Friday, November 11, 2005

My Anniversary

Yes, it's another post about my relationship. Yes, you're sick of hearing how in love I am. Yet, you continue to read, my friends, because you secretly believe as I do that love is all you need.

So, today's my fifth wedding anniversary. Last year, I posted the four things I learned about marriage. I'm going to re-post that, but of course, since the magic number is now five, here's the fifth things I've learned.

5. Marriage takes work. I once asked a friend why he thought relationships between gay men didn't always work out, and he said it's because neither recognizes how much work it takes. I'd say the same holds true for all committed relationships. My parents have been married for over fifty years, and having lived with them for 21 of those, I know you work like a farm animal. You work to say the right thing, which isn't the same as being right (even if it's only in your mind). You work to make sure their needs are met, even if you have to give something, or a whole lot, up.

So, here's my open letter to my darling Telios. Here's hoping that all of you out in love land snuggle a little closer on this crisp fall day to your significant other. And, if you're not in a committed relationship, love yourself well.

From the November 2004 archives:

Today is my wedding anniversary. Yes, I am a lesbian, and no, marriage isn't legal anywhere in the U.S., except for that odd thing in Massachusetts, but that's only for state residents, and last I heard they weren't performing any more same-sex marriages until they figured it out. Nonetheless, 4 years ago today, we invited about 200 of our closest friends to come to church, followed by a big party, and we got formally hitched.

My partner is extremely clever. When special occasions roll around, she makes the simplest things really cool. For our 4th anniversary, she purchased 4 cards, and placed them in 4 locations in our apartment -- one was inside the mega can of coffee that only I would find as she doesn't drink coffee.

Because it is our 4th anniversary, I think it's only fitting that I share the 4 things I've learned about relationships, particularly the marriage relationship.

1. Marriage has nothing and everything to do with a piece of paper codifying your commitment. Sorry, ultra-conservatives, and marriage-phobics, but that's the truth. When you make it your business to go to City Hall and expose your union to the powers that be, it raises the bar. You can't just kick 'em out if you're sick of them. Your elected officials require that steps be taken in order to dissolve your union. The assumption is made that you have assets involved, perhaps children. The government has a stake in making sure you know what the hell you're doing when you decide to throw the towel in. They don't want their dollars to pay for your kids. They depend on receiving your taxes on that lovely cottage you've purchased. And, quite frankly, they believe that you're a much more valuable member of society when you're in a stable relationship. Okay, I'm being slightly frivolous, but here is the bottom line. Commitments are hard. Sometimes we enter into agreements for the right reasons, but need something to help us stick to them, no matter how "good" or "right" they are -- just look at all the people who have gym memberships and stop using them around January 10; clearly New Year's Resolution #1 isn't incentive enough. You can easily break up with a boyfriend, but ending a marriage is different, way different. On the flip side, lest you think that I'm against common-law marriage, there are examples of couples who get it, who understand that love, trust, honesty, conviviality, and enjoyable sex are the foundations of a successful relationship, and screw the government's intervention. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell have been together for more than 10 years, have children together, and never got married. Same-sex couples have done it since coming into public view. I personally know a lesbian couple that have been together for forty years, and have no intention of splitting up except at the grave. Society has to move past the notion that the wedding is the marriage -- if you can't be married before the ceremony; civil or religious, you shouldn't marry at all.

2. Marriage is the best and worst thing ever. Being in a committed relationship pretty much guarantees you'll have a playmate, a friend and confidante, a reasonably unbiased critic to keep things in perspective, and an easily accessible sex partner. It's a blessing to not have to date again. One of the toughest things about being a lesbian, for me at least, is finding a partner. I like to think I'm pretty good looking, I'm smart, can carry on a decent conversation once I break through my shyness, and I'm good in bed (believe me, I am). I can hold down a job and can live alone, so I don't need help with living. I've done some soul-searching and mental health work, so I'm in pretty good emotional shape, save for some remnant childhood things, but as I get older, my past doesn't matter as much as my future does. I'm a damn good catch, but being a ball in the game is hard work. I am thankful that I don't have to do it anymore. I like being able to go to a club just to dance and have a couple of drinks, not to find the love of my life for I've already done that. Marriage is tough in that I'm not single anymore. I have made an agreement that although my desires may stray from my partner, I can not, at all, under any circumstances, act them out with anyone other than my partner because that's what we've agreed to. Let me clean this up just a bit. I look. I look all the time. As I write this, I can think of no less than 12 hotties I wouldn't throw out of bed if I were single and they agreed to sleep with me. But, I won't do it because I can't, and I can't do it because it would break my agreement and that's far more important than what makes me moist. As a former playa, it's tough, but I like being retired from the game.

3. Marriage makes things difficult, but makes things easy. You hold yourself, and the things you do for your partner to a higher standard than you would if you were single, or you should. If you slept on crappy sheets -- you know the ones I mean; the 150 count sheets that don't get soft until the 20th washing -- you step up a bit. You still buy bed-in-a-bag linen, but you spend a few bucks more and buy the good stuff because it's not just you on the bed anymore. If frozen dinners were okay to eat at 10pm because that's when you managed to get home from work, or worse, that's when you staggered home from after-work drinks with the gang, you thought more about cooking an actual meal for the 2 of you, or at least you made it home in time for takeout at a decent hour. The bar is raised; you have to go from acceptable to nice, and that's not the easiest thing in the world. However, when you're with someone who deserves nice instead of acceptable, it becomes easy to make nice, and better for the both of you.

4. Marriage is not for the faint of heart, but will bring out the best and worst in both of you. Okay, here's the personal, mushy stuff you knew was on the way. Some of the worst things I've ever said have been said to my wife. Some of the best things I've ever said have been said to my wife. Once, while her father lay deathly ill in the hospital, I said something nasty to her, and the next day, her jewelry (the diamond and platinum stuff -- when I do it, I do it right) was noticeably absent. After some snooping (remember, this is about the best and worst in you), I found she had taken them off, probably preparing to hand them to me, along with my ass, and a "fuck you and have a nice day," and I was devastated. Since that day, I vowed to watch what I say, which is not the easiest thing to do when your mouth is bigger than the state of Alaska. We worked it out, which means that I apologized; every now and then I kick my own ass, and I remember that she's on my side, and one needs all the friends one has. I have become better than I've ever been, and I'm confident I can only get better.

So, I close this long post with a very personal message to my darling wife:
You are the love of my life. I can't think of anyone I would rather hang out with, talk with, laugh with, cry with, or just sit quietly with. You occasionally drive me up the wall, but I'm sure I do the same to you. Even though I've said things I didn't mean, and I may do it again, even though I may be moody and occasionally withdrawn; even though I torture myself to be perfect and do perfect things because I believe you deserve perfection, it is just that. You are my perfect partner, the one whom God chose for me, and there is no one and no thing that will ever change that. I love you and look forward to celebrating 4 plus 40 years with you.

Happy Anniversary.


Blogger It's Me, Maven... said...

Happiest of Anniversaries to you! Enjoy your special day. Love is grand, ain't it?

3:48 PM  

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