I had a poignant conversation with my wife a few days ago. I have been reticent, since beginning my blog, to write about her. Though the result of this has perhaps been seen by some as conveying a lack of interest in her “side of the story,” nothing could be further from the truth. I have simply wanted to be very careful to protect her privacy. It is one thing for me to spill my life and innermost thoughts out all over my blog; it is quite another to share the thoughts and feelings of others, particularly those of my wife.
She said something in our conversation, however, that I feel is too important not to share with those who may read my blog. We were talking about all we and our family have been through since last October, as well as throughout our marriage, and she said the following:
“You know, this is all uncharted territory for me. What we have been dealing with and trying to navigate is something that is never talked about in Sunday School lessons or in sacrament meeting talks. It is something that is never discussed in General Conference. There are no manuals, no guidance from the Church about these things. In some respects, we’re kind of on our own. That is why I just have to rely on the Spirit to guide me and enlighten me as I have worked my way through this.”
I became emotional when she said this, as did she. My heart ached for her, for the good woman she is and for what she has gone through. At least I have support from friends, from other gay men who have gone and are going through what I am experiencing. She has support from friends, yes, but not from other wives who have experienced what she is now experiencing. In this respect, she is walking alone, though she feels she has felt the guiding and comforting influence of the Spirit as she has grappled with the trials that have come unbidden into her life.
I commented to her that she and countless other women are the other half of this “story.” They are women who are never talked about at Relief Society conferences, who are never mentioned by the Brethren; they face trials that are never discussed. In this respect, and in others, they are invisible, just as we gay men in mixed-orientation marriages are invisible and unknown to the general membership of the Church.
So, I just wanted to pay tribute to my wife and all the women like her in the Church who, for the most part, walk in silence in the uncharted territory of their mixed-orientation marriages (and, often, the wreckage of such marriages), their grief and pain largely unacknowledged.
Michael McLean's Safe Harbors.