Okay, here’s the overly-cute truth of it: I love being married. Now, I don’t think marriage is for everybody- I don’t think it’s part of God’s plan for all of us to be cutely married to some cute person and have a bunch of cute kids. As you can tell, that’s all a little too cute for me. And, more importantly, it doesn’t fit what I know of God and God’s call: we have gifts that differ, and we have calls that differ. In relationship as in profession.
But I love being married. I love that my lover is not only someone that I get to live with, to celebrate and mourn with, to share all kinds of things with, but also someone that I’ve publicly proclaimed and promised with, someone who stood up with me in front of all our family and friends, and said that we are going to be married. That we promised to always seek one another’s well-being. It’s powerful. And the tax breaks and insurance benefits: also great, it’s true.
And I’m thinking about my marriage, both because in another month or so we’re celebrating our tenth anniversary (of dating, anyway) and because it’s Valentines. I love Rachael a ridiculous amount. I love her all the time, and if someone tried to stop me being married to her, I would reconsider my commitment to non-violence. She is someone that I absolutely go to the mat for- she’s someone that I pull out all the stops for.
Now, some of my friends can’t get legal married in Illinois. I am super hopeful that’s going to change soon, and I’ve been working and praying hard for that to change. And people I love and trust have been working way harder than me, for way longer than me, to bring about this reality. But, sadly, I know, that even if my friends can get married in Illinois, it’s going to be a while until their marriage is recognized at a federal level. And maybe longer still til all my friends in every state can get marry person to whom their heart is called.
Here’s how I’m thinking about it these days: I am called by God to be a pastor. Trust me on this, I argued it out, and wrote papers, and fought it myself for years and years, but here I am. Similarly, I am called by God to be married to Rachael Weasley. I argued that out too, with myself and with other people. (That “committee”, of myself and Rachael and the people I trust, was much less formal than my ordination committee, but the stakes felt even higher!) If you tell me that I’m not called to be a pastor, I will probably just laugh at you. If you tell me that I’m not supposed to be married to Rachael, I will tell you you’re wrong. And so will a lot of other people.
Valentines Day makes me sappy, I guess. I love my partner, in a full and complicated and wild kind of way. But it also makes me angry. It turns out that there exist some people who would walk up to my friends and tell them that God doesn’t want them to be in a committed relationship, to publicly proclaim their love, to share such simple minutia as chores and tax returns and dinner and health insurance. So Valentines Day makes me sappy, but it also makes me angry. It makes me want to get to work.
(Now is an extremely timely moment to give some money to AWAB, but also to give some money to Equality IL: www.eqil.org)
David Weasley is an ordained Baptist minister and the Chair of the AWAB Board. He is currently serving as at Zion Lutheran Church in Tinley Park, IL.