As a real, live, card-carrying lesbian (yes, it’s true! You come out and you actually get a card! What, you never got yours?), I may or may not have a tendency to over-discuss things. Or, one could argue, discuss things to a healthy extent. Let’s just say that communication is one of our strong points.
(Side note: one of my female friends just started dating a woman for the first time. When I asked if they’d slept together she said, “well, we talk a lot. Like, a lot. That’s pretty much lesbian sex, right?”. Sorry if you’re offended that my blog says “lesbian sex” on it. Moving on.)
But one thing that getting married and planning a marriage – not just a wedding – are making us do is discuss our relationship and our future in a way that I’m not sure we otherwise would. On Wednesday we decided to get started on this whole vow-writing thing. I think that we will be combining our own vows with some traditional vows and some non-traditional wedding readings with some that you might expect to hear. But step one is figure out how to write your own vows. We followed some instructions that we found online, starting with making a list of things that we love about each other, and then making a list of things that we bring to the relationship or that we want to promise.
We went up to one of our favorite spots in town and spread out a blanket by the pond. We got distracted when we noticed that there were turtles and frogs in the water, but once we got over the excitement of that (omg! it’s really spring!), we got to work writing our own private lists. And then we shared our lists, lying in the sun. And I wasn’t even thinking, Wow this is what we’ll say on our wedding day, and I still teared up. It was wonderful to hear us saying the same things and different things. I love where things line up, and where they don’t.
After sharing our lists, we put those aside and went through some worksheets that we found online. They’re intended for UU ministers to use when doing premarital counseling for same-gendered couples, but our minister isn’t using it so we figured we’d just go ahead and discuss ourselves. We ended up doing a worksheet where we individually answered questions like, how much development do you need in your relationship for… having and enjoying friends together and separately? Sharing spiritual life? Observing birthdays and other important rituals?
I think we were on the same page for most of our answers, but when we were off at all, we talked about what we wanted and why, and what might be missing. It was really interesting to have things brought up for us, and to not just talk about these issues when they are issues. It was interesting to see where our perspectives were similar and different – for example, I said that I didn’t feel we need much development in sharing a spiritual life, because my spiritual life feels personal, and going to church feels like something I do for myself as an individual – not something I do, necessarily, in the context of my relationship. Turtle, on the other hand, said that she felt this needed some/much development, because she would like to find a spiritual home for us. And it turns out that I agree – I had just been thinking of it more for me than for us.
I don’t know how all of these things would come up if we didn’t have a form to sit down and fill out… I’m sure they would come up eventually. But I love learning about her, and about us, in this way. It seems crazy to me that some couples don’t do this kind of exploring before they get married.
One thing I realized is that I want to keep doing this after we get married. To sit down, at least once a year, and say, “How are we doing on these issues? Where do we need development? How are you feeling?” Getting married makes you slow down and revel in the relationship, if you’re doing it right (I think!). But what about after you’re married? How do you hold onto this connection and make sure you’re facing the same directions together? It seems like marriage is a built in institution within a relationship for this, but what about after marriage?
Anyway, I’m enjoying being here, now – and I’m excited to figure out how we’ll be wherever we are next.