We previously heard from Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, who will be officiating the wedding of my friend Annie Thomas to her second husband. In this guest post, we’ll hear from Annie herself, as she shares her story of coming to love these two people enough to make such a commitment with each of them.
I remember that night four years ago so clearly, like it just happened. The realization broke over us like a tidal wave, just a week before we were scheduled to re-commit our marriage in a sacred ceremony in our church. My husband—my best friend of eight years—and I had different sexual orientations.
I was devastated, relieved, and terrified all at once. It was so dark as I drove to the church and unexpectedly found one light shining through a back door, giving entrance to the sanctuary that night. On my face, I cried out to God, trying desperately to understand where He was, where I was.
As I lay there on the cold green marble, a small, powerful voice began to echo over and over through my heart and mind, “Don’t be afraid to take Cris as your husband.” And as I looked up, I realized I was praying right under a picture of another woman who lived her life in a very different marriage, and whose husband heard those same words about her so very long ago. It was a start.
One year later, I divorced my husband Cris with the intention of always being life partners because it didn’t feel like marriage could belong to us as we are: partnered through deep companionship without a sexual relationship. But divorce never felt right to me. It never felt like home.
Six months later, we remarried with the new definition of marriage we had embraced as our own, and we started living out a union that made sense to us fully for the first time. All through that time it was scary. Constantly we were reminded we had strayed from “The Way.” But every time my heart faltered, I heard that same small voice come and whisper, “I’ve got you. Don’t be afraid.”
I had found incredible happiness and joy in my new marriage with Cris, traveling to a brave new land, with the commitment Ruth made to Naomi in my heart. And yet I was restless. I yearned for a Boaz who could embrace me and all that goes with me, impossible though it seemed. Then I met Greg, and that’s exactly what he did.
Finally, I was home. In just a few days, I will make a second solemn forever vow. Greg and I will speak into existence a new relationship, and the three adults will make a new family commitment.
John Searle, the father of Speech Act Theory, spent his career studying those actions that are executed through the power of our words. He noted that, “Whatever is referred to must exist. Let us call this the axiom of existence.” The Bible itself begins with a Speech Act in Genesis 1:3 when God said, “Let there be light, and there was.” Words are powerful things that can both reflect and create the worlds we build around us.
For us, God’s grace has been poured out through the gift of two marriages in one family. It has shown up in one marriage that doesn’t include sex, and it is showing up in one marriage that will. Marriage is a uniquely personal mystery: forged through the communion of consenting kindred spirits, and spoken into existence when we are bold enough to openly claim these loves we have found for all the world to hear.
Whatever our story, gender, sexual orientation, polyamorous or monogamous status, marriage takes root wherever our words plant it. So I did, and I do, till the end of time.