Taking A Leap of Faith

“‘Becky,’ I told her, ‘this is not an engagement ring. It’s a symbol, and no matter what happens, I have your back....’”

I remember it like it was yesterday. Walking through the front door of her building, I saw her standing there, shiny brown hair sweeping her collar, black scrub pants fitting her perfectly. As if in slow motion, her left arm fell to her side as her brown eyes and warm smile met mine. Even as I stopped, momentarily forgetting why I’d walked into the building, Becky’s first impression on that fateful day in August 2014 was burned into my memory forever.

Having been raised in a conservative Texas town where education, religion, and “Aggie Spirit” ranked among the most important community values, my coming out at age 16 was met with fear and resistance. I quickly retreated into the proverbial closet and before long had buried myself in religion, enrolled in a private Baptist university in the heart of the state, and rushed into one marriage, then another, believing I could trick—or perhaps trap—myself into a straight-and-narrow existence.

Three kids and two failed marriages later, at age 31, I faced the facts: I was drowning, I was miserable. And so—despite my terror—I came out again. About a year later, I mentioned to my mom over dinner one night that I’d met someone new. Taking a sip of her wine, she said, “Tell me about her.” I overflowed with giddiness. “Her name is Becky. I met her a few weeks ago, and we have our first date tomorrow night. I think she could become someone I spend a lot of time with.” Our connection quickly deepened. I couldn’t get enough of Becky. I felt free with her, and she made me smile, laugh, and feel a kind of love I’d never experienced before.

Early on, Becky and I both made our anti-marriage stances known. I had no desire to walk down that aisle again. We built a house together and our relationship grew happily. Then, as many couples do, we hit a bump in the road. It was scary. It was real. I knew I had two choices: run or have faith. Never having felt faith in anyone before, I sat in our bedroom and threw my hands to God and asked what to do. “Love her through it,” He answered, “she’s worth it.” So love her—and pray for her—I did. I took a leap of faith, and purchased a commitment ring.

“Becky,” I told her, “this is not an engagement ring. It’s a symbol, and no matter what happens, I have your back as your best friend, lover, and partner. I’m not going anywhere.” Two weeks later, on September 8, 2015, while enjoying a beer and a dip in our pool, Becky suddenly hopped out and headed to the house for another beer. Soon she reappeared, sporting a Cheshire-cat grin, and sat beside me in the pool. “Metrisa,” she said, as the sun caught the fire of diamonds and gold in her hand, “I remember the moment we met. I didn’t believe in love at first sight until that day. I’ve thought about this and I want you to be my wife. Would you marry me?” I smiled, pausing momentarily to take it all in. “Yes!” I exclaimed.

Being a lifelong planner, I expected and looked forward to a long engagement, but Becky surprised me just after Christmas with a specific request. “Let’s get married in May while we celebrate my 50th birthday in Vegas,” she said. “Whoever can make it can make it—as long as you’re there!” she grinned. With my mission set, I began booking: Sunset Gardens for ceremony and reception, Zazzle for invitations, United Airlines for flights, the Signature MGM for accommodations, Creative Bridal Wear for the dress and tux, and Sandals Grand Bahamian Resort for our honeymoon. I made reservations for hair and makeup, restaurants, the rental car.

It felt easy to find businesses happy to create a fairytale Vegas lesbian wedding. Within a few hours, everything was planned. Two weeks later, just as I finished preparing the last of our invitations, Becky tearfully walked into the room, having just received a call from her sister. “Metrisa, my family wants us to wait—they want to get to know you better,” she explained. “They can’t come to the wedding in Vegas, but they do want to be a part of our big day.” It was a truth I’d always known.

Despite Becky’s insistence to the contrary, her family’s support and presence at her wedding was indeed important to her. “No problem!” I said, tossing our cute boarding pass-style invitations into the trash. “I’ll reverse everything, and we can plan for a later date.”

Ultimately, we took the Vegas trip and what we now call our “pre-weddingmoon” to the Bahamas. When we resumed wedding discussions, Becky began talking big: an elegant, rustic, vintage wedding close to our home in Huntsville. I wondered whether planning a same-sex wedding in rural Texas might present some interesting barriers. Would the vendors truly share in our joy or merely tolerate us? So I crafted a graceful question to ask prospective vendors we’d like to hire: “We like what you have to offer, but we are a same-sex couple. Because I believe everyone has the right to their own opinions, please let me know if this is a problem, and we’ll be happy to find someone else—no judgment.”

I’m happy to report that we’ve been welcomed with true Southern hospitality and warmth. We’ve reserved our March 2018 wedding and reception at the Rustic Rose in the town of Willis, about 50 miles north of Houston. Our outdoor ceremony site, set against an iron gate and overlooking a rippling lake, will be decorated with flowers, fine fabrics, crystals, and pearls provided by Three Lady Bugs Florist in Conroe and Sweet Tea & Linen in Montgomery—creating the elegant ambience we want. Inside the picturesque reception hall, more than 100 guests will be treated to a traditional Southern feast with an open bar and live band, along with a not-so-traditional Rice Krispies treat wedding cake.

With more than a year to go and still so many important decisions to make, I keep a planning binder close to my side (it contains all sorts of secret details I’m not yet ready to reveal!). But closer still is the vision I keep of Becky’s brown eyes and warm smile, awaiting me at the end of the aisle. Oh, and God was right—she’s worth everything and more!