Marriage is a contract. Marriage is a commitment. Marriage is an acknowledgment of your fealty to someone in good and bad times. It’s not a god-granted sacrament. It’s not to be entered into lightly.
I have many family members and friends who have been married and divorced. Sometimes very quickly, sometimes after years. In all these marriages what I have witnessed is generally the same. At some point, people stop talking. Relationships are hard. They require work, trust, love, compassion, understanding, negotiation and above all, compromise. All relationships involve these things whether it’s a friendship, marriage, family relationship, business relationship or interacting with pretty much anyone.
My husband and I have been together uninterrupted for 34 years. I was 18 and he was 21 when we met and very quickly thereafter, moved in together. We went into business together, we chose to foster and adopt children together.
We have made many, many mistakes. We have not communicated clearly with each other; we have not expressed our expectations or frustrations; we have willfully ignored the others needs for our own; we have argued; we have cried; we have been selfish; we have been giving to a fault; we have loved one another; and at times—not so much. But through all of it, we worked it out. It took effort and some counseling. It took communication. It took risk. No one has all the answers. Sometimes relationships, marriages, need an outside guide to get through the issues at hand. Sometimes all you can do is walk away.
The argument over the past several years about “Gay Marriage” has been a difficult one for almost everyone whether it affects you directly or not. But the misunderstanding in most cases is that marriage is somehow unique in relationship to men and women, men and men, and women and women. That somehow, there is a different level of commitment or emotion involved. There isn’t.
Men and women don’t love each other or have more emotional attachment any more or less strongly than men do men or women do women. To suggest such is absurd. Yet in every case against same-sex commitment, there is the implication that in some way they do. That a male/female bond is the only correct one.
But why? Take religion out of the equation, that’s a human construct and it isn’t the only morality we can access. Take “tradition” out of the equation. Tradition is a human idea too, and traditions change to fit our societal needs. Take procreation out of the equation. It’s been demonstrated throughout recorded time that marriage isn’t necessary to create children. So what is?
Willful misunderstanding. We have been taught by our society that somehow there is a difference. And we simply never challenge that belief in our own minds. It’s really that simple.
But there are some things a heterosexual couple takes for granted in their relationship. Public displays of affection, for example:
• They will never have to worry about being assaulted by someone for holding hands or kissing. They won’t be fired from their job for their choice of spouse.
• They won’t be excluded from something as simple as blood donation just for whom they express their affection.
• They won’t have to hide their marriage, for example, in cases of someone’s “strongly held belief” that they are in some way lesser or dirty, in cases of public accommodations (restaurants, hotels, or any private business entity that serves the public.)
• They won’t be denied access to their spouse or their children in a hospital if the need arises.
• They won’t have their children removed from their homes and their parental rights terminated just because of their spouse. They won’t be looked on with suspicion if they are seen walking with their children.
• They won’t be arrested in a foreign country for their marriage.
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