Tag: marriage

Michael Phelps Has Been Secretly Married Since June

Courtesy Michael Phelps/Facebook
Courtesy Michael Phelps/Facebook

Baltimore’s most famous Olympian has been off the market since early 2015, but little did we know, he’s also been married in secret for more than four months.

Growing Up in Baltimore Makes You Less Likely to Get Married

Image via the New York Times
Image via the New York Times

The average American woman today will get married by age 27, and 29 for the average American man. But that’s the national figure–in Baltimore (and other urban and/or liberal places), the typical marriage trajectory looks pretty different.

Checkpoint Charlie: Before the Wall Came Down


BigComboTrailerTwenty-five years ago, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down. University of Baltimore MFA student Ellen Hartley recalls a night in 1966 when she and her student husband tried to cross to East Berlin. What stopped them might make you grateful.


Halten Sie — sofort!” A guttural voice. “Schnell aus dem Auto!”

Danny slammed on the brakes of our VW Bug. We stumbled out of the car. A pair of burly border guards ordered us to step aside and empty our pockets.

1966, Checkpoint Charlie. My husband and I were students, out for a night at the opera in East Berlin.

Myra and Mom

image via weheartit.com
image via weheartit.com

Baltimore writer Gay Jervey remembers her mother’s most enduring–and exciting–friendship.

Not long ago, I received the news that I had been dreading for months: Myra Shannonhouse, my honorary Godmother, ally and bridge to so much that had come to shape me, had died after the long, wrenching free fall that so frequently accompanies illness, old age and the kind of greedy bad luck that just won’t back down.

June Wedding Report: The Long and Winding Road



Photo by Kirk Bauer.

For many years I was a freelancer for Brides magazine, writing up weddings at the Museum of Natural History, at exclusive resorts in Cabo San Lucas, on cruise ships in New York Harbor, with bridesmaids in Todd Oldham or Vera Wang and flowers that might have come from the court of the Sun King. These weddings had theme colors and signature cocktails and bridesmaid favors and complex gift registries, the full monty of goofy traditions we heterosexuals have invented to go along with the legal and emotional essentials, and all were thoroughly documented in my accounts.

Changing Her Mind About Not Having Children


Hey Whit,

When my husband, “Brian”, and I got married (well, actually before we got married) we decided that we didn’t want to have kids. Now five years later, I’m 31 and he’s 32 and I’ve changed my mind after a variety of experiences.

For example, I often see friends with their children and how much they love them. And sometimes these are couples that said they didn’t want to have kids anytime soon, or at all. Other times I will feel kind of jealous when friends get together with other friends who have kids, and they talk while their kids play together. It just looks like what a family should be.

All of these experiences have got me thinking that I want to have kids now, and it’s not only is it a possibility, it’s a certainty—I know that I want to have a kid(or kids). But every time that I’ve broached the subject with my husband, he shuts it down by saying, “We agreed before we got married that we were not going to have any children.” What really bothers me even more than the fact that he doesn’t want to discuss it is the way that he acts like he can just decide, and that’s that.

Am I stuck because of what I said before we got married? Can’t a person change her mind? I don’t want to leave my husband, but I’m feeling kind of desperate about doing something. What do you think?

Wants to be a Mom

Dear Wants:

The Rucksack: What One Woman Carried to War

image via female-soldier.com
image via female-soldier.com

University of Baltimore MFA student Lisa M. Van Wormer recounts poetically the contents of her rucksack when she served one long year in the Gulf region–the list of items will surprise you.

One knotted ball of light brown hair ties

One of the many challenges of being a woman in the Army was that your hair always had to be regulation: either cut into a bob that did not touch your collar or pulled back into a tight bun. Even in a sandstorm, even under a Velcro-strapped Kevlar helmet, perfection was required. Many of my fellow female soldiers had tools to make this magic occur: hair-colored bobby pins, hair bands with no metal on them that would blend in with a natural hair color (as stated in Army Regulation 670-1), gel and smoothers, even a sock cuff to pull off the “perfect bun” look. I knotted my thick, wavy red hair tightly each morning and always had my cargo pockets full of hair ties as close to my color as I could find, but inevitably by midday wisps would become unruly and slip out of ranks.

Poetry: Withdrawal


There is no music I can listen to

That does not have an overtone of you.

No Crosby, Stills, and Nash. No Billy Joel.

Forget Chicago. Boston. I control

The presets on the stations: maybe Jazz

Will be my new life’s soundtrack, post-divorce?

