Prev Next

Wedding Graduates Return: Avis


Those of you who have been reading APW forever-ever will remember Avis’ courthouse wedding and backyard fiesta from 2009.  Her Wedding Graduates Return post is a perfect bookend to my post earlier this week. Because if for me something very clearly changed inside our relationship, for Avis what changed was external, but equally profound.

Wedding Graduates Return: Avis | A Practical Wedding

I wasn’t sure that marriage was for me. The truth is that Vince and I have been as committed to one another as we are now since about date two. Which might be strange for meeting and starting to date at 19. We’ve never broken up, and we’ve never really even considered it. We were the couple that people would tell me on drunken nights in college that we were going to get married. And yet I held on to that feminist idea that I didn’t need to be married to be complete. And as we got older and moved in together and really started our lives together, navigating jobs, dishes and a new city, I thought that was good enough. We were happy, committed and practically married in every way except for legally. I didn’t need that piece of paper to define my relationship. We were in charge of defining our relationship. Actually defining our relationship has never been something we were interested in, hence the reluctance to get married.

About this time, I started to grow up and learn more about the world, society and myself. I started to feel societal pressure to be married. (Luckily my family never once pressured us.) It was in the little things, like every time I had to call him my boyfriend—my boyfriend of seven years with whom I shared a mortgage. We had many discussions of what other descriptors we could use for one another:

Life Partner: Most people would probably think that Vince was gay with his Life Partner Avis. Especially since we have always lived in neighborhoods with large gay populations. So not that reflective of, well, reality.
Partner: This could allude to the former or that we own a business together and have a platonic relationship.
Lover: Implies that’s all we do.

I think that’s as far as we got before giving up. So I started to feel these little moments of inconsistency between the way I saw and understood my relationship and the way the world viewed my relationship. But that wasn’t enough to put me over the edge.

And then, in the spring of 2008, Vince’s father passed away. He and his family had battled ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) for six long years. In those six years, I witnessed a horrible disease consume a strong, intelligent man. I witnessed Vince’s mom give up everything to take care of him day and night. There were nights that she would sob to us about how hard it was and then get back up in the morning and care for him with tender love. Vince himself took care of his father for a solid month when help was needed while I stayed in Atlanta. I saw his family navigate the most horrific situation that I can imagine with honesty and integrity. I was there in the room with the family as his father took his last ventilator assisted breath. Vince’s father was not a religious man. He did not want a funeral. He did not want to be buried. He wanted his ashes scattered in Greece. So a small visitation was planned so that the many people of their small community could pay their respects. We stood in a receiving line: Vince’s mom, his older brother and his wife, his twin brother and his wife, Vince and his girlfriend. I met everyone I didn’t already know that day. And what I took from that experience was that I wanted to be a part of that family. I have a wonderful family of my own; this isn’t a case of someone needing a family that doesn’t exist. I wanted to be a part of his family in every way I could be. I didn’t want anyone to think of me in that line as a temporary fixture.

That was one of the hardest weeks of my life. It’s still hard. But it was nice to see everyone come together. It was nice to meet these family members that seldom are seen. It was nice having my family and his family together. And it was shortly after that when I realized that I was really the only one that had the power to bring everyone together again for a joyous occasion.

Wedding Graduates Return: Avis | A Practical Wedding

And it was. For someone that never wanted to get married, our celebration was one of the best weeks of my life. I never planned a wedding as a little girl. I barely planned this one. It was a rare moment of totality and magic. Where everything seems right with the world. I was surrounded by the people I love most and it felt natural and yet exhilarating. I walked away changed. I can’t really explain how, but I will say that it didn’t change our relationship.

Marriage is not wholly different than pre-marriage for us. (I am speaking for myself here, although I suspect he feels similarly.) We still fight over the dishes from time to time, we still live in the same condo, we generally do the same stuff. But I do feel that societal question mark that was on my back has been removed. I feel as though I fit neatly into the puzzle of our community with my shiny new label of wife. And while that is a comfort, it did take some time for me to get over being angry at them for not respecting my relationship before. We were already married but no one knew it until we signed that piece of paper. And as I write this, I know many gay people must feel the same way.

