Mortal (Mormon) Man

Navigating Same Gender Attraction

Month: June 2016

Our “Coming Out” Story

This is our story as a mixed orientation couple.

Part 1:

My wife and I decided to co-write a blog post that would give our different perspectives on our navigation through same sex attraction.  We have been married a little over 10 years, active members of the church with young children who are the lighwalkts of our lives.  My wife never knew I experienced SSA and I never made it a point to tell her.  I, like many of you found myself in a peculiar situation.  How do I tell my wife, my eternal companion that I have a same sex attraction?  How do you prepare to crush everything that you have built: your relationship, your family, your career, your life?  Hindsight is the great educator.  Looking back I should have sat her down and explained this part of my life during the time we dated.  I regret not giving my wife the option of choosing to spend her life with someone who obviously couldn’t give her everything she deserved.  I avoided telling her…even using the most blatant lies to hide my identity.  If you are in the same boat I was, know that even if you haven’t told your wife, you need to.  Tomorrow might be too late.

For as long as I can remember, I have experienced an attraction to guys.  As a young kid I remember feeling different around other boys and always feeling a stronger bond toward them.  As I grew older and matured the feelings intensified and I found myself more attracted to men than women.  It was an inconvenient truth for me.  I couldn’t understand why this was. I fit the mold of a typical Mormon kid.  I went to church, I had incredibly decent and honorable friends, I excelled in school, moved through the ranks of the priesthood and served an honorable mission.  All of that means nothing when you struggle to accurately decode who you really are; who God has created you to become.  I have always struggled to find out where my sexuality belonged.  I knew that this mortal life was just a brief moment in the whole picture.  I studied everything I could find regarding Mormonism and homosexuality.  In time I realized my pathway was clear: remain absolutely silent about my SSA, go on a mission–serve honorably and all these feelings would disappear.  Imagine my surprise when weeks, months and years into my mission I was still experiencing the same sexual attractions as I did prior to my mission!  I completed my missionary service and returned home.  Again, I focused so much time on studying how to merge my faith and beliefs with my SSA.  There was no clear path for me.  Listening to the advice of others, I chose to begin dating and eventually found my eternal companion.  Again, I felt that if I did everything I was asked: date, get married in the temple and begin my family, the SSA would be taken from me.  I’m evidence that the plan isn’t that simple.  Fast forward 10 years into marriage and at least that many years “experiencing” SSA and we get to the ‘night’ that I was finally honest with my wife.  She hijacked my phone, she searched it and she found far more than she had expected.

I am a planner.  I take calculated risks, analyze my situations and always have an exit strategy.  I wasn’t prepared to confess my darkest secrets to my wife.  How do you react to a convulsing, sobbing wife who held you in the highest regard, a wife who just had everything holy and honorable in her life destroyed?  I had always dreaded the day my wife would find out about me.  I dreaded the pain, the sorrow and the ultimate betrayal.  I had convinced myself that when she did find out, she would probably decide to leave me and that her finding out equaled our divorce.  There is so much shame and depression that is associated with SSA.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  I caused a lifetime of pain for my wife, but in her humble way, she eased my burdens; she listened intently, asked questions and reacted with kindness.  I was so grateful Beachfor her reaction.  I wanted the enormous weight to be lifted off of my shoulders.  That relief eventually came and each day my burdens get lighter and lighter.  For those who still remain in darkness, I invite you to find the light.  There is a reason why tall trees grow towards the light.  Each day is a step forward; it does get better and it does easier.

For the remainder of the blog, I will “bold” the font where my wife types and my comments will remain in regular font.  Hopefully you can follow our points of view and glean something from our evolving experience.  This is a brief look from my perspective of “the night.”  The following is from my wife’s point of view:

If you have actively read Dave’s MortalMormon.com blog you already know Dave’s story, but “our” story is slightly different.  It isn’t eloquent, beautiful or perfectly written; it’s hard, it’s daunting, it’s work, it’s a lot of love.

