Thursday, February 18, 2010

Conclusions drawn after being married to a gay man

Yesterday I ran into an old friend, and for this blog I will call her Ellie. I should say, "a friend I've known for some time." She's not old, even if we both qualify for the senior discount at the movies! Maybe I have a bad memory, because Ellie recalled that the last time we ran into each other, I told her I was dating someone I described as, "Definitely NOT GAY." Back when I dated that guy, I was too consumed with him to remember that fleeting conversation, but when prompted about it, I did remember. (Honest, my memory runs worse and worse - just ask my kids, but I'm STILL claiming the "not old" designation, got that?)

One of our mutual friends had let me know that Ellie was once married to a gay man. For some reason, even though it seems everyone in our town (with our church connections) certainly knows about Ray (my former husband) coming out, Ellie had never mentioned it, even when we have connected at get-togethers when she could have.

As for myself, I really wanted to talk about her experience, compare a note or two, and possibly connect with another ally. That motivation led me to ask Ellie, "Did you know?" She proceeded to tell me that at least once before they were married, a friend had stated, "Well, you know he's gay, don't you?" But, like others before and since, she blew that off in ignorance because she was in love.

Ellie went on to say that the subject came up again, later, but her then-husband waved away the question so that he didn't have to answer. And, finally, there was the evidence: phone calls, trips, letters, and ultimately there was proof. Yes, her husband was gay. Because he'd been unfaithful, they soon divorced after having been married less than 5 years.

Of course I sympathized. She'd lost her love, her hopes, her future with him. I was sad for them both, and wished Ellie had not had to live with this hurt. To myself I wondered what ever happened to him - in our talk he was nameless. It made me sad to think of the hopes dashed, the questions of "why?" and how we go forward, smiling, yet explaining to ourselves in ways that make sense.

She asked me about my life, "What about you? Did you know?" "How long did you know?" And she also asked, "Did Ray ever go to Exodus?" I know I must have frowned and said, "No, and I'm so glad he didn't...It would only have made him feel worse...I don't think it would have helped, since change isn't possible. If it were, Ray would have changed."

Soon we got to the point where she and I no longer had things in common...It was when she said, "...But if someone really wants to change, I believe God will change them." And, "Haven't you heard of Dennis Jernigan? He has 9 kids."

Oh, my, gosh. Just the day before I had been writing an entry about how I am NOT convinced that by Dennis Jernigan's marriage and his 9 kids, that he is any way straight. I stopped writing and then didn't publish what I had, because I don't feel it's in anyone's best interest to comment on his personal life. Ellie was surprised at my reaction. She actually believes he's not gay.

You may be asking, Why does this interaction bear mentioning in Carol's blog?

It's because I keep wondering: How can a former wife of a gay man, having married him with love and commitment, logically come to the conclusion that he would be drawn to men rather than oneself? Wouldn't you rather realize that it was an inherent attraction to something OTHER than anything you can be? Isn't it more reasonable to understand that you are NOT the problem? Or, rather than being "not the problem," doesn't it feel better to know that you can't possibly be the solution?

I really hesitate to write more about Gayle Haggard, (wife of Ted Haggard) who is on a book tour to promote her book, "Why I stayed." I don't really want to write about whether or not Dennis Jernigan is straight or gay, or about anyone else who has a personal life that they deserve to preserve and protect. (Mr. Jernigan is a Christian worship song-writer, who claims he was healed from being gay, says he was "called to marry" his wife, and has fathered nine children.) Those two are just a fraction of mixed-orientation couples holding out false hopes of change, or at the least are living in denial. In those cases, in obscure blogs, such as Robert's "thearchitectsgarage" some claim to have overcome same-sex-attraction. (I still can't figure what he's trying to say or convince others of.) I just don't buy those claims. HOWEVER, when I see Ms. Haggard on the Today show, or read a published "testimonial" online, and when they go public, write blogs (or weird narratives) for other people in the same situation, I DO feel like I have the obligation to speak out on the conclusions that I have made.

