Can I be in harmony being gay and married to a member of the opposite sex? This is an interesting question. I am sure there is no “textbook” answer for this question.
What is harmony? The Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines harmony as follows:
- the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.
- the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.
- agreement or concord.
To re-phrase the question with this definition, can a gay man be a pleasing and consistent whole and be married to a woman at the same time? Can he be in agreement with his homosexual nature and be married? Or maybe another way to ask it is, can I be at peace and be married to a member of the opposite sex?
A little about me
I am 40 years old. I was born again, saved, whatever you choose to call the conversion experience when I was 17. I gave my heart to the Lord and He saved me. He pulled me out of the occult and drug addiction. After high school, I went to one year of Bible school. From there I moved to the upper mid-west and helped found a church in an urban area — where I met my wife. I continued in the ministry full time for about 6-and-a-half years. We have two really awesome kids — a son, 18 and a daughter, 16. My son recently told us he feels like he is called to be a pastor. It is exciting to think that is how the Lord wants to use him. We have been married for 20 years.
Being open about my homosexual orientation is a fairly new area for me. As I look back over my life, through the teen years and adulthood, I see that there has never been a time when I was not attracted to men. Why did I marry a woman, then? I think, in the back of my mind, I wanted to be loved and accepted by someone badly. The idea of pursuing a relationship with a man had never entered my mind. I wanted to but I never did. I think the reason I did not pursue a gay relationship was that I grew up in a seriously abusive environment. I was afraid of men. That was the crazy paradox of my life, I deeply wanted a relationship with a man, but was too terrified to seek one out.
I have never considered divorcing my wife until the last year or so. I never had a reason to think about leaving. I was going to stay married and that was it. God hates divorce. And the homosexual desires were not always at the front of my thinking but they were there, simmering below the surface. I was very consumed with being a father. I enjoy my kids immensely. But, after I worked with several gay men at a previous job, it really “troubled the waters” inside. I became increasingly aware of the homosexual desires. I began to consider myself a homosexual man. It wasn’t until I met a man in an online Christian recovery group for gay men that I found a reason to leave my wife. The group was for men wanting to get out of the homosexual life and I joined because of the guilt and condemnation I felt over my desires. When we left the group, we remained friends. We communicate regularly via the Net.
We have been making plans to get together and make a commitment to each other, or a “holy union” as I have heard it called. While I am really crazy about this man and he about me, I still struggle with the idea of divorce. I struggle with the pain it will cause those I love. I struggle with how others will think of me. I have then wondered, “I am just being a selfish so-and-so for following this desire?” These are questions I have been wrestling with while making plans to leave.
One of the other troubling questions for me is: “Is homosexuality really a sin/abomination as I have been taught?” While the interpretations I have read on the “gay bashing” scriptures make sense (and I have done some of the word studies myself) sometimes the message I hear from church brings those feelings of condemnation back to the surface in a bad way. I heard one such sermon recently. At the end of the sermon the pastor was explaining how Jesus stands in front of us ready to give help and mercy. But those of us that are leading secret lives and will not repent of them, He also stands as righteous judge. It left me thinking about my own secret life. I have looked at getting the divorce as a means of setting things right so that I am not living a secret life of being attracted to men, and not wanting to (or being capable of) being with my wife physically/sexually any longer.
The one answer I have found is that I can no longer stay married and have peace with myself as a homosexual. I don’t want to insinuate that this is the best solution for everyone or that everyone in a similar situation should do this. I have gotten to the point that I am not functioning as a husband to my wife and also, the conflicts going on inside me sparked a serious depression that almost ended in suicide. I have in some ways been so withdrawn from my family that it is almost (at least in my opinion and I bet my wife would agree) like I am not there anyway.
What am I getting out of this? I am getting a chance to be at peace. I want to be at peace with the Lord, with my family. I want to be at peace with myself. I am going to be in a long-term committed relationship with a man who loves me and will allow me to love him and we will share our lives, our faith in the Lord, our joys, sorrows etc.
I was an assistant pastor at one time. Since I left the ministry I have, for the most part, felt useless to God. I want to be able to serve Him with the talents I have and, if He chooses for me to go back to teaching in church again, I am willing to do that. I am looking forward to being able to share a ministry with a wonderful partner.
The question at the beginning of this article was “Can I be in harmony/at peace being homosexual and married to a woman?” It is something that each individual must come to terms with between himself and the Lord. No two cases are alike. If you are in a similar situation to mine, I hope you see that you are not alone. There are others in the same boat. And our Lord is also in the boat with us and will calm the storm and see us to the other side (see Luke 8:22-25).
Raised in a Pentecostal/evangelical tradition, Michael Howard Garoutte of Wisconsin helped found a church and served as an assistant pastor before coming out in middle age while married with two children. He later found his life partner while the two of them were involved in an online conversion therapy ministry.