Feminism is simply equality for women and for men. For me, as a feminist, my romantic relationship is one place where I never have to worry about fighting for equality and respect. My fiancé and I talked a lot about feminism after we became engaged, as these conversations have and will keep paving the way for continued equality in our marriage. Ever since we started dating, Jacob and I have prioritized equality and have learned more about feminism together. Based on the results of our experiences, these are some ways we respect each other and maintain equality during our engagement:
We make it a priority to invest in each other. Sometimes life can be rough and if I am going through a hard time and he experiences that with me, I make sure to build him back up if the hardship wears him down. On the other hand, one of the things I love the most about Jacob is that he will randomly bring me home a biography of a powerful woman that he thinks I can relate to, as his way of showing me that he believes in me. We build each other up, not tear each other down. This also means we fight fair and quickly forgive.
Living together for us is like having a sleepover with your best friend every night but in a much more comfortable and trusting environment. It is a lot of fun and we make sure we don't take ourselves to seriously. We purposefully do not get in a stereotypical pre-marriage routine of the nagging wife and the uninterested husband. We keep the atmosphere fun by joking around and having honest conversations whenever we hit a snag. Even more importantly, we split chores 50-50. We always say that we both do half the chores because both of us live here. It's as simple as that.
We just moved across the country together, which has been a huge part of our engagement and the most sink-or-swim experience. We love exploring New York City together and since we have each other, we were able to avoid being lonely from not knowing anyone here. In fact, we have been making friends together! During this transition phase, I helped Jacob prep for interviews and now I cheer him on with his new job. In the same way, he always verbally and emotionally supports my writing projects.
We want the same things out of life and we compliment each other's differences. Before we met, we both knew we wanted to adopt and continue with higher education, for example. And while Jacob loves economics, statistics and math, I love international law and policy. He is also extraverted while I'm introverted, so he gets me out of the apartment and I help him get some R&R. We balance each other out.
We have our priorities in order, especially with finances and wedding planning. We think before we act. To us, it seems crazy to put all of our money into the big day so we came up with a wedding budget and a plan to see it through. I made a "Budget Binder" and he digitalized it on Excel. We use these tools in twice- monthly financial meetings held on our couch with lots of snacks (and alcohol) where we make all financial decisions together.
Jacob and I plan our wedding together. It is not my job or his job to wedding plan. It is our big day and we treat it as such. We started out by making individual lists ranking things we want and things we don't want in a wedding. After that, we compared lists and compromised. Then we divvied up the tasks and went to work! Now if only we can figure out where to go on our honeymoon...
Finally, we are building a life together from scratch and we are really proud of that. We are building our careers, our home, and our minds together. It is fantastic! We are serious about our relationship so we are focused on keeping us in a happy, healthy place both as individuals and as a couple.