The Day My Life Changes Forever

Today is my wedding day. My atheist bride and I are having a very simple ceremony at the courthouse this afternoon with only my parents and her grandparents in attendance and a modest wedding reception on Sunday afternoon to celebrate with the rest of our family and friends. Then we're ready to spend the rest of our lives together! For the longest time, I thought this day might never come, but my soon-to-be wife came into my life almost seven months ago and has since surprised me with her affection, devotion and love. I hope to prove myself worthy of her and make her happy each and every day that I'm fortunate enough to find myself with her. This is, of course, a very happy time for me, but I still have time to reflect on the influence of religion on marriage.

My younger sister is also engaged to be married and she and her fiancé are currently doing the pre-marriage counseling with a priest at her parish. When she mentioned to him earlier this week that I was getting married rather quickly, he asked whether anyone had talked to me about my decision. If someone who knew me well had suggested this, I would be open to listening to them. If someone who doesn't know me well but who has plenty of marital experience suggested it, I would be slightly annoyed but not upset. But for someone who doesn't really know me and who has voluntarily vowed never to have any romantic relationship to presume give me unsolicited advice about marriage is absurd. This is a man who believes that he can never have sex, masturbate nor even entertain sexual thoughts without incurring the wrath of his supposedly all-loving god and he thinks he's qualified to advise me about the woman I love simply because he's studied ancient mythology and received an official title. I'm a proud apostate and I resent the church's attempted interference in my life.

Since my bride doesn't yet have permanent residency in the United States, right now the primary advantage of getting married is that she can apply for a green card fairly easily once our marriage is official. At this time, I think of people who don't enjoy this right: same-sex couples. When opponents of gay marriage make the argument that homosexuals don't really need legal recognition of their relationships, I will always think of this clear example that shows them how mistaken they are. Same-sex couples in our situation more often end up separated by oceans because they have no way to ensure they can be in the same country. This is just another instance of religion causing needless suffering.

I'm looking forward to sharing all of my future joys and sorrows with my godfree wife. It will be easier to nurture our marriage working strictly within the parameters of reality, without any concern for fairy tales and sky spirits.


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