Earl and I are celebrating our eight year anniversary today. It was a very cold day back in 1996 when we exchanged our vows on a pier at Penn’s Landing, overlooking the Delaware River in Philadelphia. Being so cold, there were hardly any people on the pier. There was a boatload of military guys passing by. Rick and Helen witnessed our vows and exchanging of rings.
I can hardly believe that eight years has gone by since we first said “I Do”. It’s amazing what life brings. Ups, downs. Every emotion possible. Many unions fail, while many others succeed. I like to think that we’re a success story.
I’ve met many couples in my life, both gay and straight. I’ve seen many marriages succeed and many marriages fail. While every couple has their own recipe for success, I’ve found one common ingredient. The two people actually like each other.
It’s kind of weird for me to understand, but I’ve seen couples that didn’t really like each other. They do their own thing. They don’t really share common interests. One shops and goes to the movies, while the other plays golf and watches porn. They come together to pay the bills, sleep in the same bed and eat meals. I don’t know if they have sex. Maybe, but I’m guessing its not very often. They stay together for the sake of being married. I find it all very sad.
Earl is my best friend. We do everything together. It’s very rare that we’re apart outside of work. We’ve had people tell us that our relationship is not healthy. We need to spend time apart. We’re (wave quote fingers) co-dependent.
What do they know? They jump from relationship to relationship. They meet, get married, fight and get a divorce all before last call on a Saturday night. Then they move on to the next one.
When I said “I do”, I became half of one. A single unit. What I do affects the other and vice-versa. We go to the movies. We go out to eat. We go shopping. We make dinner. It’s not “me”, it’s “we”. Do I get on his nerves? Of course I do, I’m a pain in the ass. Does he get on my nerves? Yeah, he does. But it doesn’t mean that we need to move in opposite directions and do our own thing. I tell him my concerns, he voices his. Sometimes very loudly. But we work through it. And then we continue on.
When we said “we do”, we said it forever. There’s no bail out baby. We’re riding this roller coaster together, and we’re not jumping out while the ride is still in motion. The ride can be a bumpy one. Sometimes it moves fast, other times it moves slow. Once in a while, we need to stop for maintenance and adjustment. Other times we’re flying down the tracks, moving at a wildly exhilarating pace. Sometimes its scary. It can be exhausting. We find comfort in each others arms. But when we get to the platform, we decide to ride again, looking for new twists and turns along the way.
I’m proud to say that Earl is not only my lover and my partner, he’s also my best friend.