Saturday, January 17, 2009

Freedom and bonding

Yesterday I was thinking a lot about how my complete acceptance of Scott has brought us closer. I spent some time writing up my feelings in an email to a friend. It was like the spirit was guiding my thoughts and words. I did not intend for the email to be long, just short and supportive, but then the words started to flow and I could not stop them.

At times it would be nice to have a confirmation of some kind that gayness is not eternal. I would love to know that Scott will eventually be attracted to me and for eternity! But then I wonder if he will be the same wonderful person he is, or if losing that attraction would also change his personality and interests. I'm pretty sure that Scott's feelings will not change in this life, but I'm not sure that they will change in the next life either. Many of you guys have discussed this very topic on and off on your own blogs. I feel that Scott's gay feelings are actually an inherent part of his personality and interests, which are what I was attracted to about him in the first place, and what makes it so that we get along as well as we do. I personally like gay men best, and I feel that the benefits of being with Scott far outweigh any disappointments that come on occasion.

I have decided that the eternal possibility of being gay is not a question that Heavenly Father is going to answer for me right now. For some reason, I have to accept Scott for how he is without assuming that someday that will change. I am so grateful to have him in my life, and while sometimes I cringe at the thought that he is not attracted to me like I always thought he was, I have been able to move past that and just be grateful that he likes to be intimate with me because he truly wants me to be happy (and I believe it makes him happy as well, if for nothing else than to make me happy). I am also just so grateful that I am blessed with such a wonderful best friend as my eternal companion. At this point I have faith that God is leading my life and that I am where I am supposed to be right now, and whatever the future brings, whether Scott's gay feelings are set for eternity or not, I know that somehow everything will work out like it is supposed to.

It seems like one of the biggest problems in mixed orientation marriages is trust. I am so incredibly grateful that Scott was able to share his news to me (about being gay) within just a few weeks of discovering it himself. I know it was incredibly hard for him. He had no idea how I would react. In fact, we have had previous conversations that made him believe I would react badly and he was prepared for the worst. But as hard as it was, I was blessed to accept him. His parents believe that we were blessed to have this come into our lives after we had the time we needed to already have an incredible relationship with each other.

Of course our marriage wasn't without its lack of intimacy (and some conflict because of it) as most MOMs are, but I had already worked through the frustration and was beginning to accept that Scott is just not as horny as I am :), but that it didn't mean he didn't love me. I wanted him to seek a medical reason for it because he appeared to be as frustrated with it as I was. And then lo and behold, we find the answer, and in finding the answer, it made it easier to be intimate. It made it more selfless. Each of us became much more concerned about making the other person happy and much less about ourselves. We communicated more about what was good and what was not so good without worrying about hurting each other's feelings. With his revelation to me in July, our anniversary in August resembled our honeymoon. It was wonderful time together. Now our intimate life has slowed down again, but this time it is not so frustrating.

Okay, I didn't plan to put all that about our sex life in there, but there it is. Now back to the topic at hand. Trust.

So, as I was saying, I was lucky to have Scott fully communicate with me early on, but that does not mean I think any less of the men that are not yet able to be that open with their wives. It is SO hard for them. As I read blogs and communicate with other gay husbands, it seems to be such an overwhelming thing for them to be completely open with their wives about who they are. They do not feel like they have our complete trust until they can tell us anything about the things they think, feel, dream about, etc., and we are willing to listen and love them without passing judgment, acting hurt, or trying to give advice. And it is not easy to do! At times Scott has been hesitant to tell me something, but then I convince him to tell me anyway (like a dream he's had or something), and as he tells me, he is so worried that telling me will hurt me. And sometimes it does hurt a bit; at first it hurt a lot, but I tried my best to forget about myself, push my own pain away, so that I could be there for his pain. If he thought that it hurt me every time he tried to be open with me, then he would stop communicating with me so openly. And, as a result of his being so open with me, the hurt I used to feel when he told me things does not hurt as much any more. The pain is less and less as I realize how much he really does love me, really does not want to hurt me, and really is not responsible for the way he feels or thinks about things.

For some reason, God blessed me to know that I needed to love Scott unconditionally without trying to judge him or convince him of how he should live his life. The result has been that he has drawn closer to me, trusted me with all of his deepest, darkest secrets, and asked me for advice. I try not to tell him what I think he should do unless he asks for my opinion, and then usually I still turn it back to him to decide. I will usually say something like, "Whatever you think is best. I would suggest, though, that you pray about it to know that it is okay." The freedom that I give him helps him to have a greater desire to not be free from me. It increases the bond between us.

