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A Response to Andy Comiskey About Mixed Orientation Marriage

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016


mixed-marriage-3I discovered An Open Letter  to “Every Man who Leaves Wife/Kids Because He is ‘Gay” written by Andy Comiskey. You can go to this link to read it:

Letter by Andy Comiskey


Here’s my response:



Reading your article with interest. I met you, Andy, over twenty five years ago. We were many who had chosen to marry women. At that time I found no one who would even speak as you have here. I held my struggle tightly to my chest out of my own fear that someone would discover my weakness. I had not found what I seemed to see others had found. I didn’t find what appeared to be an intimacy that was as fulfilling in those I saw within the community of Exodus.


I struggled intensely with shame, with an intimate disconnect within my soul. As you mentioned above, unlike many you may know, I didn’t hide. I sought help through many years, decades actually, of conferences, one on one counseling, leadership retreats etc. I absorbed all of the things I taught hundreds of times over. I held tightly to what I was told in that God was a big God and there would be healing. I believed there would come a day when I’d find the true intimacy I sought after with commitment and with deep longing and fervor.


I went for sessions of inner healing. I was told I was a misogynist. I sought inner healing for that. I was told I had unforgiveness in my heart towards my family, my mother, my childhood abuses. I believed the diagnosis, the assessment by those who seemed to know. I was told over and over that I was broken, that I was sexually broken. I believed them. I sought healing for those too.


I was married for 24 faithful years. I acted upon all of the things I taught were necessary to find healing. I had thick blinders on my eyes, my hands and my heart. I separated myself from anything that might “tempt” me back to my gay lifestyle. I was as honest with my wife as I knew how to be. There were no secrets other than telling her point blank that I had no sexual desire for her and that I never would. I held that to myself out of the concern that it might wound her heart.


Finally one day, after many, many years of complete celibacy including masturbation, I admitted to myself that I would never find the intimacy I desired so deeply within my heart. I felt alone, isolated, and starving for human affection. I also admitted that I knew deep within that God would never leave a heart longing as I was experiencing. I also admitted to myself that God is forgiving and that all of my sins, past and future were laid at the cross.


I made a conscious decision to trust God more than I ever had in my life at His word. I separated from my wife after becoming completely honest with her. She was heart broken. But I had been heart broken for most of our marriage and she was too. It seemed to me that her heart was cold, not with me, but from me not being able to look at her with the kind of desire that a wife wants from her husband.


I am now married to my husband. The healing that I longed for for over three decades is occurring. The brokeness I was told I had that caused my struggles, I realize was brought about by others looking at my life from the outside with preconceived ideas. I recognize now that I was heart sick and I am no longer so. I’m now heart filled, peace filled, full of joy that I never believed was possible.


I’m not saying this is for everyone. I truly believe a SSA man or woman can find true, loving intimacy with their opposite sex spouse. But I did not and it was killing me, and my wife to remain together. It was closing my heart off to God and others due to the emptiness, a void that was extremely significant.


I’ve now discovered my heart again. It’s far more than accepting the part of me that is gay, it’s far more than finding my gay self, it’s finding me. Finding the John that has been hidden deep inside since my childhood. I recognize myself again! I spent 30 years in the wilderness of trying to be everything that was expected of an ExGay leader, a Christian man and husband. I made a career out of searching for the missing pieces and trying to gain freedom.


Many lives were negatively affected by my pursuit of perfection, my attempts at a healing that never came. I lost a comfortable connection with my daughters due to my dishonesty and religious facade that I believed was truth.


Not every story is the same. Above all, God knows each of us intimately and walks with each of us uniquely along our personal life journey. I’m trusting in God’s heart for me, his redemption, and restoration of the soul that came along to me when I was born.


To pressure two people to continue to live in marriage that are not a match, and that feel the pain and agony of the mismatch, is not healthy for them, or their families. If the soil is workable, than work it. If its not, then move to a new field where it will be.


I’ve often said if I were Catholic, it’s likely my marriage could have been annulled because of the deception with which we married, not known deception, but one later discovered. From the first night together I knew it was a mistake, a horrible mistake. Sadly, within some faiths, once one has signed on the dotted line of a marriage commitment, there’s no out, no turning back, no matter how soon it’s discovered, no matter how terrible it may be to continue.


Peace to all who find themselves married to the opposite sex and yet are conflicted. Sadly, there wasn’t more honesty in years past. Many, like myself, married amiss with false information, wrong expectations, and found themselves to be terribly unequally yoked.


Peace to all of those who are successfully married as well. I know some who have found that.


This is a discussion that must be explored before one is married. A discussion with all of the cards on the table, an intimate and honest evaluation of the heart of two people must be had. A discussion that includes, “Do you realize that your intended spouse may never find you intimately attractive? Are you wiling to go a lifetime living in celibacy? Will you honestly accept your spouse as a great roommate, but not the sexually intimate marriage you’ve hoped for your whole life? Are you willing to make a lifetime commitment to someone who will possibly experience sexual frustration and angst most of their life and that you will never fully understand it? Will you forgive and allow restoration considering your spouse may be tempted so deeply they commit adultery in search for fulfillment for their physical and intimate needs? Will you sign that you’ve heard, and discussed all of these things before got married?”


