It has been two months since Jordan and I got married. Given all that has happened, it feels like it’s been two years.
Jordan’s sister stayed with us for a month (to be clear: this was the best ever), Donald Trump got elected to lead our country, our car broke down, and–right after our car broke down–we got robbed at gun point.
Who knew that this short eight weeks of expected-newlywed bliss would (or even could) be so tumultuous? We haven’t even gotten our wedding photos yet.
Meanwhile, marriage has been a shifting, sometimes-tangible concept that floats between us.
Because of our unique (and wildly different) family backgrounds, and also because of who we are, we approached the decision to get married with a lot of discussion about what it means and why it was important to us.
Jordan comes from a deeply Christian, traditional family, where marriage is part and parcel with religion. And where marriage is generally expected to precede things like cohabitation and sex.
I come from a non-traditional family, who likely wouldn’t have cared if we’d cohabited sans marriage for the rest of our lives (though maybe that isn’t true. Mom? Dad? Opinions?). My parents are also from different backgrounds–my mom is Jewish and dad is Christian–so marriage for them was a non-religious decision.
Our peers are also coupling as quickly as those marsupial-mice (antechinus) that mate so fervently for three weeks that they die.
Meanwhile some of our other peers plan never to marry.
Jordan and I are non-religious, and fairly traditional. While we opted to live together prior to any rings-on-fingers, marriage was still important to us.
We wanted the legal benefits that came with it–hospital visiting rights, tax breaks, and information sharing rights. But mostly, we wanted to stand up in front of our family and friends and pledge to spend the rest of our lives together–in hard times and in good ones.
And that particular piece of it–the promise to support each other no matter what life throws at us–has been the most tangible piece of marriage I’ve felt so far.
After the robbery (which happened about five minutes after we’d picked Cherry, my sister-in-law, up from the airport), we were left huddling against each other on the street, shaky with nerves and fear, and I couldn’t stop thinking that we were married.
In that moment, marriage was a ticket into Jordan’s hospital room if he had been shot. It was him being able to make important medical decisions for me, had I been shot. It was the knowledge that we were legally bound to each other–that he had promised to hold me in hard times, and was following through on that promise. (To be clear, everyone was fine physically–just shaken up).
In the desperate seconds when Jordan’s anger over his wife having a gun shoved up to her stomach overcame his common sense, and he shouted after the guy, our marriage unrolled into the future and I saw a long life of babies crying and food sizzling on the stove and snuggling during thunderstorms and quiet morning coffee together almost snuffed out by one senseless, terrifying moment.
Marriage is so much more than a legal agreement.
It is the ability to give your spouse access to the darkest moments of your future. To know you won’t be alone in them.
It is the promise of an entire life together. Which is hard, because people change, and personal goals don’t align perfectly and life is chaotic and imperfect and busy, but so far, it is also incredibly worth it.
These experiences are part and parcel with why I firmly support marriage equality. Marriage isn’t just a Christian institution. It has been enacted in human culture since the beginning of…well, humans. For that reason, using the bible to attack same-sex marriage legislation is a doomed argument.
Everyone should be entitled to the same support, legal rights, and envisioned future that Jordan and I have had. (And yeah, I know we already legally won that battle. But with current political events abrewing, I feel the desire to speak out about my support).
Are you married? What are the moments when you’ve felt most married throughout your relationship? Tell me about it in the comments!
4 thoughts on “On Near-Murder and Marriage”
I felt most ‘married’ when a certain someone decided to move across the country with me to somewhere he’d never been….and every time we argue about the resting location of his dirty socks.
Love it. And you. Also, did you notice your alias/photo cred? 🙂
Wow Sarah… love, thanks so much for writing! hmmm, most married? Of course, when my baby girl was born, and I saw her mom holding her, and I exploded and evaporated and all the other things all at once. I know that is an easy answer, but it’s the most true.
I adore that answer. I can imagine that those first moments of parenthood feel incredibly married–you’ve worked together to create this whole new life, struggled through labor and childbirth, and then you get to go home and raise a child together!