Thursday, July 13, 2006

TECHNICALLY FAITHFUL


OUR GREATEST FEAR SHOULD NOT BE NOT THAT WE WILL LOSE OUR LIVES, BUT THAT WE NEVER LIVED BECAUSE WE BECAME SOMEBODY ELSE.
-- Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Let's say that I didn't cheat on my wife because I was afraid she'd find out and leave me, G-d forbid. What's the difference? I'm still not cheating, so the outcome is the same, right? Or is it? When you look a little closer, you realize that, in fact, when you are motivated by the fear that cheating on your wife will result in disaster, the marriage is still in jeopardy. In this scenario, you're not running toward intimacy, you're running away from the humiliation and hardship that would come from being discovered. You may not cheat, but you and your spouse certainly won't be drawn closer together. If you're faithful simply because you're afraid, your decision not to cheat doesn't beget further intimacy; it creates a little room in your mind that's cordoned off from your wife. Of course she's going to notice that you're keeping secrets from her, that you're not as open to her as you once were, and she'll be hurt and damaged by that - even though you have technically remained faithful. You're still hiding your desire to be unfaithful. Since there's a whole part of you that you can't share with her, you'll start to feel guilty and resentful, and this will manifest itself in your behavior toward her and the family. The fear-based resolution not to cheat weakens rather than strenthens your marital union.
-- Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

I've been thinking a lot about what I really want. I realize the choice is mine to make this decision. I realize I can't have this decision be made by my BLOG friends (though I cherish and love all the advice, criticism, love and adoration I can get), my therapist (though I'm still working on this one), my Bishop (nah... I don't think so...), or anyone else. I obviously am in a quandary because I don't know how to decide. I want the proverbial "cake and eat it too" scenario - I want to be married, stay technically faithful to my wife and family and covenants, and yet I also want to embrace, love and explore these gay feelings that I am recognizing as being essential and central and crutial to my sense of being. Such a request is totally impractical, irrational and unfulfilling. Having my feet in both worlds makes me neither hot or cold, so by default I'm nothing but lukewarm - and as the the scriptures imply - I'm spit out for naught by both! (For those interested, see Revelation 3:15-16)

As the Rabbi's quote demonstrates (though it was written for a heterosexual audience and context - yet, oddy and aptly very applicable to my situation as a GAY MARRIED MORMON MAN), I have many fears that keep me technically faithful. I have never broken the technical requirements of faithfulness in the sense of physical infidelity, but I've obviously kept a "whole part of me" from my wife and allowed my heart to be unfaithful, allowed my thoughts to be lustful, allowed my desires to wander from ethical fidelity. Though I've opened to her about these feeling (and tremendous hurt and pain has resulted from that confession), I can't shrug them off. My gayness is who I am recognizing I am! I am recognizing that I love who I am and I don't want that to necessarily "change" in any way... I am recognizing that I no longer hate myself for these strong feelings. (I also don't hate myself for my strong religious convictions either - and just as with my gayness, my religious feelings and convictions are also a valid and essential part of who I am!) Fortunately, or unfortunately, I've already made my bed, and it's hard to say I no longer want to lie in it because I do, "technically" I am being heterosexual with her. But, my "technical faithfulness" is keeping me from being hot or cold, and certainly not "running to intimacy" in my marriage and being compatible and comfortable with my religious convictions - I'm just lukewarm... and thus, I've "never lived, because I've become someone else".

When you look into my eyes, what do you see hidden behind this facade of lies and double-dipping? What do you see inside the eye of my soul?

Who am I?

What kind of man am I?

What do I really want?

I know I must choose, but...
How can I choose?

How can I have it all? I can't. It's selfish and shortsided and hurtful to desire the ALL of it all. I can't have my right arm snuggling around my wife on one side of me sitting on the bench in the chapel in Sacrament Meeting and my left arm wrapped around my "want-to-be-lover" beautiful, hunky, "main squeeze" young man on the other side of me and me in the middle happy as a lark! And I reach over and give each of them a kiss and a squeeze. (I can to a degree - it's tricky and such a balancing act and sooner or later I'm going to screw up and my act will crumble - as I am living this lie of hopes to a degree right now - but what a tangled web of confusion).

I guess though I want it all, I can't decide to have it all. There - I decided something: It just can't be!!!

So, do I choose to live, or do I continue living in fear?...

7 comments:

Samantha said...

Some questions for you:
Do you believe the Lord knows your heart?

Do you believe that God wishes blind obedience?

In your analysis of the love you feel for your wife, have you found that it is TOTALLY grounded in fear? Fear of being found out...fear of not doing what you think God wants you to do...fear of growing old alone...fear of losing your family... If fear is the ONLY thing that binds you to her, she will never thank you for your selfless sacrifice in staying with her.

Honestly, and this is ONLY my belief, I can't believe that a sacrifice made in fear is acceptable before God. He wants us to become like him...how can we do so if we are afraid?

The depth and breadth of your desires are not to be belittled--and that includes those desires, both homo- and heterosexual. My heart goes out to you. Life is never easy.

Beck said...

SS:

You pose interesting questions. I do believe the Lord knows my heart. I also believe he wants what is best for me and is pleased when I obey because I love him.

He also knows within my heart that there are countless reasons for my love of my wife and family that are NOT grounded in fear. He knows that my commitments to her are grounded in eternal love.

But, he also knows that I am conflicted and he feels my pain.

Ward Cleaver said...

In your response to Sam, you answered your own question.

You have NO clue how similar we are.....our parallel thoughts and feelings. It is remarkable!

We need to talk.

You've analyzed "fear" SO much you can't see the forest because of the trees.

Again, we need to talk.

Samantha said...

Ahhh, conflict. I know about that.

AttemptingthePath said...

Honestly, I have no idea what youre going through. I'm not married, I am a year older than your oldest child--so I'm in NO circumstance to give you advice. but I do want to thank you for the comment you left. and I know your children love you. I don't know why i just said that..but yeah.

anywho. have a good one!

Beck said...

ATP: You may be young in years but still very wise! Thanks for attempting the path with me. I appreciate your sensitivity more than you know.

Elbow said...

You are on such a good track. I know that you are somewhat troubled by the lack of peace you feel, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

You are such a great guy, and have so many things going for you. Keep asking questions and challenging things and even yourself, you will be where you need to be.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts once again.