I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and so this week, we got to play for some amazing people who I’ve known for a long time: a group of women who I know from Bible study in high school, a friend from musical theater camp (yep, musical theater camp!) in high school, and a friend who I met about eight years ago in NYC who now works full-time on an organic farm in central Illinois.
Most of the time, the people hosting our shows are strangers and friends of friends of friends. It was a unique experience to get to play for so many people who know me and my history so well.
In one of our songs there’s that line, “I love you and I trust you, so let’s not get married.” It was a pretty intense experience to sing a song that is blatantly celebrating alternatives to marriage for dear old friends, many of whose weddings I have recently attended, one of whom works full time as a wedding planner.
And we struggled with the content of that song (while initially writing it) because while it’s important to Jillian and me to celebrate our decision to not be married, we also deeply respect the individual choice of others to be married, and of course recognize that a lot of civil rights are tied to marriage and a lot of people are fighting hard for those rights. For more reference about my own views about marriage, see Dave McGee’s “Objection to a Wedding”.
When we started writing that particular song, that transcending-marriage line was at the heart of it. But it was huge when we went a bit deeper and found that the hook of that song is actually “our love is what we make of it,” the phrase that is definitely the anthem of this album so far. “I love you and trust you, so let’s not get married” sits proudly under the umbrella of “our love is what we make of it”, but so do a lot of other choices.
And of course one of the best things about this whole endeavor is that we don’t just share the songs, we engage in conversation about them! We get to be honest and joyful about our perspectives but also to hear from all different kinds of people about what they think about marriage.
We’ve been asking everyone to take a few minutes to write on a notecard: If you are married, why are you? If you are not married, do you want to be? Why or why not? We’re collecting the cards of anyone who feels comfortable with that, and even though we are only two weeks into this tour, we already have this extraordinary collection of various views and heartfelt perspectives. I’m so excited to see what we keep hearing and learning as we continue on our way.
And I am so glad and grateful to be able to share and be shared with, in a deep and considered way, about this cultural institution which affects all of our lives so much, whether we want it to or not, with friends both brand new and dear/old!