Why marriage, I asked. How would it improve what we already have? We were in bed late at night. John was tired but I wanted to get his proposal out of the way.
You want me to give up my job, he reminded me. Where would that leave me if you met someone else?
Now that's fair comment, any woman would accept that much. I really did want him to stay at home. I'm not a bad person. Seeing him working hard in the kitchen after he's had a hard day at the office fills me with guilt. I earn more than enough to support the two of us. And what's more John hated his job. Marriage would make life easier for him.
But what's in it for me? I already had the best of both worlds already. John's reply surprised and thrilled me. I actually blushed. 'Don't pretend you haven't thought about it,' he said. 'You want me at home full time because you have plans for me.'
Well he was almost right; they weren't actually plans but ideas, outrageous ideas maybe but with John, entirely possible given time. Seeing my interest he pressed home saying, 'look how far we've come already. Be honest, did you expect as much when we first met?'
There was no denying John's point. We'd gone further than I'd ever dreamed of.
'Men change when they get married, I answered. It could be a backward step. Masculinity rears its head.'
He sat up suddenly, a strange expression on his face. 'I got home after seven,' he said, 'I prepared and cooked dinner. I even made a pudding. While you watched television I cleared the table and washed the dishes. I was tired but you need a blouse ironed for tomorrow so I did that and ironed a skirt as well. In a few minutes you'll make love to me if you want to and you won't if you don't. My tiredness won't be a factor. If you don't make love to me tonight you'll use me in the morning even if it means me being late for work. And you lie there talking about my masculinity - please!'
Anger flared inside me, not so much what he'd said but his sarcastic tone. I hate sarcasm and he knows it. When I moved he didn't flinch. He knew I was about to lash out and he didn't flinch. I think that's what saved him. It made me think. I could hit him, and we both knew it was safe for me to do so. I could put him over my lap and demand an apology and my masculine boyfriend wouldn't resist.
My rage evaporated and I lay back feeling exhausted and mentally drained. Maybe you should have waited for me to propose to you, I said. It was a lame joke. But once more he surprised me.
'I always thought you would,' he said, 'I expected you buy me a ring and tell me, tell me we were getting marred.'
The words came out of my mouth without any conscious thought. 'Okay, we will get married, and we will take this further - a lot further. But I don't want a husband. I want a wife. You stop work tomorrow you hear?'