Bill and I have been married for over 11 years and I am not exaggerating when I say our marriage has been the most important factor in creating the person I am today. I treasure our relationship - the support, the sacrifices, the growth in self-awareness, patience and communication - everything.
Sometimes, when I think back to when we got married, I get a bit spooked that anyone let us do it. We were so young and stupid and had no idea about anything. We're still pretty clueless about most things, but we've learned so much about making our relationship work and in return we've grown so much as individuals.
Setting long term goals and creating a plan to get there? Never did that before my marriage.
Listening openly when someone says "hey, I didn't like that thing you did,"? Nope. Didn't do that very well either.
Doing someone else's horrible chores, or sharing a piece of something wonderful (like pie), or giving up my time willingly for the benefit of someone else? No. No. No. (ask my sister)
Feeling supported and trusting in unconditional love is what made these things possible for me.
Now, some of this growth may be the natural part of aging, but I know a lot of people much older than me who suck - really really suck - at many of these things. And in many cases it seems to me they don't have the sort of supportive relationship Bill and I (and many other lovely, committed people) do.
All of these things have not only made me a better partner in a relationship, but they made me a better employee and a better community member. Patience doesn't only benefit my marriage, it benefits the people in line in front of me at the grocery store. Being able to accept constructive suggestions benefited my employers. Better communication skills help me be a better friend.
This is what my marriage is about. Constructing mutual, unwavering support to help each other grow as people.
It has nothing to do with children. It has nothing to do with gender. Our relationship is not threatened by marriage equality.
We were very pleased to hear President Obama support gay marriage. And I am glad to see so many other people speaking out in support of it too. I hope this is a turning point which makes the minority of holdouts realize that supporting marriage equality can only mean good things for individuals and communities.