
This all being said, I do not feel I was ever forced into marriage. I don't think my religion, my family, my husband's family forced me into marriage, or my society. I choose want I wanted. I whole heartedly believe you can be an upstanding citizen in society, and in my religion without marriage or children. I just realized at age 17 that I would not continue to attend my church if I came across a upstanding male church member who loved me and I chose not to marry him after he offered. This is my own personal feelings, and beliefs for what was right for me, and only me, has nothing with other or people as a whole, or as a religion. It has to do with me and me alone, well maybe my husband. I never once felt forced into marriage, if anything my family and my husband's family gave us numerous opportunities to walk away before our vows. I was even given options of out, mere hours before the ceremony. I in no way think I was forced to get married, by my religious beliefs, I choose, I always had the choose, it was always mine alone. I don't think my religion forces people to get married. Quiet prompting of my heart lead me to a man who respects me, who I chose to marry. I truly believe those quiet promptings were leading me to happiness and joy. Not to say someone has to be married to be happy. But I am a selfish person by nature. Those quiet promoting where leading me to life that would teach me to giving not taking, and I think at least for me, that is what has brought me happiness. Thank goodness my husband took a chance on a selfish needy girl because our life together is truly joyful.
(Although I don't think you need marriage to be giving. I think its what I personally needed, but not any marriage, a specific marriage, to a man exactly like my husband.) But that sounds wrong. I need is the wrong word. I don't know what the right word is, I just find my marriage fulfilling more than I could have realized in all those months of wondering why I was heading towards marriage with Brent. I was never the girl who dreamed of her future wedding, in a way I think my father but also my mother raised me so I didn't. My father did a good job of teaching his daughters they did not need men to make them worthwhile. (It really is mostly a father's job to teach a daughter how to view herself in connection to the male world. But a mother is also vitally important. My mother is an independent woman who has a successful business, but also stay at home to raise seven children. But I'm off topic. I don't know, I did not need my husband, but I did not find a husband so I would never be lonely. I did not dream of my wedding, but every day I'm eternally grateful that yes in fact, I go to bed next to Brent and in the morning wake next to him. That ours lives will always continue to intersect, but will also both be separate. I do not need my husband to have a life, but I'm glad they are joined. I guess that is what my marriage is for, a commitment that in 60 years our lives would still be intersecting, and also three months from now.