This big gay man believes marriage is a sacred institution. Therefore, I believe it is a subject that must be discussed with our son, as I believe everyone should discuss this with their children.
I met Peter on April 12. Four months later, my “friend” did not move in, I did not just get a roommate, the man who moved in was the man I was hoping would be the person I was spending the rest of my life with. That is the seriousness with which I took the move. This was not a test, this was two people who got serious very fast because they knew this was it. It was till death do us part. Otherwise we would have been like college roommates having sex, no commitment involved. Neither of us had any interest in that type of an arrangement.
As the parent of a teenager, all I remember hearing about, for the last few years in his school, is talk of sex education. HIV, venereal disease, and unwanted pregnancies. This sort of conversation now starts in kindergarten in NYC, but don’t get upset, it is always an age appropriate conversation.
I am not sitting in his classroom while they are having sex-ed classes, but I have never heard anyone say that marriage was part of the discussion. I understand that might be a taboo (politically incorrect) topic for school’s to broach, and that is OK with me, but WHO IS TALKING ABOUT MARRIAGE TO OUR KIDS? Most of us lead by example, but you also have to sit down and talk about it!
I want it to be clear to him, from his parent, that marriage is a very serious institution, not a temporary situation as many in our society now seem to treat it.
I am grateful to also be able to use my parents as an example. I tell my son, his grandma and grandpa have been together over 60 years and have always been faithful. Cheating is a negative word because it is a negative action. His grandparents and dads haven’t cheated and don’t intend to. Hopefully he will think it through if the situation should ever come up for him. As an aside, we got to spend a night out with my parents for their 60th wedding anniversary, and I asked them to tell all three of us the story of how they met, fell in love, and got married. It was terrific for us all to hear how it all began, they actually have a fun story! And, at 15 years old, my son could appreciate the nuances!
Is this too young to talk to him about the subject of marriage? I do not think so. And again, this post is not about pushing anyone to get married. This post is about what making the choice to get married entails. I am quite clear when we have these talks that getting married means you are committed to one person “till death do you part,” and that means many things, including sexually.
Although at this age, when I say the word sex, my son completely shuts down, as he cannot deal with hearing his old man talk about that stuff!
I also want to share our discussions regarding spousal fighting in the house because I try to show my son respect by explaining all that goes on in our world. I tell him that when I fight with his other dad, when it gets loud in the house, that is how we get things off of our chests. Do not hold anything in. Of course yelling is not optimal, but sometimes arguments escalate. And I make sure he knows that doesn’t mean we stop loving each other, and we are not the only ones who have marital spats, he can check in with any of his friends who live with married parents and ask them. Sometimes married people get frustrated. But the important thing to do is talk it out, work it out, and get through it together. Running away won’t help anyone.
And this post is about marriage, whether you are in a gay or straight marriage, the desired outcome is the same!
My son is a teen, and quite mature for his age. You have seen the pictures. He almost always has a girlfriend, and I make it clear my views on fidelity, even at this age. I tell him one girlfriend at a time is all I will tolerate under my roof, and I also let him know he can do whatever he wants as an adult, but do not get married until you are ready to commit, all the way, like the married people he has seen all over his family, for life. Have the sex talks with your kids, and do not forget to have the marriage talks as well!
Lastly, as a very famous man once said (Bruce Paltrow, my hubby’s former employer), “We stayed married because we never both wanted to get divorced at the same time.” Words to live by!