Jeremy to Andrew: ‘I marry you with this ring.’ NOM: Take that ring off
August 17, 2011
Ed. Note: Jeremy Hooper runs the blog Good As You. Below is part of a guest post he wrote for us about his own marriage and how, ironically, a group with the name National Organization for Marriage isn’t even “for” marriage, at least as defined by love, commitment, and family.
It’s of course cliché for a writer to look back upon his or her “I do” date as some sort of milestone that trumps all others; though clichés do become hackneyed for a reason. You’ll have to count me as someone who only emboldens the trite truism, as my and Andrew’s wedding really was the biggest, most special moment of my life. A fulfilled dream, even if I hadn’t been taught to dream it.
The enormity of the day just swept over me. The bond so strong and personal, the road so long and winding, the obstacles so great and sweeping — the emotional sum was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. By the time “I marry you with this ring” came out of my mouth, my whole being was humbled under the day’s weight. In a very good way. In a pure way.
In the two years since, I’ve proudly spoken of my marriage to anyone who will listen (and to some who’d probably rather not have). Yes, I’ve done so in the political sense, as per the duties of my work. Though also (and more importantly) in the human sense, as per the duties of my bleeding heart and loving mind. What I know is that Andrew and I hung out with the lowest of expectations one day nearly a decade ago, neither of us knowing we were in any way craving a commitment. But as minutes turned to hours and hours turned to days, we never reached a pointed where we wanted to stop hanging out. Never wanted to be elsewhere. When the hours turned into months and then eventually into years, even more did we want to strengthen our attachment in every way possible, from areas as weighty as the legal bond that joins everything from our finances to our right to make deep decisions for one another, to the more frivolous sense of unity that comes from experiencing each other’s different cultural upbringings (grits vs. matzo brei). Two lives, one shared journey.
It’s this deeply personal involvement in an actual marriage that makes the National Organization “for” Marriage so infinitely confounding to me.
Is this really who and what we want shaping and supposedly “saving” our marriage culture: A group of self-appointed consciousness-shapers who are dead set on taking the full range of the marital bond — the jubilation and the hardships, the richer and the poorer, the sickness and the health, the perfect anniversary gift and the “oh crap I need to grab some cheap grocery store roses on the way home so she won’t think I forgot” — and reducing it via criteria built around exclusion? An organization that, in the never-ending quest to accuse certain kinds of couples of “redefinition,” has come up with a new definition that makes marriage sound as mechanical as Aunt Fern’s robotic chicken-dancing?
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