I hope that our last post wasn’t too gloomy for you. We just felt that we needed to be very raw and real about what we are experiencing. We are right in the depths of figuring out what our new normal is, hence the very disorganized and messy post about our messy life. In this third part of our co-blog experience we want to talk about moving forward. Unfortunately we have no way of looking into a crystal ball to see exactly what’s in store for our lives on Earth and into the eternities. We’re comforted by knowing what our lives can become. We are incredibly thankful to have the gospel of “Good News” in our lives. I don’t like to think about where we would be without the knowledge we have of the great plan of happiness.
We have both realized it is very difficult to write (and openly discuss) hard things. For me personally, talking about such raw feelings and emotions puts me in a very odd place. Just like my wife, I struggle with not knowing what the future has in store. I always have a strategy that includes options; however our ‘new normal’ forces us to live day to day–and at times, breath by breath.
If hate mail is any indicator of how well our message was received, then the last blog post takes the cake! We were honest and candid about our experience and just like my wife said; we were “raw and real.” The majority of the negative notes were centered on the same theme, bridging homosexuality and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many readers said our path was fruitless and not worth the effort. Let me be absolutely clear on this topic. My intention in creating this blog and working through my journey is not to disparage the person who lives a same-sex lifestyle, but to focus on learning how a person not wanting a homo’sexual’ relationship can find marital (and eternal) happiness within the bounds the Lord has set. I know many people who have ventured outside of the rules of the church to find happiness in a same-sex relationship. I get that. I know that some of you have found a happiness that feels rewarding and sanctifying for you.
I believe that as a community, men and women, husbands and wives, who experience same-sex attraction, we can offer our positive experiences to the general membership of the church which will open future discussions. In time we can build bridges of understanding and bring our message out of obscurity and darkness.
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. – Article of Faith: 9
I believe, just like the ninth Article of Faith, that each of us (our church leaders included) have so much more revelation waiting that pertains specifically to our journey with same-sex attraction. But let me be crystal clear regarding my journey: I am committed to finding my pathway forward according to what has already been revealed. You might feel a desire to blaze your own trail and wait for the church to catch up to you, and others may feel a desire to stray from the gospel path completely, but my message is for the person that seeks hope and light using the scriptures, revelation, prophets and apostles as the compass. To those that choose to lash out at us for living by rules that seem to be archaic and out-dated, then so be it. I welcome every new tidbit of revelation that will afford you and I more answers than we have today. Until that revelation comes, my wife and I are navigating this world the best way we are capable of.
“My message tonight is an attempt to describe that future and what we must do to be a part of the plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us. Before we were born, we lived in a family with our exalted and eternal Heavenly Father. He ordained a plan that enables us to advance and progress to become like Him. He did it out of love for us. The purpose of the plan was to allow us the privilege of living forever as our Heavenly Father lives. This gospel plan offered us a life of mortality in which we would be tested. A promise was given that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, if we obeyed the laws and priesthood ordinances of the gospel, we would have eternal life, the greatest of all His gifts.”
-Henry B Eyring
April 2016 General Conference
I was not put on this Earth to be miserable and suffer. Since finding out about my husband’s SSA I’ve often found myself falling into the role of a “victim”. I was always wondering, “Why me?” or dwelling on how unfair it is that I am married to a man that has an attraction to men. I’ve even had moments where I dwell on how Dave tricked me into marrying him, having no intention to ever tell me about his SSA (I must add that I know he didn’t trick me, it’s the victim Jamie surfacing). It’s time for this way of thinking to stop. I cannot progress if I continue in this mindset. What I’ve learned from many other women who have walked this path before me, is that I need to focus on what I’m doing to become a better person. It seems with life, that when I am trying my best to be the woman that God has created me to be, that life goes smoother. The trials I face do not stop, the trials may even come by the truckloads. If I am in a stable place spiritually, I am able to take on those trials with greater ease. I have the tools at my fingertips to use the atonement, to love deeper, to bear another’s burdens, to find strength.
I have forgiven my husband for any past wrongdoings toward me. Thankfully I realized in the beginning that he didn’t need me to forgive him, I needed me to forgive him. I needed to release the control that never was mine, over to our Savior. He has atoned for all of our sins and I cannot discount the atonement as being in any way not enough. Aren’t we all unworthy sinners? Not only are we sinners, but don’t we all struggle with some sort of pain, heartache, misery, or unfairness?
The atonement covers it all.
I’ve learned that when someone hurts you, and doesn’t make you whole again, the Lord can make you whole. It doesn’t matter whether they have repented or changed their life, you have an opportunity to have it made up to you through the atonement.
I know that experiencing SSA is in no way a sin. So why is moving forward proving to be challenging? I think there are two main reasons for the difficulty. For me the first obstacle I have in moving forward lies in not knowing with a surety every aspect of my future. I am a planner who thinks she can direct exactly how her life will play out. I want to prepare for what my family is doing today, next week, next year and in twenty years. When things don’t go precisely as planned I feel like I’ve somehow failed. I’m trying to learn that expectations are not good for marriages. The fewer expectations I have for myself, my husband and our family, the happier I am. I am able to start to remove the sadness that comes from unmet expectations, and begin to appreciate my family for all that they are.
The second reason for the difficulty, I believe, is we are moving forward in two completely different ways. Our pathways are heading in the same direction, but it seems the pathways of “moving forward” aren’t identical. Our paths seem to lie side by side and most of the time they’re overlapping, meaning to move forward in life we will experience many similarities. We are on the same page as far as where we want to see our marriage in the future. The conflict seems to be more about the speed in which we are moving forward. There are times that my husband is speeding so fast on his pathway that I can’t even see him. The day that we were finally honest with each other my husband hoped on the path of moving forward and started running, trying to leave everything from the past in the dust. I tiptoed onto that path, many times feeling helpless, unsure and lost. There were days that I couldn’t stop looking behind me at the past, at Dave’s past, trying to decipher where everything went wrong. He had a hard time slowing down and waiting for me, or taking the time to come back to where I was. I needed him to come to where I was on our scale of moving forward and take some time to answer questions, and even guide me along, when my pathway seemed uncertain. Moving forward is more enjoyable when we’re holding hands. Now I finally feel that I’m gaining speed. As I mentioned before, it seems that when my focus is on the changes that I need to make, life moves forward in a smoother way.
I believe the key to understanding how to make a mixed orientation marriage…or living with a husband that experiences same-sex attraction, is keeping a laser focus on mode of progress. This experience reminds me of the children’s book “The Little Engine That Could.” In the tale, a long train must be pulled over a high mountain. Larger engines are asked to pull the train; for various reasons they refuse. The request is sent to a small engine, who agrees to try. The engine succeeds in pulling the train over the mountain while repeating its motto: “I-think-I-can”. The story of the little engine has been told and retold many times. The underlying theme is the same— a stranded train is unable to find an engine willing to take it over difficult terrain to its destination. Only the little blue engine is willing to try and, while repeating the mantra “I think I can, I think I can”, overcomes a seemingly impossible task.
Like the Little Engine we need to continue pushing forward up the hill, realizing that the path behind us is getting longer and longer and the summit gets closer and closer. If we stop our efforts then we risk losing the experience that lies waiting for us ahead.
I am realizing that I am the train that can start at the bottom of the hill and try to barrel its way to the summit, fighting each distraction or trying not to lose my focus. My wife on the other hand is the type of person that wants to stop at every rest stop, she wants to learn the history of every unique detour. I am learning that even though our goal to reach the top of the mountain is the same, we need to work together to reach the summit.
Can we make this work? Am I willing to put forth the effort? I think I can, I think we can.