Let’s go back in time 3 months.  I was sitting in bed with a dead phone, I was bored.  I grabbed Dave’s phone to use to pass the time.  He was asleep, his password wouldn’t work so he unlocked his iPhone for me. He seemed hesitant. I played a couple of games on the phone but because of his hesitancy I felt like I needed to dig around.  I don’t like feeling that way.  Over the past few months I felt like Dave was telling a lot of white lies, he always had a reason or excuse. Deep down I knew I was being lied to.  I found a messaging app that he had for a long time that I knew he rarely used for work, this time his “other” user account was accidently left open–thank goodness.  So many things that night worked out perfectly for our good, so that I would make a discovery and force Dave to open up to me.

I saw things that completely took my breath away.  I immediately started shaking and getting physically ill.  I’m tough.  This had never happened to me before.  My mind was racing in 40 different directions.  What now??  It was about 1:00 in the morning.  Do I wake him?  Do I run for the hills?  Do I dig for more juicy details?  I decided to be a bigger person than he was being, and to be honest, immediately.  I ran to my husband.  I woke him up ready to jump all over him and tell him what a horrible person he is.  Instead I listened.  I had an amazing spiritual experience where I felt the deep love that our Father in Heaven has for him.  My words came out of my mouth in a kind and loving manner, even though my mind kept going to dark places.  I think Heavenly Father needed to use me as a mouthpiece for a moment, so that Dave could know that the world wasn’t ending, but instead this was a new beginning.

One key to forgiving others is to try to see them as God sees them. At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. This insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person.   – Elder Kevin R. Duncan

We talked for hours.  There were thousands of tears shed on my part and Dave’s.  He was honest with me for the first time since we met.  I became the only person on Earth to know Dave for who he truly is.  From our experience we’d like to offer some tips for the day that you or your spouse is finally honest.  

Please, if you have the chance, disclose your SSA before you get married.  It is selfish and unfair not to.  I’ve told my husband that is upsets me he didn’t give me an opportunity to choose to get married to a same sex attracted spouse.  He chose for me.  Obviously this isn’t an option for everyone.  Telling your spouse out of love and wanting to be open will be better than them finding out accidently.  It will alleviate other fears, issues and hurt that accompany the lying.

I want to address a few things to the wife (or fiancé) of an SSA husband (or fiancé.)   The way you found out the truth should not outweigh the fact that you now know and you are at ground zero.  I wish I could have expressed everything on my mind without the pain, hurt and emotional stress that accompanies the truth.  Seeing your husband as a son of God, imperfect and weak will help each of you to begin the healing process.

 When you find out, take a deep breath and think eternal thoughts. This is your eternal companion, we still have so many great things to look forward to.

I have come to learn through this experience that my mortal body experiences SSA, my spirit does not.  I always have to keep this perspective in the forefront of my mind,

Try with all that you have to see your spouse the way our Father in Heaven sees all of his children.  Wouldn’t you want to be seen that way in your most challenging moments?

Now is not the time to accuse and be angry, it’s the time to be patient and understanding.

As the wife of a husband navigating life with SSA, you need to know that it isn’t an easy road; that you will not understand everything your husband is going through or has been through.  Sometimes the greatest thing you can do is just listen.

(If you didn’t already know) SSA is not a choice, nor is it a sin!! Your spouse has likely struggled all of their lifetime. Remember that they chose to be married to YOU! It wasn’t an easy decision. Little known fact: your spouse will be equally as panicked as you in those first moments.

Your husband didn’t plan on being gay or find ways to become more attracted to men.  From my experience, most guys would do anything to have their SSA go away.  This is a really hard reality; it’s a daily experience (I could easily say hourly or minute by minute experience.)

We are in a much better place today than we were in a few months ago.  Our experience is fluid and evolving.  We are taking this one day at a time.

We will continue co-blogging our experience in three parts, focusing deeper on the topics that we have discussed in this post.  We are both curious to hear your feedback and comments about what tips and tools have worked for you.  What works and what doesn’t work in a mixed orientation marriage?

We want to hear from you, leave us a private comment below (we will honor your privacy) or you can post a public comment on the blog at the top of this post:

 

Happy Father’s Day

blog picIt is Father’s Day; a day to celebrate the men in our lives that brought us life. I am thankful to the many fathers in my life.
Years ago General Douglas MacArthur a five-star general of the United States Army penned these words. These words are a classic example of what a father can be in our lives:
“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud of unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.
“Build me a son, whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be, a son who will know Thee – and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.
“Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm, here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
“Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
“After all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may not always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
“Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain.’”
Happy Father’s Day to the men who desire to do good and to all those in-between.

