Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Counterfeit Experience of the Straight Spouse

The conversation has to continue as long as the wrong people keep bringing it up (April 2017, Ensign pg. 33).

The further I get from my experience in a mixed-orientation marriage, the more acute my understanding of how my experience, as the straight spouse, is/was marginalized.

Don't get me wrong! I'm the biggest cheerleader for the gay spouse, feeling trapped and unable to live authentically.  I'm the one banging on the other side of the closet door, begging, "Sweetheart, come on.  Stop doing this to yourself.  It's 2017 and despondency or depression or suicide is so unnecessary for THIS." 

But there's also the experiences of the men and women who are/were the straight spouse, like Ashley 1.0.  We aren't living authentically either.  And our suffering and scars aren't seeming too important. You may have read about how I super duper wanted to drive my mini-van off of Cedar mountain. 

And if you're just joining this conversation:  No.  It is not just about sex.  And regardless, sex is important and crucial.  But THE THING that it's about for us (straight spouse) and them (gay spouse) is the Intimacy.  Lemme know if you don't understand the difference between sex and intimacy, and I'll write another post just for you.  I'll even address it to you... "Dear Person Who Maybe Has Never Been Loved~"

I have some very visceral commentary on this; Hopefully, I can be articulate and, as always, my intent is to be affecting.

I'm getting ahead of myself (the visceral). Article by General Authority:

First off~

The title of the article is The War Goes On.

Nothing subtle about that.

War.

Goddamn Fucking Serious.

Death.
Blood.
Mourning.
Pain.
Fighting.
Good vs Evil.

You know, war.

And then, but of course, this dude- the General Authority- starts talking about Satan right off the bat, cuz ultimate bad guy.  And he's gotta bring up returning to Heavenly Father clean, which Satan makes so difficult!  And ya know, none of us are clean, none of us are sinless, as is pummeled into the heads of members of the church.  So by paragraph 3, dude is slathering on the guilt.

Don't get comfortable yet, 'cause here comes paragraph 4:

"Thankfully, God's plan triumphed over Satan's lies."       !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And in case you forgot, that meant Jesus made that sacrifice dying for our sins, because we're all pieces of shit.

(I'm walking you through the beginning of the article to prep you.  It's all build-up, people.) 

Then our dude goes into the ways Satan operates.

We get to point number 2, and the gospel of love can go fuck itself.

"Remember, counterfeits are not the same as opposites.The opposite of white is black, but a counterfeit for white might be off-white or gray. Counterfeits bear a resemblance to the real thing in order to deceive unsuspecting people. They are a twisted version of something good, and just like counterfeit money, they are worthless. Let me illustrate. One of Satan’s counterfeits for faith is superstition. His counterfeit for love is lust. He counterfeits the priesthood by introducing priestcraft, and he imitates God’s miracles by means of sorcery.

Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, but same-sex marriage is only a counterfeit. It brings neither posterity nor exaltation. Although his imitations deceive many people, they are not the real thing. They cannot bring lasting happiness. God warned us about counterfeits in the Doctrine and Covenants. He said, “That which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness” (D&C 50:23)."

We already knew this, right? That this church felt this way...?  Or are you allowing yourself to be duped by happy stories of acceptance of a LGBTQ kid by a member of the church? 

Okay, so if you haven't buckled yourself in yet, secured any loose items, and put your arms and legs inside the ride, you should now. 

I'm gonna talk about the despair and anguish of the straight spouse... in no uncertain terms, like a big ol' gay dick smacking you across the face. 

Gay men and women, who marry the opposite sex for religion, do it because they are scared to death of the above rhetoric being their reality. 

Darkness. 
Grayness.
Imitation.
Being unhappy.
Worthless.
Counterfeit. 

These vulnerable, naΓ―ve homosexuals (no shame, just truth) who adhere to the dogma think that entering into a marriage with opposite sex will save them from these awful things.

But the straight spouse is even more unsuspecting that these things would ever be in their purview. 

Nor does the straight spouse understand that their own sexuality will be shoved into a closet. 

Usually, the SS does that of their own accord to...(ready for this?)...survive.  There was no way I could face what I was missing: being wanted, cherished for (in my case) my femineness which encompasses my body, soul, and mind, and the all important intimacy- the lack of being caressed, the void of hearing the soft spoken voice of someone who melts at the sight of you, the absence of a core connection that is discernible through mere eye contact and devours your heart. 

