Familial Reactions to Our Engagement

Charlene and I got engaged about one year ago and it has been almost 6 months since we told our friends and family about our engagement. I was going to write this blog post a few weeks after telling people, but I decided to wait until now. I think I will do this bullet point style:

  • Our friends: This is easy because they were all super excited and supportive. Neither of us were concerned about their reactions because we surround ourselves with friends who love us just as we are.
  • Her family:
    • Her twin was happy for her and supportive.
    • Her mother had doubts, not about me as a person, but about Charlene marrying the first person she has ever dated. I understood that concern, but I believe that she now sees that it is what she wants.
  • My family:
    • My sister was not surprised because I told her that I would marry Charlene mere weeks after we started dating and she was supportive and happy for me.
    • My mom, stepdad, step-grandma, and maternal grandmother were all very happy for us. They are all very supportive.
    • My dad’s dad (my papa) was congratulatory and sweet, but I know he has personal and religious views about gay people that I am not a fan of; I thought it was a nice gesture any way. I will say that more recently he referred to Charlene as my fiancé while we were eating dinner together and that meant the world to me.
    • My dad’s mom is ignoring that fact that we are engaged. I told her and she just pretended like I did not say anything. It was pretty surreal, but not surprising. It definitely hurts to have her deny my future wife as such, but she is old, set-in-her-ways, and I have accepted that we will never have the relationship that I want with her. The most annoying part of interacting with her is that she pretends like everything is normal and fine.
    • My dad is supportive of me as a person and what I want in life; he really likes Charlene and he loves me. However, he is not supportive of LGBTQ rights- marriage included. I think his views are due to religious beliefs, personal discomfort with gay people, general ignorance, and a tiny bit of politics (gay people shouldn’t have “special” or “extra” rights). It is annoying and sad, but I have also accepted that I will never have the relationship that I want with him. Even if he was on board with same-sex marriage, we still don’t communicate the way that I would like; active listening is not one of his strengths, unfortunately. I still love him of course.
    • My stepmom is supportive. I’m actually not 100% sure where she is at with LGBTQ things. I think she is a little confused, and I know she is a Christian, but I also know she would never say anything rude to my face. I think she is simply happy for us.
  • Our work colleagues were all very supportive, as we knew they would be. Charlene’s boss even gave us matching mugs for Christmas! So sweet!

“It’ll Never Be Easy”

I rolled up to the rental bike stand that I work at on the weekends and started setting things up. After I opened the register and pulled out all the rental bikes, I turned on some music, sat down on a bench, and started working on my homework.

After about an hour I got bored, so I took a lap around the stand on one of our bikes. I chatted with a friend and reviewed my calendar for the next month or so. Finally, a couple took a pit stop at the pavilion where the stand is located.

We went through the normal formalities of small talk and I asked them where they were coming from. They said they came from a few towns over and were trying to hit twenty-five miles. I continued to work on my homework and they chatted about where to ride next. I decided to interrupt their conversation with a question: “How long have you two been married and when did you know that you wanted to settle down [with each other]?”

The woman smiled and said she would have to take a minute to think back that far. The husband chuckled and started talking about marriage in general and said, “Well, it’ll never be easy, I’ll tell you that.” His wife followed with, “It’s more of the commitment to each other and the vows you make to each other. The things that annoy you about him, are those things you can live with?”

Of course, both of these individuals presumed me to be straight, so reference to a possible man in my life that I was thinking about marrying was definitely happening. I didn’t bother to correct them.

Her last bit of advice was that sharing the same religious values might be helpful; she said she and her husband are both Christians and that foundation has helped them a lot.

I thanked them for the conversation and wished them a good ride. As they were leaving, the woman paused, looked back at me, and said, “Good luck with your decision.” I said thank you and laughed because I hadn’t mentioned anything about me struggling to make a decision.