- My internalized homophobia. (And the low self-esteem that comes with it. The belief that someone like me doesn't deserve happiness in a long-term relationship.)
- Racism. (Interracial relationships seem more common in the gay community... Can the experience of homophobia help us "get it"? But we're still learning how deep this challenge runs...)
- Religion. (Do I need to comment on this one? Why am I still having to fight for the right to marry the person I love?)
- There are so few gay people in the world. (Our marriage pool is about ten to twenty times smaller than it is for straight people!)
- The culture of promiscuity in the community where we met. (As if the gay marriage pool isn't already too small, it makes it even smaller when you subtract the folks who have given up looking for Mr. Right in favor of Mr. Right-Now.)
- The pervasive assumption that relationships like ours just can't last. (When we reconnect with friends from a long time ago: "Oh, you two are still together! Wow!")
- Family members who don't treat the most important person in your life like family. (Thank God our immediate family members got over this early in our relationship.)
- Economic stress, communication issues, trust issues, etc. (Yes, of course we get to struggle with all the stuff that conventional straight couples struggle with too.)
- Fear. Yes, it's the opposite of love (not hate).
OK, so I should also celebrate all the things that have conspired to bring (and keep!) us together!
- Just plain, dumb, luck. I simply don't believe relationships are predestined. Heck, nothing about anything in this world is predestined. Children don't starve to death because they're predestined. And people are certainly not predestined to be alone. But if that's true, then I have to acknowledge that I am just plain lucky -- I was in the right place at the right time and somehow in spite of myself managed to meet the most incredible man and have him see something in me. I still just so often wonder, why me?
- Passion. I still cry when I see him dance. He's so incredibly beautiful. I wish I could dance like that!
- Mystery. Ultimately, I think, you decide to make your life with someone because another human being is a mystery to you, and you see something in that person that makes you feel the mystery is worth sticking around long enough to solve. Hint: the mystery just keeps getting deeper!
- He was there for me when I needed him, and I was there for him when he needed me. Sometimes (not always) the storms of life bring us closer together. Sometimes when the world turns against you, you have no choice but to turn to each other. Somehow we remembered that even when we thought our heads were going to pop from all the stress, we needed to muster enough calm to help shelter the other.
- Somehow our love outgrew our selfishness and our fear. There are a lot of selfish, fearful reasons we get into relationships. But somehow, eventually, you discover the other, and you realize that the best thing you can possibly do for yourself is to give him something worthwhile.
- Forgiveness. If you live with someone long enough, you will eventually fail the one person in the world you never ought to fail. Sometimes those failures can be epic. It takes courage to recognize what you've done and try to set things right, but it takes even more courage to forgive.
It's been worth it.