it’s about character

I went to the Str8s meeting in my area this past weekend.  In retrospect, I was incredibly nervous and stressed about it – I think I was afraid it would be like the email list I’m a part of: negative, slightly bitchy, and a time where spouses are bashed.

I could not have been more wrong.

This group was made up of men and women – almost equally divided – whose spouses had either come out of the proverbial closet during their marriages or who were struggling with SGA in some format or another.  Some of the women were “smokescreens” – that is to say their husbands don’t want to be known as “gay,” and thereby remain married but largely uninterested in a heterosexual marriage.  I was not there in that capacity (thankfully) and when asked to share my story, I did.

I explained that unlike many of them, my husband was struggling with an unwanted SGA and didn’t desire to live a gay lifestyle or engage in sex with men.  He was working to the core of his issues and we were seeing a good therapist in a town close to us.  He had struggled most of his life, unbeknownst to me prior to marriage, and he and I are committed to making our marriage work.  He is far more interested in building our future and life together than reminiscing over his past mistakes.  I explained my frustration with being in a place of political tug-of-war: the left tells me that I’m being selfish to *not* “let him” (as if I could prevent this from happening?!) come out of the closet – that he would be happier if I “let him” do this.  It makes no difference to them that he doesn’t want to do this or that it would destroy our family – he & I are merely pawns in a larger political landscape.  And then the right tells me that somehow this is my fault.  That if I was a better wife, he wouldn’t struggle this way.  My trailing comment was, “What the hell…?”

The group co-leader said with no uncertain terms, “That’s when you have to stop listening to the political interests in this discussion and do what’s right for you.”  Many other members of the group echoed these sentiments saying that they were divorced, but that my path had to be right for *me* – that they couldn’t tell me what the right thing to do was/is.  They wouldn’t judge me for choosing to stay with my husband – they wouldn’t condemn me.  They would, however, support me in whatever path I chose.

The group’s leader then spoke up and told me a tale – her story – that could have ended differently, if her ex-husband had chosen to be a stand-up guy, admit his faults and cheating, and chosen to get help and be faithful.  It was a Tale of Two Endings – one that had a marriage reconciled due to honesty, integrity, and repentance; the other which ended in a divorce that has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the participants.  And then she said these oh-so-wise words, “It’s got nothing to do with orientation; it’s all about character.  Gay, straight, bi- … if the person has character, orientation makes little difference.”

Hmmm.

I pondered that one for a few days and realized how true it is.  I don’t think it matters if you struggle with SGA, porn addiction, infidelity, or some other addiction: if you have character and are willing to deal with your shortcomings and problems, it’s infinitely easier to salvage your marriage and start fresh with God’s help.

I am married to a man who struggles with same-gendered attraction.  He has screwed up (big time) in the past.  But he owns up to his mistakes and doesn’t lie about them – he has decided that healing is his goal and saving our marriage is tantamount.  He has character.  Many women who deal with this issue and are on the email list I mentioned previously are married to assholes.  Pardon the strong language – but if you cheat on your spouse, expose her to disease, and do some of the things these men have done, you’ve earned the title.  And if you’ve lied about it continually, you lack character.  Which is the main struggle and what helps flip these women over to bitterness and anger.

I think I’ll go back to another support group meeting in a few months.  My husband was quite nervous about me attending, fearing that I would become embittered towards him.  As I left the neighborhood, I texted him a short note:

Take care of my heart.  I’ve left it with you.

I wanted to leave no room for concern that I was taking my heart from him or that I would allow seeds of discontentment or bitterness take root in it.  He texted me back:

I will.  I will guard it with my life.

I’m not foolish enough to think that this is all behind us – not by a long shot.  But I think we’re walking down the path – together.

His and his,
~Cori.

This entry was posted on 102056H Mar 2009 and is filed under Forgiveness, Path to Healing, Pornography, Sexual Brokenness, SSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.