...being, as I am, to inherit this estate after the death of your honoured father, (who, however, may live many years longer,) I could not satisfy myself without resolving to chuse a wife from among his daughters, that the loss to them might be as little as possible, when the melancholy event takes place - which, however, as I have already said, may not be for several years. This has been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself it will not sink me in your esteem. And now nothing remains for me but to assure you in the most animated language of the violence of my affection. To fortune I am perfectly indifferent, and shall make no demand of that nature on your father, since I am well aware that it could not be complied with; and that one thousand pounds in the 4 per cents. which will not be yours till after your mother's decease, is all that you may ever be entitled to. On that head, therefore, I shall be uniformly silent; and you may assure yourself that no ungenerous reproach shall ever pass my lips when we are married.Sure, the above excerpt from Mr. Collins' proposal to Elizabeth in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is exaggerated a bit, for laughs. Yet, when taken with Charlotte Lucas' acceptance of a similar proposal,
Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and must be their pleasantest preservative from want,Mr. Collins' certainty that he cannot be rejected - his sense of entitlement - gives us a glimpse into what marriage has sometimes been.
Yet, this weekend I celebrated my one-year anniversary, and I have to say - marriage is wonderful. Seriously - marriage has meant recognition of the fact that we mean to plan our lives together - not to mention a great honeymoon and someone to watch Star Wars with whenever we want (the original trilogy, of course). Yet, as we sat drinking sangria and reminiscing about our first year this evening, my husband said, "You know, the opportunity we had to fall in love and get married free from all those social and financial obligations and responsibilities is a real luxury, even now." He is right, of course, and I have the sinking suspicion that he's a better feminist than I am.
So tonight I ask, how has feminism intersected with other people's love lives? Are you married, opposed to marriage, or still struggling for the right to be married? Have you managed to find a romantic relationship that is freeing rather than confining? Do you believe those types of relationships even exist?