This I Believe

Janet - Colchester, Connecticut
Entered on June 16, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65


I believe in marriage as a life long commitment to another based on mutual love, fidelity and responsibility. I learned this from my parents. Unfortunately, my mother died when I was 4 and I really have little memory of her. What I do have is an old 16mm film taken on my parents wedding day. It shows my mother smiling at my father in a way that never fails to touch my heart and bring tears to my eyes. It shows my father looking happier than I ever remember him being.

Watching this film, I saw something I wanted for myself. It’s as if my mother left me a message in the only way that she could to show me how important it is to bond in this very special way with the person you love. Thirty years ago, I found this person and we have shared our lives together since that day. Carol is the love of my life and the person I was meant to marry.

From family members I learned of my father’s love and devotion as he took care of my mother through many cancer surgeries and medical treatments before she died. The words, “In sickness and in health, till death do us part” have tremendous personal meaning to me. I believe in these words. I believe in these marriage vows.

When I witness the weddings of family and friends, I see the same look of joy on their faces as I see on the faces of my parents in that old film. And as I look around me, I see the tears and the smiles of joy from everyone else as they give their love and support to the couple and welcome them into the special world of marriage. Marriage will bond this couple to each other and connect them to their families and the generations of family that came before them.

I often think of this as I sit with married couples in my work as a counselor. My belief in marriage helps me to help them remember their wedding day, honor their wedding vows, sort through their difficulties and better their marriages.

For 3 decades I have lived my beliefs. I have lived the essence of marriage. I have loved passionately. I have been faithful. I have taken care of my life partner “in sickness and in health” to the best of my ability. I know I will continue to do so until one of us dies.

But even though I believe in, value and practice the tenets of marriage, even though my heart aches to pledge those marriage vows, even though I yearn to carry out the message from my mother in that old film and be connected to her and generations of family, even though I have lived what marriage is for 30 years, my heart is heavy with sadness because I live outside of the world of marriage – the world in which so many of my family members, neighbors and clients live. I can not be a part of what I believe in so deeply because the love of my life is a woman.

I continue to believe in marriage even though it is denied me. I also continue to believe Carol and I will marry, we will take those marriage vows and be fully part of the world.