I've been thinking a bit, lately, about the reality of marrying or committing myself for life to a man I love someday. If I ever do find such a man, or even if I find such a woman, I intend to hold such a commitment (whether called 'marriage' or 'union') sacred and meaningful, and I have been thinking I may have to make some difficult decisions. I may decide to purify the experience and avoid sullying it by inviting, to the ceremony, only those who would be fully, truly supportive. Then we could have a reception for everyone, including those who couldn't wholeheartedly support whatever ceremony represents our union but who want to wish us well.
I might not allow the presence of those who do not hold sacred the covenants I make and the relationship into which I enter. I would do this not because I don't love them and not because they don't care but because some people just don't or won't understand the magnitude and sacredness the relationship holds for me. Some people would not fully grasp what it means or what it's about. They wouldn't relate to or appreciate the reality of it. They won't fully understand the motivations behind my choice to get married in that way. I wish they all did. I wish they could all understand and see what I've seen. But they won't, and that's their choice or belief, and it doesn't change or diminish what it means to me. They may be upset that they can't come, and they may not understand why I would exclude them when they are happy that I have companionship but just don't understand its full meaning. But it's not about them. It's about us. It's about our commitment to each other and to truth. They'll have to deal with it.
On one hand, I love the idea of having an open, public wedding to which all are invited, to contrast it with the exclusivity of LDS temple marriage, into which only active, temple-recommend-holding members of the church are allowed. I may never see many of my dear friends married because I no longer believe the ceremony is exactly what they believe it is, even though I know I would--if allowed to be present--lovingly and happily look on them as they make their covenants with moist eyes and be grateful to respectfully share that moment. But there are reasons for the exclusivity which I fully understand in ways someone who has never believed in the magnitude and the sacred and eternal nature of temple covenants might not fully relate to.
In fact, maybe it's not so different. I still believe my marriage or union, if I ever enter into one with either a man or a woman, will not be about any social approbation, grand parties, attention, or even 'rights' (though I'd want my partner and I to have legal protection and decision-making rights for each other)...and it's not even primarily about unifying or linking families. My commitment to another soul in union is about the unification of the two of us, committing our lives to each other and promising that we won't bolt when it gets tough, we will draw closer and remain one even when the fun wanes or other options come along, and we'll form a union within which we become financially and personally 'one' and lay a stable foundation for a future family if we're able to bring children into our home. That is too sacred a commitment to invite the presence of those who don't understand or believe in it.
So I may insist on a very private, very limited ceremony if it ever comes to that. If that means it's only my partner and me, then so be it. It's not about anyone else to begin with. I've always thought things were almost more sacred by being more private, so it's kind of a beautiful thought to commit to each other without spectacle or demonstration.
Then, after the most important business of unifying ourselves, we can symbolically unify other aspects of our lives by bringing together families and friends in a fabulous reception with lots of good food, good music, and happy memories in the making.
Ha, or I could just be a single old codger with a few short-term relationships along the way. That's probably more likely. *wink*