Gay Marriage: Who Is Family?

You two are getting married. Congratulations!!

As every couple in love, you envision a joyous celebration that marks the beginning of your journey together, surrounded by those you care for the most. As you start preparing for your big day, you may discover that LGBTQ weddings are not immune to the stress that typically comes with planning and celebrating a wedding—with a twist.

In my experience in preparing couples for marriage, stress may start rearing its ugly head for the LGBTQ couple as early as when you decide to make your wedding announcement. This, often times, is not triggered by your having to decide on the style of your ‘Save the Date’ cards, but on ‘the who, how and when’ to announce that you are getting married.

For some, sharing the news of this happy occasion with your family of origin, may involve experiencing heightened levels of anxiety as you may have encountered along the way, an all too familiar wall of rejection more times than you care to remember. For others, your family may or may not have known about past relationships, and announcing you are getting married becomes the ultimate coming out. You want to hear joy in their voices, bursts of laughter and congratulatory words. For some of you, this is the case. For others, parents and family members, who may have at first hinted of not having a problem with your relationship, may suddenly overtly manifest their opposition once the topic of marriage comes up. What this means to you, is the undeniable awareness that some members of your family and friends aren't quite as supportive to your relationship as you were led to believe.


You can still be surrounded by family.

Getting married is a sacred and memorable event that marks the beginning of your lives together. It is understandable to want to be surrounded by those you love, and it can be painful to realize your relationship does not count with their recognition and acceptance. While you can’t control what others do, it’s entirely up to you not to let people’s opinion, family or not, cast a cloud over an otherwise happy event.

In cases like this, it is wise to let your concept of family go beyond the mainstream definition of a group of individuals united by blood. A family is what you make it to be. You may want to consider family to be those who have been there for you providing acceptance, love, a sense belonging and support.

Don’t let intolerance sway you away from what really matters. Other people’s reactions and judgments aren't your burdens to bear. You may not have all of the familial issues resolved before your wedding, but you have what is important. You have found each other, so focus on what works in your life with gratitude and grace. Focus on the love you feel for one another. The emotional connection that propelled you to decide to make your union official in itself, is worth celebrating.