Oops, I got a little sidetracked there . . . This post is supposed to be about me, not the imaginary man of my dreams.
I distinctly remember imagining to myself as a teenager that I would be the PERFECT husband and father for my wife and kids. While I am admittedly pretty great :), this was not really a narcissistic dream, but rather a goal for how I would treat the woman of my dreams and the children we would bear. I get the feeling that straight, male teenagers don't think ahead about stuff like this, so maybe this should have been a sign for me. I thought ahead about a lot of things growing up and was generally really mature for my age.
I remember a wise priesthood leader giving a lesson, probably about how to treat women, during which he told of knights and chivalry. He even gave us a little bookmark with the rules of chivalry listed on it. It had a big impact on me and added to my dreams of being the perfect, chivalrous man. Boy did I miss the boat somewhere along the way . . . Somehow I have turned out to be the worst possible husband and am avoiding fatherhood like the plague.
Knights are supposed to . . .
- Be brave and protect women, children, the weak and defenseless . . . Sadly, I am not brave. The mechanic is my arch nemesis and he can soundly defeat me and my pocketbook with a few big words that send me into a complete panic.
- Fear God and maintain His Church . . . Sadly, I have been far more faithless since being married than I have ever been before. I vainly hope that the church's doctrine will change so I don't have to.
- At all times speak the truth . . . Sadly, I have had to stretch the truth on more than one occasion. I walk a fine line between telling my wife what I really think and feel and protecting her from truths that would be too painful to hear.
Oops, I got a little sidetracked again. This post was not supposed to be about knights either.
Last night we had a very open heart-to-heart conversation and I could not help but think about what a terrible husband I am.
Anonymous left a comment on my last post that included some links to audio/video of Dr. William Bradshaw that I was reviewing yesterday. I was listening far enough away from my wife so she would not be able to make out the content of the audio. At one point she came in to be near me and I did not want to act like I was hiding something (which I am at times accused of) so I let it keep playing. She spoke approvingly of his admonition for members of the church to be more considerate towards our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and other things that she listened to. Later that evening she asked if she could pose a few difficult questions. Let me interject here that I often do not give my wife nearly as much credit as she deserves. I do not think that a gay man could ask for a more supportive straight wife. She has come to realize that I have an unfortunate, repeated habit of turning off completely (mentally, emotionally, socially) if I am abruptly asked to talk about heated topics. Consequently, she frequently asks if I am in a state of mind to field some of her questions that might cause a little friction. I obliged.
She started out by asking me how someone could not realize that he is gay for decades. At first I gave a very vague, jumbled response about how, especially for members of the church, we are raised to not even have that option enter into our consciousness. We are told that such "choices" are sinful, so as faithful, believing latter-day saints we often cannot even imagine that such a thing could even possibly be the source of things not lining up in our lives. I then decided that I would give her a little glimpse into my own life, but I preceded it by asking if she was ready to hear things that are difficult to hear. In telling my own story I mentioned that I had watched man on man porn many, many times before coming to the realization that I was attracted men. In fact, it was about two years after becoming heavily involved in gay porn that I was forced to realize that my primary attraction is towards members of my own gender.
She later asked me why pornography is enticing/tempting. How do you answer a question like that!?!? I quickly realized that her asking this was very innocent in nature. She literally had no idea why seeing naked people would have such an appeal. I don't think I did a very good job of explaining except in saying that males are much more likely to be aroused by visual stimuli while she is much more partial to things like cuddling and hearing kind words. I HATE talking about this subject with her because the first time I admitted to having looked at such online after being married she was so heartbroken and her crying and wailing was so soul-wrenching I thought my soul would break in half and disintegrate into the dust of eternal damnation at any second. Yet somehow, she has calmed down quite a bit since then and was very receptive and did her best to understand what I was saying.
We talked for hours about a great many things and throughout the conversation she expressed such an unparalleled outpouring of love for me. She told me that she knows that I am still in love with Greg (my straight friend that I fell for so hard that I was finally forced to realize that I am crazy for men) and that it is often difficult for her to know where she fits in within that mess but that she cannot deny that she loves me and feels like we are supposed to be together.
She said that she really wants to make things work but cannot stand to see me as depressed as I have been. She said that she is in this marriage for the long haul, but if I need for us to just be friends for me to be happy she is willing to make that work too. In the past such a statement would have scared me to death, but I felt so much sincerity in her words that I had to take them at face value - she really wants to do whatever will make me happy.
I told her that I have to wonder, especially after reading some statements from the straight spouses of failed mixed-orientation marriages, if she would be happier and better off finding someone else who can love her in every way. I was really surprised by her response. She said that I should not make decisions about our relationship based on my perception of her needs, but rather on my own needs and that she would do the likewise. She said it better than that. It was so empowering ( is that the right word?) to hear that. She also said something about preferring our love that we have to work for than love that comes easily from someone else (also said much more eloquently by her).
So now what? I guess we'll get a divorce and still be friends and I will run off with some man of my dreams and live happily ever after.
Our conversation did not really solidify anything in either direction for me. But I am so grateful for my wonderful wife. In the past I would have described, and perhaps even now I would describe, her as an emotionally fragile girl. She had some emotionally domineering people in her life growing up that have really left her scarred and vulnerable to the emotional abuse that I unintentionally release on her as I sort through my baggage. I love her. I really hope that we both end up living happily ever after, whether together or apart. She really is the PERFECT WIFE for me.