This won’t be my last post about telling our families and our elders about our wedding plans, but I’m sharing today and asking you, in turn, to share your own stories.
My mom likes to tell the story of how she shared the news of my upcoming marriage with her father, my Grandpa Keller. Grandpa already knew “my friend” Sam, and we suspected that he knew the real nature of our relationship, but as tends to happen with grandparents, we kept our mouths shut for his benefit. Or what we thought was his benefit. I’m learning that leaving your loved ones out of your life never actually benefits anyone.
Mom said to him, “Daddy, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is Laura Leigh is getting married. The bad news is that she’s marrying Sam.”
Let me just interject that I have no idea why she spoke this way. She and the rest of my family had been supportive of my relationship for many years. I think her words were meant to make grandpa feel comfortable with any reaction. And he did react. He said, “I’ve been wondering when you were gonna tell me.”
Grandpa had a blast at our wedding. He laughed with my friends and danced with me and my new wife. Grandpa was the first to call us on our one year anniversary and wish us love and happiness.
With Grandpa at our 2013 wedding.
That being said, it’s not always an easy thing to share our wonderful lesbian news with our families. I believe many of us go into wedding planning on the defense, which is both harmful to our well-being and often, I have found, unnecessary. I’ve been reading Sharon Naylor’s Your Wedding Your Way (probably written for hetero couples but lends itself to our kind) Naylor makes a valuable point in handling parents and grandparents:
You’re going to have far more success in your talks with elders if you can address their values and concerns, rather than just walking up to them and saying, “It’s my way or the highway.” Being aggressive and bossy–and insensitive–isn’t going to get you anywhere good …
What our loved ones really want is our happiness. I was cowardly when wedding planning. I let my mom “break the news” to many of my family members because I wasn’t quite sure how to say it. Then there’s the passive-aggressive e-mail which I really hate. It’s not always easy loving another woman in a society that has, historically, denied us both rights and dignity, but it’s important for us to acknowledge our love and commitment to our partners, muster up some courage, and tell the people in our lives what’s up. The result may bring some awkward moments, but I can also attest to that instantaneous moment of unbridled joy. There’s such beauty in being who we are without succumbing to shame.
So if you’re waiting to tell your family this is my advice to you: Stop waiting. Start living.
Here’s a trick I used a lot in wedding planning, but it also works in many more of life’s situations: I think of the worst-case-scenario. Picture the worst possible outcome or the most negative reaction. Knowing that the worst-case is also unlikely, are you willing to take that chance? My answer is usually Yes.
Any lady-loving-ladies who have a story of honesty and empowerment? Feel free to share with us Here.
And don’t forget to check out Jess & Lauren’s heartwarming love story.