Thirteen years ago today, Matt and I were legally married in our south Minneapolis backyard. We tend not to place too much weight on this date, though, and not simply because we feel this right ought to be extended to non-hetero folk. As I mentioned to the hubby last night, the legal contract we signed on June 6, 1999, was not nearly as transformative as the partnership that began a year and a half earlier.
Tip: take your brand-new steady to Alexandria’s Runestone Museum if you want your love to last. Nothing says commitment like a replica Viking longship!
Feminists tend not to write about the power of deep love, especially the love a cis-hetero-woman might feel for a cis-hetero-man. It tends to lead to the tired old habit of questioning said woman’s feminist bona fides, especially when so many take on faith that a proper feminist is wholly independent. As recently as two weeks ago I was accused (by a fellow cis-hetero-woman, natch) of being “controlled” by my husband, when in fact I was merely honoring his wishes about a matter concerning our children.
Thich Nhat Hanh writes a great deal about what he calls “interbeing.” A flower cannot be itself without the sun, the soil, the rain. Similarly, no person is every truly independent; we depend upon each other every moment of every day. The challenge, then, is to deeply question the nature of our interdependence. Are we connected with love, honesty, trust, and compassion? Are we equals, or are we locked in a continual battle for power and dominance?
In 2006, a group of college friends and I gathered for a long-overdue reunion. In a quiet moment in our hotel room, my friends Karla and Kirsti told me something wonderful. “You seem so happy,” they said. “So together. So….yourself.”
Tip: should you decide to breed, be sure to pass on your love of dorky photo ops to the little ones!
I cherished their telling me this. Karla and Kirsti and I have been friends since we were gawky, drunken, idiotic 19-year-olds. They’d seen me through crap you wouldn’t believe, even if I changed all the names and sold it as a bildungsroman of the go-go ’90s. In 2006, when they saw the change in me, they didn’t say that I was now all better. Post-adolescence made me a little dumb, yes, but I was a fine person already, just the way I was.
In 1997 (when I met Matt for the first time), I knew far too many people who weren’t convinced of that fact. I am grateful to those who were, Karla and Kirsti among them.
But not as grateful as I am for my partner, my co-parent, my best friend, my boyfriend-for-life, my ever-lovin’ HUSBAND Matt.