It’s Not About the Wedding, It’s About the Marriage


Dear Whit:

Here’s the problem I hope you can help me with. My fiancée and I are both professionals in our mid-30s and have been planning the wedding (well, she and her mother have been, mostly) that will take place New Year’s. It looks like it’s going to be more expensive than the amount that her father said he would contribute, and now I’m being asked to cut down on the number of people from my side who will attend.  Already her side will have almost twice as many people as mine, so I’m beginning to feel that my family and I don’t matter as much as hers.

When I try to talk to her about it, she says that it’s really “her day” since I don’t care that much about the ritual and the spectacle, and besides, she is the bride, plus her father is paying for it. She’s right that I don’t care about all of that. In fact, I’d rather have a small ceremony with just immediate family instead of all of their relatives, her father’s colleagues, and her mother’s friends from childhood. It feels more like a performance than a ceremony. Before all the wedding stuff started, she says she never got  “all stressed out” over personal matters, and she assures me that she will be all right when “all the craziness is over.”

Should I go ahead and just make the cuts since this whole thing is for her really, or should I offer to contribute so that my friends and my parents’ friends can come?

Crazed by Wedding Stuff

Dear Crazed:

The question of your contributing more money and eliminating guests from you side is really a side issue because the more pressing question is not so much what your wedding is going to look like, as it is what your marriage is going to look like. Is it just “her day,” or is it both of your lives?

Consider this maxim: You never know what anybody is really like until you see that person in a crisis.  You don’t say how long you two have been together. If it’s been a relatively short time, maybe you haven’t yet observed her performing under pressure.  Now, as time is running out before you have to decide on whether to proceed on what is ideally a life-long commitment, consider her usual modus operandi. Think back to memorable times in your relationship, and ask yourself whether making other important decisions makes her unreasonable or irrational. 

Name Change Has Friends Questioning Feminist Cred


Hi Al,

Although I consider myself a feminist, I am pretty definite in my decision to take my husband’s last name when we get married next June. My decision doesn’t cause me or my husband any problem except that my female friends and co-workers think I have somehow “sold out” by not keeping my maiden name.

Even though my husband has not in any way pressured me, my friends suspect that he has, even though I let them know that I made the decision myself.  Some of the women have known me since grad school, college, and even high school, in some cases longer than I’ve known my husband. So, I guess they think they know me better than he does, and in a way, they think they know what’s better for me. Even though I really care about some of my old friends, I think they are being arrogant. I like the idea of sharing a name with my husband psychologically and practically. If we have children some day, I want to have the same name as theirs and don’t want to create unnecessary complications. Why can’t they just accept that?

Because I used to say that I’d never take my husband’s last name when I got married, my long-time friends think I must have been coerced. My friends and co-workers are getting me down because they say I shouldn’t take the man’s name. For some reason, they don’t seem to understand or accept my interpretation of what it means to be a feminist.  I mean, really, there are other more significant ways for me to advance the cause of equality for women. Any ideas on how to get that across to them?

What’s in a Name

Dear What’s:

You are obviously being pulled in two directions: by your allegiance to your friends and your shared convictions, on the one hand, and your loyalty to your husband and your shared commitment, on the other. Because your friends passionately believe in equality for women and also believe that you do, too, they feel deserted by you in the way that you have symbolically rejected what they stand for.

What makes the name selection so symbolic is how visible it is, not how significant it is—certainly not in your case. No matter whether women keep their maiden (birth) name, they are still using a masculine moniker. Because of the way surnames are used in our culture, unless a wife and her husband create their own married name, the woman can’t avoid using some man’s name.

In this instance, your taking your husband’s name is just as significant and symbolic as not taking it. Because you love him and have committed yourself to him, as he has committed himself to you, you want to emblazon an unmistakable, visible statement above your shared life for the rest of the world to behold.

If your friends and colleagues are still unconvinced, remind them that  what you believe is much more convincing when it is reflected in how you behave. If you live your life in a way that rejects stereotypes and elevates all people with a respect that is authentic and consistent, no one can question what you stand for.  Whether you keep the name of your father or you take the name of your husband, the integrity with which you live your life will bring honor to it. So, no matter what name you call yourself, anyone who hears it and knows you will recognize its sound as sweet.

Got questions about life? Love? Parenting? Work? Write to Whit’s End, a new advice column by local husband, father, teacher, coach, former executive and former Marine Corps officer Al Whitaker.  Send your questions to [email protected]