“My daughter and her partner have been together for ten years. I love her partner and don’t care that she’s gay, but neither of them want to get married. Do I really NEVER get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle?”
Alyse & Whiskey Say:
First off, it’s wonderful that you’re so proud of your daughter and her partner’s relationship that you want to celebrate that relationship with a wedding. There’s no doubt that your enthusiasm, love, and excitement mean a lot to your daughter and her partner. Of course, it can be very hard to adjust the picture you’ve had in your imagination, since she was a little girl, of your daughter’s walking down the aisle. As we’re sure you know, this isn’t necessarily an LGBTQ-specific issue, since even if she was partnered with a man, your daughter may have chosen not to get married.
Let’s start by considering the difference between “marriage” and “wedding.” For many couples today, due to legal and/or personal reasons, “marriage” and “wedding” mean very different things. “Marriage” can carry with it spiritual, religious, legal, and political connotations. Some couples, queer and straight, choose not to get married and instead to live in a domestic partnership with one another. Some couples get married but don’t have a wedding—the ceremony celebrating and officializing the marriage itself. And some couples might choose to have a wedding ceremony or celebration without an “official” marriage. So first, ask yourself: “Is what I want for my daughter a marriage, a wedding, or both?”
The next most important question is: why do you feel this way? For your own personal religious or spiritual reasons? Because you want to welcome your daughter’s partner into your family with a fun celebration? Because you want good photos to show friends? Because you like to dance? Because you want to show your daughter that you love her? Because you want your daughter to have the securities of a legal marriage?
All of these answers, of course, mean very different things. So it’s important to do this soul-searching first, so that you can better understand why you feel the way you do in order to communicate with your daughter.
Ultimately, though, what’s at the heart of this issue is the fact that, where your daughter’s wedding (not to mention marriage) is concerned, the choice is only up to her and her partner.
A person’s life choices can only fulfill their own ideals, not those of anyone else. It’s rare for visions of our own lives to ever turn out exactly as we planned—to sync up with the daydreams we hold onto as we move through whatever life brings. And it’s a recipe for disappointment to expect someone else to make your own fantasies come true.
You should talk with your daughter (and her partner, too, if you’re comfortable with that) about their values, thoughts, and beliefs when it comes to marriage and weddings. Listen to what they have to say and try to see where they’re coming from, then open up about how you feel about these matters, too. Tell them why it’s important to you to celebrate their partnership and what marriage and weddings mean to you personally, as well as what they mean to you as a mother, and perhaps you find some common ground. They may be open to having an anniversary party or something else that celebrates their partnership (and the best part of a wedding tends to be the reception, anyway). Regardless, let them know that you ultimately respect their choices no matter what, and that you promise not to give them a hard time about it at future family reunions and dance recitals and Thanksgivings to come.
It might be hard to give up that image of your daughter walking down the aisle that you had in mind for so long, but with time, you will find that it gets easier. Over the years, you and your family, daughter and partner included, will build and cherish your own special memories together—memories that you hadn’t even imagined before.
Alyse Wayne (Everyone Is Gay pen name) is the author of two books of poems, Copper Mother (Switchback Books, forthcoming 2015) and Annotated Glass (Furniture Press Books, 2013), as well as the chapbook Alternates (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly,Caketrain, ZYZZYVA, Drunken Boat, andThe Southern Poetry Anthology, among others. She received her MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. She is a co-founder and co-editor of Gazing Grain Press, an inclusive feminist press, and teaches English at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Whiskey Blue is the author of Brooklyn Love, a collection of literary erotica available everywhere ebooks are sold. In her other life, she is a contributor to Psychology Today. She has also written for The Huffington Post, The Atlantic, AfterEllen, Curve Magazine, Bitch, and more. Whiskey holds erotica in the highest regard. Follow her @topshelferotica
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