Pull up a chair.

Yep.  We’re going to talk about it some more.

The marriage issue. I won’t call it the “gay marriage” issue, because I don’t believe in “gay marriage.” In fact, I believe when you say the words “gay marriage,” that is the ONLY time it is acceptable to use air quotes.  As soon as you qualify a marriage as “gay” you are implying it is somehow other, and I do not accept that.

I believe in MARRIAGE-the kind where two people promise to show up for each other, day after day, year after year.  Where we acknowledge that life is HARD, but it’s a little less hard when there is someone who has your back and holds your hand. When you promise to be a team and make each other a priority.  Forever.

You either believe in THAT, or you don’t. And for the record, I know lots of straight married people that don’t.

I also believe in marriage EQUALITY- If *I’M* entitled to the benefits and privileges afforded married folks by society, then so are you.

When I hear people talking about passing laws in defense of marriage and “gay marriage” being a threat to the institution, I am genuinely puzzled. Because I think there are some good people who truly believe that, and I find it mystifying. If your marriage can be imperiled by the relationship status of two people wholly unconnected to you, I have dire news for you- you are walking on marital quicksand with cement Uggs.

It would be like saying Kanye and Kim’s marriage threatened yours.  Whatever you think of them, their character, their choices, or whether or not their union is sacred, it has NOTHING to do with you.

Our marriages are threatened by things every day.  They are threatened by selfishness, lack of communication, not making one another a priority- none of those are external factors. At the end of the day, even infidelity is an inside job.

I am not going to address the religious objections to homosexuality or “gay marriage” because it has been done by writers I adore, and I cannot fathom a world in which I could do a better job than Glennon or Jessica or Matt.  I couldn’t.  I know that.  When I read their essays I found myself saying YES! and AMEN! out loud- so if you want to know what I think on that front, do yourself a favor and go read their work.  It is stunning, and I’m a better writer, heck- a better person, for having read it.

I believe there are some religious people who genuinely believe that homosexuality is wrong based on the Bible- but I see those same people disregarding other parts of the Bible, so that gets tricky for me.  I also think a lot of people hide behind scripture, and I wonder why that is.

I wonder, sometimes, if it’s false sense of scarcity.  Is THAT it?  Do we think there’s only so much happiness to go around?  Are we under the impression that our glass is half empty BECAUSE someone else’s is half full?  I see so many people who seem perpetually afraid that there’s not ENOUGH.  Of what doesn’t really seem to matter.  Of everything.

Have we become so mired in fear that we think LOVE is a finite resource?

When we are afraid in that way, we do two things.  We covet, and we hoard.

Are we hoarding marriage?  Are we hoarding happiness?

I think we might be.  And I think we know it’s wrong.  Which makes us angry at ourselves. And frequently, anger at ourselves manifests itself as OUTRAGE at OTHERS.

People who move through the world looking to be outraged are successful 100% of the time. It’s true.

There are a lot of jerks out there doing jerky things. Absolutely. And there are people getting away with stuff- that’s a big one for us, isn’t it? We hate when we perceive someone to be working the system, or getting something they don’t deserve. But, why? I mean, unless BUT FOR THAT PERSON that thing would have been yours, why do you care? I mean it- I am truly asking. Why? What’s it to you? What does it take from you? Why are you spending one single second of your short time on this beautiful planet giving over your brain space to it? And feeling angry about it?  And lashing out about it?

The healthiest blended families I know are the ones where ex-spouses welcome each other’s new partners into the mix, because they understand that when the village of people that love their kids gets bigger, EVERYBODY WINS.  Can you think of one situation that has ever worsened by adding more love?  I can’t.


What is this wacky little planet of ours but a great big, messy, blended family?  And how do we not ALL benefit if more of us are in happy, healthy, committed, loving relationships? How do we not all benefit by saying, Hey- your relationship might not look exactly like mine, but pull up a chair- join the party.  It’s just more people around the table.  It’s just more people on the dance floor. More s’mores on the fire, y’all.

I just want more US, and less THEM.  More WE, and less THEY.  We are all in this thing together, this crazy, hard, wonderful life.  We should start acting like it.

Pull up a chair, friends.

After doing this work or the past twelve years and watching scarcity ride roughshod over our families, organizations, and communities, I’d say the one thing we have in common is that we’re sick of feeling afraid. we want to dare greatly. We’re tired of the national conversation centering on “What should we fear” and “Who should we blame?” We all want to be brave.

Brene Brown


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25 Comments on “Pull up a chair.

    • I think that’s a different discussion, and one worth having. I think in an age when people seemingly get married on a whim and do not take it seriously, we should not penalize people who either haven’t met the right person, or are self aware enough to know that the institution is not for them.


  1. You know, my husband is one of those people you refer to — a good-hearted, tolerant, kind person with yes, a fundamental religious background — but he is not anti-homosexuality because he believes people are born who they are, and that should be honored. (Good thing we’ve talked that talk over the years, because last October our son came out — and we’ve a lifetime of being open and accepting, so I’m glad he knew that would not impact our relationship one little iota. We want him to be him, and achieve whatever contentment and joy he can from life.)

    But it’s funny, when it comes to the word “marriage” my husband thinks civil unions should be enough, and reserve marriage as the religious-based institution it is. And then he worries about the slippery slope argument (which that one I can give some credence to) — if you allow this, what about all the poly-amory relationships that exist? Those, also, are consenting adults not harming anyone, so why can’t marriage be stretched to include more than two people? As long as you’re changing the definition.