This same topic was mentioned by a couple of people on the Northstar friends and family list yesterday.

One thing a wise bishop once told me was that sometimes, when our loved ones are struggling more than we've ever seen them struggle before, and all we want to do is help in the worst way, sometimes that's what we do, we help, in the worst way. I know this may not apply to you, but it brought great comfort to my life. The bishop continued on and said sometimes all you can do is just let them know you love them, and let them fight through it themselves. Sometimes this is the case, and sometimes we need to intervene into their lives. I pray that you will have the divine guidance you are seeking to receive answers in how to help your son.

And another...

...But the advice you were given about loving them as they are is so valuable. I think this takes time to cultivate however, as you deal with initial hurt. I remember [someone] teaching a class in Evergreen saying how dare we try to deny our children their free agency. That really hit me. It has been easier in the years since. He talks to us more and is more open. I do believe that as we live the gospel more perfectly we will be blessed. And I do realize that this challenge is as much for our learning as theirs.

I feel like I am giving a talk or something, but "In closing" :), I just want to testify that I know these thoughts are so true, that as we allow our gay loved ones more freedom to choose their own path, that the bond between us can increase, and chances are greater that our open acceptance will more likely help them choose the path that WE want them to choose. Not always, but sometimes. And if they choose another path, it is not our job to judge them, but to love and support them unconditionally.

Wow. Serendipity. I am so grateful for my blog. :)

One last thing, married MoHos, and I know some of you are sick of me saying this, but tell your wives EVERYTHING, the sooner the better. You can't go back in time, but regret does not do any good at this point. Forget regret, or life is yours to miss! There is NO DAY BUT TODAY! (Thanks for the quote from Rent, D., it is my new motto!) Imagine how much of your lives you are missing by not telling and starting the healing and bonding that could be there for you! Of course, as always, follow the spirit to know what is best for your own life personally, because my advice may not be for you, but I am so grateful for it in my own life!

God bless!


Sparverius said...

Hey Sara. I admire you and your ability to move through confusion and hurt, to a place of understanding. Not everybody can.

I also just wanted to give my view on "gayness" for the eternities. I don't believe it exists. I believe we will possess all of the good, divine, eternal traits that make us who we are now, but in a perfect sense. Not muddled with human struggle, and natural or "unnatural" (however you want to view them)inclinations.

That's the confirmation I've received anyway. Maybe each person will have their own experience based on the desires of their hearts.

Ned said...

Sarah, thanks for this post. I'm so glad you and Scott have found ways to deal positively with this challenge.

My coming out experience with my wife was not as positive, yet we still have managed to deal with the intense feelings we both faced. I used to feel jealous of the affection she lavished on our children. Now I as I see what wonderful adults they have become, I am grateful for it. She has given me great freedom to participate in athletics and recreational activities which help me deal positively with my issues. Our marriage may not be ideal but we continue to find ways to appreciate each other and express our love

Silver said...

Wow! Sarah, I love your honesty and openness as well as your ability to see the issues clearly and without excessive emotion. You have a rare gift and a forgiving heart.

They say forgiveness is given, but trust must be earned. I have found that to be the case. We are three plus years into the struggle now, but it's so nice to be out and honest. Yet, I confess there is still much that I just don't tell her. I still fear her anger. She has told me at one point; "You may need open heart surgery, but I don't really want to watch the whole proceedure." I am grateful for the freedom she has given me to pursue my healing in the ways I need it. I am firmly convinced that each man must seek his own pathway to healing, with God as his guide. You are wise to see that you can't choose that pathway for him and I love your expression of faith in lieu of judgement.

Thank you so much for your woman's perspective. It helps me to know how to be a better support for her and how to be more responsible in my choices and more loving in my pursuit of knowledge.

You have said so much in this post, I feel my response is very, very inadequate. I am grateful for your insight and your willingness to share.

I wish you and Scott happiness and peace as you adjust to the new reality. I love my wife dearly and there is no way to value the years of sharing and struggle to raise these children we have. I assure you that he loves you more than you can imagine and as a husband I am sure that he is imensely grateful as well that you stand by him in this difficult, but rewarding journey.