In 2011, Amber & Tom married. They were pronounced husband and wife, but something just didn’t feel right. Fast forward 6 years, they remarried. Pronounced wife and wife, Amber & Natalie have battled through transitioning to become a couple that is stronger than ever.
They met online, and after date number two, they were hooked. For Amber, it was the very first time in her life that when she thought forward to her future, she could see someone else there.
They wed, as Amber and Tom in 2011 surrounded by friends a family and a whole tonne of Ikea lights. At one point, the couple got up on stage with their ukulele band to perform, and they ended the night cutting the cake with a sword and walking out to ‘We Are The Champions’.
But, there was something that still wasn’t quite right.
For as long as Natalie can remember, she never felt like she fit in. She would dream of waking up a girl but never thought that it would be possible. Growing up in the 80’s & 90’s, the social consciousness of the transgendered community was pretty negative meaning that those feelings were internalised for a long time.
“It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that I started to be able to work past that and accept who I was.”
For Natalie, coming out to Amber was the hardest thing that she had to do. She told her as they were settling in for sleep. Amber’s response at that moment was “okay”, but after a few days questions started to arise “what do you mean by that?”, “when did you realise this?”, “what does this mean for us?”, “what happens in this process” and “what do you want?”.
Being open and honest has been central to overcoming their obstacles. Amber identified as a straight before Natalie’s transition and has found herself grieving for the former person but opened arms to the real person.
“One thing that was very important to me is knowing that Natalie gets to be herself, and become who she truly is. In that respect, it wasn’t hard: I was thrilled that she was discovering who she was and getting to discover a new world.”
For Natalie, her feelings for Amber never changed, however, although Amber still loved Natalie things had changed.
“I couldn’t say “Yes, for always, whatever happens,” because I didn’t know how I would feel as she entered the world as a woman, and we entered as a lesbian couple.”
Taking things one day at a time, Natalie began hormone replacement therapy, and small changes started. They began shopping for a new wardrobe, told family and friends, and Natalie started to be herself every day.
In July of 2016, Natalie proposed again. A conscious decision to continue to grow together, as a couple.
“It seemed fair for Amber to really get to make a choice, once we had kind of come out on the other side.”
They renewed their vows as two women in love in 2017. Amber wore a white dress, while Amber wore a suit for the occasion. It wasn’t the plan, but after she saw Natalie try on wedding gowns and saw how much she glowed, she wanted to let Natalie have that experience of being a bride that she had already had. Amber was also conscious of not perpetuating the hetero-normative idea that you have to be a bride and groom and felt her outfit were the perfect combination of minimal but still keeping some femininity and appeal.
Life has become simpler for the couple in a lot of ways. Their relationship is stronger than ever thanks to strong communication between them. And, as with any couple, “of course it’s not always sunshine and rainbows – anyone who tells you that marriage is they are probably lying. We’re growing and figuring out who we are as a couple and how to exist in this world together, and it’s a beautiful journey”.