This past Monday, my life partner and I celebrated our first complete revolution around the Sun together as a married couple. We ate the top layer of our wedding cake and drank mimosas made with the champagne left over from the wedding. As we were eating our cake, our son inquired, "What does it mean to be married?"
I found myself reflecting upon the last five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes as a wife.
Unable to come up with a better explanation that even a four year old boy would understand at the time, I simply responded, "It means to show our love for each other and make a commitment to each other in a public way."
But what does that really mean anyways?
Alright, it did feel like such a canned response.
After all, our son was only three years old at the time we got married. As far as he was concerned, we were simply dressing up and having the party of the year.
We lived together for a few years with our son before finally deciding to get married. So, us getting married didn't really change anything for our son. He has always known a home with both parents where he is loved.
The truth be told, I was rather hesitant to get married for a while. After all, I value my independence. I didn't want to change my last name. I have friends who are in a long-term, committed relationship where they also live with their significant other and commingle their money. I have a job and didn't need someone else to support me financially. I also never want to go through what my parents did when they divorced. I had no qualms about having a child out of wedlock.
There was even a period where I questioned the value of even getting married. Was getting married going out of fashion? I conducted some research on my own. I found out that marriage has long, rather interesting history where women were often treated as property.
I then decided it was time to interview a few couples-both married and not married.
My conclusion? Marriage is what you make of it. I met a few married couples who sought out to redefine marriage to make it work for them. After all, why worry about what other people think about your relationship as long as it is working for both of you?
It also wasn't until my husband was deployed that I gave marriage another serious thought. After all, we missed each other.
Also, the deployment magnified how some of our rights were affected simply because we were not legally married despite living together and having a son. The whole experience actually made me even more sympathetic to same-sex couples who in all respects are married, but never got that legal recognition.
So, we decided to take the plunge and never looked back. And we couldn't be any happier. Even though I thought I knew my husband inside and out from living together for a few years before finally marrying, I am still learning new things about him. It has been a fun ride so far!