I was sitting in a local bar with a couple of friends when my telephone rang. Before I could say hello, the caller blurted out “will you marry me?”
My initial reaction was to laugh, I mean we live in Utah and it just isn’t possible to run to the courthouse and apply for a license. “Of course I would marry you” was my reply. “No really, will you marry me? Utah just legalized same-sex marriage,” she said.
So many thoughts swirled through my befuddled mind as I uttered the word yes. She asked where I was and once I told her she headed my way. I looked at my friends and told them the good news, but it didn’t feel like good news. It felt like a shotgun wedding, only it wasn’t possible for her to accidentally knock me up. We had been together for over eight years so I wasn’t afraid of commitment, I already committed to her over and over again. I was angry that we had to rush before a stay was placed on the ruling. I was angry that I had always imagined us making our commitment to one another in October and instead we would be rushing to get a license and married with only days to plan. I was angry that our love couldn’t just be enough to get a marriage license without a political battle.
Looking back I was angry that marriage seemed to be the symbol of love, as if marriage was the only way to solidify my relationship. To a public already astonished by my love, I felt forced to make a mad dash to the courthouse. Love is more than this, right?
Love is a tricky notion. What else can cause the greatest amount of pain but also provide ecstasy so great that words can’t seem to capture its true essence? Many people with more eloquent words and minds have tried to quantify and capture what love is, how it works and what it looks like. For some, love comes at a large cost, losing family and friends. For others, love is simple and done without much thought. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, most people crave love, will do anything for love, and will fight for the mere idea of love. Without a clear definition, love is a pursuit everyone seems invested.
Without looming court battles, I find that I can invest in love again, the love of the simple things surrounding me each day. I love looking out my windows and watching the snow fall gently on the streets. I love that my dog insists on lying next to my office chair while I work. I love the random texts, typically in the middle of the afternoon, from my kids informing me of some random fact about horses or Star Wars. I love that when my partner comes home from work she seeks me out to give me a kiss. I love that my family is healthy and safe. I love, again, without caveats and threats of being legally vulnerable, because love is impossible without feeling safe.