Personal anecdote time, wahoo!
My partner and I are getting civil unioned now that it's legal for same-sex couples where we live. Or, as I like to think of it, "we're taking a sip out of the separate-and-unequal fountain."
But seriously, given "traditional marriage's" problematic history, I am okay with getting civil unioned and, actually, think the state should only grant civil union licenses and leave couples and churches free to call their relationships marriage (or not) if they wish. Marriage is an incredibly loaded word in the US and too many people are vying for the power to define it by its One True Definition. Of course, I also think civil unions should confer the same federal benefits as marriage, which they currently do not.
Anyway, enough political stuff.
I'm a lucky gal. I like to think that life is lived in the small moments and that the little things count. The little things are the building blocks upon which the Big Things rest. Experience has taught me to be wary of grand romantic gestures, especially when they're not supported by the little things.
For instance, I once briefly dated someone who, within our first couple of weeks together, (a) flew me to visit hir for a vacation and (b) bought me an X-box (which, score!). I was very flattered, but in the back of my mind I had this sense of uneasiness. It kind of felt like ze was bribing me to be with hir or that these grand gestures were overcompensating for something.
As two weeks turned into two months, I started catching this person in lie after lie after lie. Lies about important things and, what really got me in the end, lies about stupid, unimportant things. Despite the grand gestures, I broke things off. The grand gestures were all this person was putting into the relationship and I wanted to be with someone, not only who I could be authentic with, but who could be authentic with me.
My partner, who shows up sometimes around here as Hammerpants, is really good at the little things.
Like, she lets me flatter her into always scooping the ice cream ("you have such strong wrists!"). She helps me figure out how to do my hair when we have to go to a nice event. She drives me to work when it's raining so I don't have to ride my bike. She rubs my always-aching feet at night ("you have such strong hands!") and is good at pushing the knots out of my back. She wears her heart on her sleeve and cries at practically every single Grey's Anatomy.
When I tell her that Someone Is Wrong On Internet Or My Blog, she is always on my side. (Helpful Hint: If you can be that person for a blogger in your life, that loyalty goes a long way, LOL).
I try to do the little things for her too, even when it involves getting really gross things out of shower drains.
We've been together for more than 5 years and I think we've developed a pretty egalatarian relationship. We are not opposites, but we are complementary in ways that have no relevance to our genders.
She walks the dogs in the mornings because I'm not a morning person, and I walk them at night, because she's not a night person. We take turns cooking. She builds things; I fix things. She buys fancy electronic stuff; I set up the fancy electronic stuff. We take out the trash together. We get groceries together and split the tab. We have the same thoughts on kids (adoption, eventually).
And most importantly, I know that she's my person.
Not that we own each other, just that we're committed to trying to get through this life the best we can, together. I'm thankful that the state is recognizing this committment and that we are going to have a portion of the rights available to legally married couples.