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Gay Marriage Legal in California! Gay Premarital Counseling By Rik Isensee

What an exciting development!
Shadowed, as expected, by a vote on the amendment to bar same-sex marriage in November. Starting with the first same-sex marriages on June 16th, there will be an amazing opening for as many couples as possible to create"facts on the ground" that will be very difficult to ignore. Even if the amendment passes, what will be the status of marriages that have already taken place?
And if we have thousands of marriages in the meantime, voters will discover that the sky doesn't fall, thus creating the same kind of momentum that Massachusetts experienced, where the legislature finally gave up on trying to amend the constitution to prohibit gay marriage.
Bringing this closer to home, some of the couples in my own life (in addition to those I've been working with) are very excited! Some are making plans to get married this summer.
Yet at the same time, the very possibility that we can actually get married brings up the question: Is that what we're ready for?
One partner might be chomping at the bit, raring to go--while the other still needs to think it through. Even though a fairly comprehensive domestic partners law has been in force here in California for some time, the idea of marriage nonetheless evokes a whole other level of commitment.
One guy's hesitation can be very unsettling to the partner who's ready to get married, who then questions what that hesitation means. I saw a similar phenomenon during the brief window of gay marriage here in San Francisco, when Mayor Gavin Newsom opened the floodgates four years ago. There was a heady excitement, mixed with not knowing how long it would last--and a keen desire to strike while the iron's hot!
So despite the excitement of the current moment, I like to encourage couples to take a deep breath and really take some time to listen to each other's concerns. It's far too easy to construe any hesitation as an indication that our boyfriend's not really committed, when it may simply mean that there are some underlying concerns that still need to be addressed. Despite our enthusiasm, it's probably not the time to make all-or-nothing demands.
The prospect of gay marriage is a very exciting stimulus for getting in touch with our hopes, dreams, and desires. By listening and empathizing with each other's point of view, we can then determine how getting married at this particular time in our lives may (or may not) facilitate our goals for our own relationships!
Rik Isensee is the author of gay- therapist Love-Between-Men. Love Between Men, and practices gay couples therapy in San Francisco. If you're in the process of sorting through your own readiness for marriage, click on gay-therapist gay-premarital-counseling. Gay Premarital Counseling!
Rik_Isensee Rik_Isensee
Rik-Isensee_176042 Rik Isensee -

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