I just replied to a friend who I met online a few years back – at that time he was an associate pastor at an MCC church, and I was convinced I was really straight… the tables have since been turned. Here are some excerpts from what I wrote to him:

Nothing in your response surprised me. I say this both honestly and humbly. I recognize that the path I am travelling is very dangerous. You say that I am destroying my family… I see it as trying to reconcile the conflict between these two issues in my life (Joe Dallas appropriately called this experience Desires in Conflict)

To be explicit, here are the two issues, two desires:

1. The desire to be honest and open about my sexuality, my sexual attractions and desires. To try to deny or suppress these, to believe (in spite of overwhelming evidence) that God had “healed” me, was, and is, no longer a tenable nor truthful proposition. I came to the point where, for the sake of integrity, I had to declare the truth of my homosexuality to myself and to the one who most needed my honesty, my wife.

2. The desire to be a faithful husband and father. I thought (for a short time) that I could only be a faithful husband if I removed myself from my marriage, and found a man I could be faithful to. Of course, I could yet take this option… but I have chosen to remain faithful in the marriage I am in. Part of my motivation for that decision has been my children. I recognize that one function of marriage is to provide a safe, loving and nurturing environment for children to be raised in. I do desire to put aside my personal interests and desires for the sake of the greater good of my family.

I am looking for a way forward, in which I can keep these paradoxical desires in balance.

Back in October, I did announce to my wife that I was leaving her. I did not follow-through on that decision. One reason was that she was courageous enough to speak to others in our church about this, and I soon experienced their love and support. I say “support” because they actually listened to how I was feeling and thinking without being presumptuous enough to point out my sin, or to tell me what would be the “right” thing to do.

One man did come out and tell me that I was destroying my family. This was right for him to say… the irony is that two weeks ago his wife left him, left his arrogance and emotional abuse. Without making any attempt at reconciliation, he served her divorce papers this week.

With what I have been through, it concerns me to think of a young man like yourself, still dealing with significant same-sex attractions, would consider getting married. But only you can make that decision. Regarding my own marriage, I think I was in love with the idea of marriage, I wanted to have children, and I did my best to find a woman with whom I thought I would be compatible. I have always loved her, but definitely agape or phileo, not eros. I would counsel any young person today that sexual attraction is as important an aspect of marriage as any other… without it you are looking for significant heartache in the future. In some ways I resent the fact that NONE of the people who knew about my same-sex attractions were willing to question me bluntly about my decision to marry. (okay, there were some cryptic questions that I chose to ignore)

Life goes on… I thought I had this sexuality thing figured out when I met you back in 2004. Obviously this journey will continue to take many twists and turns. My faith has been challenged in many ways. Another paradox is that my faith is stronger than it was four years ago, as are my doubts!