Today I cried thinking about the families who have established themselves upon the doomed foundation of mixed-orientation couples, expecting change to occur. Some live monogamously, for long periods of time, abstaining from gay connections, and they declare that they are "cured." It is NOT my intention to break up these families! However I feel strongly that the right thing to do is to admit that the "gay-ness" or the same-sex-attraction, or whatever you want to call it, doesn't go away.

It seems redundant to keep saying it, but just don't claim to have prayed it away. Willing yourself to live a straight life is NOT the same as being straight. Remember, it's not what you do, it's about who you ARE.

What am I trying to say? If you are married, live with integrity. Honor your spouse, raise your kids. Be truthful. Don't lie. Be faithful. Live honestly.

And if you know (or are coming to terms with the fact that) you are gay and are NOT yet married to someone of the opposite sex, please do the same things: Live with integrity. Be truthful. Don't lie. Live honestly. And don't think that marrying a straight partner will solve or change your sexual orientation.

Can I be any clearer?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Loud and clear, dear friend. I just wish my husband had been able to live with integrity instead of goind wild and dishonoring us both.

I was talking with a psychologist who told me some gay men engage in hypermasculine behavior to try and prove their straight-ness. They skydive or drag race or ride Harleys. And some father lots of children because how can they be gay when they have so many offspring? It's sad because those children will be living in the same lie as the gay man and his straight, head-in-the-sand spouse.

ajayfabulous said...

Willing yourself to live a straight life is NOT the same as being straight.
That is very true and well said..

Tim Morris said...

Ray lived with integrity and was ready to commit suicide. Christ didn’t fail, the false teachings of a church community that rejects medical study and truth to hold on to a belief that their God can do anything failed not only Ray, but Carol and thousands of couples like them.
Just because allot of people believe something does not indicate the reality or truth of the teaching.
The medical studies show us sexual orientation does not change and except for a few gay men making money saying they are straight Gay people will tell you their orientation will not change, Gay Christians that have spent years seeking change will tell you orientation does not change.
Who do “Christians” listen to? People that don’t need to change. For God’s sake, don’t listen to the queer, they want to be gay.
I can see why so many people don’t believe in God with so many Christians walking around with their head up their ass. But that’s been their trademark for years. No offence.
And if you are straight and don’t agree with these right wing nuts you might as well be gay, because they will treat you the same. LEPER!!!!

Tim Morris said...

Willing yourself to live a straight life is NOT the same as being straight.

T-shirt material

Jarred said...

"...But if someone really wants to change, I believe God will change them."

I think that is one of the most hurtful and insulting statements out there. And I speak as someone from personally experience. When we first realize we are gay, many of us initially do want to change. We try hard. We pray. We beg. We go to therapy. We join "ex-gay" ministries. And we find ourselves still gay. And we find ourselves even more miserable than when we first started.

To watch someone go through all of that and then simply imply -- or worse, state outright -- that they simply "didn't want it badly enough" or "didn't try hard enough" is insulting. It's insulting to the point of cruelty and inhumanity.

Anonymous said...

After coming from Wikipedia and finding out that you have a blog, I looked at this entry with dismay. Even if you deleted about what you WERE going to say Dennis Jernigan, why even talk about it here? Just to at least HINT at the possibility?

Why hide behind a blog? Why not just speak at an MCC and out the Christian celebrities you think are gay? After all, they do it all the time at parades, why not? Just the mere hint calls for gossip. But I guess since you support your husband on his behavior, I guess you can tear that sin off the Bible too.

If that sounds harsh, it was meant to be. I had a girlfriend who later became a lesbian, and she treated me with crap. No sympathy if you let your ex-husband manipulate like that.

Carol said...

Dear Anonymous,

I mentioned Dennis Jernigan because in his testimony he claims to have been healed from being gay. My point is that just because he is married and has a big family does not prove that he is straight. Some people believe having a child with another person proves straightness. That isn't true.

It is justified to make a comment on D.J. because he publicly makes this claim, and because several people have cited D.J.'s experience, and recommended that Ray talk to him. I don't know D.J., but have met him. I never made any assumptions about his personal life, but he makes the claims himself. I just don't believe someone can pray away the gayness.

