Megan, today, among these much-loved friends and comrades, all I want is to shout my love for you, affirm my commitment to building a life with you, and celebrate this big thing we have made and continue to make.
This is not just about vows, not about the many promises and agreements that underpin any relationship. This is about a huge and always huger love, the work we have done to make a partnership of caring, of every day, of small gestures to build intimacy, of that positivity that builds on itself. Our little promises and rituals, of coffee and reading aloud, of special books and dinner-parties, Sunday lie-ins and breakfast in bed. These, for me, are the everyday commitment, the ways we renew and re-invigorate this love as our daily life. And if there is one promise that seems to me most important, it is my promise to keep building such little moments with you, to find a way every day to renew our intimacy.
For large parts of my life, the defining factors were violence and struggle. There were communities of resistance, sure – and some strong, hopeful communities of resistance. And I learned from them and lived with them and they shaped me and inspired me. But never really convinced me. There was only the war. There was escaping that war, fighting that war, denying that war. But nothing beyond it. And that’s not a place conducive to love. Not a place conducive to growing, to joy. But it’s where I lived most of my life, such that I didn’t really believe there was more to the world.
This earth is such a different place when we turn our faces to the sun. Such a different place when we say to ourselves, “I want more. I can have it. It is possible to be joyful. It is possible to love someone more than the fear of losing them.” Such a different place when we move out of our words about community and alternatives and potential and actually start living in our communities, and living intentionally. That’s what you have given me, Meg. Not so much new ideas, not so much different hopes and different dreams, but something else – something much more grounded, something about the minutes of everyday, something that is in this world and relishes it and celebrates it, and finds its purpose in what is good and needs growing. A second promise – to look, with you, each day for the places where we are the best of what we can be. And to offer you the best of me.
Meg, I’m here today, with you, with these amazing people who surround us, more alive than I’ve ever been. More committed than ever to what is good and what strengthens our communities. More capable than ever of really being with people, really valuing them, really loving them. And so much of that is about you – not because you complete me or you hold me up, but because when I walk through this world with you, it is a better place to live, and I am a better person living in it. I am here today because a love that inspires more celebration, more mindfulness, more intention and more positivity – that’s a rare love. I’m here today because I can think of nothing more important than to proclaim that love, to announce that it exists, that it is possible, that it is ours for the taking. And we’re taking it.
You and me, doll. I promise.
Three years ago, I met you for the first time by an accident of impulse and have wondered ever since about the nature of fate and fortune. So perfectly did we fit into each other’s lives, so amazingly matched – how was it that we were living in the same city for so long without having been drawn to each other earlier? And how was it that when we met we didn’t immediately see our future together? Instead feeling our way forward blindly as though neither of us had ever experienced love before, creating the pathway to where we stand today – facing our future together. The last three years have been some of the happiest and most grounded years of my life, and I don’t hesitate to pledge myself to you over and over again.
I believe that in each other we have found the shelter we were looking for – a refuge from the struggles of the world around us, a place of comfort in an increasingly disquieting world. A place that until I met you, I did not realize could exist. Such is the singular nature of this relationship over the course of my life. And now that we have created that safe haven for our life together, I give you my promise that I will spend the rest of my life defending it.
What I want you to know and what I want everyone here to witness is that I am profoundly in love with you and committed to doing what it takes to spend the rest of our lives together.
We both know that though love is often effortless in the beginning, to sustain a long and happy relationship requires mindfulness and work. And in the presence of our community I would like to make these vows to you to help us both continue the work of our life together.
Finally, I intend to gift you with what you have given me since we first came together – which is the hope that in this relationship we find the seeds of a better world and a better way of being human.