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Getting Married Today … NOT!

One of my heros, Susie Bright, wrote a blog entry today about the enthusiastic tidal wave of queer marriage overtaking California at the moment.

I wrote the following in response.

It is posts like this that make me such a fan. Thanks, Susie … your common sense is SO HOT!

I've done the long-term monogamous gig that ended, rather predictably, in tears and eventual friendship. I've done sort of "open-ended, dancing on the edges of poly" dating. I've been single. I've watched so many others come together and come apart.

The legal partnership agreement that my same-sex partner and I drew up at the beginning of our long-term relationship worked perfectly when it came time to end it. We also had powers of attorney for property and health care put in place. Interestingly, these are still in place for both of us as no one has come along in a permanent sense to fulfill that kind of role.

This business of being "owned" or "belonging" to another person irks me, not surprisingly, but I'll leave that whole feminist anger management piece aside for now. More pressing it seems is the question of "What do you want out of marriage"? A scary question for people to whom marriage is an end point, a target, a life goal to be reached. I  worry that people "work" at their relationship up to the point of "I do" and then figure, well, my work here is done. Got'em! No one moves forward, no more growth … stagnation.

That is my nightmare scenario. On the upside, I do know of many long-term couples, straight and not, married and not, who see commitment, however they define it, as a signpost rather than an endpoint of that strange and fantastic voyage of "relationship". Their continuous improvement efforts warm my heart and give me hope.

I applaud that my American friends are, in some states, being at least offered the choice of perceived social equality. It is validating to be included, to be on equal footing, with one's neighbours. The power of this cannot be overstated within a community that has long felt excluded and ostracized, often by our own immediate families, by reactive and hysterical community members and by religious institutions.

And, of course, I too am a sucker for the romanticism of it … what fool wouldn't want to imagine that there could be some decent, kind, adventurous individual out there who'd be willing to say "yes, and for the rest of my life, yes".

However, when I breathe deeply, and remove the wedding-induced tears from my rose-coloured glasses, I know that the confetti biodegrades, as does the rice, and reality boils down to how you treat each other at your worst, and best, when you are together and when you are apart. No vow, no piece of paper, is going to guarantee consistency from we  frail and flawed human beings. We can promise to do our best for each other and ourselves, and to behave respectfully and with honesty. I'm not sure, if the opportunity should ever arise for me in the future, that I could ever commit to more than this, given what I've seen and what I know to be true about human behaviour. 

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2 comments to “Getting Married Today … NOT!”

  1. Good post. Marriage is definitely a signpost, not an end point, and it requires a huge amount of ongoing work and commitment. That said, I think anyone couple that decides they are ready for the challenge should have the opportunity.

  2. This is good, this is VERY good.

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