Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pride Post: Marriage, Money, and the Power of Choice

I'll never forget where I was...It was June 26th, 2015...  I was cleaning out my desk, packing up my classroom for the summer when I noticed the buzzing of my cell phone against the desktop.  I glanced over to see that my partner had sent me a message.

"It finally happened.  The Supreme Court has ruled.  We won."

Cell phone in hand, I ran.  As fast as my feet would carry me down the hall, I ran.  I flew into the chemistry teacher's room with hot tears streaming down my face.  Without a word, he nodded and smiled.  His smile always seemed to carry some nugget of wisdom that streamed from a life filled with stories...

Eventually, we parted company that day, and I finally composed myself to send a message to my mother.

It simply read:

"I finally have the right to be like everyone else."

Those words have some real weight to them, the kind of weight that comes from a thousand little stories.  You see, this would be the appropriate place for me to describe the myriad of more technical financial gains we're entitled to tax statuses, survivor rights, insurance rights...  I am incredibly thankful for all of these things.  Many people fought long and hard to afford us these rights, ones I will never take for granted.  Rather than, going down that road, I think I'd prefer to get a bit more personal.

I will get married.

So many people have asked us "What's taken so long?"  We've been together for 12 years now (as of the date of this post).  What straight people don't realize is that we never thought we could get married.  Some people were ready right away, and that's wonderful.  It's taken me a little longer.  I really didn't ever feel like I "needed" to get married.  I still don't, but it occurs to me that I've framed that wrong.  I wake up every morning and choose my partner, and she chooses me.  So eventually, we will do that as a married couple, and I'm proud of that.

For a number of years, some of the various financial aspects of getting married concerned me.  I'm proud to say that they don't anymore.  At all.  We've more or less ironed out those kinks.  I've always had wonderful financial habits.  My partner?  Less so.  But I really have to give her credit where credit is due.  She really rose to the occasion.  At first, I think she was motivated by a combination of things: me and wanting to feel less financial stress.  Who can blame her?  A nagging partner and empty wallet aren't exactly the best for finding your zen!  She started small, focusing on one step at a time.  As she saw more success, she gained more confidence.  As she gained more confidence, she became a more willing participant in our overall household finances, and that is huge!  I really need to have a partner that is willing to engage with me on that level.  Not only was she willing to do this for me, but she was also willing to love herself enough to do it for her.  Now she has an Accounting Degree, Tax Preparer License, excellent credit, a substantial personal savings (in addition to our joint one), and two retirement accounts that she funds.  Boy does she commit! I'm incredibly proud of her and feel confident that I can trust her completely with money and pretty much everything else.

If you're in a relationship right now, I'd like you to ask yourself:  Can my partner trust me financially?  Can I trust my partner financially?  I am proud that I can answer "yes" on both accounts.  If your answer is anything else, it may be time to love yourself and your relationship enough to start the conversation.

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