I have to get a little profound here for a second.
This past Monday marked the three year anniversary of the day I met my James. I had been called into audition for a play, and the man reading opposite me was to play my husband in the performance.
Although I had no idea at the time, he would fulfill that role in my actual life as well.
This past Monday my James and I stood up in front of 15 of some of our dearest friends and family in our apartment in Astoria and vowed to love, honor and protect each other for our whole lives.
Yeah, we got married.
This was not a last minute or brash decision. We've been engaged for two years and we always knew we wanted to have a small wedding. James had proposed on a New Year and we figured it would be best to keep our anniversaries all bundled up in one place.
We were also a little sick of people asking when we were going to do it.
I didn't know if I would actually feel different when I said my vows and got that all important kiss. We'd been living together for over two years, we've talked about the possibility of having children, we've worked on our credit together, we're in the midst of raising two trouble making cats - what could a ceremony do that would change anything?
Ceremony. I don't think we understand the significance of that word anymore. The notion of a ceremony, a ritual. You understand why we do these things? Why the Catholic church uses incense, Muslims face the sun to pray and Jews wear a yarmulke. It has everything to do with us, as humans, honoring something too big for us to understand. While we have our religious differences all over the world, honoring the unknown in any small way is a huge deal.
The idea of two people joining to live a life together is an aspect of religion that goes back many thousands of years. Before Jesus walked on water (or just told his Disciples to tell people he did after he fell in cause he was all embarrassed), standing up in front of witnesses and your chosen deity and promising to live a life working together has been a basic tenant for time out of mind.
When I was standing in our living room with our friends around us, listening to our magnificent minister read our ceremony, I got a sense of that. I was joining in a tradition that has been and is being practiced all over the world. We didn't bring the Almighty into our situation as I have enough imaginary friends to begin with, but I couldn't help but feel a very powerful intention being created by my James and me. This was different than lying in bed holding each other, extolling our love and promises for the future. By standing in front of people and promising to be faithful and loving, I was suddenly not only responsible to James, but to everyone I loved who was watching us.
It was an odd, empowering feeling.
I can say without hesitation that I am very happily married. That I cannot imagine hitching my life to anyone else's, but that wonderful man who had tears in his eyes as he clasped my hand and promised to worship me with his heart and soul, who laughed through his tears when I said my vows and who is just as beloved to me now as the cold February night I fought with him on that subway platform when I yelled at him that I was falling in love with him.
I wish everyone the opportunity to love someone to the extent that I do. It's messy and complicated and uncomplicated and pure and deep and powerful and it hurts and it soothes and its comforting and confusing and funny and serious and everything and nothing and it always changes. And just as soon as you've found a definition, just as soon as you've found a way to grasp it, you realize that, no, that's not quite it.
Marriage is an practice that needs to be protected and honored, and that has nothing to do with the genders of the people participating. It has everything to do with making a promise. A vow. That's an important word. Vow. That is something you cannot break. That is giving a piece of your soul away with no thought for it back.
I mean, if you have a spouse who is beating you nightly or is driving you to debt with a nasty coke habit, yeah, there are extenuating circumstances that allow for ending a marriage.
But if you've known each other for a week and a half, maybe give it a little more time before you decide to have and to hold. Remember, anyone can have a wedding. A marriage is different.
I'm no marriage expert, it hasn't even been a week since my wedding day. But I know my James, and I know how to love him. James knows me, and he knows how to make me laugh and how to make me feel precious and loved. That is no small service for one person to give another.
Ok, back to your regularly scheduled program.