We need to do a better job of preventative planning so we won’t have to do so much damage control later.


 

Alan Turing and Jean Clarke

Monday, February 2nd, 2015


o-the-imitation-game-facebookI went to see the Imitation Game yesterday. It was quite provoking in many ways due to the nature of the story being that of a persecuted gay man in the 1940’s. But one thing that stood out to me was the situation with Alan Turing and his engagement to Joan Clarke. I can’t quote it exactly, but when he spoke to her about breaking off the engagement seemingly due to his homosexuality, she said something like, “We can make it work. We have our minds to connect with one another with. We can have a marriage that is unique to us.”


I thought back to my own engagement before my second marriage. What would either of us done if we had been able to have been totally honest with each other. Oh, she knew about my homosexuality. I knew I was still overtly attracted to men. But what I didn’t take into consideration was the impact of my ongoing attraction to men and my totally lack of sexual attraction to women and how that would impact our marriage in the long term.


The Christian culture I was part of and the ExGay movement that surrounded me emphasized the power of God to do anything. Since I believed God was against me having a homosexual relationship and that God was totally supportive of my desire to be married to a women, I believed God would move heaven and earth to heal my broken sexuality as long as I did my part by living a moral life committed to my relationship with God and faithful in my marriage.


But what would have been the case if I’d begun my marriage with the reality that my sexuality would never change? What would my wife have done if I’d said, “I’ll always be gay. I’ll always be attracted to men. I will never be sexually attracted to you and you will never feel that intense love of a man for you as a woman from me?”


What would I have done if I’d accepted that outcome? Would I have been willing to walk down the marriage aisle with full commitment if I’d known that I would never have an emotional and physical fulfillment with her as my wife? Would she have been willing to have married me if she’d known I would never love her as a heterosexual man would and be intimate with her in full attraction and love for her as a woman?


When we got married, the facts were on the table, but they were connected with a false hope that we would not have to live our total married life with the disconnect that was so obvious to us both from the very beginning. I know that I based much of my desire to marry on the hope for change.


Much like what was shown of Alan Turing and Joan Clarke, I loved and deeply respected her as a person, as a companion, and as a woman who loved God. We could see that we would be good, and compatible companions. But our relationship had struggled emotionally due to my anxiety about being intimately connected to her. The anxiety was connected to more than just the sexual intimacy. I had anxiety about allowing her to totally know me and to release my soul to connect with hers.


Alan Turing seemed to deeply respect and love Joan Clarke. They were compatible in so many ways. Joan seemed to see someone in Alan she was willing to love and marry. She admitted in the movie that she saw their minds were something they could rely on in their marriage even if their sexuality was incompatible. But it seems Alan was more realistic than that. He was unwilling to continue with the marriage plans.


Honestly, when I was 34 years old and excited about being married and stepping into a more culturally normal married life, I had my head in the sand about some very important things. I was romantically attached to the idea of being married and more compatible with Christian culture. I wanted so much to continue down the path of healing and deeply wanted to be free of what I internally referred to as “this damned homosexuality.” I believed it was a terrible problem that I wanted to go away. I trusted in what I was taught about God’s healing power and God’s desire to make me a whole person. I determined that to be a whole person, I also had to allow God to heal my broken sexuality.


So I believed to be married would provide a healing place to work with God on my goals. My fiancé’ and future wife believed as I did and I think she was likely as caught up in the romance of marriage as I was. She was a woman who desired to be married to a man that she believed she could respect and love, just like any adult woman.


As I look at those years today, I do not believe I would have wanted to forgo my desire for relational intimacy. I don’t think I would have wanted to live as a celibate married man. I certainly would have not wanted to bring a woman into my life that I knew I could never fulfill in terms of intimate love.


Sadly, it took 24 years to reach the courage to bring to the surface something that was always there but we were unwilling to really face it. My sexuality throughout my tenure of over two decades of ExGay ministry didn’t change, or diminish at all. The anxiety I felt towards intimacy with my wife continued to be problematic and increased over the years. I learned how to stuff it and attempt to ignore it just to survive my own marriage reality.


After twenty years I began to allow myself to be more internally honest and to bring forth the courage to bring my personal truth to the light. I can say I do not regret our marriage, nor do I minimize the positive things about our 24 year marriage. But, frankly, I do regret that I was unable to discern for myself the reality of my life and that I based an entire marriage not on the reality of what was, but the façade of what I hoped it could have been.


As the Bible says,


“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, – but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12


My heart became very sick, but thankfully, today I have a longing that has been amazingly and wonderfully fulfilled and have found tremendous life!


The movie, Imitation Game, revealed to me many truths that were profound. I’ll be thinking about them for some time.