Readers, I stand corrected. It’s not very often, nor is it very easy for me, but I am here to humble myself.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about mixed orientation marriages. I admit that it was written from a place of confusion, a bit of hurt, and a lot of judgment. I really need to stop pretending like I have all the answers. One reader, a woman from my first ward in Lawrence, offered this in response to my post:
I’m dizzy after reading your post…The only one of the stories I’m familiar with is the one posted by Josh Weed. I think though that his wife would disagree with the statement that she was denied access to fulfilling sexual and emotional relationships. I don’t think that she lacks anything in her relationship. I agree that people who enter into a straight marriage in an effort to repress their gayness is a terrible idea. Trying to hide who you are is not the way to overcome anything. On the other hand, marriage is about a LOT more than sexual gratification. In Josh Weed’s story he and his wife married because they knew all about each other but loved each other and wanted to be together forever. They were best friends. That is the best scenario for a good marriage…not sexual desire or compatibility (I hope I’m not sounding argumentative…I’m not trying to be). As for the children…I think an open and honest relationship where both spouses accept and support each other and are dedicated to the relationship is what children need. Open communication in a family helps children learn to think for themselves, be accepting of others, and gives them the courage to talk with their parents if they find themselves facing a similar struggle. I’m sorry that you have felt like discussions on the family haven’t been meant for you. I teach primary and any time there is a lesson that discusses the family the lesson manual cautions that there are many types of families and to be sensitive to all types of family situations. You were raised by people who love you and they are your family…that shouldn’t be an issue. I greatly admire gay members of the church who, because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their desire to follow the prophet, stay in the church. I know that it is difficult and if they can be like Josh Weed and have a fulfilling marriage, I think that is great. For those who choose a different path…that is great too. In the end it is not for me to decide if someone’s personal decisions are right or wrong. I admire anyone who chooses to live their beliefs, no matter how they choose to do that. That includes those whose beliefs are different than mine.”
Sandra, thank you. I needed to hear all of that. I needed to be reminded that in an effort to tell my story and to have my story be valid and worth being heard, I cannot invalidate another human being’s story. Who am I to say that their marriage and their family is less valid than mine or less real than if he married a man and she married a straight man? That is absolutely not my call and it was presumptuous and way way way wrong of me to indicate otherwise.
Lolly, Josh.. please forgive me. I’m still learning. I’m learning how to share my story and how to share my life. I mess up and I have the help of amazing women like Sandra to help me out along the way.
I stand by my comments in my last post regarding the story of children:
As a human being, I long for the world where children are born to families who choose them. I pray for the world that my future gay and straight children are free to love the lover they choose for themselves. I resent the world that forced my parents into a marriage they couldn’t sustain. As a human being, I know that encouraging (either directly or culturally) a gay man or woman into a heterosexual marriage is harmful, hurtful, dangerous, and wrong.
I know this is true. I know so hard this is true. Sandra also helped me understand that Josh and Lolly are living in a way that brings them joy and in a family they chose.
I said in my last post that:
I will never stop defending the right of men and women to marry the person who brings them the most joy, who fulfills them, who loves them. I will never stop fighting for a future in which children can be born to families that love them and that want them and are ready for them.
Josh and Lolly, this means you, too. I don’t know if I believed that on my first post. I judged, and I was wrong. I will never stop defending your right to marry the person who brings you the most joy, who fulfills you, and who loves you, even if I don’t understand it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for reminding me that families look different and different families are just as valid.
We have a story to tell and our stories are worth it.
So much love,