And if we have
thousands of marriages in the meantime, voters will discover that the sky doesn't fall, thus creating the same kind of momentum that Massachusetts experienced,
where the legislature finally gave up on trying to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage.
Bringing this closer to home, some of the couples in my own
life (in addition to those I've been working with) are very excited! Some are making plans to get married this summer.
Yet at the same time, the very possibility
that we can actually get married brings up the question: Is that what we're ready for?
One partner might be chomping at the bit, raring to go--while the other
still needs to think it through. Even though a fairly comprehensive domestic partners law has been in force here in California for some time, the idea of marriage
nonetheless evokes a whole other level of commitment.
One guy's hesitation can be very unsettling to the partner who's ready to get married, who then
questions what that hesitation means. I saw a similar phenomenon during the brief window of gay marriage here in San Francisco, when Mayor Gavin Newsom
opened the floodgates four years ago. There was a heady excitement, mixed with not knowing how long it would last--and a keen desire to strike while the iron's
So despite the excitement of the current moment, I like to encourage couples to take a deep breath and really take some time to listen to each other's
concerns. It's far too easy to construe any hesitation as an indication that our boyfriend's not really committed, when it may simply mean that there are some
underlying concerns that still need to be addressed. Despite our enthusiasm, it's probably not the time to make all-or-nothing demands.
The prospect of gay
marriage is a very exciting stimulus for getting in touch with our hopes, dreams, and desires. By listening and empathizing with each other's point of view, we can then
determine how getting married at this particular time in our lives may (or may not) facilitate our goals for our own relationships!
Rik Isensee is the author of gay-
therapist Love-Between-Men Love Between Men, and practices gay couples therapy in San Francisco. If you're in the process of sorting through
your own readiness for marriage, click on gay-therapist gay-premarital-counseling Gay Premarital