I'm sorry you were treated badly by your girlfriend, but I doubt that she "became a lesbian" after she went with you. She was probably trying to see if she could live a straight life with you, and found it unnatural for her true sexual orientation.

Your last comment about manipulation, I have no idea what you are talking about. I am not manipulated by anyone.

Carol

Carol said...

a couple more notes to the most recent anonymous:

I am not hiding behind a blog. My name and my picture are both displayed, and I speak publicly in support of people who are glbt.

I don't "out" people.

Being gay is not a sin. I am not spreading gossip. And I try my best not to be mean.

Carol

Anonymous said...

what is done with "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.?"

I don't believe having "gay" tendencies is wrong any more than being prone to acoholism, but the Bible clearly says that acting on those temptations is wrong. We are all born sinners according to the Bible and struggle with different sin temptations, but we do not sin until we give into those temptations and the Bible says that God does not tempt us so we can't blame Him for our sin issues. Also, the Bible does say that freedom is possible, but it never says it is about wanting it bad enough or not, we just have to be willing to serve the Lord faithfully, surrendering every aspect of our lives to Him and relying on His strength not to fall into sin (including glutteny, drunkeness, envy, and homosexual lifestyles), and repenting and turning away from our sin if/when we fail.

Carol said...

It's obvious that you want to bring up your own issues, so I will attempt to share what I've learned. Perhaps you will see it, but it will most likely cause further opposition, because you are not trying to understand or love your friends, family members, or co-workers who are gay. Please, I ask, I beg, to try to see this from their point of view.

The first thing I do with the verse you quote, is that I look to the original meanings. You, I'm assuming, are using the part about "homosexuals" and indicating that by your interpretation, they won't get into the Kingdom of God.

There are whole books written that describe "Kingdom of God." Some will tell you that it is in the future, while others indicate a presence that is expected if one is a believer. I'm not sure which way you fall, but it's NOT about getting into Heaven.

Next, because I'm not a Greek scholar (at ALL) I look to others who are. From, "What the Bible says and doesn't say about Homosexuality," by Mel White: "Greek scholars say that in first century the Greek word malaokois probably meant "effeminate call boys." The New Revised Standard Version says "male prostitutes."

As for arsenokoitai, Greek scholars don't know exactly what it means -- and the fact that we don't know is a big part of this tragic debate. Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of "the effeminate call boys." We might call them "dirty old men." "

It will interest you to know - or maybe you already know - that the word homosexual was coined only as recently as 1958, and I again quote Mel White: "In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time."

For those who are dealing with being gay, it isn't something that they can separate from like you can for any "temptation" as you describe. It is as much a part of them as your own sexuality, which, I'm assuming, is straight. If you have never had to come to terms with being different than the other 90% of the population, then you should realize this.

And for you to come against someone who is being HONEST, rather than hiding the truth about who they are, I find that offensive. Listen, hear what people who are gay say about it, and you will reaize they are speaking the truth. If you can't deal with that, at the very least you have no right to speak against them.

Anonymous said...

I'm heart broken by your response. Just being honest. I am trying to come to the Scripture without any bias and allow God to communicate what He intended whether or not I like it (I studied Greek and Hebrew for four years in order to understand better). There are some very hard things in Scripture and in our current time this is one of the choice Scriptures that people would like to ignore. It is possible to try to understand where people are coming from and their hurts without condoning their actions. As long as I believe the Bible is against it I will not begin supporting it. That doesn't give me license to not love people that struggle with any type of sin including myself but it is no way gives me license to call sin anything other than what it is. And not that I want to belabor the point, and I want you to know that I am not condemning you, I am just saddened by what you have come to believe after someone you loved "came out," in your seeking to love, understand and resulting in accepting their sin instead of encouraging them towards godliness. I know that you love him and are seeking to figure that out in a tangible way how to still love and care about him and make sense of your whole married life but the way you are choosing is not the only way and I think you know that.

Carol said...

Anonymous - you are not hearing me. I'm seriously doubt you have a broken heart over my life or situation, nor because of the response I gave. The ones I referred to as honest are ones who have had the courage to say who they really are, to "come out" of their closet of hiding, from their closet of hating themselves, from their closet of denial.

