"Why I pursued marriage"
When given the title for this article: ‘Why I pursued marriage’, I thought, “that’s simple, I didn’t!” But, as I’m married, that probably needs to be expanded on a little.
I had come to terms with my same-sex attraction in my 20s and was at peace with singleness. I explained to my friends that I didn’t want to be ‘set up’ with anyone, and I was fully expecting that this was how my life would look. Part of that was an increased openness to people about my sexuality. Where previously I had been careful not to get too close to people (either to avoid awkward questions about my singleness, or to avoid giving the wrong impression and inadvertently leading people on), I was now happier to share my testimony early on in friendships. So, I felt able to get close to women, and not fear that they would mistake my friendship for romantic interest.
What happened next was exactly that. I got close in friendship with my now wife, but then slowly realised my feelings for her were more than just friendship. It was a surprise in my early thirties, and I was fearful of pursuing it, and worried about hurting her or being rejected, but I confided in close friends and worked out that I needed to explain how I was feeling to her.
When I finally plucked up the courage to do that, she was naturally surprised. To my relief (!) though, she was willing to give dating a go. We were pretty private about our relationship to start with, not wanting the pressure of other people’s expectations to interfere, and we let things develop slowly. There was a lot of talking, and we were very honest with each other about our concerns and expectations. We were unhurried in our dating, both thinking about marriage but wanting to be absolutely sure we were ready for the long haul! It was hugely helpful for us to speak with others about our relationship, and our hopes and fears. We each had people we talked to individually, but we also spoke with another TFT couple about their marriage experience. They gave us great advice, applicable to all married or dating people, of being open and honest, and being clear about each of our ‘worst-case scenarios’. The question was discussed and worked through, “Who am I when I’m at my worst, what does that look like, and would you be able to live with that?” We spoke about sex, knowing there was not an option to explore that before marriage, but being honest about our expectations, hopes and fears. That made clear some absolutes for us and things that needed to be non-negotiable.
These conversations were quite heavy at times, but they were also a special time of being vulnerable with each other, as well as growing in our love and trust for each other.I had heard from different people about the challenges and joys of marriage from the perspective of being same-sex attracted. So we went in with eyes open and very prayerfully. We’re in our third year of marriage and, like all marriages, we have to work at it. There are plenty of occasions where forgiveness is necessary, but we have seen God at work in us. Obviously, our relationship is our own, and others might well look different, but we found the following to be essential in our journey to marriage: openness, honesty, vulnerability, and seeking wise counsel from trusted others. Prayer too, of course, but that definitely isn’t just for married people!
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