LGBTQ Marriage Advice
Do you identify as LGBTQ? Are you a person who is about to get married? Are you thinking about proposing to someone special in the near future? Are you wondering about things that you will need to have in place before saying “I Do” to the man that you love?
If so, you are not alone. Many people who identify as gay or lesbian seek out advice before obtaining their marriage certificate.
Here at the blog, we were thrilled when news came out in late June of 2015 that same sex marriage had become a reality for everyone across the 50 states.
More and more, LGBT individuals are publically sharing their relational bonds through various kinds of ceremonies – be it a traditional wedding or something with a fun theme.
Perhaps you are wondering what things you will need to have in place in order to make your special day extra meaningful?
We decided to survey 25 married gay couples who are in long term relationships and ask them what they felt was important to their success.
We can’t list all of the suggestions here because this post would never end. Instead, we’ve synthesized the main bits of advice through 10 points.
Are you ready? Let’s jump right in!
More than anything else, make sure the both of you love one another. That may sound cliché but it’s absolutely true. We’re not talking carnal love either.
Instead, we’re speaking to a deep and abiding love that operates on emotional, psychological, physical and even spiritual levels.
- Get married for the right reasons and not because you feel pressured
- Consider some form of gay focused premarital counseling to fortify your bonds
- Be open to compromise for wedding plans so that the experience is memorable for both of you.
2. Support of others
When you get married, it is important that you feel supported by others. This means friends and family alike.
If you have parents, siblings or other family members who aren’t OK with your getting married, the collective advise we were given was simply this – don’t try to make them “accept” your relationship.
The last thing you need on your wedding day is toxic energy from people who disapprove.
- Invite people who can genuinely be happy for you.
- Allow friends and loved ones to buy you things
- Share your plans on social media if you feel comfortable
3. Weddings don’t have to be expensive
A big mistake a lot of gay couples make is thinking that they need to spend a lot of money on their wedding. There are a number of reasons for this, including misnomers like having to follow traditional “straight” blueprints for a ceremony.
In truth, spending a wad of cash on nuptials may be the worst possible way to start off your new life.
Here are some suggestions.
- Simple weddings are sometimes the best. Less is often more
- Budget for your wedding ceremony in advance. Avoid charging anything to credit cards
- Allow your friends and family to contribute to some type of wedding account
4. Talk about finances
One of the main reasons couples split – both gay and straight – relates to financial issues. Because money is one of those touchy areas that can be uncomfortable to talk about, it often gets overlooked when considering marriage.
As a result, problems can crop up down the road. Doesn’t it make sense to explore the topic of money in a realistic way before tying the knot?
- Disclose financial plusses and minuses before saying “I Do”
- Consider talking to a couples therapist about financial challenges in advance
- Explore options for paying off debt either individually or as a couple
5. Have goals for the future
Getting married is more than just the ceremony. It’s the joining together of two hearts who want to spend their lives together.
This necessarily means having a shared vision and by extension; a set of mutual goals. Have you talked about what your goals are? Are they the same or drastically different?
- Do you want to buy a home together?
- Are either of you interested in children?
- Has retirement been discussed for your golden years?
6. Exclusive arrangement?
This particular point may seem like a no brainer but it is something that needs to be discussed before taking things to the next step through marriage.
For many gay men in particular, there have been long standing agreements on exclusivity. But how will a legal marriage impact things after the certificate has been issued?
Here are some tips:
- Have an open and honest conversation about the role of sex in your relationship
- Discuss boundaries in advance so there are no surprises
- Discuss how your views on sex may be different or similar to your partner
7. Discuss relational responsibilities
Our society has long moved past traditional gender roles when it comes to marriage. But because the construct of marriage is so new to many LGBT folks, understanding relational responsibilities can sometimes be challenging.
This is particularly true if the blueprints for how a marriage works comes to you from unhealthy sources.
Chances are – the both of you will need to contribute in your own unique way in order to make the marriage a success.
- Figuring out who is responsible for bill paying
- Establishing if one or the both of you will cook meals
- Determining how house chores will happen and who will do them
8. Talk about spirituality if it applies
Maybe you hold certain spiritual beliefs that are similar to your partner’s – and then again maybe you don’t. Have the two of you had a conversation about your belief systems?
While this may not seem important, this topic could come up in your marriage – particularly if you decide to have children at some point.
Even though most LGBT folks tend to be open minded about spiritual issues, things sometimes have a way of changing after talking a walk down the proverbial aisle.
Here are some suggestions:
- Discuss your belief system with your partner. If you are a non-believer, be up front about it
- Focus on spiritual similarities instead of differences wherever possible
- Look for middle ground and be ready to compromise if kids will be part of the your future plans
9. Learn how to fight fair
Getting hitched is not a secret remedy for deeply engrained relationship problems– such as communication issues.
And while it might be nice to think that your legal marriage will magically fix long standing disagreements, it just doesn’t happen that way.
This is why is it vital that you and your partner learn how to have arguments without things turning into a full on blowout. In fact, not knowing how to fight fair is a major reason why some gay relationships fail.
- Learn how to call a couples time out when things get heated
- Be mindful of hot button issues that have historically caused fights
- Be mindful of how alcohol may play a negative role in disagreements
10. Look for positive relationship role models
The final bit of advice gay men offered us through our survey was the importance of identifying healthy relationship role models.
Specifically, we’re talking about couples you may know who seem to have a marriage dynamic that works well for them. The operative word here is healthy.
Some sources include:
- Friends who have been in long term same sex relationships
- Gay coworkers who have figured out how to negotiate marriage challenges
- Books that focus on successful long term, same sex relationships
Now that marriage has become a reality for millions of gays and lesbians across these United States, it is up to all of us to figure out how to integrate this new reality into our collective lives.
One excellent resource to consider is Premarital Counseling for Gays and Lesbians by therapist Pamela Milam.
Inside, you will find lots of practical advice that directly addresses the unique issues that impact LGBT relationships. It’s a must read for any gay couple contemplating marriage.