Husbandry

hus·band·ry (noun)

  1. archaic: the care of a household.
  2. the control or judicious use of resources.

I’m going to marry a doctor. Granted, he’s a Ph.D., but still, a doctor. Plus he’s cute, has incredibly beautiful and boyish touseled silver hair, and a ready smile.

I first got an email from Dr. Daniel Rex Greening just after I graduated from UMass/Amherst, but before I had left the comfortable womb of my college town. I had been leading my friends on caving trips, and had organized a group of my outdoorsey gay friends for a long weekend of cave exploration in upstate New York. A friend had dropped out, so I had sent an email to the gay student’s mailing list on the ArpaNet to try to fill the vacancy.

Dan responded telling me that he really wanted to go. Unfortunately, he was a student at the University of California / Los Angeles, and wanted to know if there were any caves in L.A. I had never left New England, but we exchanged email and phone calls for months. Before we’d ever met in person, I was in love with Dan.

We finally met for the first time in person at the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights. Dan met me at the airport, and he wasn’t hard to spot. He was wearing a blue sweat shirt that said in large block letters DANIEL REX GREENING.

The first few years of our relationship had us living on opposite coasts. To bring us together more often, Dan and I volunteered to be guinea pigs in an AIDS vaccine study at the National Institutes of Health. On a weekly basis we would be flown to Washington, D.C., poked and prodded, and then left there to enjoy the weekend together. (The vaccine was unfortunately a flop, though .)

Dan and I finally moved in together in Cupertino, California in 1990. But just moving in together for the first time wasn’t stressful enough for us… we also got hired by the same small software startup company! Despite some pretty stormy times, our relationship survived and grew.

Dan and I attended the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation. (Luckily by 2000, the named was reduced to simply the Millenium March!) Afterwards we went hiking in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Near a remote archaeological site, I dropped to one knee and asked the question I had been wanting to ask for years… “Dan Greening, will you marry me?”

“Sure!” said Dan, chuckling. (Dan’s never been strong on the whole romantic thing.)

That was 12 years ago. This month, Dan and I will finally get married.

We’re not getting married because it will give us a break on our income taxes, or because it will allow me to get Dan’s Social Security should he die first. In fact, since the federal government has decreed that our marriage doesn’t count, we won’t get any of those things.

We’re getting married because we love one another, and because we want to promise ourselves to one another with our friends and family as witnesses.

For nearly 18 years we’ve husbanded our love, allowing it to grow slowly and carefully. For almost two decades our relationship has matured, weathering floods and hurricanes and even fairly strong metaphors. But the time has come to allow our love to bloom, and to tell one another (as well as our witnesses) how much we love one another.

We’ve earned it.

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