I actually had someone who will be married in a week ask me, “What does marriage mean to you?” I had just come from a wedding where the wine was flowing so I can’t remember what I told her. I hope it was sage advice. But Vince and I did have this discussion one day as we were trying to resolve an argument. I posed the question to him that I had been pondering myself. “What is your purpose in this relationship? Why are we together?” As I write those questions, they seem harsh, but I was trying to get us to define why we share resources instead of being two people that live separately but are still together. And the conclusion that we came to was all about support. We provide a support system for one another on a daily basis, dealing with issues large and small and in completely different ways. We decided that together that with each other’s support we can be more successful and accomplish more goals together and singularly. And that is the best way to describe it for me other than not being able to imagine my life without him in it. Marriage has been no less and no more that I expected and wanted. And I suspect that my definition of what it means to me will change over time. As it should.

Pictures: Personal pictures, Avis’ invitations similar to those designed by her company Avie Designs

More in Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Ceebee

    “We decided that together that with each other’s support we can be more successful and accomplish more goals together and singularly. And that is the best way to describe it for me other than not being able to imagine my life without him in it. ”

    This.is.it.

    • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

      Yes, exactly! For the longest time I didn’t want to get married because I was skeptical about “two becoming one” but until I met my husband I didn’t quite get it. Now we aren’t WaltAndElissa, we are “Walt: the best possible Walt with support from Elissa” and “Elissa: the best possible Elissa with support from Walt.” We are still ourselves, it’s just that we each bring out the better parts of ourselves, I think.

      • http://www.thisisrachelle.wordpress.com Rachelle

        It’s like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The individual parts don’t go away, but the combination is somehow bigger than the two of you. I don’t know how that happens but I feel so lucky to have it.

        • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

          Right! You said it better than I did :)

  • Sarah

    What you say about bringing everyone together for a joyous occasion really resonates with me. We had the kind of wedding we had – not huge, but bigger than I had originally imagined and with roles for everyone (flower girl, reader, witness, baker . . . ) – mostly because my family had had a rough few years and I wanted to give everyone something to celebrate and something fun they could be really involved in.

  • http://missfancypantsthebride.blogspot.com/ miss fancy pants

    “We decided that together that with each other’s support we can be more successful and accomplish more goals together and singularly.” Could not be more true and we need to sing it loud. We may not need another person to make us complete, but I think being part of a team makes us stronger in the long run. Great post!

  • http://rachael-maddux.tumblr.com Rachael

    Decatur neighbor!! Hello! I bet I have walked past you somewhere and had no idea you are smart and design very pretty things. /creeping

    • Denzi

      Hee, I have this same creepy thought! *g*

  • m

    “…it did take some time for me to get over being angry at them for not respecting my relationship before.”

    This is where I’m at. I’m angry, too.

    I’ve been with my partner for almost nine years. Like Avis and Vince, we’ve been together since we were teenagers and we’ve never broken up (or even entertained the thought). We’re as committed as two people can be. Over the years, we’ve considered getting married… but as the years have passed, I’ve wanted to do it less and less.

    We are under tremendous pressure from both of our families to Have A Wedding. My family in particular has taken a stance that my partner and I are “just fooling around” or “just playing house” or “just a temporary thing” – which might be kind of funny, except it’s been eight-plus goddamned years. The message that we get, over and over, is that no matter what we do, or how much we demonstrate that our relationship is strong, healthy, and committed, it won’t “count” for squat unless we have a big party.

    The result of that, of course, is that the absolute last thing I want now is to get married. Our relationship is great, thank you. It doesn’t need an “upgrade”. And at this point, getting married feels like it would be a capitulation, a negation of everything that came before, as if I said, “You know what? All of you were right; our relationship didn’t mean anything until we had that wedding.”

