I have been very slow to write to you, following the avalanche of news items about your husband coming out as gay and leaving your family. There is so much – too much! – I have wanted to tell you, and too much anger for your sake to inflict so much on you. I hope you saw Janna Darnelle’s letter in Public Discourse; I thought it was a fine letter, but there are things I thought ought to be said, that Janna never said. Now perhaps enough dust has settled that you might be able to think more clearly and my own passion on the matter might not add to your difficulty, so I will say them.
My husband did not tell me, when he left, that he was gay. When I figured it out, meeting his new “best friend,” he scoffed and denied and generally behaved very badly. I suppose Trey has treated you more honorably in being honest – of a sort. He gets some props for that.
But that does not make what he has done okay. It doesn’t absolve him from his personal responsibility or his obligations to you, your children — and to God.
My imagination travels to your home, and how lonely and bleak things must have been for you, during the years of your marriage. People assume that homosexuality is about sex, when it’s about everything — every dimension of human relationship. I am lonely in my solitude, but I have never been so desperately lonely, so desolate in spirit, as I was during my marriage, when I wasn’t good enough even to be a companion and friend. All DH wanted from me was the “beard,” someone to hide behind; beyond that, he regarded me as pretty much useless. I expect your life was pretty bleak, too; I’ve never heard an ex-wife say her gay husband was an affectionate, companionable man.
Friends gave me some very good advice, which I pass on to you. It perplexed and confused me at first, but it was good counsel: do not deny the rage. At the time, I didn’t know what they were talking about; I was many things during those horrible days — frightened, worried, confused, depressed — but I couldn’t register anger. It was only a year later, when a dear friend suffered an unimaginable, obscene tragedy, that I experienced rage for him and his family, and, once the cork had popped, rage boiled out of me, years’ worth of rage. It boiled and festered, and it frightened me. But in retrospect, that rage gave me strength, and it is one of the things that kept me from a complete breakdown (to which I was frighteningly close). So do not deny the rage.
“Straight Spouse” “experts” will tell you that you should be happy for Trey’s declaration, for his decision to be “true to himself.” They say you must accept, support, and approve gay marriage in order to demonstrate support and love for your husband. I say that is a wicked lie; it is a self-immolation; it is a violation against yourself and your identity as Woman as well as Wife. We are free and independent and valued human souls, created in God’s image and bearing in our bodies and our feminine natures something of His own Character. We possess an intrinsic value in ourselves. Moreover, we are an inimitable and irreplaceable part of marriage. To support gay “marriage” is to betray ourselves and even the very vitality and glory of Marriage. Giving credibility, deference to a gay spouse’s choices is a violation of your worth and your dignity. You are not an interchangeable part. Your role as woman and wife is not one that can be substituted by a gay lover, not even in the “dominant-passive split” of gay relationships. I urge you to honor yourself — your own intrinsic value as Woman, as Wife. Do not sell yourself, do not betray yourself, for an agenda that is built upon holding Woman in disdain.
There are several things I must urge you to keep in clear view: Homosexuality is currently a very popular, lauded lifestyle choice, but it is physically, emotionally, and spiritually dangerous. I urge you to resist sentimentalism, in this period of your separation. You will surely be under a great deal of pressure to be “supportive,” but I want to tell you again: “support” is a lie. You cannot support a man in self-destructive behavior and be true to yourself or your promise to love, “for better or for worse.” This is the worst, and you must keep a clear head about you in order to survive, and survive well.
The gay lifestyle is dangerous. Gay men have a range of infections and physical disorders that the straight community never hears of, or imagines. The abuses they put their bodies under are brutal. There is nothing sweet or loving or “supportable” in any of it. And AIDS is on the increase again, in the gay community. So are other STDs, many of which are becoming drug-resistant. For a painfully honest look into what the gay lifestyle is really like, you might want to investigate the work of a man named Joseph Sciambra. The truth is unpleasant and painful to see, but in the Name of Love, I believe you need to look, anyway.
Gay men resent opposition. Brace yourself. You may be sorely tempted to go along to get along. I must tell you: it is not worth it. At least, it wasn’t worth it for me. I thought being kind and sweet and accommodating would win his trust and something akin to love. You will be told you must, you will be sorely tempted to go along with Trey’s decision in order to get along with him.
Something very ugly is happening, here. What you have gone through is, in strictly impersonal psychological terms, abuse. You have been used to protect and make “safe” a person who engaged you in this situation under false pretenses. The consequences to you of this use have been deemed unimportant — because it is predicated upon the presumption that you, yourself, are unimportant. Again, this is abuse. And the insistence that you must now deny your anger and your righteous sense of having been betrayed in order to “support” and even cheer your husband in his decision is a continuation and a perpetuation of that abuse. What is worse, you are being required — by the gay community and the “Straight spouse” group — to not only endorse the abuse, but to participate in inflicting yourself with that abuse by “supporting” Trey in his choices.
I beg you to be clear-thinking and to stand firm against that destructive idea. In fact, a friend said this to me, and I share it with you: you can’t get someone to heaven by encouraging their lies.
It can even come masquerading as “help.”You may hear or feel a little voice telling you that you must go along in order to wield influence with him. This temptation will masquerade itself as a false heroism: that you and you alone have the power to save him from himself. This is a false heroism because, as a man, he must own responsibility for his own choices, he must stand on his own two feet. You might say, “I believe in your better self,” but you are fooling yourself when you think that you, and the power of your love for him, can help him to achieve that better self.
If he were capable of that love, he would never have left his family for the gay community.
No matter what the revisionists say, Homosexuality is neither normal nor is it an acceptable choice for a Christian. Sexual depravity is part and parcel of pagan culture, explicitly and unquestionably forbidden by God. Deconstructionists and revisionist are playing a nasty and deceitful game to deny this, but history and sociology support the traditional Biblical view of heterosexual monogamy and chastity as normative, and the solely acceptable choice for the Christian disciple.
There are no easy answers for the challenges you face. Janna urged you to fight for your children. I second this. You will have to face the fact that perhaps Trey would never willfully hurt your children, but you cannot assume that his chosen companions will be conscientious. Some of them will prey upon your sons, they will scorn and ridicule your daughters. The wounds inflicted on my daughters by their father are enormous; I thank God! that we did not have sons who might have been preyed upon by his friends. We had a neighbor who did not protect his son from his friends, and the result has been more than tragic. Fight for your children.
None of this is easy, and I do not have Janna’s sweet and gentle spirit. I am angry for your sake and for your children’s. This may seem excessive to you, even this far out from the initial shock. But I am with you in this bizarre sorority, and in our shared suffering.