Fifteen Valentine’s Days and a Lifetime of Memories


Fifteen Valentine’s Days ago Cory and I were a new couple experiencing our first Valentine’s Day together. I’m pretty certain it involved Red Lobster, wine, and a movie rental from Blockbuster. I don’t seem to recall what we watched, though I imagine it was something along the lines of a documentary or an action film. (This was before I’d mustered the courage to tell him I don’t like action films.)

We were so new, in fact, that we weren’t calling ourselves a couple. That would come a month later. On Valentine’s Day in 2002 I definitely loved Cory, but we made a rule that we wouldn’t say “I love you” until we truly, truly meant it and felt it. I didn’t want to be first because I feared he may not love me back the same way I loved him. So in that moment, we really, really liked each other and enjoyed our cheddar bay biscuits, Cabernet Sauvignon, and some movie. (It must have been an action film since I don’t remember a thing about it.)

On that Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t certain we’d be together to see the next, even though we’d known each other since the spring of 2000. There wasn’t a commitment to be each other’s one and only, there were no “I love yous,” and there was no future that I saw in Muncie.

But the commitment eventually came, the “I love yous” were in abundance, and we chose to make our home in Muncie—where we’ve celebrated the past fifteen years’ worth of holidays together.

Mexico, 2002

Mexico, 2002

Fifteen Valentine’s Days ago I never thought we’d be married three different times due to the ever-changing marriage laws of our state and country.¹ And I never imagined our wedding would end up on the front page of The Huffington Post.

In the Fifteen Valentine’s Days that have come and gone, we’ve purchased a home together, fathered three different dog babies, lived through the deaths of five grandparents and a few friends, supported each other in different ventures, owned and said goodbye to eight different cars, traveled across the country and around the world, and said goodnight, next to each other, at least 4,000 times.

On this fifteenth Valentine’s Day together, we’ll enjoy good food (but definitely not from Red Lobster), wine, and probably some documentary off of Netflix.

Let’s clink our glasses and imagine where life might take us fifteen Valentine’s Days from now.

Jamaica, 2015

Jamaica, 2015


¹We were first married during a commitment ceremony in 2005, though our marriage wasn’t recognized by the state of Indiana or the federal government. Our next wedding came in 2014 when a federal judge struck down the marriage ban in Indiana, but our marriage was then terminated by the state the same day. On October 6, 2014, our marriage was reinstated when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Indiana must recognize all same-sex marriages. And, of course, marriage equality came to every state in the summer of 2015.  

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