    So I’m angry, and I’m sad, and yes, I lose sleep over this stupid thing. I know I should just be happy-happy and have a big, joyful, hipster-beautiful party and quit bitching and just get married already like a normal person. But I keep holding out for respect.

    Sorry for the super-long whine, but Avis’s anger-at-the-system really touched a nerve in me.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Fuck the ‘should’s. If you don’t want to “be happy-happy and have a big, joyful, hipster-beautiful party and quit bitching and just get married already like a normal person” then screw it. (And what’s ‘normal,’ anyway?!?)

      • meg

        I’m with Kimberly. Maybe there comes a point when you joyfully want to get married for some reason, but till then, why would you? Getting married when it makes you angry because other people are telling you ‘should’ does not sound like the recipe for wonderful transformation. And if you’re not aiming for wonderful transformation, or a party you really want… why not just stay happy where you are till something changes.

        I’ll tell you what. I’ve I’d felt external pressure to marry, I might not have. I did it because it was something we internally wanted to change our already amazing and committed relationship a little.

        • k

          I don’t mean to be flippant or contrary, but the idea that if you feel external pressure to do a thing, you shouldn’t do it, strikes me as equally ill-advised as DOING something just because you feel pressured to do it. That’s still letting what other people want control what you’re doing with your life, just in a slightly different way.

          Figure out what *you* want, and go after it, even if it makes your parents happy!

          • meg

            Well, yes. I never claimed to not be contrary. BUT. When people pressure me, I tend to have a hard time seeing my way out of my reactions to their shit, to really find out what my unvarnished opinion is. Which pretty much means I wait till the pressure stops (or I shut people up) to think it through in a better head space and make a move.

            As you might imagine, my parents learned this years ago, and now refuse to offer me their opinions on anything ;)

        • M

          Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. Meg, I really appreciate your replying, too – honestly, after reading your blog for so long and never commenting, I got a little fangirl thrill (“She’s giving me advice! Woah!” And it’s darn good advice, too.).

          I think you’re probably right, that we should wait until we feel ready for it. Looking back on it with a little time (and from a better headspace) I can acknowledge that yes, it is probably-definitely not a good idea to make such a choice from a place of anger and resentment (even if one doesn’t plan on the choice being especially life-altering).

          Hopefully I will eventually be able to get to a place where I can conform to society’s expectations while still honoring my relationship and my, and my partner’s, beliefs about what “marriage” means. (Or I’ll just keep stubbornly trying to grind down society’s expectations until they’re more equitable…)

          • meg

            Or, maybe you’ll get married in a way that has *nothing to do* with societies expectations, somehow.

            I didn’t feel, in the end, like our particular marriage had to do with societies expectations… because it had to do with our personal stuff. Besides we so throughly shocked the few people around us who cared about expectations (two lesbian officiates! Getting reading together! Talking about urination in the readings (thank you Tom Robbins)! Not changing our names!) that by the time we did it, expectations were so boggled that it was about us, and our own equitable partnership that we were building… and about our community, obviously too.

            So yes. Maybe wait till you feel like expectations don’t have anything to do with it?

    • http://twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

      I, too, get really pissed that my family in particular doesn’t seem to fully recognize us as a unit in our own right just because we don’t have that magical piece of paper. This is also made more difficult by the fact that my side of the family is fairly religious and therefore won’t let us share a room when we meet up for our annual family reunion in Colorado–even though we’ve been living together for more than three years now. Their behavior leads me to have a kind of “OMG LET’S JUST GET IT OVER WITH” attitude about getting married, which is NOT how I want to feel about taking that step with my guy. I want it to happen naturally and because we decide it’s what’s best for us, not because my family is being ridiculous or because our friends keep asking “When are you guys finally getting hitched?” “Aren’t you about to hit common-law status anyway?” and on and on. (For the record, NO, dear friend, Nebraska does not have common-law marriage laws in place, so please shut up already.) I also struggle with the question of what to call each other when “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” don’t seem grown-up enough. We have a house together, and a little family of animals, and we have been there for each other through medical situations (helping me recover from leg surgeries) and family emergencies (when his dad was hospitalized for several months and almost didn’t make it), and I feel like what we have and what we’ve been through is more than the terms used by high-schoolers who will inevitably break up and make up six times in a month. (Man, I sound like a curmudgeonly old lady. I apologize for that, ha.)

