From California to Alaska and all the states in between, I’ve lived on the West Coast of the United States all my life. For the first time in my life I’ve become an ‘East Coaster’, living in beautiful Western Pennsylvania. (The beauty here is far more subtle than I’m used to. What they call ‘mountains’ here always makes me grin, but you can’t argue with the rolling hills and autumn leaf colors.) Why am I here? Why, love of course. I met an incredible human being named Joel two years ago to the day of October 15th, and it seemed only reasonable to marry him.
One of the coolest things about living in Pennsylvania was my discovery that they allow what is called “self-uniting” marriages. While you have to have two witnesses sign the paperwork, you can essentially marry yourself without any need for standard formality. (This was originally a provision for Quakers, but has become available to anyone who asks for it.)
We married just this week, October 15th in a very private ceremony. It wasn’t really a wedding in the traditional sense. We chose to do so outside in the cool autumn air, surrounded by colorful trees and gravestones. That’s right – we married ourselves in a cemetery. While this may sound like the ideal spot for gothic teenagers to vow eternal love, we chose it primarily as a reminder to how fleeting life is and to make good use of every moment we’re blessed with together.
Sounds odd, but it worked for us. We’re at that age where we’ve started living deliberately and we do the things that make sense to us, regardless of public opinion.
The reason I’m writing a blog post about this is that I’d like to share with you some of the vows that we wrote. I won’t share Joel’s (those are his to share with whom he desires), but I’d like to share the ones I wrote for him. I feel that I put a lot of thought into them, and while they are personal to us I like to think that the principles they touch on are universal to everyone. If you find some use in them, excellent! If not, then consider this simply sharing.
My vows to Joel:
I promise that I am and will remain committed to your personal development. I will do everything in my power to hold space for you while you are learning, endeavoring to experience your current level of development as beautiful without judgment. I I also promise to push you if you ever begin stagnating and to stay as committed to the same excellence that you want for yourself. As I will not be perfect keeping this vow, and as I am in my own journey of development, I humbly request the same of you.
I promise to resolve conflict quickly. I will also do my best to recognize ill feelings as they happen and not allow them to fester. However, if an ill feeling escapes my notice and it turns into an unconscious stack, I promise the moment I’m aware of it to immediately investigate the source regardless of the level of discomfort or shame this may bring me. I will be humble, acknowledging my part in our fights. I vehemently vow never to harbor negative feelings, nor allow them to turn into disdain.
I commit to being the best possible influence on your children, G and S. I will continue to work on myself to be the kind of person that can influence them in a healthy and empowering way. When I am wrong or mistreat them, I will apologize to them. I will see their success as part of my life mission, and I will love them as they are the children of my love: you.
I commit to continuing my knowledge and education about you as you grow and change. I will not become lazy nor will I delude myself into believing that because you have behaved a certain way for a time than that is how you SHOULD behave. I will use my ever-growing knowledge about you to treat you with understanding and love. I promise now that I will not weaponize my knowledge of you or use it against you in any way. I vow that I will do everything in my power to be a place of safety and rest.
I believe that our bodies are a gift to each other. My body is yours. As such, I will do what I can to be a vessel of pleasure. I will keep myself healthy and attractive to you, and I will not withhold sex for any reason that has selfish intent. If for any reason I have become unattractive to you I will welcome this feedback and do what I can to be a source of delight once more. (The only caveat being the irreversible marks that time will stamp upon me which are beyond my control. :p)
Once you have discovered your life mission, it will be my privilege and pleasure to support you to the absolute best of my ability. Your success in life is my success, and I will do what I can to empower you, encourage you and inspire you to accomplish what you were put on earth to do.
I vow to maintain an inter-dependent relationship with you. I have thoughtfully decided to be transparent with you while acknowledging your right to personal space. I will not require of you information that is private to you. I will be open and free with my information and will always be grateful of the same in return. I believe this is a gift we give to each other, not a right we demand. As inter-dependent humans, I state now that I respect your personal privacy, now and always.
As you continue on your spiritual journey, I vow to be supportive and respectful. Your memes are your own, and regardless of whether or not our beliefs on nature and in the divine are shared, I promise I will always be open to your perspective and respectful. Your journey is beautiful to me, and I will not derail your enlightenment from insecurity in my own beliefs. I will be interested and patient during this journey. I humbly request the same of you.
I am committed to successful relationships within your family. I will do my best to promote healthy, loving, harmonious bonds with you and each member of your family. I will love your family as my own. This promise extends to any family that may yet be – the families of our children and so on.
I will always respect you. Always. If our intimate relationship should at any time become complete, I will do everything in my power to keep our new and less intimate relationship loving and respectful. As the father of my child, Piper, and any future children we will have together I promise to honor you as their father and be cooperative no matter what the circumstances. There will always be something out there that is a little bit you, a little bit me. I believe this is beautiful and special and I will protect it.
Our relationship is sacred to me. I vow to do everything in my power to preserve it as a lifelong romantic and deeply intimate bond. I vow to vigilantly maintenance anything within the relationship that ceases to promote this kind of bond.
I love you. I am, and always will be, grateful that you love me. It is my full intention to have a full and satisfying life as your partner, to do everything in my power to keep us on this trajectory and to enjoy you as the incredible, sexy and mind-blowingly amazing human being I fell in love with for the first time two years ago today.
I don’t often get this personal – I’m usually far more interested in the cerebral and the impersonal. So I’d like to thank you for letting me share something this intimate. As I mentioned, if you find something that is of use or illuminating, then fantastic! And while I always love comments, if you choose to leave one… be gentle. 🙂