Charles and Aaron are not like most couples. First of all, they've been together for twenty years, when many of their friends are on 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and even 5th marriages. Second, when Charles returned from a month-long European trip just three weeks after they met to find that Aaron had written him a letter for every day he was gone, he asked Aaron to start couples therapy with him. If they were going to be in it together for the long haul (as they have been), Charles wanted them to start things off right, and for six months, they attended therapy and learned how to fight and disagree without hurting and alienating.
And third, their 2008 Santa Monica wedding went from lawfully unrecognized to legal, to illegal, and back to legal again. Indeed, an emotional roller coaster that most couples probably don’t experience.
Most couples probably also don’t have a brother-in-law who would threaten to keep nieces and nephews away, or a sister who, upon a later-in-life conversion to faith, would move from total acceptance and understanding to a complete denouncement of the relationship.
But then again, Charles and Aaron are not like most couples. They are twenty years strong. They see how they actually complement one another, even when those differences that make them so complementary can sometimes make them fight. When the easy way out is to just give up and call it quits, they don’t, and they choose to work through it. So in a way, maybe the roller coaster of legality ultimately didn’t matter—they made it through in the end. And what matters is that the support they do have from family is strong, unconditional, and freely given, much like the support shared between the couple themselves.