Welcome to the Field

I have spent the last few weeks pondering—contemplating the battle we endure on a daily basis.  The focus of this blog has been on my personal navigation with same sex attraction.  We all fight battles as we progress in this life: sin, morality, worthiness (and sometimes even diet coke). I have found acceptance in the fact that these battles offer bumps along our journey but also give us strength.  When I think of fighting for a righteous cause I always think of the New Testament’s David and his Goliath.

David's stonesDavid, whose name means ‘beloved’ or ‘my beloved,’ has always been a relatable person to me.  He enters the Old Testament as a teenager, the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse.  Samuel visited David’s father searching for a king to lead Israel and no one, including his father (or 7 brothers), took David serious enough to send him before Samuel.  I can relate to David in this situation.  I have been discounted by others because of a lack in my ability.  I’m confident that other people have been chosen to do things because someone lacked faith in my ability to succeed.

I find empathy with David.

There was a time when Israel went to war with the Philistines, and David was left behind to tend the sheep. It was an easier task. One better suited for a weak and feeble David.  Was it because the people felt David wasn’t prepared to battle, or was it because the Israelites knew of David’s weaknesses and disqualified him immediately?   Inside of me, the natural man always believes I am being judged and discounted because of my weaknesses.  The greater sin is that I sometimes believe them.

I love this story of David:

One day Jesse sent David with food and supplies to the battlefront in the valley of Elah, some ten miles away, to find out also how his sons were doing. David left the sheep in the hands of a keeper, and made the journey.

He arrived among the men just as Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, walked out into the valley between the two contending armies. For forty days the two armies had been at a standoff, and everyday, twice a day, Goliath would come out and taunt and insult the armies of Saul calling for them to send out a man to fight. I guess rather than the two armies to fight, it was a custom of the time for the champion of each army to fight, and let the victor of their fight be the victor of the cause. But no one dared challenge Goliath, and who can blame them [him]? According to our present text, Goliath stood over 9 ½ feet tall. His armor weighed in around 150 pounds. The staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, while the head of it weighed somewhere between 12 and 26 pounds. He was a part of the feared race of the Anakim and a warrior trained from his childhood.

Well, David heard the blasphemy of the giant and was incensed, especially when the armies of Israel around him cowered in fear.

“… who is this uncircumcised Philistine,” he said, “that he defy the armies of the living God?”
(1 Samuel 17:26)

When David’s brothers heard him, they were angry and scolded him for pride, naughtiness and neglect of his duty at home. David’s words reached the king, and David was brought before Saul.

“Let no man’s heart fail because of him;” David said, “thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”

“… Thou are not able to go against this Philistine … ,“ Saul said, “for thou art but a youth …” (1 Samuel 17:33)

David pleaded for the chance to fight. Finally – finally the king said, “… Go, and the Lord be with thee.” (1 Samuel 17:37)

When David entered the field, Goliath was insulted that they would send a mere boy. He cursed David by his gods, and threatened to feed his flesh to the birds.

David’s response to the giant allows us a glimpse into his great heart, wherein was the source of his power.  He said, “… Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts … This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; …”  (1 Samuel 17:45-46)  david-and-goliath-3

Enraged, the giant charged, David rushed to meet him, drawing from his shepherd’s purse was a smooth stone, which he slung with a practiced aim. When he released that stone, it flew true and buried itself in the forehead of the giant, dropping him to the ground. David ran, pounced on him, drew out the massive sword, and with it slew the arrogant Philistine. The horrified Philistine army scattered with Israel in hot pursuit. It was not just a victory; it was a rout.

I love this story. It proves to me that if the cause is just, and there is faith in the God of Israel, what does it matter who scorns you or insults you?

Now, why do I tell this story? There are plenty of struggling men reading this today.  Together we are navigating life as a Latter-day Saint with a same sex attraction. To you I say, ‘Welcome to the field, David, your Goliath is waiting.’  I believe in you.

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