I’m writing this column on Jason’s and my third wedding anniversary. Since marriage is something new for our community, and us, I thought I’d share what has been a learning process.
As everyone says, marriage is an institution that takes work. But there are other differences between our marriages and the “traditional” ones. Many of us grew up thinking that marriage was not an option for us and found ways to justify our position and live with it as we fought that battle to gain that right. Once given those rights from the Supreme Court, which settled the issue, there was a rush to the altar for many. At that time, I wrote that people should not marry as a political statement or simply because they could; marriage is a serious step.
Now that some time has passed, we’re beginning to see same-sex divorce rates rise — just like those “traditional” married couples. No trend can be seen by the early numbers alone so let’s give it five years.
The real issue of marriage for our community is the mandate to understand the commitment, and the bond that the marriage license represents. Over the weekend you might have rented a car. Traditional couples know that listing a spouse on the rental form can get you a discount; we have to make that point at the rental counter. And we have to learn about similar issues — what about bank accounts, credit cards, etc.? Those are all serious issues that should be clearly thought out before marriage.
That’s where the commitment comes in. Once you sign that paper, you should have already agreed to love each other unconditionally. That’s the hard part, since one or the other will likely do something unacceptable in any number of areas of living together. That’s when you learn that marriage has to be worked at. And you also learn how well you can communicate with each other.
If you’re doing it right, your spouse should be your best friend, advisor and companion. Over time, that brings comfort to both of you. You find joys in the simplest of things. Jason and I have an agreement that when we go on a road trip (something we enjoy), I’ll do the driving and he’ll complain about my driving. I have a smile on my face as I write that, and I hope each of you get that same feeling when you think of your spouse.
There’s a Stephen Sondheim song that describes it well: “Being Alive” from the show “Company.” When I look at Jason, I’m alive. I wish that for each of you.