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“went down to the crossroads, tried to flag a ride”

June 23, 2011

I’m working on getting to the rest of y’all’s questions. I seem to have more free time recently (somehow), only i’ve been filling it with tearing down the back porch rather than writing.

Anyhow – from leo:

I’m interested by your comment that getting married hasn’t changed anything and that you’re not so happy about that. So question #1 is: what was different about getting married than what you’d imagined it would be? Do you think any of the changes you expected will come in time, or alternatively, would come if your marriage were recognized by the state? I’m fascinated by this because I am still not sure exactly what I felt changed after our illegal & legal weddings, respectively, though I do think we relate differently than we would had we never married.

Well, conceptually, getting married is a big fucking deal.  I suppose i felt like that would have an emotional or intellectual effect on me. For reference, the vows we used – as that is sort of the meat of the ceremony (though the rest was awesome, and i would like to post it all here if i can cobble all the pieces together from folks):

I, Brett, take you, Jamie, to be my wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, ‘ till death do us part.

So, no Sinclair, we did not write our own vows (and, in fact, put general effort into having most of the beautiful things said by other people, so as to speak as little as possible).  Also, i felt pretty strongly about using very traditional vows – i feel like it speaks to the history of it all, like a connection between people despite whatever else. Plus, i’ll be damned if i could improve on that in either meaning or rhetoric.

Putting the ceremony together was really difficult because it was so emotionally taxing to pick through stuff like that. I cried talking about our vows while sitting on the back porch. I did not cry at any point during our wedding. Partly because it was so overwhelmingly joyous. It was, i think, so overwhelmingly joyous that it didn’t feel like the serious thing i was expecting. And i don’t think i’ve entirely let go of that expectation (something i am, in fact, awful at), because i still think that marriage is a big deal. Ours just didn’t feel like one. It just felt awesome.

Okay, but i’ve one other thought about this: maybe the wedding isn’t actually the turning point. The wedding is the part where you say your vows, but we had essentially promised that we would do so over a year before. I wonder if getting engaged wasn’t the bigger decision. Getting engaged felt huge and enormous (also joyous) – it was so mind-boggling to me that i really, actually felt like it was exactly the right thing to do.

I guess what i’m saying is that getting engaged is where you decide that you are going to get married. And deciding to get married is the big decision – getting married is not the big decision, it’s the follow-through. And, while the follow-through is important, the change of mindset has to happen at the decision-making part.

On to the other bits of leo’s question – on the other hand, there is a difference in being married that i think will be more noticeable in the long term. One of my favorite things about being married, so far (other than the fact that my mother can’t stop talking about how wonderful the wedding was) is being able to say “i knew that when i married you!” As in:

“Sorry i’m such a slob!”
“Oh, honey, i knew that when i married you.”

Or, “Sorry i’m totally crazy.”
“I knew you were crazy when i married you!”

Those are the most common scenarios, but it comes up a lot. It amuses me and it’s really quite reassuring (it’s like the opposite of “you’re stuck with me now!” which we also say). I think it speaks to the idea of permanence, which is the main difference, and which i think is hard to feel in the short term. In a similar vein, it has made the talk of children much more real – not so much because that’s the proper sequence of events (no one has asked me about babies…one of the advantages of being gay), but because i signed up for that when we got married.

One never knows what one’s brain will do, but i don’t foresee any change of mindset in the event of a legal marriage. Then, i am not terribly interested in legal marriage other than as a tool. I uphold that it is stupid that marriage is a legal institution anyway. But if it makes my life easier, i may partake. Example: we’re changing our names, but we haven’t done it yet because i actually can’t figure out how to do it without a marriage license. So, as a tool, sure – as a meaningful event, i am doubtful.

Lady Brett

"Crossroads" - Cream
One Comment leave one →
  1. leo permalink
    June 29, 2011 4:07 pm

    Thank you for answering my question! I like the idea of your engagement being the more meaningful event. I think of our engagement as important but also a little strange–rushed, hemmed in by life events and other peoples’ expectations, a bit confusing, and we were awfully young–whereas the wedding felt like the solemn moment of avowal and intention. But I think the important thing is the same–that moment when two people make such a serious commitment to one another. We were also quite traditional with our vows: “with this ring I thee wed” etc. which just felt right and fitting. I do feel that *being* married has shaped our relationship in subtle & obvious ways over time. Anyway, once again, congrats to both of you–and what a beautiful thing your mother said. I’m so happy that your families are happy, too.

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