As part of our Family Friday series, every week we spotlight one family, share the story of their love and send lots of love and support to them from our own huge family all over the world.
Since we've launched our Family Friday series, we've gotten so many beautiful submissions from you and we've been genuinely touched by your stories. Your families are beautiful. Thank you.
This week, we have a great testament of the power of lasting love. Charles and Jim first met exactly 25 years ago this week and have been going strong ever since. We're excited to share their interview with you and their thoughts on what's made their love last over the years. Meet Charles and Jim.
How did you and your partner meet?
Chuck and I spotted each other at a Valentine's Day Party 25 years ago this year. The song, "Across a Crowded Room," would work well for us, as I saw him far away and I guess our eyes met and from there on it seemed like everything just fell into place -- except I was the one that initially took to the idea and then within a few days got cold feet. If it had not been for his determination to make me see how well we were suited for each other I think I would have missed out on the best thing that ever happened to me, and there is no doubt about that. I am told that just about every day by someone close to us -- "You Know you are very lucky guy to have Chuck in your life." Yes, I do know that and I thank whatever angel was watching out for me that day.
Tell us about your wedding. What state did you get married in? Did you have to leave the your residential state to do so?
We were determined not to hand over a lot of cash to anyone that might smile at us on one hand and turn around the next day and vote at the ballot box to make us second class citizens. This left us with few choices. We have recently been to Scotland, and Spain - in fact we arrived in Spain just a few days after they joined the nations accepting marriage equality for same gender marriages. We like that better than same sex because it seems that too many people seem to get obsessed about the "sex" when Marriage is so much more than that and we want folks to understand that out relationship is not more or less than anyone else's, we take it just as seriously and would never do anything to jeopardize it. For this reason we went to Banff, Alberta in Canada. We can not say enough about the GREAT people there and the way they handled everything. We had no problems, in fact they bent over backwards to make us feel at home and to make sure our special day was just that -- Special -- we could not have asked for better people and friends and family at the service.
Has your extended family embraced your partner?
Most of my family has been very accepting and Chuck's family has accepted me as one of the family. For those that have not, well that is their loss. Sooner or later they will either come around or not, but we see this as two options. We can live our lives as others would have it and be miserable or we can take what happiness we can from this life and be true to ourselves. We chose the latter and are better people for it. The lessons of "Brokeback Mountain" were not lost on us.
How have you made your love the last 25 years?
That is really very easy, it was all Chuck. He has the patience of Job and that is no joke. Our relationship would never have lasted two min. if we were both like me. I am more of a ready fire aim kinda guy, while he takes his time and thinks things through. Sometimes we miss out on things because we were not quick enough to act, but most of the time it is for the best. And of course Love accepts all, and forgives all and if you think a relationship is a 50/50 split your are doomed from the get go, cause that dog will not hunt. A relationship must be where each gives 70%, and never looks at counting how much or cares, if you go from there then you can not fail because that way you have a love that is working 140% -- I mean how can that possibly fail? One of us has a larger income than the other, but we do not care about that, we decide we want to do something or go somewhere we make it work and no one worries about who paid for what or worked on what, we do it together.
What advice do you have for gay kids who may feel like the love you two have is totally out of reach?
Get real, if we can do it anyone can, you just need to realize that persuing perfection is an admirable goal, achieving it on the other hand -- well it is not going to happen. And if you will only settle for perfect, you are going to be looking for the rest of your life. That is not to say you should settle, I sure as heck did not. I know that there are a lot of men out there that would take my place in a min. and I hope he understands that. The bottom line, don't sweat the small stuff and it is all and I mean all small stuff -- Chuck is the center of my world, without him it would just all come to a halt.
You can see a few photos of Charles and Jim below. To see more families and learn how to share your own, scroll to the bottom.
REMINDER: If you'd like your own family featured on a Family Friday, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that family is what we make it, so if your family is you and the pack of LGBT folks who you'd go to the mats for, send them over. We want to see them, too.