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Three years ago today I received what I think of as a rebirth certificate. We had a nice ceremony. There was food, music, a gathering of witnesses and celebrants, poetry, prayer, some hip ritual, other assorted words etc. Jonathan Reuel actually wrote an awesome song for us that borrowed from one of my all-time favorites of his previous songs.
But most of what I remember from that day is how beautiful she looked and how much joy and love she radiated–the woman who had saved my life and was making the commitment to continue pulling me back into the land of the living.
Her middle name actually means “reborn.”
I’ve thought of several ways to try to describe her beauty and her genius and none of them seems adequate. I hope to finish and post them later (another day: I’m typing this on my phone as I wait to testify in court [and now on the train]; I have two major reports to complete before the week is done; and I’m leaving early today so that I can be with my baby). I even have a political take; bet you’re sorry I didn’t go through with that. Take heart, it may still happen. ;-p
I’m blessed with amazing family and friends and I’ve met and received and received prophetic-level truth (which, despite what some of you are thinking, is actually a very good thing; but I digress) from near and absolute strangers. I’m not sure I could have been better loved, supported and encouraged after the loss of my first wife.
But in those months and years after Deb died I experienced an emptiness that I wasn’t sure could ever be filled. We’d been together for 25 years; I just didn’t think it was possible to be as intimate and as in love with anyone as I had been with her.
And it’s not that I was desperate. I despaired, yes, but there’s a difference between despairing and being “desperate.” Ultimately I’m picky.
What’s worse, most people really don’t get me. And imagine if you will what it must be like to have to listen to me babble day-after-day. I’m even worse in person than on Facebook. You probably can’t imagine. Frankly I don’t think most of you have the stomach for regular undiluted doses of me.
To cut to the chase–that one impossible someone appeared. In the words of that corny old song, “I’ll never know just what she sees in me,” but, yeah, she’s convinced me that there’s something.
She’s nothing less than a miracle and a savior. Her perfection and the way that she brings me life and joy–unlocks my inner child and affirms my wildest dreams, restores my hopes and renews my sense of wonder–are among the chief reasons that I still believe in and trust God.
Every value I cherish most and every ideal I aspire to is displayed to me in her smile, given form in her embrace and expressed in her actions.
And it’s only gotten better. I have a good friend who harasses me about still being on the honeymoon. I guess I’m not sure that it needs to stop or why I should believe that whatever might be after the honeymoon should be any less wonderful as long as we’re together.
Thank you, Chrissy, for being who you are. Thank you for choosing me and, every day, with fresh energy, sincerity, exuberance, purity, intensity and generosity, choosing me again.
I don’t know about you, but I try not to think about what other people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
Don’t get me wrong–it happens. You know how it is: you see, for instance, a particularly oddly-matched couple. And you can’t help thinking, “Wait. Really? How does that even work?” I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but I go there sometimes, despite my best efforts not to. In my defense, it’s not so much prurient interest as it is morbid curiosity. And, as I said, I try to banish those thoughts and I certainly don’t dwell on them, no matter how innocently they arise.
So, yeah, no offense, but I have no desire to imagine you doing the nasty. I like to think that you’re returning the favor and, yaknow, not thinking about me that way. I mean, c’mon, it’s creeping me out just thinking about your thinking about it. Stop already; you know who you are.
But it seems that too many Evangelicals just can’t get their heads out of other folks’ nether regions, um, metaphorically speaking. At least that’s the best I can figure. Why else are they so concerned about same-sex marriage? Why else, other than, well, the sex?
To their credit, sex is important. What’s more, it’s great fun, and a delightful thing to think about. I just make a point of thinking about sex with my wife and not, for example, sex between a couple of dudes–no matter how buff they are or how sweetly sensitive they seem to be (I’m a big fan of the cuddling and the sharing, and I like to think that others are too).
I’ll go further and say that from my perspective, in accordance with my personal religious beliefs and a variety of values I hold dear, sex is critically important, deeply spiritually significant, even essential. But those are my beliefs. I will express them and live them; I will even advocate for them; but I don’t feel it is my right or responsibility to impose them on you. And, as I said, even though sex is important to me, I’ve decided that it’s not important to me to think about you having sex.
