If, hypothetically, girls could be divided into two categories – first, those who tend to be overly dependent on others in life and second, those who strive to be independent – I, like a lot of you reading Scriptoeris, I assume, would place myself firmly in the latter group. As a strong-willed, career-driven feminist then, it might seem odd that at the grand age of just 22 I got married.
For me, “We’re engaged!” was met with “But you’re so young?!” and “Why do you want to tie yourself down?” This is just one example that highlights the problem modern women face today. We study hard, strive for a high-flying career, fight for gender equality, and we also want to find love, build a home, maybe even start a family. On top of all these hopes and dreams are society’s expectations. So, when it comes to finding a balance between dependence and independence it may feel like we’re treading a fine line, walking a tightrope.
Well, if planning a wedding and getting married has taught me anything, it’s that it’s very difficult to be independent without also being a bit dependent. In fact, to a certain extent, I’ve found that dependence allows for independence, although of course in the right doses and with the right people. Instead of being binary opposites or two extremes on an imaginary scale, feminism and marriage, dependence and independence, are completely compatible.
As an illustration of this idea, I’m currently studying for a Master’s in order to pursue my career goals. However, this level of independence is only possible thanks to those I can depend on to support me through it – my husband, family and friends. Right now the balance between independence and dependence seems essential for both my professional success and my personal sanity. I also think that a healthy relationship is based in part on the right dependence: independence ratio. It’s important to have your own interests, hobbies and hopes, but when these are also supported and encouraged by someone who loves you, you have the freedom, confidence and drive to become the very best version of yourself, and to foster that in others too.
If two people in a relationship act in this way, avoiding being too dependent and potentially suffocating the person (figuratively speaking, of course!), and equally not being too independent and risk pushing them away, you find the perfect equilibrium – inter(in)dependence. Marriage, just like any other relationship or friendship, should be exactly like this: not a rock to ground you, seeing as you’re not an air-headed balloon that needs tying down, but the earth you need to spread your roots, to nourish your ambitions, to flower and flourish.
‘Let us be grateful to those who make us happy, for they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ – Proust
Author: Catherine McKie
Catherine McKie lives in the beautiful city of Bath with her husband. She juggles working, studying, freelance writing and proofreading. She loves languages and wise words, anything aesthetically pleasing or extremely sweet!