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    A Rich, Ongoing Conversation

    reverend

    John Evans and Tim Ryan married two years ago during Pride weekend. On June 27, 2014, they zoomed over to the Oakland courthouse and tied the knot. The quick turn of events, however, happened after the couple had been together for 11 years.

    They met in October 2003 by a pool. John saw Tim walk by and said to himself, “Wow, look at that beautiful man,” and then watched as Tim sat down and opened a book. John saw that the book was by John Steinbeck, his favorite writer. Tim also noticed that handsome and fit John was reading too. Soon they began talking, immediately connecting over books, writers, work and dogs, delighting in the discovery that they both had Jack Russell terriers! Each man found the other to be smart, articulate and engaging. Although both are introverts, they are oh so grateful that they let one another in during that first encounter.

    Their friendship grew that first year, with the shared love of books leading to related excursions full of enjoyed conversations about all of the writers they had read. They decided to buy a home together in 2004, and found just the right one with a large private back garden, a place where they have been creating a lovely sanctuary over the past 12 years. Parts of their garden are like small rooms where one can go on retreat from the world. It is the perfect setting for a couple of introverts and lovers of beauty.

    John informed me that Tim is an amazing listener. When Tim is in social settings, he often asks others about themselves and remembers what they have told him—such a compliment. John said Tim makes him feel safe. There is no requirement that he should be different than who he is: somewhat reclusive, and wanting mostly to be at home with Tim! John loves that Tim is patient and kind with John’s 3 sons, who trust Tim absolutely. Tim can talk about anything, and their conversation never ends.  John added, “Tim also makes me laugh.”

    Tim loves John’s curiosity and his endless exploration of a multitude of things that they then talk about—music, politics, current affairs, literature, and much more. He likes that John treats his body well and is deeply health conscious. Lifestyle is very important to John, who is a phenomenal cook. Tim’s brother, sister-in-law and 86-year-old mom all love John. Tim appreciates how articulate John is; he loves to listen to him speak.

    Both men told me they have changed in their years together. Tim calls himself a “pessimist-realist” and he feels that John helps him to move in the direction of optimism and away from the dark side. He is also becoming more flexible, and accepts the give and take of marriage. He said, “It is hard work, but it is worth it.” John admits he has been controlling in past relationships, and in Tim he sees that same trait. The positive result of this is that John now identifies when he is in control-mode and can let it go.  He has also learned from Tim how to be still, to pause and to think and be calmer and less reactive.

    Tim’s job at UC Berkeley in the landscaping department has fairly regular work hours (daytime), while John is a news host at KCBS on the night shift.  Yet the two men have created a graceful pattern to their days, nights and weekends, and support one another beautifully in their professions. They are grateful for their life and for each other. John is thankful to have a husband who values the sanctity of their commitment. Tim appreciates having a strong marriage, such that he and John can go through all of life’s vicissitudes together, including the deaths of parents and pets, and the sharing of families and friends. “We have a great life!” he exclaims.

    Their 13-year relationship is still going strong. I wish them the blessing of a conversation that will last for many more years—a precious life shared with a beloved spouse.

    Rev. Elizabeth River is an ordained interfaith minister and wedding officiant in the North Bay. For more information, please visit www.marincoastweddings.com