How Long Have You Been Married?

I am still on travel for work. I am enjoying what I am doing, though I miss my spouse a lot. I speak with him on the phone each evening, but it’s not the same as having his warm embrace when I get home from work, and to listen to his stories and share our tales of each other’s days.

I was with a group of colleagues at dinner and said as much — I miss my spouse. To that, a colleague asked,

“How long have you been married?”

That was not easy for me to answer. I almost said, “just over 20 years.” But technically, that would not be accurate. I have “only” been married 140 days. Each day is a gift, a gracious gift, and I treasure each one.

What I actually said was, “about four and a half months after a twenty year engagement.”

My colleagues — most of whom are military — didn’t quite know what to say about that. The table hushed and someone asked me to repeat what I said. So I did.

One guy said, “man, that is the longest engagement I’ve ever heard of. What happened?”

Then some other guys in the group started explaining their engagements from several months to three years. One of them asked me again, “why was your engagement so long?”

So I decided to tell the truth — I could not legally marry my partner until this year, and we got married once we legally could do so. I did not say anything about same-sex marriage, but it was evident what I was talking about.

I was pleasantly surprised by the rounds of congratulations that the guys gave me all around. They were genuinely happy that things worked out for me and my beloved spouse. I heard, “well, it’s about time” and “hopefully this political garbage will end soon everywhere else” and similar statements.

Then the conversation morphed to discussions about marriage, relationships with wives (and a spouse in my case) and it was great — normal discussions among men separated due to duty from their spouses. My spouse happens to be a man — theirs are women — what’s the difference when it all comes down to the most important thing: love.

Life is short: feel the freedom (and relief) by being honest even with people you don’t know that well.