      Anyway, I’m rambling now. Basically, I want to get married, but I want it to be on our own terms–not because Aunt So-and-so’s delicate sensibilities are offended by us sleeping in the same bed–and in the meantime, I wish there was a better term for what we are now, in a long-term serious committed adult relationship. Perhaps we should make a shift toward “manfriend” and “womanfriend,” ha.

      In closing: Cheers to you, Avis and Vince, for having such an inspiring partnership and for following your hearts. I wish you a long and happy marriage filled with more awesome than you can imagine!

      • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Maggie

        I felt much the same way… and can only say: I’m all for waiting until it’s on your own terms, whether that’s 3 years from now, never, or two weeks from today.

        We married after 5 years together, and people started bugging us to get married around year 1-1/2 or 2. It wasn’t that I was resistant to the idea of commitment (truth be told, we have *felt* married from around that time), but I simply didn’t see why we needed to give into their idea of what a proper relationship looks like, on their timeline (in fact, the more they pushed, the more stubborn I felt). Screw that noise. And even though family recognition ultimately did play a significant part in our decision to get married (along with health insurance), we did it when we felt ready and not a day sooner. I still wrestle with the idea of capitulating to society’s norms, but I never felt forced, and I couldn’t have gone through with it if I did.

        • meg

          Yes. We got married at the five year mark. And we didn’t feel ready a minute sooner (ok, maybe six months sooner we would have ended the damn engagement if we hadn’t had the date booked), even though we were super committed. Knowing I wanted to stay with David for life and marry him one day, and being ready to marry him were totally different things. One day something internal just clicked for both of us, and we were like, huh, I guess it’s time now, lets do it.

          I don’t think you should ever feel the need to cave to external pressure for this super personal decision…

        • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com/ ka

          “I still wrestle with the idea of capitulating to society’s norms, but I never felt forced, and I couldn’t have gone through with it if I did.”

          Yes to this! For me, I knew it was the right thing to do when I realized the only thing that was stopping us was my ever-present stubborn refusal to “fit in,” despite the fact that the me that grew up in the small town as a bastard baby to a single mom finds finally fitting into a societal norm a huge sigh of relief.

          I loved this whole post. :)

    • Gigi

      This was the part of Avis’s post that I think addresses your family’s attitude:

      “But I do feel that societal question mark that was on my back has been removed”.

      I think this is a perfect way of defining what happens when a long term relationship takes the next step into marriage. As much as it is changing, we still live in a society that wants things neatly slotted into pre-defined roles. “Society” is uneasy about how to define a non-married couple and over time that uneasiness does tend to seep into the relationship. Getting married allows everyone around you to relax because now they know how to define you. It’s not really fair, but I think it happens.

      • meg

        Yup. That’s one of the things when people wonder how it could feel different. It’s hard for it to not feel different when the whole world treats you slightly differently, and your family interactions totally change (for better or worse… I’m not promising miracles here.)

        • k

          This whole thread has been so interesting for me to read, because not only am I one of those people who didn’t notice much difference in my relationship with my husband post-marriage (and we weren’t even living together before a couple of weeks prior to the wedding), but I have noticed NO difference in the way anyone else treats/reacts to us. Not family, not coworkers, not friends. My broker is more concerned than anyone else seems to be, and that’s just to be sure our mutual portfolio is balanced. Granted, it’s only been a few months, but you’d think I would have noticed by now if everyone was treating me differently.

          So I’m very curious, what is that you see as different in the way that people treat you now if you are married, and for those of you who are unmarried and upset that you’re not treated in the way you would like, what specifically is it that you would like to see change, and how would that change your relationships with those people?

          • m.e.

