IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Married My Friend to Qualify For a Better Financial Aid Package

My journey through the legal loopholes of college financial aid resulted in a convenient, platonic marriage.
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My journey through the legal loopholes of college financial aid resulted in a convenient, platonic marriage.

When I called my mother to give her the joyous news about my upcoming wedding that I had decided upon four minutes before dialing her number, she was half-asleep, silent for a few minutes before drowsily saying, “That’s nice, dear.” She hung up on me and went to sleep. 

The next morning, I received a text message, “R u married yet?” accompanied by a cake emoji.

I have a pretty radical opinion of marriage, stemming from a deep-seated feminist upbringing (a huge thanks to my progressive, queer, supportive family) and a lifetime of watching marriages form, either building a strong foundation for a relationship and unified life or leaving the entire thing in rubbles.

A text from my supportive Jewish mother, now the mother-in-law of a goy.

A text from my supportive Jewish mother, now the mother-in-law of a goy.

Alas, the point of this think piece isn’t about my distaste for the institution of marriage in all of its oppressive, taffeta glory. Or why I think monogamy is making everyone miserable, or how I equate marriage to a business transaction, but I’m sure I will write about those things in due time. 

My life as a married woman has gone swimmingly, so maybe I should tone down my cynicism and subscribe to Suburban Housewife magazine. My disdain for marriage kept me in a safe bubble of what I like to call the No Wed Zone, a bubble that allowed me to celebrate my loved ones’ unions while breathing a sigh of relief knowing that I will never feel obligated to marry.

This think piece is how my marriage may be the best thing that has happened to me.

Marriage was not something I envisioned in my future, much less at 20 years old in my first year of college. The unexpected series of events which led me to the living-room-turned-altar was both intimidating and exciting. 

Marriage was not something I envisioned in my future, much less at 20 years old in my first year of college. The unexpected series of events which led me to the living-room-turned-altar was both intimidating and exciting. 

This marriage has enabled me to pursue my goals in a way that I could not if I were still a single adult in the eyes of the government. Without this marriage I would be looking at a very difficult (read: impossible) time attending school for the full course of my degree. But married? Financial aid and a foxy husband with whom I share no romantic responsibility or commitment? Score.

I have lived as a home-schooled bohemian raised by a fiercely independent single mother the majority of my life. An amazing upbringing providing valuable lessons in independence, no doubt, but an upbringing that creates a few financial difficulties when entering a university as a self-sufficient person who is not exactly leaping at the thought of selling organs on the black market to pay for tuition.

When I found out that marriage would absolve me from drowning in student loans, I was elated. This union changed my financial status to "independent" (which I am and have been since 17!), essentially taking my income into consideration exclusively rather than holding it up against my parent’s income when calculating the expected family contribution to my tuition fees. Yes, financial aid is a flawed system, but I have had no problem working it.

I met my husband through a mutual friend and we did not hate each other, which is the start of a beautiful relationship from what I've heard. During my husband hunt, I happened to vent randomly about my distress to my then-platonic-pal, now-platonic-hubs.

I typed about my problems furiously and he essentially proposed to me over Facebook chat and we sealed the deal over a beer on a rooftop. We engaged ourselves rather quickly and thought nothing of boundaries in regards to dating, sex, or terms and conditions of our marriage. My husband is free to live the life he wants and so am I, which is exactly how I have always wanted a union. 

We accidentally slept through the paperwork part of our wedding three days in a row before successfully meeting up at the government building to sign our lives away together. My incredible housemate officiated our wedding and we were on our way with the rest of our days; marriage was quick and painless, like ripping off a Band-aid.

While my marriage is not a traditional arrangement, I definitely love my husband. He is one of the most passionate, intelligent people I’ve met and if anyone would like to go on a date with him, I would be happy to schedule it around our married couple events. He’s truly a catch. 

My husband has introduced me to a wide array of incredible people I would not have met otherwise and we have a great time being married together. Eating tacos married. Partying married.

I woke up the day after my wedding with a few bug bites on my stomach because I slept shirtless on a couch inside of an enclosed patio (without my husband, because, ew.) I had to do an emergency load of laundry because my wedding T-shirt smelled like the kind of sweat you only get from dancing to Kesha with a lot of people in a small living room on a muggy, thunderstorm-y night. 

While I was washing the dance-floor sweat off of myself, I realized that there is a person in this world who cares enough about my success and my wellbeing to marry me, which is pretty damn cool. 

While my husband and I both agree that marriage is a outdated and oppressive institution similar to slowly and repeatedly stabbing yourself with a blunt pen, I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity. Maybe I’m still in the honeymoon phase.

So here I am. A blushing bride, a Mrs. I am in school, building the life I have always wanted, and my husband has a total dreamboat of a trophy wife; I’d say we both came out on top. This experience has pushed me to assess, confront, and define my ethics and ideals. 

Why do I think of marriage as a purely negative thing? Does my marital status turn me into a huge hypocrite? Since marriage is not of vital importance to me morally, I have no qualms separating when/if my husband meets his sweet southern soul mate on Christianmingle.com or something.

Now, readers: what does marriage mean to you? Are you married and think that marriage is weird and archaic? Do you disagree with everything I've said about marriage and want to fight me about it? Are you maintaining your No Wed Zone on purpose?