Queer + Christian // Love, Marriage and Half Year Celebrations!

 All Photos by  Imani Photo

All Photos by Imani Photo

If you know my wife Melissa and I, you know that we are celebraters!

I know that’s not a word, and recently even Melissa told me I couldn’t make new words by just adding an “r” to something, but go with me here. She and I celebrate a lot. We have lots of anniversaries for the various milestones in our relationship, and our friends definitely tease us about this. When we first made our relationship official we decided that we would celebrate each month of being together until we reached being together for a year. While that has died down somewhat since being married, that monthly tradition certainly lasted way beyond the one year mark.

Being the kid at heart that I am, in addition to celebrations marking a full year of things, I also love celebrating halfs, and last month was the half anniversary of our wedding — one and a half years married ya’ll!!!  Throw confetti, release the unicorns, and let Kool & The Gang in to “Celebrate good times, come on!”

This first year (and a half) together has been one of joy and learning and creating, and of course celebrating. For the first four or five months after we were married, every time our wedding date would roll around we would look at the clock and remember what stage of the wedding day we were in right then. “It’s 10:30am, aww I just arrived to the venue.” “It’s 1:15, omg, the ceremony is over and we’re taking pictures, we’re married!” Having waited to live together until we were married and both coming from living situations that weren’t ideal, we spent many moments bursting randomly into this dialogue with the excitement of kids on Christmas morning:

Her: “You’re my wife!”
Me: “And you’re my wife!”
Her: “And we live here, together!”
Me: “By ourselves!!”

 Washington DC Queer Wedding Photo by Imani Photo

Marriage as a Verb

Fam, so far this marriage thing is the bomb! Of course it’s not without its tough moments, but we are navigating them together and trusting God to lead us with each step. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other, and have laughed a lot at each other's quirks. Figuring out things like which one of us leaves the toilet paper roll on even with one lingering square  (me) and which one of us wants a chore chart (also me) has been quite eye opening. This year I have realized just how far I still have left to go at being the person I want to be, but the fact that she continues to press in and love me everyday is transformative.

Prior to getting married there was a secret wondering in me. It was one of those deep, deep down wonderings that isn’t spoken aloud — something that I wasn’t even thinking about much because I knew it was ludicrous, except that there was a chance it wasn’t. “Is there something that will make me unable to be married?” And I mean it as a verb — doing marriage. Would we be unprepared solely because my partner and I are both women? Even though I felt so sure that Melissa and I getting married was indeed God’s will, the doubts and fears that maybe I was inherently unqualified for this journey due to our shared gender would enter my mind at times because internalized oppression is real!

After a week of being married, I was like, “We’re killing this marriage thing =)!” Then I was like, “Shae, it’s only been a week girl, let’s see how it goes.” I know at even a year and a half in, we’re still babies and have so much to learn and experience, but we’re on this journey and it is sacred and beautiful.

 Washington DC Queer Wedding Photo by Imani Photo

The thing that strikes me most about this marriage journey is how much I feel God.

Partly, this is because of the very tangible ways I can see God’s holy work in each of us making us better spouses for each other. The way our hearts yield to each other to apologize and forgive offenses, the way we’re learning to see each other’s differences as strengths, the way we step out of our comfort zones to meet a need for the other, the way we listen to each other beyond words at times, to really try and understand the other person’s heart. Holy, holy, holy, all of it is a holy process. But, in addition to those ways — which can be tough to persevere through — God’s presence is also felt in such a joyous and easy way, as I simply spend time with my wife.  She is an expression of who God is. She is made in God’s image and embodies the Spirit of God and I get to wake up to her every day. I am so grateful and overcome with such wonder and joy just to gaze at her.

To me, the core of marriage is about love and commitment. It’s about honoring each other and creating a new family bonded together. As a lover of the show This is Us, which somehow continues to grab all of the tears out of my face, I am loving figuring out what “us” is.  It is a process, and at the year and a half mark I know there are still so many moments left that will be critical in defining who we are as a married couple. But I'll be here, celebrating all those moments every step of the way.


 Shae Washington

SHAE WASHINGTON

Shae Washington is obsessed with podcasts, coffee and her wife. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area, and she writes and speaks about social justice issues and her life as a gay Christian