One more thing: I don’t need or want Uncle Sam peering through the curtains or sneaking a peek beneath the sheets either. I certainly don’t want Congress or the Courts regulating my sex life (or the sex lives of other consenting adults). I would think that folks who are always clamoring for “limited government” would agree.
So if we can agree that I don’t need to think about you having sex and you don’t need to think about me having sex and the government doesn’t need to be involved in anyone’s sex life (notwithstanding the occasional scantily-clad census worker fantasy you and your significant other like to act out), what’s the deal with same-sex marriage?
The deal, as I see it, is commitment. Two people commit to care for each other, to radically identify with each other, to pool their resources, to make a life together. The reasonable consequence of that commitment is that those two people are entitled to certain basic rights. The premise being that this kind of long term, committed relationship is good for society and that society should recognize it, honor it and try to support and preserve it.
At least that’s how I see it.
If I had my druthers, I’d reserve the word “marriage” for the sacred, freaky, heterosexual joy I experience with my beloved. But I don’t often get my druthers. And I long ago resigned myself to the fact that “marriage” means something different even to most breeders, yea verily, even to most breeder couples who claim to be “married.” Truly, I’m far less bothered by a loving, committed homosexual couple using the word “marriage” to describe their relationship than I am by, oh, let’s say, adulterer and serial monogamist Newt Gingrich calling what he does “marriage.” I wouldn’t be surprised if Yahweh Himself prefers gay marriage to adultery and divorce.
- from my personal perspective, marriage is, to a great degree, about sex (which my wife and I will enjoy in private; or if in public, at least discretely); but . . .
- from a social perspective, marriage is about commitment; and . . .
- from a public policy perspective, marriage is about the civil rights to which participants in said commitment are entitled.
Those are three things I care about and am willing to fight for–not just for myself, but for everyone. But, I promise you, I’m not interested in your or anyone else’s sex life and I implore you not to ask me to take that interest.
I encourage you to enjoy your sexuality and even to think about it a lot; but if you find that all you can think about is someone else’s sex life, you might consider getting some help–or just getting a life.
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of the culture wars.
The battle over (ostensibly “for”) marriage is a case in point. On the one side are geniuses who seem to believe that God is pleased when we deny others basic human rights and refuse to respect their basic human dignity. On the other are brilliant minds who don’t seem to understand fundamental differences in human anatomy.
One side insists that marriage be “defended” and its meaning officially defined and delimited by the State. The other demands that that definition be inclusive and accepting, however nonsensical the end result.
Call me a simpleton, an extremist sectarian or rudderless liberal, but I don’t think it’s that complicated. I don’t need the State or anyone else to reassure me.
Marriage is sacred. The sacrament of marriage is sex. And when I say “sex,” I don’t mean to discount various other means of enjoyment, but the act to which I explicitly refer is the copulatory sacrament involving complementary male and female organs. Please don’t make me get any more graphic than that. If, in fact, the singularity and rightness of that exquisite pleasure doesn’t make sense to you, well, you need the kind of help that I’m not going to be able to give you. And truly I pray that you find the help you need.
I implore my conservative brethren to, once and for all, recognize that our feeble–and, let’s be honest, narcissistic–so-called “defense” of the sacred does little other than dishonor precisely that which we pretend to protect.
I implore my liberal brethren to find another word. “Marriage” is taken. I’m all for granting committed couples of every assorted kind (especially those involved in the raising of children) all kinds of legal rights; just don’t expect me to consider them “married,” except maybe in the most diluted, metaphorical sense. And, frankly, there’s far too much dilution of marriage in the heterosexual community, so don’t hold your breath waiting for me to endorse even more of it from the LGBTs. For whatever it’s worth, I’d rather not know what you do in private and I think we can all agree that we don’t want the State poking its nose in your bedroom either.
But y’all go ahead and keep shouting at each other like the idiots and bigots you seem determined to be. I realize that my words are unlikely to dissuade you.
Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to continue celebrating marriage. Please refer back to the aforementioned definition of marital sacrament. I plan on spending the rest of my life celebrating repeatedly, with great abandon and uninhibited joy with the woman who is more beautiful to me each new day than she had been the day before. That, it seems to me, is the best that any of us can do if we mean to express our belief in, support of and gratitude for this greatest of gifts.
Thanks, Chrissy, for being the minister of God’s grace to me–in more ways than I can count, “marital” and otherwise.