Look, I'm not really talking about marriage.  I'm talking about connection and romantic love.  I know that same-orientation marriages and relationships can suck ass and end a lot of the time.  But these same-orientation relationships not only have a probability to feel those indescribably amazing things, but they usually start there. 

So to address the malarkey of the referenced article-

Darkness... Gray... All the time.  Everyday.  And I was living the 'gospel'.  I got up in front of my congregation and bore some phat testimony.  That shit was legit. 

So... tell me.  Why the gray?

Was my marriage edifying?  My friendship with g'ex was, yes.  But the marriage?  Naw.  Trudging through knee-deep bog with no end in sight is not edifying.  It breaks you. 

The 'lasting happiness' part of the article?  Fuck me...  The 'lasting' sentiment would imply that there was a solid ground (firm foundation, as it were) to begin with. 

The worthless part.  Oh my god.  This one makes my head spin.

You Mormons out there... Hey, y'all realize that this General Authority dude is saying that LOVE is worthless, yeah?  You getting this?  GA's subtext:  LOVE IS WORTHLESS IF NO JESUS AND BIOLOGICAL BABIES. 

Obviously, my mind goes to the bona fide, irrefutable love that two properly matched humans can experience.  But, hey, you know what else couldn't be further from worthless?  Being desired. 

I've had one nighters... (reminder to keep arms and legs inside the ride... also, hi, mom).  I've been more desired by a man that I cannot remember the name of than in my 13 years of marriage with a man that I had children with, moved from state to state and out of the country with.  A former straight spouse I met a few years ago told me the first time she had sex with a straight man, she wept.  But... worthless experience. 

And lastly, let me bring you all around to the best, sweetest, juiciest part of the article- the counterfeit argument:  marriage or love is counterfeit if not within the parameters of the 'gospel'.  If I was giving a Ted Talk, this is where I'd pause, lower my head with furrowed brow, and walk to the other side of the stage pensively before looking back up at you and saying:

My marriage was counterfeit. 

My Mormon, temple union to a man who yearned for an intimate connection with another man was 100% counterfeit. 

Do you have any idea what it's like to live in a counterfeit way? 

If you do, I'm so sorry.  I've been there.  I deteriorated.  Breathing hurt.  Sometimes smiling made me feel nauseous. I was betraying my Self.  I was not an example to anyone of how to live.  My Jesus-approved marriage was toxic to me, my kids, and their dad. 

And I absolutely was suicidal at a point. 

Us heterosexual spouses in mixed-orientation marriages play a role of our own.  Our humanity is disparaged, trivialized as we are mere vehicles to the Celestial Kingdom.  And fuck that. 

Mormons, your leaders' hyperbole and your religion's teachings are irresponsible, self-serving, and...

deadly

...wholly, literally, in toto. 




















12 comments:

  1. OMG! This was simultaneously hilarious and heart-wrenching. Talk about cutting to the very core of the matter. From the complementary side of the same issue (gay spouse) I can't even begin to describe how spot on this is. I've alsways said the church's position does as much or more damage to the unsuspecting straight spouses than the gay ones. As a father of 3 girls I'm horrified that some gay kid out there can't, just CAN'T come out because he's LDS and well for some reason he wants the celestial kingdom like everyone else... and he's going to date and try yo marry my daughter. F$#% THAT! Thank you for writing this. Are you OK if I share on my blog, the full text with link of course?

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    1. Thank you for the great response! We appear to be smack dab on the same page. And share away! ~Ashley

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    2. A group of us formerly married gay fathers have started a new website at gay-dads.org to provide some much needed resources. There is a lot of help for young gay kids these days but not much for the ones figuring it out or just admitting it later in life. I would LOVE it if you would contribute in any way... something like this blog post but without the heavy Mormon reference because we are not targeting the Mormon population. If you already have a post on here that you'd recommend, I'd be happy to use that. You just personify the opposite side of the same coin and I want that voice on there too. Let me know

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  3. Wow. My father was gay and my mother was ... you. Thank you for putting this out there. It needed to be said, and you spoke truth to power. Never stop.

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  4. This is heartbreaking. And you know what's infuriating? Clear back in the 1980s Carol Lynn Pearson said that, "enough women have been sacrificed on that alter." And here we are thirty years later, with Mormons still sacrificing those straight spouses. Thanks for putting this out there.

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    1. I really really appreciate your comment. 🌈

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