Friday, August 12, 2016

After 16 Years

I never thought this day would come.  After 16 years, we're finally married.  For much of that 16 years, we never had the option to legally get married.  It was not until the Supreme Court decision for marriage equality on June 26, 2015 that made this possible.

I cannot begin to describe what it means to be able to finally be married,  Yes, we waited some time from the moment we could get married until we actually did it.  I proposed on December 25, 2014, but it all came home after the Pulse Orlando shooting.  We did not want to be in a situation where something would happen to one of us and legally we could not be there for the other.  In that light, it became imperative to do this sooner than later.

We had begun to plan a beautiful beach wedding with close friends and family, but life got in the way and so those plans had to get abandoned.

To keep things simple and because we wanted to get this done, we went down to the Orlando Courthouse and exchanged our vows.  In fact, we were only a couple of miles from the Pulse nightclub and it felt good to celebrate that which the shooter tried to destroy.

Having immediate family there made all the difference.  I was nervous.  In fact, I think we both were pretty nervous.  I don't quite remember the vows because my mind was in a daze.  I tried to hold back the tears, but the emotions were deep.  After all, after 16 years, we finally were getting to make our love for one another permanent.

It all seemed like a blur.  Before the wedding, we wondered if this ceremony would really have much of an impact.  Would it change things?  I mean being together for 16 years, we really do know each other.  In the marriage counseling online course we took, the discussion helped us to learn more about ourselves.

I can honestly say though, that after the wedding ceremony, it definitely changed things.  It felt more permanent.  It felt like we were finally standing up in front of family and friends and saying - hey - we love each other and we mean the world to each other.  It was a precious moment that I will never forget.

As we enjoyed the rest of the day, I found myself realizing that I no longer had to be jealous of those that could get married.  We were now one of them.  We were no longer second class citizens - we had the same rights.  I'm not a political person, but I sure was tired of being used as something cheap in the realm of politics and religion.

We no longer have to worry about the future or anything else, because we know that our relationship is now recognized and we are one with each other.  It feels strange that after 16 years, we've only just begun.  The years have gone by quickly.

My eyes are star filled and glazed, but my love has grown deeper for the man I love.  I'm not going to hide it anymore.  If someone does not have the capacity to accept me and us for the way we are, then I realize it is not a problem I can worry about any longer.

On July 26, 2016 we pledged our love for one another and I'm the happiest guy in the world right now.  I love my husband with all my heart and we both respect each other with the highest respect you can give to another human.  We see each other for what we are, not what we think they should be.  We accept each other as they are and together we've grown so much over the past 16 years.

It wasn't that long ago in life before I met him that I wondered if true love was possible.  I wondered if it could last, when I met someone.  When we met, I wasn't looking for a relationship and when we met, I wasn't even ready to accept I was gay.  My heart knew immediately though from that moment we first said hello.

Even with the past and all the difficulties we have both faced in life, we are there for each other.  Out of the love we share, we are growing and making it in life.  We face the day with new hope and possibility and we enjoy the warm embrace of love that our two hearts share.

I wear my new wedding ring with pride.  I cherish it and the symbol that it portrays.   It means so much to me to wear this ring.  My heart sings with joy.  My heart rejoices in the joy and love that I have found in a person I love so very much.

LGBTq people have come a long ways and what was once barely talked about is more accepted in society.  Being gay is not a choice.  If it was, I think many of us would have not wished to go through some of the horror we have.  Being gay is who we are.  It is how we are made.  Instead of hating those who are gay, let us love one another without conditions and strings attached.  Let us love one another as humans should.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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