Over the past few months I have alluded to personal struggles going on in my life. For those of you close to me, you already know the issue. For those of you who faithfully listen to our Podcast and read this blog, you are absolutely in the dark. Not that it is necessary for me to share all of my laundry on the site, yet I do think I owe an “inside look” as to what has been happening. I think by sharing these things it can take me personally and our site publicly to a place where it should be…an open place for sharing our hearts, grieving our losses and encouraging and inspiring one another. So here’s the truth…
My wife and I are going through a separation after 15 years of marriage. My wife has come to the realization of her identity as a gay female. This is an issue that we have both been aware of as an inner conflict for her for years, worked through together quite successfully, but the inner pain in her life was something that was taking a toll on her personally, both physically and emotionally. The issue began to crystallize for her during the first part of this year as she came to grips with her struggle. So, around May 1, we separated and Cristi has sinced moved out and into a new place.
Cristi and I did an excellent job in keeping our marriage together (although numbed somewhat to the realities), especially as the inner turmoil mounted for her over the past two years. We did so because we loved each other so much and obviously because we didn’t want our marriage to change and in effect our family structure to be altered. We both communicated incredibly well throughout our marriage regarding this and so many issues, which led us to have a very successful relationship regardless of its present state. Both of us are hurting and in deep, deep pain regarding this, mainly because we love one another very much and we have two beautiful, amazing boys (10 and 4) that we are so grateful to have in our lives.
I only want her happiness. She only wants mine. Of course I would love for us to still be together, but I understand that staying in the relationship for her is not what she feels is best. It’s not easy to swallow this reality, but it is the reality of the moment. My love for her causes me pain. My insecurities grapple to have her in my life. My anger at the situation creates internal chaos at times. But it is with sad realization that we both understand that our marriage as we knew it is over. Note I said, “as we knew it”, because at this time we are and continue to be married in many more ways than can be determined by a piece of paper. Outside of any legal definition, our lives are forever linked as committed partners, loyal friends and most importantly, caring parents.
This has been the most difficult thing in my life. But each day I get stronger and stronger and am beginning to see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” This tunnel of anxiety, depression and grief is getting shorter and I am beginning to realize that my life will move forward. I will be stronger and more confident because of this experience. I wish this did not have to happen, not so much for me or my wife, but for our children who are innocent bystanders in the midst of these “grown-up issues”. I pray they will be spared any long-lasting pain and that they will be secure in the knowledge that mom and dad will always be united in our unconditional love for them.
However, it has also saddened me lately that many people only focus on “poor Steve, his wife is leaving him”. All of you that think that, that’s fine, but please acknowledge the depth of pain that Cristi is going through as she ventures out to an uncertain future full of fears, biases, stigmas and cultural condemnations…not to mention Stupid Church People that think all gay people are going to hell. What idiots! The same people that believe this also believe that all “committed” church people (especially pastors) are going to heaven.
My wife loves God, has an intimate relationship with him and has helped me grow spiritually more than any other person in my life. I love Cristi for the way she has helped me gain a healthy perspective of who God is in my life and the compassion we should have for others. She has helped me “breathe” and not feel choked by my faith and assisted me in not feeling “guilty” for actually enjoying life. I will always be grateful for the way she helps shape me to be the man I am spiritually and the Christ-like way she mothers our two sons – teaching them compassion, gentleness and strength.
I would hope that each of you that are married, or will be getting married, will be fortunate enough to have the unselfish, giving and loving relationship that my wife and I have shared. I am a better person because Cristi is in my life. We look forward with hope-filled uncertainty to our future together and the new ways we will grow together from this point forward.
As my wife and I have talked about (and this will be hard for some of you to fathom), but in all actuality my wife doesn’t love me one ounce less then she did prior to leaving. I do not love her any less either. And the beautiful thing is we will continue to love each other more (although differently – but what married couple doesn’t as they grow old) from this point forward to our dying day. In that sense our relationship remains “till death do us part!” I am still struggling to grasp all this, but I believe it to be true!
Please feel free to ask questions, post comments or whatever you need to say about this. We welcome your thoughts and prayers as we move forward. Stupid Church People’s future blogs and podcasts will be addressing these things occasionally over the course of the future so stay tuned. But we will not just focus on this only because there is plenty of stupidity within the church that we can continue to feed off of…trust me, that will never stop! And I will keep sharing with you regarding my personal journey through this process here on the blog. Thanks for listening.