My Old Man by Joni Mitchell via Spotify
I had a horrible, and awkward conversation with my mother over text message today. Turns out that I never told her that I had gotten married... Last year... I couldn't believe that I hadn't actually told her. I tell her everything. So it came as a surprise to both of us. Needless to say she was upset. I mean, marriages are one of those things that parents live for with their kids. To miss out on one can be absolutely devastating.
And to be honest, that never even occurred to me.
My husband and I have been with each other off and on for about 9 years. We've been living together about three or four years now. Hell, we got handfasted (a religious, spiritual binding ceremony) back in that first year we were dating. I mean, this is not a relationship that came out of the blue.
So, why did we get married? It wasn't because we loved each other. We've loved each other forever. It wasn't because we wanted to signify some kind of deeper commitment to each other. That's why we got handfasted. Well, the cold, hard truth of it is that we got married because he needed health insurance, because he wanted to play rugby. That's really the long and the short of it.
What was the wedding like? Well. I have a friend, who I ordained, who is a recognized officiant for marriages in DC. We went and got the license, and she did a little ceremony in a friend's living room in front of about 5 of our friends. We vowed to love, honor, and insure each other. Seriously. We did. Synergistically my ordained officiant friend actually works in health care insurance sales. So it was probably the most highly appropriate selection of officiants that we could have ever found.
Did it mean something to us? Sure, but not really like life shattering, life altering, ceremonial hoo-ha. It was a thing we just needed to do. The marriage license itself just kind of sat in an envelope for like 15 months. We only just recently put it in a frame on the wall. Arc did that.
Marriage to us never really felt like something that we needed to do. It was something that I have been vehement about as a progressive gay man, that it is a matter of legal equality. But neither he nor I felt like it was something that we needed to do to justify anything to anyone or to make a statement or to mark some kind of milestone off a checklist of life. As Joni says "we don't need no piece of paper from the city hall, keeping us tied and true." We've got that already. We've had it for a long time. And I imagine we will have it for a long time to come. The paper is just function following form.
That's not very romantic really. No fairy tale wedding. No fancy cakes. Just a form and a pen and a casual dinner. About a week afterward I was on my flight to Asia for a month. Just carrying on business as usual.
For me it was a blip on my own radar. I didn't bother telling anyone, because it really didn't make much of a difference on my life. We still act the same way that we did before. We still talk to each other like we're insane. We still gripe at each other about doing the dishes or the laundry. There's not really a whole lot that's changed. Just a piece of paper on the wall. Well, that and the health insurance.