The Disorganized Conspiracy
Earlier this week, I celebrated my thirty-third wedding anniversary, married to the lovely, talented, and magnificent former Miss Barbara Wade. I’m fortunate to have found whom I consider to be the best woman on the planet.
I often get a chuckle when someone describes a very minor accomplishment, and someone sarcastically replies, “And they said it couldn’t be done.” In the case of my marriage, “they” actually said that.They is made up of a lot of people. Not many people knew about my struggle with same-sex attraction when I got married, least of all me. Well, I knew about it. I knew about the things I had done. I knew about the feelings I had. I just didn’t put a name to it and didn’t allow myself to think about it.
The They who predicted marital failure were plentiful before I started consciously and deliberately striving to stay out of trouble with my same-sex feelings. After I went public with it and started talking about it on-line about fifteen years ago, They were joined by many others.
That means that there was the old-guard They and the neoThey. The message was basically the same, but for different reasons.
So, who were some of the ringleaders of the old guard? One bishop when I was single predicted that I would never have the respect of a wife and children. After a few years of marriage, one member of a bishopric was overheard telling someone else that they believed that in five years, the Goodes would be divorced. I never heard what the basis was for that prediction, but it didn’t come true.
Another couple, now divorced, observed to our faces that we weren’t sweet enough to each other. They said we needed to use little pet names for each other like they did. It would make all the difference in our marriage. I guess I don’t blame them. People often don’t “get” us.
Both of us said at one point that we didn’t want to marry a “Yes Dear”. We were happy to be two confident and somewhat stubborn people who knew what they wanted and were willing to stick up for ourselves with the other. It may have made for some rocky moments here and there, but while we’re still going strong, a lot of the Theys who said it couldn’t be done haven’t been able to do it themselves.
Admittedly, we are two very different people. See, for example, My Wife Never Takes a Shower, Why I Didn’t Like the New Star Trek Movie, and Creamy or Crunchy. We have different ways of doing things. We probably always will. Viva la différance!
Speaking of Star Trek movies, in the film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, there is a scene when the Klingon War Bird is invisibly landing in Golden Gate Park as two sanitation workers are dumping garbage into a truck. The older one is telling the younger one about an argument he had with his wife. The younger one asked why they stay together when they fight so much. The older one brilliantly answered, “Hey! I like the way she fights!”
I won’t entirely go that far with describing my feelings about arguments I’ve had with Barbara, but it’s close. I guess it’s not so much that I like the way she fights as that I like that she fights. She needs to fight. I need her to fight. I’d have zero respect for her if she just let my crap go unchallenged.
So, that brings us to the neoThey, the ones who started predicting failure after I started talking more publicly about my same-sex attraction. Sometimes it took the form of saying we should have never gotten married in the first place and some say that it’s only a matter of time. Some have said that the success of our marriage is evidence that I’m not dealing with homosexual feelings as much as bisexual feelings.
One They once said, “You’re just a frustrated bisexual going through a midlife crisis.” Well, it’s been one hell of a long midlife crisis and it started in my childhood, but what do I know? Aren’t They always right?
As for the “bisexual” label, I don’t know how you define it, but I’m happy to set the record straight about my feelings. I am attracted to only one woman. I am attracted to some degree to almost all men. To have a successful marriage, I didn’t need to become attracted to all woman. One was all it took.
Another record I want to set straight is the policy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding those who struggle with same-sex attraction getting married to someone of the opposite sex. It has been said, rightly so, that marriage to someone of the opposite sex is not to be done as a means of trying to cure same-sex attracted feelings and that priesthood leaders are not to encourage it on that basis. The Church does not say that same-sex attracted people should not get married to someone of the opposite sex. It should only be done for the same reasons any good marriage begins.
It would take me a very long time and a lot of space to list all of the arguments against my marriage and its success. They are still certain that I’m going to some day snap and ride off into the sunset with the man of my dreams. As attractive as that image may sometimes seem to me, I’m committed to the path I have chosen. It has brought me great happiness.
When They say that a homosexual man cannot ever be happy married to a woman, I am an annoying piece of evidence that They aren’t always right. So, They try to explain me away.
So, let me take a few minutes to give everyone a few pointers on a successful marriage. I’m sure you’ve heard all of the so-called Sunday School answers, so I won’t repeat them here. They’re all good. Do them. Here are more things to consider:
- Make it a policy to always let each other know where you’re going to be. I describe this in A Matter of Courtesy.
- Don’t stuff feelings. Instead, speak calmly about your feelings and tell each other where you’re coming from.
- Have a sense of humor. Be willing to laugh about stuff later.
- Forgive, forgive, forgive. Grudge-holding is unwise in any situation, but it’s death to a marriage.
And finally, don’t pay any attention to what They say. Find out for yourself what you need to do. Life is a long string of choices and you’re the one who has to deal with the consequences of those choices. Choose wisely and do what you do for your own reasons and not what They say. Always make it a matter of prayer.