Have you ever wondered why shadows exist? How many times in your life have you found yourself in the safety of darkness? For me, it has been two months living in the light, outside of the darkness. Somewhere close to two months ago my wife and I had “the talk.” The talk that laid everything on the table. The one where she learned her husband has a same sex attraction. Since that night I have found myself in a much better place; a place of acceptance, reality and peace. I have found a deeper understanding of who I am, a deeper love for my wife and clearer path forward. Hindsight is the great educator. Looking back I have learned that when the light shines, shadows are created. Shadows are hard (sometimes impossible) to hide. And so, two months later, here I am. We are living with more light in our relationship and with that light come some darker shadows. I am convinced Satan is trying hard to make sure I fail. He is pretty good at what he does (fortunately, so am I).
Now before you worry that I am falling down the cliff or bouncing out of the wagon, rest assured I am safe. I have an incredible support system that provides me with accountability and direction. I need to talk about the reality of my situation. I am living in a mixed orientation marriage and I haven’t been able to fully wrap my head around that concept. You’d think after having more than a decade of experience living it, I would have more answers. There is a lot of ground to cover in this topic. Early on I convinced myself that this blog would be a line-upon-line experience. Through writing, I would sort through and file away all the necessary paperwork of my experience. I hate paperwork. This is tough.
Before I told my wife about my same sex attraction, I kept a very large portion of my life hidden. Sometimes even elephants could easily be hidden in the shadows. As a Latter-day Saint I justified my mission, my marriage and my future with the assurance that if I did all the right things: serve an honorable mission, get married in the temple, fulfill my callings, then the Lord would ease my burden of same sex attraction. I even convinced myself that it would go away entirely. That wasn’t the truth. My burdens were easier to carry, but my attraction to men has never disappeared. I have no intention to try to convince you that keeping this secret is a good idea. In hindsight I would have taken a different course. If I were to do it all over again I would sit my fiancé down and lay it all on the line. When would have been a good time to do that? I don’t know for sure, but it would have been shortly before a proposal and far enough into the relationship that we had built a level of trust and understanding. The conversation would have included my intentions to remain an active member of the church, that I tried every day to live the tenets of the gospel and that I desired to have everything she desired. After ten years of marriage, that opportunity finally came.
So, what has changed? Is life different for me?
Yes! Everything is different. When I told my wife about my SSA, it included apologies for the years of distancing myself emotionally, physically and sexually. It included an accounting of my actions; it included a plan for the future, a vision for our marriage, the realization that neither of us knew all the answers, and that this was ground zero.
I am in a much better place today than I was in a few months ago. I spent 10 years of marriage trying to satisfy the urges of SSA and maintain a “healthy” marriage with my wife. As I mentioned in a previous post, no man can serve two masters. This is my reality. The urges are still there, the triggers still exist, but I can say unequivocally that life is much better. My wife and I have a level playing field. She knows my strengths, my weaknesses and my trials. This will be a learning experience for both of us. My experience will not reflect yours, but it will be similar. Together we need to learn how to love each other despite our weaknesses. Together, we understand the atonement more fully and together we will bring more light into our lives.
I always thought shadows existed because of the light but time has taught me that they exist because they lack light. If you shine a light from only one angle only you will create shadows. But when you add light from all angles the shadows will disappear. I know the source of the Light and I want Him to be everywhere the shadows used to be.