In Honor of USA Marriage Equality: My Marriage, My Story with Rick R. Reed

July 12, 2015
Bruce and I shortly after we met, summer 2002.

Bruce and I shortly after we met, summer 2002.

For my husband Bruce and me, June and July are celebratory times. Our anniversary was June 15 (yea! we have made it to thirteen years now as a couple…and I see many more ahead of us) and both of our birthdays fall in July (mine on the first, along with our Boston Terrier Lily) and Bruce on the 12th.

Unlike many straight married couples, though, Bruce and I always celebrate two anniversaries: the June 15 date I mentioned above and our legal wedding anniversary on December 12. This year, we celebrated our second anniversary as legally-wed husband and husband. We are overjoyed that our marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Can you imagine how it felt for it not be? But until June 26 of this year, if we went to my home state of Ohio, we would not be a married couple in the eyes of the Buckeye state. Thank god the madness has been laid to rest.

On my birthday, Bruce and I were having dinner at a little French bistro in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle and, as the wine flowed, we talked. Bruce told me how content he was with his life and that, really, there was nothing else he could wish for. I felt exactly the same way. It’s nice when you’re on the same page. He said we had something special and that one word summed up what we had. Can you guess what that one word was? I’ll get to it at the end of this post.

But, you know, it wasn’t easy getting to this page in the book of our lives. And thinking about Bruce and me has made me think about my other special love, and that’s writing. If any of you out there have followed my career at all, you’ll know that, lately, my stories have plotted out the course of love just as much as they have the build-up of suspense or horrifying revelations. I can proudly say I am now just as much a romance writer as I am a horror or dark suspense writer. Heck, even my haunted house story being re-released this year by DSP Publications, A Demon Inside is, at its heart, a love story.

You may wonder why my writing has slipped off in this new direction. I certainly did, once upon a time. But now I know that it has a lot to do with Bruce. See, we’re happy. We’re content. We’re settled and in a love that only continues to grow with the passage of time.

I don’t know if this is a leap of logic that makes sense but I think that I am more drawn to writing stories that map out the connections made by the human heart these days because I am not expending as much energy seeking out that connection in my own personal life. Now that I have found my one true love, my soul mate, I can open up and write more freely about what draws people together and what keeps them apart. I find those connections fascinating and I don’t believe I could write about them objectively until after I had found, after much searching, a relationship that would work for me, one that would nurture and sustain.

Before Bruce, there was a marriage to a woman and a child. Both of those were–and still are–wonderful in their own ways. But trying to live a life that was not my own was not only emotionally exhausting, it was dangerous in many ways. With a lot of heartache, I had to let that dream, which really was never for me, go. I came out in my early thirties, in a world where gay marriage was not really even being discussed yet and the specter of AIDS loomed large. It was not necessarily a good time for a gay man to be experiencing the world and finding himself. But then, when is it ever a good time? But my point is I went through a lot of searching, a lot of experimenting, a lot of bad choices, always in search of love, and always coming up empty-handed.

A lot of those disappointments occurred because the real love I needed–the love of myself–I had yet to discover. I look at my thirties as my true adolescence, with its attendant growing pains.

It wasn’t until I was 43 that I met Bruce. Gone were the hopes that I’d meet a special man in some bar or even a gay social group. The era of the Internet was on us in a big way and I placed an ad with the headline, “What’s Your Story?” Bruce was one of several who responded, and the only one with whom I connected. He sent me some pictures of himself and I was, shall we say, quite taken. He said things in his very first response to my ad that resonated, things like, “OK- as far as “fun” is concerned– at least the fun that isn’t entailed in my listed interests above- I mentioned I’m a pretty versatile guy, though that includes being romantic as well. When guys say they like everything “mild to wild”, I chuckle. Just strikes me as funny, I guess. ( Humor is a big thing for me– gotta have a good sense of humor.)” and “Ambivalence is a turn-off for me. And attraction is such a subjective and somewhat nebulous thing. I’ve learned to trust my gut instincts about it.”

I wrote back. He wrote back and we started a daily correspondence that would last two weeks, two weeks before we even laid eyes on one another, even though we lived less than two miles away from each other. We began to get acquainted. We both liked what we saw, what we read in our lines to each other, and what was between them. We had both reached a stage where we were ready for the other. Timing is everything.

We met in person and it was magic.

I won’t say we didn’t have some bumps in the road, though, getting to where we are today. Nothing really good ever comes easily. But Bruce and I were always willing to talk–whether it was face to face or through e-mails (and now texts and Facebook updates!). The line of communication has always been open and I think that’s what’s made the difference with us.

It’s also made it possible for me to be able to sit back and be more objective about writing romance because finally, at age 57, I finally, finally, have a handle on what works and what doesn’t. Until I had that key, I honestly believe I couldn’t have written convincingly or effectively about romantic love.

So you can expect two things from me–one, that I will always be in love with Bruce and two, that you will enjoy many more stories of love and romance between two men–because of Bruce and the heart he so generously gave, and continues to give, to me.

Oh, and that one word I alluded to above? The one Bruce used when he said it summed up what we had?

That word is family.

Congratulations to couples everywhere who have found their happily-ever-afters. It’s what we romance writers build our stories upon and what we romantics build our lives on.

And because this is a Dreamspinner Press blog, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my most appropriate work that goes along with this post: Legally Wed.

Legally Wed by Rick R. Reed

BLURB

Love comes along when you least expect it. That’s what Duncan Taylor’s sister, Scout, tells him. Scout has everything Duncan wants—a happy life with a wonderful husband. Now that Seattle has made gay marriage legal, Duncan knows he can have the same thing. But when he proposes to his boyfriend Tucker, he doesn’t get the answer he hoped for. Tucker’s refusal is another misstep in a long line of failed romances. Despairing, Duncan thinks of all the loving unions in his life—and how every one of them is straight. Maybe he could be happy, if not sexually compatible, with a woman. When zany, gay-man-loving Marilyn Samples waltzes into his life, he thinks he may have found his answer.

Determined to settle, Duncan forgets his sister’s wisdom about love and begins planning a wedding with Marilyn. But life throws Duncan a curveball. When he meets wedding planner Peter Dalrymple, unexpected sparks ignite. Neither man knows how long he can resist his powerful attraction to the other. For sure, there’s a wedding in the future. But whose?

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8 Responses to “In Honor of USA Marriage Equality: My Marriage, My Story with Rick R. Reed”

  1. Chris says:

    Lovely story. Thanks for sharing. I wish you both a long and happy life.
    The book sounds great. I look forward to reading it.

  2. Melle says:

    Great to get some inside the life information…isn’t it funny how happiness & being content changes everything? Congratulations on your 13th (& 2nd) anniversary.

  3. Jen says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and helping all of us celebrate the momentous SCOTUS decision. Congrats on your two anniversaries!

  4. Angela says:

    Beautiful :)
    Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

  5. RickRReed says:

    I appreciate your comments! Thanks so much for taking the time, all of you.

  6. Denise says:

    Thanks for sharing *your* love story, Rick.

  7. Carolyn says:

    Ahh, this was lovely to read, Rick. Congratulations to you and Bruce on your happy family. May you only continue to grow in love.

  8. Tamara says:

    What a beautiful story!! Thanks for sharing and congrats and continued blessings to you and Bruce!

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