Dear Father Tony,
In all the talk about marriage equality, we hear about laws and rights and injustice, as well we should. But the video interview of George Takei and his husband made me wish I could hear more about the difference it's made to newly-married gay couples. What does it mean to you, now that you're married? As a long-committed newlywed, you are one whose opinion I'd like to hear, and other Bilerico contributors might chime in as well. This is the sort of message that straight people need to hear, to understand the reality of what heretofore may have been just an abstract idea. We need stories--pictures in our heads--to replace the old rhetoric.
I'm looking forward to your reply.
How has marriage changed me?
You ask great questions. The kind that are much bigger than me. Happy tah give yah mah take on it, I do hope that contributors and readers will all chime in to fill out the picture.
I am married.
Sometimes I am totally surprised when that thought crosses my mind. I never wanted or expected to be married. I wanted love that would burn through the seasons like the eternal flame on a president's tombstone. And, once I found it, the last thing I wanted to do was mess it up with some Marx Brotherly contractual nonsense involving municipal employees and a justice of the peace, but that is exactly what we did, wondering how our relationship might be influenced by this.
What has marriage not done for us? I don't think it has made us any closer. I don't think it has made our love any stronger or more secure. It hasn't been a gateway to better sex (It's not like you come home from town hall clutching hands and saying "At last, Honey! Now we can explore those final chapters of the Kama Sutra.") Our routines remain the same.
Two things have changed.
The first is a small thing. I now literally have in-laws. For twenty-five years I have been spending holidays with his family and been a part of all the major life events that have transpired in his family. They could not have been any more welcoming and loving, and I have always felt part of their family in a very real way. The unnecessary ratification of a familial relationship that has been very important to me has given me a surprising measure of happiness.
The second change has been visible in our close friends. In general, friends never really know what your primary relationship is made of. They can only guess about the actual level of commitment and the long range plans that you keep to yourself. Getting married seems to have made a very fine statement to our friends. In some ways, it has been more significant to them than it is to us. I think we might have forgotten that some look to men who are in a committed relationship as proof that gay relationships can work and are attainable and are worth the search and the effort. I wonder how many of us in a committed relationship that has been ratcheted up to marriage would admit that we feel a heightened responsibility to those whom we count as friends, and that our relationship with our friends is altered, albeit slightly, by the fact of marriage. I would never try to sell any of my friends on marriage (and I still cringe when I watch White Christmas and hear the newly engaged Danny Kaye tell Bing Crosby that he ought to take the plunge because the water is fine) but I do want to be a man who is known among his kind as one who treats his husband well. I don't want to disappoint my husband, and I don't want to disappoint our friends. (I never did, but I think marriage may have enhanced that sentiment a bit.)
That's all I got for ya, Bird. That, and the fact that you know you are married when your husband turns to you in bed and says "I can't seem to fall asleep tonight. Talk to me."