This isn't just about Ray and my marriage, although because it was that close to me, it caused me to UNDERSTAND others.

I've gone through a huge change to be where I am, and I don't think you are willing to do that. In fact, that is what you stated. I was, and I will keep on choosing to stand up for people who happen to be gay.

Carol

deb said...

Dear 'anonymous',

I'm curious about why you say Carol hides behind a blog when she is public with her name, her intent, and even her photo, yet you are criticizing (attacking?) her from behind 'anonymous'.

This topic seems to mean a great deal to you, as you've posted several times on this one post. (This is if all the posts marked anonymous are all from the same person.)

What I don't understand is why you believe God is against gay people being in relationships. I would be interested to know how you feel about divorce: if you know anyone who is divorced, has been divorced, maybe you are divorced or used to be divorced.

I don't understand people who are so completely opposed to gay people being in relationships when Jesus never said a word against same-sex relationships, but he spoke many times about divorce. So, why are gay relationships the focus? It seems to me that people attack easy targets. There are fewer gay people than divorced straight people, so gay people make an easy target.

If all the negative focus is on gay people, the rest of the people can ignore the rest of what is in the Bible (if they claim to follow every single rule).

Anonymous said...

Deb:

Nice try, but these are from multiple people. I've only posted once (the one who I felt she was hiding). However, if Carol doesn't really "out" people, I still believe she shouldn't mention certain individuals and then develop an opinion about them.

Oh, and by the way, I don't have a blogger account, so I have to be anonymous. You can call me Chris though.

deb said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for clarifying. :)

I can't speak for Carol, but for myself, I'm not for 'outing' people either. However, I believe people who have great influence should be held accountable for their hurtful actions. I'm speaking of people who live in a way that causes harm to gay people (like anti-gay politicians who are leading a secret double life or anti-gay religious figures, like closeted gay ministers and singers who preach and teach an anti-gay message).

It's one thing to choose to live in a heterosexual marriage, whether or not you are actually straight. It is another thing to make it your business to use your influence to tell people that gay=sin and it is something that needs to be forgiven or healed, when that is not at all true.

I understand that there are many gullible people who believe what they are told when the person bringing the message is an authority figure. It's a shame that there are people who use their power to harm others, but it happens. It is especially ironic when they are living a double life ... think of Ted Haggard, if you need a name here. (I see him also as a casualty of anti-gay teaching in the church.)

People who don't fit the 'norm' of being naturally drawn to male-female relationships need someone like Carol who will speak up and act as an advocate, a voice, and an encouragement. Gay people (glbt people) who are constantly given the "You're not good enough," (or worse) message need to hear that the 'ex-gay' message is a lie. Even the 'ex-gay' people admit that they still have the same feelings, they just choose to marry someone of the opposite sex anyway.

Carol will be the first to tell you that there is no special honor in pretending to be straight, and using a wife and children as 'proof' of it. Clearly, many people married during a time when there was NO acceptance of gay people, and they believed that they would 'turn straight' if they married. They were told wrong, and marriage did not change their sexual orientation. Carol begs people not to marry with the hope that it will make them change their orientation, because she knows sexual orientation is part of who a person IS, not something he or she DOES.

What about Ray? He could have chosen to lie about his sexual orientation after he could no longer hide it from himself. He could have pretended to be straight. If he had done that, he would still be a much-loved Christian singer. But, he chose to be honest, and those who loved his music turned against him, spewing all kinds of (much less than Christian) bile his way. In some ways, it might have been easier to pretend to be straight and save his reputation in the church. He chose to be honest.

Carol said that having children is no proof of sexual orientation. And, she said she would not have mentioned D.J., but D.J. talks about his sexuality, and misleads people when he tells them it is possible to change one's sexual orientation.

You can change what you DO. You can pretend to be something you are not. But, you can't change who you ARE and who you love. I would ask any straight person to CHOOSE to be gay for a month, choose to be attracted to persons of the same sex and not people of the opposite sex, and if they're straight, they won't be able to do it. It seems so simple, and so obvious, but people don't want to look at the obvious.