            “So I’m very curious, what is that you see as different in the way that people treat you now if you are married”

            For us, it has mostly been a subtle, yet prevalent, change in attitude; for better or worse, “boyfriend” simply does not seem to carry the same weight as “husband” in our culture–doesn’t matter if you’re speaking to the mail carrier or a surgeon at the hospital. A level of legitimacy is presumed, instead of needing to be continually proven.

            There have been a few concrete changes, too. We weren’t allowed to stay in the same room when we visited his parents. I was the only person at the Christmas get-together who didn’t get a stocking. They didn’t allow the nieces and nephews to address me as “aunt” (which really confused them, as I’ve known them since birth). Upon finishing graduate school (after living together for several years), we were asked by many close friends if we’d be separating and moving to different states to look for work. My extremely religious acquaintances pretty much ignored my S.O.’s presence in my life. I couldn’t be on his healthcare plan (which meant paying a quite a lot of money out of pocket, when I was unemployed). These might sound like minor complaints, but to me, they indicated a much larger dismissal of our commitment and importance in each other’s lives (or at the very least, an unawareness).

            I don’t agree with the way our family and friends (and society) snubbed our partnership pre-marriage, but it’s their prerogative, I suppose. And I do understand the ease of a universal shorthand for “I’m his/her person.” I also think it’s lovely and special that marriage still has meaning, but disrespecting committed couples because they don’t have that piece of paper just seems wrong, to me.

            I feel like gay and lesbian couples would have a lot to say on this topic–though of course, the discrimination their partnerships face is far, far more severe and heartrending.

          • meg

            I won’t go into it in detail, but I will say, over time, being treated as FULLY PART of each others families has been interesting, and difficult. I think we thought everything was pretty much set by the time we got married, and wasn’t going to change on that front. Not so. It’s unrolled over the years, but it’s been like we were all on vacation together, and now we live together full time.

            Though I will say, there is nothing so heart warming is your grandmother making your husband the executor of her will. And that would NEVER have happened pre-making-it-legal.

          • http://twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

            Exactly what M.E. said. There are so many subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways that family, society, even complete strangers neglect to assign the same legitimacy/weight to a boy/girlfriend relationship that they would to a marriage. It’s frustrating, and feels incorrect, especially since the fella and I have spent the past six-plus years building a partnership and a family and being there for each other through thick and thin (for better or for worse, you might say). So, it’s hard for me to accept that because we lack the appropriate finger-bling and paperwork, we’re still not accepted as a “real” couple. It hurts, and it seems to belittle and trivialize all the love and care and work that he and I have put into our relationship, and it also implies that there must be some kind of impermanence to our relationship–like it’s just temporary and we might break up at any time just because we’re not married. I don’t like that the simple fact of being unmarried leads people to believe that we’re not in it for the long haul.

            I really appreciate Meg’s assessment, as well: “Knowing I wanted to stay with David for life and marry him one day, and being ready to marry him were totally different things.” I think Josh and I are in a similar place as she was before she was engaged; we both know that we are each other’s people forever, but while I’m ready to dive in, he just isn’t yet, and those feelings need to be respected, both by me and by outsiders. I am more than willing to wait for him to be ready, so others should be, too.

            I have to say, though, that in my post above, I gave my family a lot of flack for not fully accepting us as a unit, but after ruminating for a while, I think that’s not entirely fair. From day one, Josh has been included in our family pictures and our Christmas celebrations (he has his own stocking, even); I think it’s largely for religious belief reasons that we aren’t allowed to share rooms and can’t openly acknowledge the fact that we are living in sin as opposed to living as roommates (my grandma still thinks we have separate bedrooms…). But I have to say that Josh’s family has still been better about accepting me into the fold and making me feel like I’m in the family for good. Even if they didn’t remember at first to put me in teh family picture during his brother’s wedding last month, ha.

