An acquaintance of mine is a reporter for the Washington Post and has recently begun having her own column run twice a week in the publication. Her background and perspective is very different from mine, and has definitely played a major part in her formation as a person, a woman, and writer. I have a distinct feeling she and I may not agree much on much of what she may write about, but I deeply respect her and find it incredibly interesting to read how other women, very different from me, see the world.
Her most recent article is a very personal look into what it means to once again "find herself" after the end of her twenty year marriage. You can read her article here.
Her piece made me feel very sad for the situation she now finds herself in and caused me to reflect on my own marriage and the decision I made nearly 24 years ago to take Chris' last name as my own. One reason for taking a spouses name, Ms. O'Neal overlooked, is the Christian ideal that in marriage the two should become one. I believe this fundamental aspect of marriage is what causes so much misunderstanding in the sacrament itself. Taking the husband's last name might be tradition and very well might be a paternalistic tradition, but it is a very real symbol of the husband and wife becoming one in marriage. It was likely very un-feministic of me to take Chris' last name in marriage, but I didn't and haven't even really given it a second thought, until reading Ms. O'Neal's article.
I've always found it curious many women find marriage an obstacle in maintaining their own identity. I've never understood it. Maybe I'm not all that deep, but I've never experienced a crisis of identity in marriage, motherhood, or the title of housewife. Aren't we more than our titles? Why do so many of our fellow women find worth in titles or actions or accomplishments?
I am me, and for the most part it is enough. I would definitely like to be a better wife, a better mother, a better human being and holier in general. I am absolutely a work in progress and I am so thankful to have my Faith and God's Grace to guide me along. I am not aware if my writer friend has a faith of her own. I'm hoping she writes about that along the way.
Ms. O'Neal's experiences and perspective are not completely unique and her articles will appeal to many women of our day. Her experiences and perspective are unique to me, and I'll be reading her with interest and with an eye to understanding what makes the modern feminist tick.