How my cat taught me marriage isn't so scary after all

December 19 2008 | Guest post by Cassie
By: Maggie OsterbergCC BY 2.0

So the other day I was looking at my cat. More specifically, I was looking at my cat as she spewed what seemed like a quarter pound of half-digested tuna/chicken feast all over one of my favorite sweaters, which I stupidly left unsupervised on the bed. And I thought, "Sweet lord above this cat is driving me crazy, what with all the puking and crapping lately, but I love her to bits and wouldn't give her up for anything."

And here is where the most pathetic realization came over me: My relationship with my future husband is like my relationship to the cat …

Things might not go perfectly all the time and he might piss me off or accidentally mess up my shit, but there's no option to return him to the animal shelter. I love him, stinky tuna breath and all. (Well, we're both vegans, but it's a metaphor, okay??)

This must be like playing connect-the-dots with a third grader or something. Unconditional love, etc. etc. But bear with me.

You have to understand that, coming from a feminist who grew up with some pretty warped examples of marriage and gender relations, and who had been absolutely terrified of marriage up until about two years ago, this realization helped me a lot.

I have been with my fiance for 8 years, he's my best friend, I love him more than anything, and committing to him for a lifetime never freaked me out. But committing to him in marriage did freak me out, at least when we first started talking about it. But as my cat oh-so-helpfully demonstrated by managing to maintain my love even while vomiting on the last clean sweater I had to wear to work that day, you can make a decision to love someone and stick by them even during painful times. And it will be okay. Was I pissed that my cat did this? Yes. Do I love her any less, or want to divorce her? No.

Of course, I love my fiance in a more complex way than my cat (don't you dare tell her that), and with that will come more complex problems. But I feel ready, and more confident that marriage itself won't change who we are at the core — two people who love each other and who totally, absolutely belong together, whether in sickness (insert cat vomit here) or in health.

  1. That's so funny. I come from a very similar background and it's really nice to know I'm not the only one unafraid of commitment but afraid of marriage. Workin' on it!

  2. Awesome, I made OBB. Though I have to say the photo of the cat puking that Ariel found really makes this post.

    Really, Alie? LOL I so want to be at a wedding where cat puke is actually mentioned. How fun.

    Happy Friday, everyone! And btw, I don't think my cat has puked again since I wrote that. Must be like a record or something.

  3. I loved this blog when it was posted on OBBT. I sent this to my MOH and she loved it. About a week after this ws posted, one of my kitties reminded me of it again when he had ralphed up his dinner and then hid it under a piece of my fabric.

  4. HAHAHA. I've been engaged longer than I've been a cat owner, but I love that and think it's brilliant. I frequently tell my tuxedo cat (we have two) that he's my favorite pain in the ass……

  5. One of my pet names for my FH is "Catbreath" — but only when we've just woken up and haven't brushed our teeth. Sometimes he calls me "Kittenbreath." Aren't we just ~*~adorable~*~?

  6. I love this 🙂 It made me feel that I am not the only one who is more afraid of marriage than the actual commitment. I came from divorced parents as well and recently became unafraid to get married.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  7. I forwarded this to FH when I read it. Extra-special was that he'd just taken care of me throwing up a few nights prior. 🙂 Thanks Cassie!

  8. Am I the only person who was never rattled by the idea of marriage?

    I mean, all kinds of people have problems with the idea of being totally committed to someone, formally and legally, tied and bonded with them so that no matter what, through thick, thin and minor annoyances, you're there for them and they're there for you. How can anyone be terrified of that? It sounds like the most beautiful idea in the world.

    I wanted to marry my fianc̩e because I realized that "boyfriend" didn't encompass what I felt for him РI loved him so much that I wanted my friends, family, the government and total strangers to know he was the most important person in my life. I didn't want to privately tell him I'd always be there, I wanted to stand up in front of our friends and family and proclaim what he means to me. I didn't want to keep my options open or keep a parachute packed in case I met someone else at a party, I wanted to let him know in a powerful, binding way that I was his and that he could always count on me.

    (He's never thrown up on my sweater, though. He did hurl all over the couch after a night of way too much drinking, but hey, the neat thing about him is that, unlike a cat, he felt sorry and cleaned the mess up afterwards.)

  9. "Cassie
    LOL I so want to be at a wedding where cat puke is actually mentioned. How fun."

    My other half and I went to one where the minister was talking about how dealing with the kitty's puke had shown the couple getting married about sharing responsibilities, even if it wasn't a pleasant task, and even if it was his ancient cat to begin with. The whole church laughed. It makes for an interesting ceremony : )

    I love this new category Ariel. This is just awesome.

  10. Glad to know others have the same thoughts on the marriage side as I do, this made me laugh, and a bit tearful too.
    One thing that is freaking me out a the moment, is when I hear of friend and friends of friends, who marry after being together for 7-8 years, but end up divorced after the first year or so. This part terrifies me, as I really want to get/stay happily married, but wonder why this happens, when people are together for ages, get married then split, what causes this….?

    • A lot of times this can happen because each individual has different expectations about what "marriage" will mean but don't necessarily talk about it ahead of time. Some people expect things to continue just as they are and some people feel like everything will change when they get married. I think this is why pre-marital counseling is so important, even for people who have been happy together for a long time. After the wedding, expectations may change dramatically for one partner but not for the other and then a conflict can result.
      🙂 I can't remember where I read this but it was in a mental health essay collection so I feel like it's pretty reliable!

    • Another reason why it can happen is if the couple is already noticing problems in their relationship and on some level (not necessarily consciously) think that getting married will fix it. The problems don't get fixed this way and end up leading to divorce in the end.

  11. Ah! It is so nice to read this. Sometimes my friends are confused by my proclamations that I have no worries about spending the rest of my life with my betrothed. I am excited about. He already feels like a husband. He is my very best friend, whom I trust completely. BUT I am scared of MARRIAGE. Obviously cognitively I realize it amounts to the same thing but something about it is uncomfortable. And by "something," I of course mean "my associations." At any rate, I just stopped talking about it and assumed I was a freak. Thank you for helping me to know that I am not!!

  12. Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to talk about tuna flavored cat puke. HA! I not only have a new found appreciation for my man, I have a whole new appreciation for cat puke that I thought would never happen. Next time my kitty pukes on something I'll send my FH this link.

  13. This is so briliant! I soooo resonate with this idea. As much as I love my husband, some days he is like a cat puking on my pillow or maybe its more like I am the one puking on his pillow…either way, I wouldn't have anyone else puking on my things. I love him so much that the irk rarely lasts longer than it takes to do a proverbial load of laundry….I am happy and heartened to know there are others who feel the same.

  14. Shortly before our wedding, my husband and I experienced a really big tragedy that rocked us to our core. The day we found out about it, I went straight to a bottle. Gin, specifically. Put 750 ml, paired with some lime juice and tonic water into my stomach with no food. My husband probably had the same thought you did with the cat when I vomited on him later that night. I felt like the biggest bag of butts the next morning.

    Here's to marriage, which is often more "we're gonna get through this, we always do" than sunshine and lollipops, but hopefully those two will be reversed. And here's to gin, which I used to love but will likely never drink again.

    We've been married three and a half years now. Perhaps it's BECAUSE the wedding was just us, a big party in a place we love with people we love, but marriage changed our dynamic only in the sense that I changed my name, we now wear rings, and we file our taxes jointly. The commitment is there before the paperwork.

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