You know all those same-sex marriage advocates who keep saying that marriage equality is not going to have any impact on "traditional" marriage? The message is always the same: our quest for marriage doesn't have anything to do with your marriages, and it won't change a thing for you.
Here's how I figured out the truth: I found myself at an LGBT fundraising event in Texas (where same-sex marriage is still not permitted) on Saturday night. One couple was given an award on stage for their work in the community. They were married in Canada decades ago, and were well known to almost everyone in the room.
During their acceptance speech, one of the husbands leaned his tall frame into the microphone and said, deadpan, "You have NO idea what it's like to be married to this man." The room erupted in laughter. His husband is a guy with a big personality and the joke was along the lines of, Yeah, he's probably a tough one to live with. The speaker paused, then leaned in again. (I'm now going to paraphrase a bit, because there was wine involved and I don't remember it verbatim.) "You have no idea what it's like to have him there when you're sick, or sad, to take care of you through all of that. You have no idea what it's like to always have him there to negotiate the most heartbreaking and most joyous moments together. You have no idea what it's like to feel so cared for and so loved."'
Quick shout-out to MAC Cosmetics for their waterproof mascara.
Our kids are really little, and most of our days right now involve an exhausting negotiation of work and sick days and pants-peeings and who has enough energy to do bedtime. As with every other married-with-young-children couple I know, we are always just trying to get to the next little lull when we can come up for air.
I didn't make it all the way through to the end of that speech on Saturday night, because I found myself scrambling through my little clutch for my phone. At that moment, I desperately needed to text my husband of almost ten years, back home with my kids. Here's what I wrote:
"Being in a room full of people who never take marriage for granted, and who are talking about how much the love of their partner means in their daily lives, has me missing you so much. Thank you for being my person."
What I texted to my husband is true every day, of course, but it so often gets buried beneath the sheer weight of life that when it was there staring me in the face on Saturday, it felt like a bolt of lightning.
As someone who was born straight, marriage was always just laid out in front of me, ripe for the taking whenever I wanted, and even (theoretically only, honey!) as many times as I wanted to. It was never something I had to fight for, to dream about, to yearn for. The people in that room Saturday night treat marriage like a priceless treasure. That doesn't mean they don't have bad days or months or years, or don't fight over who is doing bedtime, but it is one hell of a good reminder for every marriage.
So you LGBT advocates can stop saying that same-sex marriage won't affect my marriage, because it will. In fact, it has already made my own marriage better.
Thanks, you guys.