    • riverdragon

      I’m with you guys here. My guy and I have been together for four years now, and we know at some point later we’re going to get married. But that’s for later – right now we are both in circumstances (school, still being supported by our families somewhat) that make us feel like we’re not ready to make a new family yet. But we’ve been noticing in the past year that it’s hard to explain our relationship to others. Boyfriend and girlfriend don’t cut it- we’re in this together for the long haul, we live together, and people keep giving us these knowing looks when we introduce each other that way, as though our relationship is a temporary thing.

      We’ve decided to go ahead and get engaged, and get both of us rings. This means we’ll be engaged for a long time (years), but that’s fine with us. We can hardly wait to be officially engaged (for many reasons)! And we are also hoping that a handy side effect is that being introduced as fiancee instead of boy/girlfriend encourages others to take us more seriously. It sure is annoying that there isn’t a better term out there to describe relationships in which the people are committed to sticking together, but aren’t married and don’t plan to be anytime soon. We should invent one.

  • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

    Mmm, this post is beautiful.

    That last bit, “Marriage has been no less and no more that I expected and wanted.” is what some of the comments have touched on over the past couple of wedding graduates return posts, that you get out of it was you expect to get out of it; you can either let marriage change you or not. Hope that 20 years from now, it’ll still be changing you — and the rest of us who are married.

    • meg

      This.
      And sometimes I worry that were so afraid that change is BAD that we sort of *will* marriage not to change us, instead of *inviting* it to change us, and make us better. (Not, mind you, that we always have control over these things).

  • Claire

    Thanks for writing this. This entire post really resonates with me. I especially love this part:

    “We decided that together that with each other’s support we can be more successful and accomplish more goals together and singularly.”

    That reminds me of my husband’s match profile that described what he was looking for as “we make each other better people and empower each other to be the best possible versions of who we already are.”

  • Claire

    “I didn’t need that piece of paper to define my relationship. We were in charge of defining our relationship.”

    Yes. That pretty much sums up my feelings about marriage. That is, before I actually got married myself. I always felt slightly rebellious and anti-establishment about the whole institution. I don’t need some religious figure to sanctify my relationship (humanist here), or the state to sanction and regulate my private life, thank you very much. Especially when marriage is a right that is unjustly withheld from so many others. Besides, I had zero interest in playing the traditional role of “wife” as I had seen it modeled for me. Yeah, I was pretty sure the whole marriage thing was just not for me.

    And yet. After meeting my husband, my views somehow changed. No, I didn’t suddenly feel incomplete unmarried or crave a wedding. But I did see it was possible to partake in the rights and recognition offered by marriage and still retain control of defining your own relationship and the roles you each play in it. We could still draft our own blueprint for marriage on our terms. Reclaiming Wife! And that’s what I’d like to think we’re doing.

    • meg

      You should write a post. That’s only the whole point of this site ;)

      • Claire

        And that’s what is so great about this community you’ve created. It’s this little support system for brave marriages – whatever shape they take.

        I actually did write a Wedding Graduate post shortly after our wedding last year, and just the act of putting it all down on paper was almost therapeutic.

  • http://silver-sandalled.blogspot.com Maggie

    “it did take some time for me to get over being angry at them for not respecting my relationship before. We were already married but no one knew it until we signed that piece of paper.”

    Yes!! I dealt with this, too. I just love this entire post–it feels so familiar and so true.

    • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

      Yup. Just the promise of a piece of paper changed a lot of how my family viewed our relationship.

      Funny, we were getting really used to living in our small town where 90% of the town hadn’t realized that we WEREN’T married. They were sort of confused when we got engaged. But once they sorted that out, we had free drinks around town for a week. :-)

      • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com/ ka

        Hahaha, the same thing totally happened with our neighbors. I’m convinced they all thought we were already married, then we told one of them we were getting married, and suddenly the entire block was giving us gifts and cards. :-)

  • charmcityvixen

    I love the notion of a marriage (or really any commited relationship) as being a device to make the couple individually and collectively better, with their goals more attainable to to the love and support. This totally expresses everything I’ve been feeling as I’ve been planning my wedding with no family support or enthusiasm on my side… definitely not how I thought I’d plan my wedding.

