Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why Marriage Matters (to me)

My good friend and co-worker was recently married. Spending time with him as he planned and prepared for his wedding really made me consider marriage and why it is so important to me. I do want to preface this by making it clear that this is really about my feelings about my marriage. I don't expect my experience to be universal, and I believe that people make the best decisions for themselves and its not my place to judge those decisions.


One of the benefits of having a lesbian wedding is there were far fewer traditions and expectations. We could do whatever our little hearts desired without people batting an eye.  In 2008 we went to California with a few close friends and family.We had a courthouse ceremony to get our marriage license and then exchanged rings on the beach at sunset.  We wrote our own vows and didn't have anyone officiate that part. We came back to Arizona the next day and had a reception with our friends and family. Since we didn't have quite a normal wedding party, we asked a friend to make a speech, we skipped over all of the typical dances, and ate some cake. I think the cake was really the only traditional part of our wedding.

Flash forward to present time and same-sex marriage is in the news almost daily with all of the court battles going on. It makes me wonder what exactly we are fighting for. In this day and age, what does marriage really mean to most people? With divorce rates so high, why go through the trouble? The taboo of living together out of wedlock is all but gone. Even having children doesn't seem to have the same stigma attached.

So what is it? I think, as with everything, we all bring our own experiences and expectations to marriage. Hopefully those preconceived notions line up with those of our partner. Would our relationship be different if we weren't married (legally or otherwise)? There's a Schrodinger's marriage joke in there somewhere...

This year has been hard. There have been a lot of reasons why it has been challenging, and I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty. I am a worrier. I stay up at night worrying about work, our finances, what it will be like to have a teenage daughter (yes, I know I have over a decade to prepare...), and a myriad of other things that won't change a bit no matter how much I worry. I don't worry about my marriage. It is my rock, it is permanent. It takes work, yes, but I believe in it more than I believe in any other thing. This year has been rough, but I know that some day soon, things will get better. Some day soon, the weight will be lifted and our marriage won't be any worse for the wear, it will actually be stronger because we got though it all together.

 We have proclaimed-- to our family and friends, to our community, to the government, to complete strangers-- that we love each other and that we are a family. This year has tried us, but our marriage is a light in the darkness; a hand leading the way.

So, to my lovely wife- I love you. I love our family. No matter what life throws at us, we will come through. Together.

(now we just need more photos of all three of us...)