Why Did I Get Married?

Why Did I Get Married?

first-christian-churchLarry and I go to a local Disciples of Christ church in Paris, TX. Our church is a place where I find peace, loving connection, and a lack of imposed theology. I don’t hear things that promote legalism or churchy expectations. We are loved and accepted there. Larry and I attend only a few times a month due to our heavy work schedule as Sunday mornings are our only relaxed time at home. We try to go to evening social events to get to know the people better and we sing in the choir.

This last Sunday, we were totally caught off guard and surprised. We had not officially spoken of our relationship with most people there. We understand they assume we are gay and that we are connected to one another. But Sunday, during the announcements the pastor said, “Larry and John are with us today! Two weeks ago, they went to Oklahoma and got married!” The congregation began to applaud in unison. After the service, many of those in attendance surrounded us, hugged us, and congratulated us.

I cannot tell you what this has meant to me and to Larry. Our relationship was not only recognized, but it was supported and our friends at church see us as a legitimate married couple. We are normal.

The pastor chose to uncover the pink elephant that was looming and spoke of our marriage in the normal fashion. He freed the members of our church to embrace their feelings about our relationship as seen by their affectionate response to us afterwards.

We went to supper with one of the elders and his wife recently and they said, “And as it should be, Larry and John. If you can’t serve communion right next to me at my church, then I’ll never serve communion there again. How are you any different than I am?”

I believe more people get it than one would think. We have found a wonderful, accepting, and loving community here in our Paris community. We’ve not had ANY kickback from anyone here. I’ve not felt any fear, or discomfort in any situation I’ve been in and Larry has been completely accepted at work, and with family.

Why did we get married in the first place? Well in some ways, our reasons were initially different. But after being married now, my heart is changing.

As I formed a relationship with Larry, I knew something was very different about it. I really wanted to invest my heart and soul into what was developing but I had some hesitations. I didn’t want to say “until death do us part.” I’ve been married twice before and felt insecure about making a vow that was permanent. It was just a reality check for me. I did, however, make a vow to him that was something like, as long as there is life breathed into our relationship.

I didn’t see much reason for getting legally married. It wasn’t something that had any romance to it. Our commitment service on November 16th, 2013, was romantic for me. Our friends and family gathered together with us to confirm our love for one another. That was enough for me.

But we continued to talk about legal marriage. Larry believed it was a very important step to make. I was willing to agree because I didn’t see anything negative about it.

After being in this relationship, we both realize there is a definite investment that each of us have made. We have merged every aspect of our lives, financial and personal. There should be some way to protect those investments. We’ve spoken with lawyers about what it would take to do so and it seemed the mountains of legal forms and such were insurmountable. There was also a sense of indignation that one would have to do that when a simple marriage certificate would take the place of most of those forms.

I began to realize that with a legal marriage, there would be certain financial benefits that I believed we needed to take advantage of. There were also some protections that were significant. So, I became convicted that we should get married and that it was a legitimate decision to do so.

As we saw more states opening up for same sex marriage, we realized Texas was a little way off. We began to search flights and travel arrangements to go to a state where we could get married. Literally when we were just about ready to reserve a flight to California, we heard that Oklahoma had opened up for us. That was sure convenient! We decided to make it the same date as our commitment ceremony and the plans to go to Tulsa were made. Pastor Chuck Breckenridge from Diversity Christian Fellowship agreed to marry us. I have a niece that lives in Tulsa so she and her family came to take pictures for us. John Brooks and Robyn Whyte, long time friends, came along to witness the legal forms.

IMG_2158I had no idea what would happen in our hearts after we pursued legal marriage. I didn’t expect that it would take us to the deeper levels of life and relationship that it has.

I’ve gained further security in the love that we have for one another. We have now made a legal commitment to merge our lives even more. As a person, Larry McQueen has decided to invest his life into mine totally and completely. That means a tremendous amount to me at a very deep personal level.

Last week Larry contacted the human resources department at the headquarters of his employer. He said he had married his same sex partner and asked if they offered employee benefits to the spouse. Without any hesitation, the answer was yes! I am now going to be covered with insurance policies offered through them.

I have now experienced some of the benefits of what so many who have gone before us have paid the price for. The sacrifice of those passionate about equality in marriage have made, have given us and so many others the freedom to marry the one we love, just like the heterosexual population has been able to do throughout history.

I can now hold the hand of my husband while we are praying in church with the freedom and recognition that our relationship is not lingering in the shadows of uncertainty, but it is real and acknowledged for something positive. I am a legitimate spouse of someone with whom we’ve made serious and deep investments in relationship, finances, and personal relationships. We’re not “friends” or “roommates.” We are a married couple.

Wow, that’s profound. We are a married couple.

Yes, there are times when my cultural history comes up and says, you’re weird, or this is strange and attempts to disallow the reality of our relationship. My religious history stares back at me saying I’m deceived, I’m living in sin, I’m losing my salvation and God is far from me. But when I’m with Larry in love and life, it isn’t weird or strange at all. When I look at my faith and my experience with God throughout all these forty years, I see my Creator more than ever and my faith is far richer and deeper than ever. We are two human souls that love each other deeply and have made the decision to live as one and to forsake all others. We embrace God together in and through our lives while we constantly seek further depth and understanding in our faith.  The unity and peace that I experience is something I truly cherish, spiritually, physically, and intimately.

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One Response to “Why Did I Get Married?”

  1. Jeremy Marks says:

    What a wonderful story John. I hope and pray that it will soon be one of a great many such stories to come. And that in time it will not be exceptional for a same-sex couple who love one another for their mutual commitment to be acknowledged and supported by the rest of church and society, as it should be. But we rejoice that God has brought such a tremendous breakthrough in our lifetimes – and early enough for it to be of benefit to us.

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