When we got married, I used to joke with my husband Jim, “Now we are officially married.” I like things to be official; it is a peculiarity of mine. Although it was not my first marriage, it was my most eyes-wide-open, mature one. Jim and I first met at a fundraiser for a nonprofit cause. He was an official greeter at the door and he wrote my first name on a paper name tag. Later, we sat together and talked deeply about his Buddhism and my chaplaincy ministry. We were both involved with other relationships, but I still phoned up my best friend and told her that I had an interesting conversation with a handsome man. Later, we met again at a board meeting of that same nonprofit. I was already serving on the board and Jim just joined. We were no longer involved in other relationships. That week, on a whim, I had decided to give my phone number to all handsome single men I met, who did not seem to be gay or ax murderers. So, I gave my number to Jim. Like a gentleman, he walked me to my car in downtown San Francisco. And the rest is…
Upon the tenth anniversary of our wedding, we recently renewed our vows. My wise spiritual director Dr. Diane Deutsch wrote and said this for us at the ceremony:
“The Vow you made ten years ago, holds your lives and will continue to hold you and the Vow will continue to speak throughout your life together, having a life of its own. This Vow to have and to hold from the beginning of those days of loving through prosperity and adversity will hold you and will weave your holding space, offering refuge and respite for all your years. Seen and unseen, the life of the Vow, held in mystery and sacredness, is at the center of your union. We bless you in the marriage that is in your hearts and in the legal union recognized by the laws of this land.”
The vow is the way we have dedicated and re-dedicated ourselves to one another. Having gone through times of sickness and health, conflict, varying financial situations, and deaths in our immediate family, the vow is a rudder to steer our ship. We are in this together as co-captains and crew, through calm and storm. As I like to say, we are officially married.