Jacob worked another 7 years for Rachel

            When I met my husband, I was 21.  He was 19.  We were in college, with the four combined graduate degrees we would eventually earn just a glimmer in our eyes.  Neither of us was ready to move in together, let alone get married.

            We did not move in together when I was ready.  Besides being male, he is two years younger than I am, and he took his time.  But not as much time as he took getting ready to actually marry me.  By the time we married, we had been together almost seven years. 

            Maybe he wanted to be sure.

            The point here is that, when we were ready, we started planning a wedding.  We met with the rabbi, we chose flowers, I shopped for a dress, he registered for gifts, and we did premarital counseling.  A few weeks before the wedding, we went to the court building and got a license.  After the ceremony, we mailed it in with the rabbi’s signature to the proper authorities.

            The morning after we married, before we left for our honeymoon, we went to the bank to get a joint account.  When we returned from the honeymoon, I changed my name.  (I figured if I was going to have some man’s name, it might as well be a man I like, rather than my father.)  It took some phone calls, a trip to the DMV, and one surprisingly easy morning at the Social Security administration.

            It was all legal.  When we were ready to legally merge our lives, the government made it super-easy for us to do so.

            There is another story.  The story of a woman who waited 87 years to marry her sweetheart.  It’s not that they weren’t ready.  They were.  They tried several years ago to get married, but apparently the government was somewhat less supportive of their union than they were of mine with my husband.

            Other people, all around the country, were of the opinion that this marriage was a bad idea.  And, for some inexplicable reason, they got a say in the matter.  People who had never met them got to determine that they had no right to be married.

I had to wait for one man to be ready.  Del Martin had to wait for an entire state.  She died yesterday, leaving behind, at long-last, a spouse.  And a legacy of working to make sure other people would find it a little easier to get married.

19 responses to “Jacob worked another 7 years for Rachel

  1. It was about time for them! Many years ago, I read Del and Phyllis’ story. I’ll bet neither of them thought the time would come.


  2. Great post & great title!

  3. That story made me weep yesterday. Love your post, Em.

  4. Having been raised in one of the more extreme Christian religions I kept bumping up against these logical problems – WHY does God not want same-sex couples to be happy when he made people who love in that way? WHY is it a sin to be with someone you love of the same gender and yet it’s not a sin to deny your fundamental self and live a lie with someone you cannot truly love in the way they want? And why, why on earth should a religious taboo translate into a secular, legislative ban?

    My mother, much as I love her, has no good answer.

  5. I’m so glad they were able to get legally married before she passed. Too bad it wasn’t when she was still able to walk down the isle.

    Women like Del & Phyllis paved the way for my sis-in law…so she can get married next year at 25 and not have to wait and wonder forever.

  6. Good post. My daughter is working for a law firm right now (she’s a sophmore in college) that specializes in helping gay and lesbian couples adopt children. She loves the work and is considering law school because of it.

  7. Why do people care so much how others choose to love? I do not get this.

    Nice job with this one, Emily.

  8. You gave me goosebumps. The news story created the lump in my throat.

  9. This is very beautifully written. Have you been following the Lesbian Dad? She is great. She had a similar post today.


  10. beautiful post.

    and thanks for your comment on my post. I’ve fixed the slips – funny that they were so close together, too. I thought I had gone through that post over and over again to be sure I had changed them all! I can tell you’re a writer and editor! and that you actually READ it. 😉 thanks

  11. It took my husband six years to get around to marrying me too – we met in college and even had jobs for a while first. He came from a feudal family and if his younger brother hadn’t shocked him by marrying straight out of college, I imagine he would have waited until both his older sisters were wed before feeling he had the right…. If poor Del Martin had had my mother-in-law god alone knows she’d have had to have waited longer.

  12. great post. loved it.

  13. Thanks for the nod to Del Martin. She made the world a better place.

  14. I loved the photos of Del and Phyllis’s wedding just these months ago. I am just so totally over the bigotry folks label as ‘religiosity’ (and this from a woman whose husband is in the ‘God business’).

    We’ve broken our own no bumper sticker rule. Affixed to our minivan: Love ALL Families. Support ALL Marriage.

  15. Wow. Now that is intelligent writing. I mean, emotional writing. I mean, way to write to head and heart at once. Thanks.

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  17. Lots of of people blog about this topic but you said really true words.