Saturday, October 31, 2015

Second anniversary

Two years ago today, Nigel and I were legally married. As it happens, we’re going to our niece’s wedding today, which seems appropriate. So much has changed. But the most important thing is still that this day two years ago was about us.

Like most people, I’ve been to a few weddings in my lifetime. Interestingly, I think, most of the weddings I’ve been to weren’t in a church, even if many of them still had religious elements (many others have not had them, though, and that sort is becoming the most common these days).

But regardless of where the wedding was held, or what type it was, there were two things I was always aware of.

The first was how wonderful and beautiful it was to see two people publicly pledging their commitment to each other and celebrating their love for one another. I always felt privileged and honoured to be a witness to it.

The other thing I felt wasn’t celebratory or uplifting at all: I was aware that what I was witnessing was forbidden to me, and for most of my life I’d just assumed that it always would be forbidden to me. So despite my happiness for the marrying couple, I was always aware that it was something that I could never have.

Civil unions provided a way to have some of that, so I was glad to embrace it. I was happy and proud as I’d always imagined any person getting married must feel—and yet, I was still forbidden to marry.

Two years ago, all that changed in New Zealand, and two years ago today, Nigel and I were married. We’d already had our big ceremony at the time of our civil union, so the marriage wasn’t about that. Instead, it was about finally being welcomed into the family of citizens because we were, surprisingly, unexpectedly, allowed to be married, too, and that changed everything.

In February, we went to the first wedding we’d been to since we were married, and it was different because of what has changed. I know that the one we go to today will be different, too, for the same reason. This is a good thing on its own.

I’ve always valued marriage, but I think I’ve valued it even more when I finally gained the right to be married. That’s worth celebrating.

But the reason all this has happened—marrying Nigel—is still the thing that matters. Every day is better in so many ways because I share my life with that wonderful man, and I look forward to our future together with excitement, even as I cherish every day. The fact that we’re legally married only intensifies all that.

Happy Anniversary to us!

Still married (2014)
To be married
Husband and husband
Just one more

The photo up top is of our wedding rings, which I took the morning of October 31, 2013. Unlike my other photos on this blog, this one is copyright, all rights reserved. Of course.


rogerogreen said...

Congrats! I always thought civil unions were better than no option at all, but marriage is (pardon the cliche/pun) the gold standard.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Thanks! I agree with you about marriage. But I'm also glad that unlike some US States, New Zealand kept civil unions for those that want them rather than marriage, because that's what the fight for the freedom to marry was actually all about. Civil unions and de facto arrangements are still options, for Kiwi couples, and the right of our citizens to have the same and equal choice for the relationship structure that works best for them and their values is what's important, not WHAT they choose.

For us, it was marriage, but I'm really happy that other NZers can choose what they want, too.