Real Weddings The Honeymoon… Visions of Tuscany were on their minds, but Jonathan and Derek chose to postpone their honeymoon for nearly a year after the wedding day. The extra time provided an opportunity for extra saving, which was helpful as Derek and Jonathan had recently purchased their first home together. “And we still hope to get to Tuscany one day,” Jonathan says. “Well, maybe now with the economy it will have to be Costa Rica… But we did go on a really beautiful trip to Madeline Island for our honeymoon.”
It was a tender, intentional celebration. Afterward the small party gathered for lunch at a nearby restaurant, then ventured to a casino in Detroit to relax and enjoy the day together. Later, van brimming once again, they headed back to the house of Jonathan’s sister for a casual dinner. Three months later, in September, the newlyweds held a reception back in Madison. “Since we couldn’t invite everybody on a road trip to the wedding,” Derek says playfully. “…Ten different personalities in a van… There were no really huge fights on that trip, by the way, so it worked out well!” “The reception turned out terrific,” Jonathan explains. “We had our local food co-op cater the dinner, and the food and the chocolate were just fantastic. A friend of mine led the Israeli Dances. My parents were there, and they were very accepting although they were also kind of overwhelmed: so many people were at our reception, including many who’d known me and Derek all these years… Plus some of our friends are really outgoing.” “There were 200 guests!” Derek exclaims. “Despite the fact that it had rained all summer, and our reception was held outdoors and the bugs were just terrible. Two hundred people joined us and it was really a great party.”
About a year after their ceremony, the couple camped that first night on the pristine little island in Northern Wisconsin, on Lake Superior. The next morning, driving into town, they came upon a dog standing right in the middle of the road. Concerned, Jonathan stopped the car and knocked on the door of the house nearby. “The woman there told me it was her neighbor’s dog, and that it very unusual for him to go into the road…” As it turned out, the coincidental meeting led to greater things. “The woman then plainly asked me, ‘Are you two gay?’” Jonathan remembers. “I told her, ‘Yes, we just got married.’”
“Though somebody did tell my boss and he congratulated me.” At present, the governor of Wisconsin has said that he plans to pass domestic partnership legislation, though Jonathan isn’t sure. “It’s a tough year for it, because our state has a large deficit and Wisconsin is required to have a balanced budget.” “Some people at work,” Derek continues, “grumble about the cost they foresee with domestic partnership benefits. But there have been some newspaper articles about it recently, and some really sad stories. We’re hopeful it will pass; we look forward to that.” Currently Derek works on behalf of those with disabilities. “But I don’t work with people really,” he explains. “I see them on a computer. So I’m considering getting a teaching degree at this point.” “Derek is a very sincere person,” Jonathan pipes. “He has a very good heart. When we met, I was really attracted to his interests in social justice and ending racism. He has an African American Studies degree. I’ve always looked forward to the volunteer work we’d do some day, and now we’re very involved with our neighborhood. He ●● cont’d really cares for people.”
He continues, “She was an older lesbian, and she actually had a couple friends in Madison who are our friends too… She became our tour guide then for most of our trip. She introduced us to everyone; lots of artists. That’s the kind of vacation I like. The local people were just so welcoming.”
as read by Jonathan & Derek - June 2, 2007
Life as a Couple…
I promise to respect you as your own person and to realize that your interests, desires and needs are no less important than my own.
Jonathan, a yoga instructor and consultant, finds it easy to share with others the story of his relationship. “Being in Madison,” he says, “I’ve always experienced people being happy that we’re married. People seem comfortable. It’s a university town and it’s very progressive. There’s a real history of openness and acceptance.” After their ceremony, Derek didn’t always feel compelled to talk much about it to co-workers. “Sometimes,” he says, “I just didn’t want the trouble of explaining.” On other occasions, however, he recalls telling those who were curious, “I went to Canada…” emphasizing it with a certain look. “Then I’d walk away and let them figure it out,” he chuckles.
I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.
I promise to share with you my time and my attention and to bring joy, strength and imagination to our relationship. I promise to keep myself open to you, to let you see through the window of my world into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams. I promise to grow along with you, to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting. I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how. Completely and forever.
I Promise Vol. 4 Issue 1 Spring 2009 11