It was on a fall October night in 2013. Maybe I should have seen it coming. He was with us, but so distant. For a while now, he was so far from present. I endured months of wondering what was going through his head. That night, he came from work. We followed our usual routine. We ate dinner, bathed the kids, sat on the couch – lifeless. Our evenings were quiet by then. He didn’t have much interest in me. So, the quietness was kind of the new normal. I asked him where he stood. The distance (now adding up to about a two-year span of distance) was killing me inside and I needed to know where his heart was. It was then that he began to explain that he was done with “us.” He was done feeling disgusting in the midst of three-point sermons where his sin always made it to the top ten. (As if sins should ever be measured in levels. They’re all the same to God). But I got it. Yes, his struggle was real. And I knew it was killing him inside. But leaving….I never thought he’d come to that. Leaving the one person who heard his every confession; the one person who stood by his side through it all; the person he claimed he still desired because after all, he was sure he was “just bi.” I never thought he would go that drastic. He said he was done. He would move to his mom’s for a while and eventually find his own place. I was destroyed. Through sobbing tears I pleaded, “You are my everything. Please don’t leave me. Don’t leave us.”
It was clear that my tears didn’t have the same affect on him that they used to. They used to tear him apart. But now, they didn’t seem to phase him. I ran to our room and sat in my empty bed that he had been absent from for months now. I had no words. Just endless tears. I didn’t even want to call and speak to someone audibly. I didn’t want him to hear it. so I texted my best friend, thousands of miles away. She consoled me. Cried with me. Screamed with me….through words. Words that carried me through the bright iPhone screen as I tried to make sense of the blur – making out what I could through the heaviest tears of my life.
How did we get here? A couple who vowed never to utter the word “divorce” in our home. We promised it would never be an option. But the world had a hold on him so much stronger than I could ever compete with. His confusion pulled him in this direction and there was nothing I could do to make him stay. I had no solution. The world says it’s an option now. It’s the norm, right? No matter how much it destroys a human soul. He said I was a “perfect wife.” The best wife anyone could ask for. But that he couldn’t do it anymore. “Perfect” wasn’t enough.
We were raised to believe this path was wrong. He knew it. How it broke my heart to see him walk through life being told that everything he was made of, or better put: involuntarily made of – was wrong. More than anyone, I understand the unfairness. I remember the days we sat in marriage counseling and he chose to “walk out his freedom with me.” What an honor I felt to be chosen to walk this out with him. I won’t pretend to have all the right words to argue God’s stance on homosexuality. I won’t even try. But all I know is that maybe, just maybe: something that wasn’t a part of His original plan inevitably causes pain, confusion and discomfort. Somehow, this was not a part of his original vision for marriage and somehow humanity veered off. We decided, instead of understanding it for what it is, we’ll just accept it, cater to it, glorify it. And everyone will “feel better.” So this is where we are. I know more than anyone that this struggle is real. And a struggle it surely is. Yes, Christians, it quite often isn’t a choice. But His plan? Not likely. While it is now praised and accepted in an effort to sooth it…it will never cease to be a “struggle” for anyone who lives it. Perhaps, because it wasn’t the original plan.
I read his open book. He knew most of this came from his experience with molestation, rape, abuse. He knew the roots. He knew where it started and where it often starts for most people. My heart couldn’t be more broken for him the day he shared those endless years of invasion with me. He told me where it would take him mentally. The questions it caused that no one could answer for him.
I walked every low moment with him. I loved patiently as he confessed every time he “failed” me. I forgave. I showed mercy. I claimed my commitment. And we moved forward.
But all of that wasn’t enough. Somehow, those recent two-hour nightly trips to the gym, the secrecy with his phone, the unbearable distance were all a part of his slow decent. But I never thought he would leave. Never.
I cried myself to sleep that night. God was so merciful that night to give me just a small window of peace – to sleep.