Some of my family — first cousins once removed (children of first cousins) — have reacted quite negatively to the news that I married a man.
I am having a conversation with a close, trusted, insightful and intelligent friend who pointed out, “until you married, they could pretend that your relationship wasn’t genuine. They probably reduced it to sexual relations, and since you are a private person and [your spouse] doesn’t like to socialize, your relationship was pretty much invisible to them. Marriage shattered those perceptions for them.”
What is complicating matters is that a few of my cousins (not many, just a few) blindly adhere to what their religion has taught them, which includes that marriage is a sacrament, and by the mere fact that I am gay (and not celibate), I am living in sin and will go to hell… not to mention that my state has redefined marriage.
I keep asking,
“how has my marriage to the man I have loved for 20 years in any way affected your marriage?” … no answer. Instead, a response with links to various posts on the internet about Christian beliefs about same-sex marriage. And how “wrong” that is, and I am, for believing that marriage is the utmost testament to an enduring relationship in the eyes of the law, and to each other.
I am the same guy I have always been. My man is the same man. The only thing that has changed as a result of my marriage are a few things: 1) I can honestly say that my love is even deeper for my man than it ever was; and 2) we have obtained some more legal rights regarding our property and each other’s financial interests. And that’s about it. No sparkling gay tiaras and waving rainbow flags. Never was about those things….
But indeed, in the eyes of anyone who sees me as “married” (on this blog, in my Facebook relationship status, or by the ring I wear as a visible outward sign), my relationship with my man is definitely real.
To the negative nay-sayers: get over it. You’re supposed to love everyone — I guess except if the other one is gay. Phooey on that phony-baloney hypocrisy.
Frankly, I am in a good place. My siblings are sticking up for us and I don’t have to enter the fray. My spouse and I can continue to live our own lives, where we care about and support one another in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, until death do we part. And I am very blessed to have terrific siblings and dozens of first cousins whose love for us is shown many ways. The progeny of some of my first cousins may not “get it,” but I forgive them because they are young and have much to learn — and I continue to love them. What family is all about.
Life is short: (really) show those you love how you love them.