Sunday, August 10, 2008

On Being a Wife

I am reading a great book called "A History of the Wife" by Marylin Yalom. She traces the roles of wives, legally, socially and emotionally from Greek and Roman times, through the middle ages until the present. It is based on women from England and the USA, maybe like any historical study it clarifies where old prejudices are still influencing people today.

My own marriage is imminent, and I am enjoying learning more about it- almost in an anthropologist like way! I grew up in a counter-culture where marriage was ( and still is) far from the norm. The amount of life-long happily married couples that I know I can count on one hand. This is not necessarily a bad thing- it has been my experience that there are plenty of good alternatives to marriage. In fact sometimes I feel like I am choosing the (less usual) alternative by getting married.

Initially it was hard to imagine that things can really change all that much after a ceremony with friends and family. But I realise more and more that my (our) status in the social community could be considered significantly altered- and this could have implications. I will tell you about it if I notice any differences!

Actually I have noticed a few things lately. One is that the women around me, friends or strangers, are interested in the wedding. The details- the dress, location, flowers etc. (certainly they ask more questions about that than about the groom!). And, it seems to bring something out in people, either defensiveness, or joy or excitement- but some kind of shared emotion. People feel they can relate to you about it. I suppose it is already being publically acknowledged as a bride-to-be feels like something almost everyone can relate to. I like feeling part of something.

How significant are ceremonies anyway? Do they really change things?

I think somehow they can. And I am looking forward to ours, very much :)

ALS Follow-up

ALS in Sydney this year was good fun. It was great having J and C there, so I could practice my talk with them and they helped me iron it out. As usual just giving the talk was helpful to me in understanding where to go from here.

It was also great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with some people. I felt a bit of a veteran on realising this is my 6th (?) ALS already- and i hope the next time it comes around I will at least have submitted my PhD!!

I am also beginning to realise I need to start thinking of the world APhD ( After PhD), and think about applying for post-docs/jobs - where to next?