As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Amanda Hampton's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
My husband doesn't complete me.
Don't get me wrong—he is everything to me, I truly couldn't see myself without him. But life will never be a fairy tale.
I hate this misconception, and even expectation, of marriage. I've been to several weddings, and heard and listened to numerous vows where the overarching theme is always the bride and groom gushing that the other "completes" them. And that they plan to live happily ever after.
I cringe every time.
I've always had this notion, sure. But being on the other side now as a new wife, I know that girl…I was that girl.
These are my confessions of a
Getting Married Is Not An Accomplishment
Before my husband and I met each other, we were two, whole, single people. We met in college in 2005 and kept an eye on something blossoming into more than friends. We were young, wild, and free—simply enjoying growing up together. We eventually went our separate ways for years, and rekindled only three years ago (2017). Both of us desired to be married, but we never saw ourselves as unequal or half a person. We wed in January of 2020 and he has been my sanctuary from this crazy world since.
He shows up for me everyday, gives me love, support, and wisdom, and I do the same for him.
He pours into me and I pour into him. It's nothing special, that's what teammates do for each other. Our marriage adds to the motivation to be our best selves, but we both understand that marriage will never complete us. I, alone, solo dolo, am responsible for my wholeness. And yet ironically, I don't desire to be complete. Completion signifies an ending.
Marriage Is Not An SOS Button
The belief that it's some magical button that checks off everything on your warped societal "say-so list", is absurd. You have to put forth work in a marriage just like anything else you would want to be successful. Marriage is a beautiful thing, yes. But I truly believe that we simply cannot let it be our largest goal in life.
As women, we need to get real about this attitude that getting married is some sort of power move over single women. Again, marriage is not an accomplishment. Your matrimony did not make you some "all-knowing" being that can discredit or put down other women because you're married. Every woman has a different path to walk and her choices and struggles therein are not yours to judge.
Marriage takes a lot of work. But staying happily married is the true achievement.
My advice: enjoy the ride. I've learned in this short time that marriage is actually a beautiful union of two individuals and can spark intense personal growth and emotional development. But it's just a stop, not the destination.
Married Me Will Still Be A Boss
Finding Amanda and my role in my marriage is important, and always has been. This comes from wanting to give my household love and attention. But I am also working to find my professional purpose and maximize on it.
Married me is just as ambitious and fearless as single me, so no, I don't aspire to be just a wife.
I want it all—love, family success, happiness, health. Hell, dogs haha. Being a fierce, goal-oriented woman does not have to die when you say 'I do'. Can we throw away these outdated societal ideals? Let's stop telling women to put everything on hold or on the back burner once they get married or have a child.
Go raise the children and cater to your man.
Cook for your family every night and clean your house everyday.
You've been married for awhile, you should have more children.
Don't you want to be a stay-at-home mom and work for your family?
Don't get me wrong, I don't mind doing or being any of these for my husband. But this wife's got goals! We live in a glorious time where women (especially black women) are the fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs and graduates of in the country. So, we are allowed to have a career and happy home life.
Stop thinking you have to choose. You can have it all.
Marriage and motherhood are beautiful experiences and are to be celebrated, but never let it hinder the potential. Of course, there's nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mother or wife. But if you have a sister, daughter, niece or friend who's only objective is to be married, maybe try encouraging them to start a business, get a degree, travel or take a job in another state and really find themselves before getting married. Then at least they know the options available to them. Times are changing and pivoting away from the idea that women should sacrifice their career for home life.
Sis, accept that position in another state and uproot just like men are afforded to do. Fight for that promotion without worrying if it would take too many hours out of your day. Accept that higher paying job that may make you the breadwinner. If these are career goals for yourself, wholeheartedly go for them. And not with the fear that you would somehow discredit or disrespect your spouse. Marriage and motherhood are to be celebrated but never let it hinder the excellence within.Your partner is a teammate. And sometimes you may have to lean on them, other times you may have to support them. But Married Amanda is just as fearless as Single Amanda. So, there's no plans for me slowing down anytime soon.
We must also be careful in how we go about presenting our journeys. Women, mothers, and wives: we must stop judging or lifting a nose to discredit a woman that has chosen a different path than us. The choices or struggles of another woman are none of our business.
Ladies, what I'm trying to say, is marriage is a beautiful thing. Children are a blessing. Being in a position to be a source of comfort to my husband is something I will always be. My husband is definitely my soulmate and I want to spend the rest of my days growing together. For always, I will be an amazing wife.
And I will also be a mother, soulmate, teammate, queen, boss, AND me, too.
To keep up and learn more about Amanda's approach to marriage, career balance, and maintaining it all, you may find her on Instagram at @_amanda_AF.
Featured image courtesy of Amanda Hampton