This has been long and rambling, but I totally support what Carol is doing with this web page. I don't think Carol feels a need to 'out' people. I think what she is trying to do is advocate for those who are confused by all the wrong messages they've been taught about 'gay'. She's putting herself out there as an advocate and a friend. She never chose to be "the ex-wife of a gay man", but she is, and she is using her insight and her heart to help many.

Ala said...

"state outright -- that they simply "didn't want it badly enough" or "didn't try hard enough" is insulting"
I can imagine how insulting it can be, one thing is difficult to imagine for me though, how insulting this must be to God who said " Lev 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.",Why would He call this life style an abomination, if it is not, in your opinion? Why did He create man and woman in the first place? It doesn't say God created gay! Why are you lying to yourself and to all?
Sorry I am not trying to be mean but I really cannot believe that you are being honest with yourself, and with others.
If you don't think that homosexuality is mentioned in the Bible, immorality is. Saying that you cannot become straight equals with calling God a liar because in His Word He tells us the opposite.I know I cannot change your mind, but what really hurts is that you influence other people poisoning their mind with these lies. Sorry if it sounds too harsh but to me it is the truth.

Anonymous said...

It is a simple and clear matter that you, Carol, are deceived. To say; "being gay is not a sin" shows not only your ignorance & dismissal of clear biblical truth & theology, but also of the manipulation of truth to fit one's own desires & beliefs. Homosexuality is sin whether you believe it or not.
You also say "I feel" several times in regards to important matters. One's feelings are not an effective compass in pointing toward truth. Fact is the plumbline of truth and the fact is that homosexuality is condemned by God as sin. It is also a fact that the deception of the enemy (satan), can be overcome with truth. Truth is the power of God, Believing truth is the means by which lovers of Jesus defeat deception & lies. Dennis is quick to admit, even recently, that he is tempted to believe the lie of the enemy that he is gay. No man or woman is born gay, it is always a choice, no matter the whims of severly-inconclusive medical & scientific "evidence" (all of which is highly speculative, theoretical, and severely flawed). Take it from a PHD biological research scientist. The truth regarding the "evidence" would boggle your mind in the way is tailor-fit, changed, and warped to fit within the desires of the gay "christian" community, who want with all their heart & "mind" to believe the lies which comfort them & prevent them from choosing the narrow road, that gay is 100% a choice influenced by conditions (mainly within childhood, parenting & real-life experiences) which are able to be dismantled by the truth and power that Jesus provides today in this world which are available to any who will believe. It is the pinnacle of untruth, speculation and lack of insight that you say Dennis Jernigan is gay, living in denial, and actually lies about his very real deliverence from homosexuality. There are thousands of formerly-gay followers of Jesus who now believe and live in the truth, that the sin of homosexuality is (just like my own sin and choice of 25 years of drug addiction) able to be cast down, rendered powerless, and defeated by the same power that created the universe and raised Jesus Christ from the dead. That truth is far more real than your feelings, or the house-built-on-sand belief system that coddles, accepts, promotes, and "celebrates" the dispicable, abhorrent and life & truth-destroying evil sin of anything homosexual.
Anonymous because in my position, mentioning my former drug addiction could have career-damaging implications.

Carol said...

Wow, and you think I'M deceived.

Dave said...

Anonymous--Hog wash that there are thousands of "formerly gay followers of Jesus." Exodus International is falling apart with follow up studies that show the only "cured" members were the folks that were paid staff members. Many of those are now in gay relationships. The old success stats lacked longitudinal legitimacy. It is easy to be ex-gay after an emotional pep rally that “prays or cheers away the gay.“ Their "success" rate is appalling…with many former leaders apologizing for the pathology they produced in those subjected to false hopes. Carol is trying to speak truth in love so people will accept the way they are created rather than creating some lie that a heterosexual family is possible with a gay spouse. Sadly, this narrow view you support of our creator means any child of yours that was created gay will be nine times more likely to commit suicide.

Carol said...

Thank you, Dave.