I cried today. It is the morning of my wedding day, the day I am to legally marry the woman I’ve considered my wife for 11 1/2 years. They should have been tears of joy, but really, they were tears of pain.
I started out the evening happy. I was excited because we are finally going to be legally recognized. This is a huge deal. I can honestly say that she is my wife without anyone correcting me or questioning it. I don’t have to worry about what happens if one of us dies or if one of us in the hospital and the legal issues that might bring up. She does not have to go through an “adoption” process in order to have legal parenting rights if we ever have children. So this is a big deal.
My soon to be legal wife decided to share a “concern” about how the knowledge of our marriage might affect the progress in the relationship with our parents, since both of us have had rocky pasts with them. I could care less and want to shout it from the rooftops, because no one else is going to do it for us. But she often cares too much about what others will think. So I got upset . I thought that at least on the eve of our ceremony at the courthouse, the focus would be on us. We often get cut out of the equation when it comes to our relationship because we’ve had to deal so much with how our relationship affects other people who are not comfortable with it. Other people such as our parents, families, neighbors and whoever else might have an issue with two women loving each other. So today was supposed to be a celebration of us, because we deserve it.
I tried to explain to her that this is our wedding, that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or feels, this is for us. I told her I wanted everyone to know and she should put it on Facebook. When I mentioned that, her face froze and she looked panicked. She tried to tell me that Facebook is only for petty things like the type of hamburger you are eating or that you are going to an event. I told her that she has put up things as minute as the food we are eating and as important as us graduating with our master’s degree, so why not post the most important event in our lives up. She quickly backtracked and I knew where it all came from. From fear of rejection, of judgment, of being hurt. I just wanted, hoped that for one day, our most important day, other people would not be a factor in our relationship.
I told her that I get tired of being the only one who puts us first and doesn’t care what other people think or feel about us. It is our relationship, not theirs. I told her it gets frustrating and lonely trying to stay excited and positive when she is constantly fearful about taking new steps as a couple that are more public and might draw attention to us, especially attention from our families. After feeling that she did not understand and that she was trying to explain away her reasons for her fear, I told her to leave me alone and I cried. Actually, I wailed.
It wasn’t until I was wailing that I realized why it was so intense. I was grieving. I grieved all the things we would never have as a couple. I grieved that we never had a proper engagement . I grieved that we could not have gotten married when we wanted to like other couples all those years ago. I grieved that we had to hide our courtship and that we didn’t even realize it was a courtship when it was happening. I grieved that we will never have full acceptance from our families, much less, their blessings. I grieved that we will never be as accepted as a man and a woman together. I grieved that we will never be accepted by our religion. I grieved that we are getting married in the court and we don’t even have enough supportive people in our lives to count on one hand to attend. I grieved that my family will probably ignore the fact that I have gotten married and pretend like my wife is still my “good friend” no matter how many times I try to remind them she is my wife. I grieved that my wife still cares so much about other people’s opinions of us that it creates tension between us at times.
She held me as I cried and when my sobs subsided she said that it seemed that I cried for what happened in the last 6 months. No, I thought, I cried for the last 11 ½ years. I love you, she whispered. I thought, our I love you’s have been whispered our whole relationship. I don’t want to whisper anymore.
I love my wife. I love my life with her. I have never felt so much like myself, so comfortable in my own skin as I have with her. I am still going to marry her today, with puffy eyes and all. The pain is still there. It is the pain that hides, ready to strike at the most opportune times. I ignore it most days, I try to deal with it and focus on what I have and how much I love my life with my wife. That was truly an unintentional rhyme. I pray that one day we will build our own family that is full of acceptance and joy, and celebrates our relationship and love for each other. Today I have to hope that the pain will not always be there, that someday, we will be the only ones that matter in our relationship and that will be okay.