The M Word

51hsfq5s0pl-_sx364_bo1204203200_I’ve wanted to find a book for same gender and queer couples to even out the playing field, if you will. I know many TLBGQI individuals already argued against marriage before it was a civil right (limited). So I wasn’t sure what I was in for. But here you have it, Writers on Same Sex Marriage, which indicates they are not necessarily going to be writing the same thesis and from the same perspective. This includes 11 gay and straight writers.

One quote stuck out to me from Stacey D’Erasmo.

The good marriage, to me, is less license than it is tattoo, the conscious acknowledgement that we mark one another , change one another. …It would be a very different spectacle if, instead of lining up outside city halls for marriage licenses, gay people were lining up to tattoo one another.”

Instead of simply suggesting you put your middle finger up to the institution, possible create your own version of what a commitment looks like. It’s not a simple set of steps to follow, but a complicated push and pull between two changing people. Stacey D’Etasmo’s essay is entitled The Good Marriage; or, The Kiss of the Fat Man. As she discusses an older film she loves to watch, she identifies a question the film is asking: what is a good marriage? She thinks, “[in] the ambivalent persona of the curious bride, the complicatedly happy ending, the movie poses a question…” I’m sure there are so many different interpretations for what a good marriage is that few people would agree on an exact version of someone else’s.

She also reflects on her own family members, her grandmother and grandfather, having shared over 60 years together. It is often thought of as impressive for a couple to stay together that long but it’s to assume all those years were happy. Or easy. It’s the stayingimg_0877together that imprinted on her, the not leaving simply because you’re now different and complications have arisen. She writes “[to] my mind , the good marriage is not one in which both people are securely self-enclosed, mutually reflective spheres, but the opposite. The good marriage is one in which both people in it can bear the vulnerability of the knowledge that neither of them is capable; of sole possession of the realm…”

There are many more readings to peruse in this small book. A perfect traveling companion for when you want something to consider but may not want to be married to it. : ) You may agree, disagree, or find that there are new ideas or shapes to examine. Imagine pondering being married for health care and tax breaks. Reflect on the anger of conforming to socially constructed institutions that trap the poor and benefit the wealthy. Sometimes we tell stories of making mistakes: like marrying the one you love only to find out they cannot love you they way you need to be loved. Sometimes we tell stories of triumph: like finding the partner of a lifetime, at the end of yours.












Speaking From the Heart ❤️ 

Consider omitting this from your wedding ceremony: if anyone has anything to say about this union, speak now or forever hold your peace. Most witnesses don’t hold their tongues after you’ve been married for a bit. Especially if they haven’t been holding their tongue since before the wedding. 

This is NOT the time to say anything negative about the party you’ve been invited to or the couple you are celebrating. Why accept the invitation? These days our presence is requested and, even then, we may not get a plus one. Your invite is to share in the ceremony that unites specific individuals, not stew in a bitter silent rage.

Just. Don’t. Attend.

It can be painful if you want particular people present who refuse to attend, however there’s no reason to have these individuals in a space that should be held with love and joy. Having the obligatory heterosexist or classist at the affair only diminishes the intention of drawing support from those around you. Friends and family do have a job to do; if you show up…show up. Don’t forget about or give up on a couple that is newlywed simply because they are going to learn their lessons on the other side of the veil.

Decrying someones marriage to another has no place in today’s society unless it is for the welfare of individuals. 

First things first, do no harm

If no harm is seen by the people actually paying attention then we can leave that degree of ownership and entitlement in the past. We have no place in a relationship we are not invited into unless you are invited in and in that case…be a witness. But the truth is, truth resides between the betrothed. 

Honesty isn’t a weakness. Believing a liar isn’t your fault. It’s the onus of the liar to come clean (so to speak) and therefore not the responsibility of the lied-to. We are not in relationships to spy on our partners. If that’s a habit or concern, deal with it. We should not have to uncover information but discover more and more about each other. 

So, if you feel strongly about your relationship, make sure you get in a few counseling sessions AND know you do not have to explain or justify your relationship. 

Your ceremony is a celebration of truth, the facts of the matter at present. What we see in front of our faces. Make sure your witnesses know this. If you are unable to do this, there should be no invitation in the mail (or a save the date magnet). 

Vows: Talking Points for a Possible Future

Vows make me laugh. In contemporary ceremonies, it becomes abundantly clear when the words and intentions are contrived. Don’t say what everyone else has said. Don’t sing a song you don’t have in your heart. Whether during a wedding or a personal, intimate moment, vows and promises should be made with earnestness and hope. Your partner loves you enough to confess their weaknesses and share all that you’ve done for them. 

Unfortunately, vows are made and disregarded just as quickly, with the same fervor. When a couple marries they do not have to say vows. This is because it’s your ceremony. Or if you do share vows, make them meaningful. Nothing better than honesty in a 21st Century commitment; which is to say that everyone is lying to themselves and the people around them. It’s not rare to have a witness in the audience roll their eyes into tomorrow.

Make a promise to yourself that you will say and DO what you mean. If you are not mature enough (and you definitely know who you are) then consider leaving others alone. All too often the truth of a relationship’s imbalance reveals itself in destructive and debilitating ways. Who needs that? The only person to benefit from this is someone who is a parasite. If you marry a leech you will have to deal with leeching tactics that isolate you from happiness. 

Til death do us part…

Consider that death was an entirely different business centuries ago. Even two generations back we can see the relentless clinging and secrecy that has held many relationships together. 50 years doesn’t mean 50 happy years and being married doesn’t have to be more than a business contract. 

The ancient marriage archetype dictates that a woman is property of her father being given over to her husband and his family. Once she does this, no matter her age, she may become pregnant soon after and her life hangs in the balance. Every time I think about this I appreciate the difficulties it took for my life to come into fruition. 

I thank survival most of all. We would not be here if it weren’t for some stubborn people bent on living and giving life…even if they didn’t know what to do with it.

Recently I have watched three married couples face separation and divorce. There are two issues I found within: pedestals and balancing acts. People all too often place a partner above themselves or others because of their values and beliefs. It can even come through the adoration they receive from others. This may cause someone to feel inadequate, but to no direct fault of their lover. There are also balancing acts people perform in order to maintain the guise of strength and togetherness they want to project. This is more compartmentalization than balance. 

Balance allows for a give and take, while compartmentalization simply separates ideas and feelings so they are sorted accordingly. 

These things, seemingly small, destroy relationships. They destroy relationships because they destroy people. A person cannot keep up this type of behavior no matter how long they perpetuate it.

Make vows that you can live by. Receive vows that you believe. There is a lot of talk around what people will do for one another in the fairy tale ever after of married life. What matters is what you actually do.