    Well, I don’t know that I have a problem with polygamy either, if that’s what the next quest for the right to marry is. But if you do have a problem with polygamy, then I can see any change to the basic definition worries you.

    We have two neighbors, they are wonderful guys. They’ve been together 21 years, and when you meet them, you know they are totally and completely in love and honor and cherish each other. I think it’s the same vibe my husband and I give off when people meet us.

    Last year, they traveled to Seattle and got married. And it *meant* something to them. I was so happy for them.

    When you think about it, what is the fundamental purpose of marriage? It’s the creation of a family tie where one did not exist before. As soon as I married my husband, I had a true family (really for the first time ever) — and if two people are in love, why should that be denied to them?

    But you better be okay if it’s three people in love, because if not — answer why it should be denied to them also.

    So, I’m not opposed to the change in definition, but on the other hand, I do think states should get to set that (they’ve always set marriage rules) AND if one state does allow it, then full faith and credit says all states must honor it as a valid marriage.


    • Oh, there is one more issue to safeguard. If a church is opposed to performing homosexual marriages even in a state where it is legal, I don’t think they should be forced to do so. And one of the Supreme Court Justices (I forget which) acknowledged it could be a problem if it’s a federal definition.


    • My husband feels the same way as yours. He believes in marriage and equality but isn’t necessarily on board with calling the union “marriage.” I say that if you change the term, than you are still singling out people that are no different than any of us – people that want to love and be together and be afforded the same rights.


      • Sounds like we are in the same boat. I have to admit when I made the point what making that family tie meant for me, and would he deny that to our neighbors (both of us admire their relationship, you can just see how sincere and genuine their love is) he did get the point. As far as does it mean polygamy should be next? I don’t know the answer to that one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • All we can do is cross each hurdle as it is presented. I just don’t understand the thought that they have to argue against every possible scenario in order to get rights that should already be afforded. If (other) people want to apply for a marriage license for polygamy, then let them fight for that. I don’t think this is the time or place to present that argument.

        And I’m glad he understood your viewpoint. In the end, my husband did as well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Brava, Laura~great blog on a difficult subject to a great many people. For me it’s a little more simple due to what I believe. If you are a person of faith, the two greatest commandments given are to love God and to love your neighbor (every other person on earth) as you love yourself. If we love ourselves at all, we then want for our neighbors what we want for ourselves. There are no ‘excepts’ in it (ie, except if they are gay, or straight, or black or white, or old or young. Today’s blog is exceptionally well written. ❤


  3. Amen to this wonderful post! You hit the nail on the head. Why do we need “Gay” to categorize marriage? Some of the happiest couples I know are “Gay.” When I talk about them I never describe them as the “gay couples” I describe them as the “happy couples.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the many issues I have with religion is that people use it as a shield to protect ignorant beliefs. The same logic that is being used to deny homosexuals their rights is the same logic used to justify slave ownership, gender oppression, marrying outside one’s race, war, poverty, etc.

    If someone says they believe in the Bible and its teachings, that’s fine. But if they are going to take the Bible literally, and use it to justify their behavior, than they also need to take the additional teachings literally: help your fellow man, give to the poor, love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek. Jesus didn’t win people over by being a blowhard. No, he was kind and gentle.

    What I don’t understand about these people is that they don’t want me to try to push my beliefs on them – which are different from theirs – so why is it acceptable for them to try to push theirs on me?


  5. Pingback: Enough | The R Farm

  6. I think if you redefine marriage you open the door to everything..including with children , animals..every crazy thing…you will FORCE people who do not agree with something because of religious beliefs to accept somethng they are apposed to. So those who scream about Intolerance the LOUDEST become the most intolerant by forcing their beliefs on others. I dont have the answer….but do you really want to head down that slippery slope…Is it for your good and will it benefit or do more harm down the road. To many only think of themselves and not the RAMIFICATIONS that it brings down the road… Just this Im INTITLED …so give me…and to Hell with the rest of the world.


    • See, and I think you may be somewhat on a slope (like I said in my reply, why homosexual marriage but not poly-amorous ones?) — but with animals? Children? Toasters? Really? One does not necessarily beget the other.

      For one thing, two consenting adults who aren’t harming anyone else does not apply in those circumstances.

      On the other hand, I do believe that religious freedom and the right of churches to not perform a homosexual marriage ceremony should be protected, and the problem is, if the law is done at a federal level, a new protected class is created, and that becomes problematic.

      By the same token, I wouldn’t want any single person turned away from a JC Penney or auto dealership because of who they are with or married to, BUT I think a cake maker should be able to turn away business if it offends her religious beliefs — that’s a tough one, though, right? How do you define the difference between those two things? Again, if you create a federal protected class, she has no right to discriminate on that basis, so she’d be forced to make that cake.

      And maybe that’s okay, but, that particular religious belief runs deep in some Christian churches, and there is Biblical backing for their stance, and can you ask them to throw away that? I don’t know.

      That’s why I say if you keep homosexual marriage laws at the state level, you avoid the whole conundrum for the most part because then you aren’t creating a federally protected class for anti-discrimination purposes. (BUT, if one state allows it, other states MUST give full faith and credit to the marriage — that’s how our Constitution works.)


  7. Your words just rock me….this is so well written and so incredibly important! Thank you for the courage to say what we really need to hear.


  8. Nice post. N the world would be a much simpler place if people kept thenselves away from the situations that are no at all concerning them or making any differences to their lives. On the contrary people have this habit of pointing fingers at the others whenever they get a chance. If we could change that, it will be wknderful for our society.


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