    Thank you for submitting this post!!! Once again, APW is getting exactly where I’m coming from this week.

  • Contessa

    Why get married? I’m loving this thought today. As someone who was married young, thought she couldn’t live without him, was divorced by him and learned to live without him, I see things differently now and I think it’s great that you stopped to ask “Why”.

    I didn’t think I’d ever get married again because I didn’t see a reason for it. But I feel powerful knowing I am on a team with a wonderful man and that together we will kick ass AND I feel equally powerful Knowing that I could kick ass all by myself if I wanted to, I would just rather not. I love the safe feeling of having the support system you describe and I’m excited to take over the world together.

  • http://ourownwedding.tumblr.com ruth

    Wow, this post couldn’t resonate with me more. My fiance and I have been together since we were 18, lived together since we were 22, and won’t wed until next year, when we are 30. And though we’ve long agreed that we want to spend our lives together, and that we’d eventually get married, it took a combination of stressful events to push us to be official. His mother died unexpectedly last year, and since he’s an only child of a single mom, he had to deal with everything by himself– if I had an officially recognized status, that would have enabled me to do more to help. Next year, we will make our 4th major move together, and it is tiresome to explain to new people a relationship that could better be described as “spouse.”

    But I’m angry too. Disappointed in myself for wanting to say “husband” more than any of the alternatives, and annoyed that my relationship with my boyfriend is less valid than a million short-lived marriages. And then I feel like a whiny brat, complaining about needing to get married to have my relationship taken seriously when others don’t even have the right.

    • http://twitter.com/leahruthie Leah

      “But I’m angry too. Disappointed in myself for wanting to say “husband” more than any of the alternatives, and annoyed that my relationship with my boyfriend is less valid than a million short-lived marriages. And then I feel like a whiny brat, complaining about needing to get married to have my relationship taken seriously when others don’t even have the right.”

      Ugh, this. So much this. Even as I am ranting about these very things upthread, I do feel guilty and bratty for being all woe-is-me about it when we all have friends who aren’t even allowed the option. :\

  • Jessica

    “I didn’t want anyone to think of me in that line as a temporary fixture.”
    REAL TALK!

  • http://www.aviedesigns.com Avis

    WOW! I have tears in my eyes.

    I will admit that I was hesitant about writing this post because it’s always scary to put the truth out there. But I am SO glad I did. Hearing how my words resonated with so many people in this community and that I’m not the only one that feels this way is what it’s all about.

    Thanks to Meg, again, for creating this space where we can have these honest, mature, levelheaded conversations. It is so lovely to read comments that are thought provoking and meaningful without being judgy.

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    This :”It was a rare moment of totality and magic. Where everything seems right with the world. I was surrounded by the people I love most and it felt natural and yet exhilarating. I walked away changed. I can’t really explain how, but I will say that it didn’t change our relationship.”
    You described so well how the relationship itself does not really change because you were already committed to each other since the beginning, but how it is about being part of something bigger, of the community of friends and family. Like joining this big circle and being part of it together.

  • SimplyMEM

    It is so good to hear a voice say that their wedding didn’t change them, even later. I believe that a wedding may change the relationship, but that it doesn’t have to. We’ll see when we get to the other side.

    I also loved your last paragraph about support. We figured out that was each our role in our own relationship as well. Of course, it came out one night with me crying and screaming one night, “What I want most is for you to support me and my decisions,” too. Funny how that happens.

  • AC

    Well written, Avis! Like many others in the comments section, this post resonates with me quite a bit. The insights provided are sort of the words to match the way I’ve felt and been unable to articulate. When societal norms tug at you and blahblahblah… well, it’s hard to make yourself pull out exactly how you feel in a level-headed, sensible manner. I will return to this article again for a good reminder of who my partner and I are to each other and how great it is!

  • http://sarahsurgeon.blogspot.com/ sarah

    i love this post avis. i feel many of the same ways that you do about marriage, and you said it all so sweetly.