Thursday, September 13, 2007

Commitment ceremonies

Otherwise known as marriage ceremonies, civil union ceremonies or life partnership ceremonies.......

For those of us who are gay and not living in a state where it is a legal and binding statute, it is a symbolic union of two souls. My question is...........if it doesn't carry any legal weight, why do it?

Many of you know couples who have been partners for over a dozen of years who have not taken the step of having a commitment ceremony in front of all of their friends and family members. I believe that one of the reasons that long term partners do not have commitment ceremonies is because their security with themselves and each other is well grounded. They have nothing to prove to anyone about their commitment to each other. The friends who surround couples such as these are well aware of their commitment and admire them for having the longevity and permanence that most gay and lesbian couples crave.

So then what is it about having a ceremony? Is it simply a "show and tell" event? Is it a way for one or both people in the relationship to overcome a insecurity? ("See I am lovable and we are together")

Now if you are going to say, a ceremony like this is a way for everyone to share in the joy of the couples new union together......I don't know if I buy that. As I said earlier, I know of a few long term couples and I have great admiration for their commitments to each other. It didn't take a ceremony for me to share their joy or clearly understand their commitment.

I think those who jump into commitment ceremonies in Year One or Two of their relationship are probably overcoming some kind of insecurity. Some kind of inner need to show everyone that they are committed instead of just letting things grow freely and naturally. Those that have commitment ceremonies early don't always have the relationship longevity that they hoped for in the beginning.

I have been in a relationship for two years and I am no less committed to her than I would be if we jumped in with a ceremony. I believe that the longevity of your relationship is a silent statement all to itself. What more is there to say?

So what say YOU? Have you been through a ceremony or contemplating a ceremony? What is your viewpoint on it? There are no right or wrong answers here...........only opinions.


Lachlan said...

Almost at year 5 with my beloved. I've gone back and forth with this question a hundred times, and I'm still not sure I have a good or concrete answer.

Without diving into the historical origins of marriage and how it has evolved into what is today (speaking of course on the hetero side of things, since in 49 states it's still illegal), I think there is a huge factor of sharing the and "witnessing" of the couple's union.

I don't know a single couple who hasn't married who didn't relish that aspect of it, almost above all else. There is something powerful about standing up in front of your families and friends and making those promises.

Now, on the gay side of things, I think that there is a strong desire for parity- for untold years we have NOT been afforded that same acceptance, that same joy, of standing before all and sundry and pledging our love to another.

As attitudes and family dynamics have changed, and a larger percentage of gay kids are not being ostracized by their families, that desire to be able to have our families witness and bless the ones we choose to truly commit to grows. I see these two factors as inextricably linked.

As a little girl, I never dreamed of getting married. Didn't interest me in the least. As I grew and eventually came out, still didn't. It wasn't until I met Bayou that I TRULY wanted it- and I still do.

Granted, I'm more interested in my/our legal rights than the actual ceremony- but I do want that, as well. Because I've struggled, she's struggled, to get to this place of happiness- and we both wish to share and have the blessings of our families. We already do, yes, but there is something infinitely more real about it being public.

A long ramble, I know- but thanks for asking this question. I think it's good that we ask ourselves these things.m

Parlancheq said...

If there are 'commitment ceremony' gifts involved, then go for it. Ha! Only kidding. I think it's a personal decision, but I certainly don't think you need a ceremony to be committed.

Rita said...

You know.....some folks may want a ceremony after getting out of a committment rather than getting into one!