On the Tethering of Hearts and the Changing of Names

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Tomorrow, I’ll marry.

I’ll commit to something bigger than myself until the end of myself.

I’ll commit to the loving of another soul, the caring of another heart in this journey of life, to whatever end it may lead for as long as that end approaches.

I’ll commit to a future of struggling, succeeding, and working as a team knowing that we are equal partners in all things.

I’ll commit to being loved, being known, being seen, and the vulnerability of living alongside another soul in sickness and in health, in joys and in grief.

Marriage, fraught with social and religious baggage, is often rightfully perceived as a normatively oppressive construct. This isn’t always the case. For us, the embrace of the ceremonial marker in tandem with the understanding of consensual exclusivity is not being done out of fear or subservience to an unjust ordering of desires.

It’s the next logical step in our journey, the tethering of two hearts and joining of two lives in a mystical and practical fashion.

We become as united as we are separate, committed to the mutuality of matrimony, a glorious subverting of individuality in the interest of an “us”. It’s crazy, it’s counter-intuitive, and it’s good.

So very good.

We met as juniors at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, cultivating a romance even as we braced against the withering denigration of a homophobic environment. We grew as persons, as a couple, growing still as we step onward and upward into a foggy, bright future.

We’ve made friends along the way who have loved and supported us, affirming our relationship as something good and holy, and we knew this—it was sometimes hard to believe. These relationships still remind us what it means to love effusively, and we who we are in part because they have grounded us.

And to them—to you—we give an emphatic thank you. Thank you for loving us so well.

We’ve made space for one another, charitably granting the right to disagree in good faith, and we’ve been better for it.

We’ve argued, we’ve cried with and for one another, and we’ve laughed more than anyone could hope to laugh. We’ve shared in success and failure, rendering compassion at every juncture. We’ve known one another at the deepest levels, and we’re still learning the unsearchable depths of the human heart, an adventure as fulfilling as it is endless.

We’ve said yes more than we’ve said no, and we’ve been right as often as we’ve been wrong (often struggling to admit the latter).

We’ve loved.

Never perfectly, always authentically.

Tomorrow, nothing ends and nothing begins, yet we evolve: We become Nathanial and Elliot Green, partners in a dangerous and beautiful world, seeing the image and love of God in one another insofar as we see it in ourselves.

We’ll say yes.

Yes.

Yes and amen.

Nathanial Totten5 Comments