“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strength each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”
~~ George Eliot
Ten years ago today, before I could get legally married, I got married.
Because I wasn’t going to let the fact that most of my country—the land of the free and the home of the brave—didn’t think that I should have the same rights as anyone else stop me from marrying the man I love.
And you know, for thousands of years there was no piece of paper—no license.
If fact there are whole cultures where two people just sort of told people they were now married. Or some dude with a funny hat would reach out and touch to two people and declare them married. There are cultures that having sex meant you were automatically married. It wasn’t until the modern age and governments realized they could get money out of marriage that a lot of this license stuff started.
So R and I decided to get married.
At first we did a Year and a Day Ceremony with four close friends in attendance.
The whole concept of the Year and a Day from European history is a “give it a try” deal and if it works out then they declare it forever.
R and I made it through the year and a day and were going strong.
Now one thing I must say was that I was reluctant at first. See I had done that. And I was huge. In a church. With tuxes and banners and music and an especially made stole for the pastor and a reception after with a tiered cake with two hand painted grooms under a pretty handmade flowered arch.
And it didn’t work. Plus he wouldn’t even do what we promised to the church denomination that did these non-legal marriages called Holy Unions—he wouldn’t even go in with me and get a “divorce.” They asked that we treat our Holy Union seriously and if we decided to go our separate ways that we would go in and fill out paperwork to dissolve the relationship in the denomination of Metropolitan Community Churches.
So why would I want to do it again?
But see…R hadn’t done it before. R had figured, like me, growing up (especially in his tiny town) that he would never get married. He would find a guy and move in together and you are a couple until you have a big fight and then you move out.
Because that’s all we had.
But R is a very honorable man, and his word is his word. I realized that very early on and it was why I fell in love again when I declared I never would again—that I was just going to be a slut or something. R is a very honorable man and if he said that he was married, piece of paper or not, then he was married. He was there for the long haul. He was there to stay.
And he had never had a big ceremony.
And he wanted one,
So who was I to say no?
When I finally got over whatever was wrong with me—fear, disbelief, skepticism, hurt—and knew that I had a real loving man in my life, I was finally ready.
And boy did we put together a heck of a ceremony.
We decided we wanted a “church of all souls” ritual. Since we were wanting something public and not just private, then it had to be for more than just us. It had to be for all.
So we worked to include all beliefs.
We came down the isle and stepped over a sword, which demonstrated a cutting away of all previous relationships—especially bad ones.
We had Biblical verses, a Buddhist prayer, a Native American prayer, a neopagan handfasting with a gold cord, our friend Linnea sang “At Last,” and finally we jumped the broom. A broom that still hangs from our mantle at our fireplace.
It was very powerful.
And wow did I feel married.
Because in every way that was important spiritually and mentally and emotionally we were married. Married in the old way. Married in the way people have been for thousands of years.
Does anyone think cavemen applied for marriage licenses?
It was a beautiful day. There were so many people there too. We had our ceremony at the convention where we met. So all our convention friends—from all over the country—were there. Not only that, but Susan Satterfield—the wonderful friend and lady who ran the convention—gave a two hour pass for all our non-convention friends to come! Not only the wedding, but the reception after. A reception that our friend Sherri had worked on to make so nice. And our friend Inger made us a wedding cake. And there were gifts. Lots of them.
And Susan paid for our hotel room for the weekend!
And of course there was the friends participating in the ceremony. Will, who read the Buddhist prayer, my daughter, who read the Native American prayer, Linnea who sang for us, her husband who stood for us, our dear friends Belinda and John who stood with us.
And the crowd! We knew it was at least two-hundred people. What amazed me was that we saw men—who when they had met me years ago and had many gay prejudices to work through—had tears on their faces and hugged us tight and told us they were deeply moved by all the love on display that day.
So much love.
I am very grateful to be legally married at last.
But my real marriage was ten years ago today.
And this weekend is more than that.
R and I have been together for fifteen years!
I don’t really know many people my age that have made it that long, male and female, male and male, female and female, legal or not.
So today I am grateful to be with a wonderful man, to have been with him through thick and thin for fifteen years, and to have been married in the eyes of man and God for ten years.
Truly, what could be better than that?
Thank you R so much for being my husband—my caretaker—and I am so grateful to be yours. I love you so much.