01 August 2007

Marriage, Manlove or Misery

Upon reading some blogs and talking to a friend or two recently, some thoughts are itching to be written.

Those of us who are active members of churches which preach against homosexual relationships and who are attracted to members of our own gender face some unique challenges and decisions. And we get it from both sides.

As much as I tire of hearing church members harp on me that I must find a woman and marry her to be truly happy, I grow equally weary of gay men and women shoving down my throat the notion that I must necessarily be miserable if I never find a same-sex romantic partner.

I don't subscribe to these false dichotomies. They're convenient for sob stories or "get over it" speeches, but I just don't buy that my happiness hinges on finding a romantic partner. As wonderful as romance has been and would be, there's a lot more to my life.

All else equal, I don't doubt I'd be happier with a partner with whom I feel complete attraction my whole life.

However, all else being equal, I'd be happier fathering children of my own with a woman I love, even if the sex isn't as great as it might be with a man.

All else being equal, I'd be happier determining my beliefs and living by those, regardless of romance.

All else being equal, I'd be happier with better health.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?), many people in the world simply have imperfect lives. Imperfect bodies. Imperfect upbringing. Imperfect psychology. Imperfect health. They miss out on many beauties of life because of circumstances beyond their control.

We tend to mourn that which we feel we've been robbed of. It's natural. We tend to place huge value on that which we feel we weren't given the chance to have. It's understandable.

But the fact remains: I'm given a choice. I can choose to have faith in and believe a set of doctrines which preclude homosexual relationships and then do with that what I will. Or I can reject those doctrines and do with that what I will.

If I choose to accept them, I then can choose to try my hand at marrying a woman and raising children. Or I can choose to find richness in other relationships and contribute my talents and energy to society in varied and meaningful ways regardless of marital status. Or I can defy those doctrines and beliefs and look for happiness somewhere between believing them and rejecting them, compromising because of the situation I was so unfairly thrust into.

I can also choose to reject those doctrines and free myself of the oppression of religion. I can then seek whatever it is I feel will make me happiest in this life without guilt and without bitterness.

Or I can stay in the church because...well... who knows why? Because it's part of my heritage? Because it's a good structure? And gloss over the positive and rail against it and vocalize anger and frustration for being exactly what it has been since I embraced it.

I understand feeling bitter about it. Believe me I do. Been there. Sometimes go there. But at some point, I have to remember that though I may feel beaten down by much of the rhetoric at church meetings, it's ME, not anyone else, who chooses to go back. And the church, being made up of humans, will have elements of human imperfection I can learn to accept just like I accept the humanity in those I love. Why do you go back?

Sometimes we just have to vent, and we feel trapped, and we feel abused, and we feel mistreated and marginalized. And often we actually are. But at some point, I have to OWN my situation NOW. OWN my choices. Is everyone else responsible for my happiness? Is someone MAKING me choose not to find a wonderful man and settle down with him? Or am I making that choice? Is anyone forcing me to identify as LDS? Or am I choosing to stay in the church?

Sure, I would like things to be different. I'd love for everything I want to somehow be reconciled and attainable without having to make unwanted sacrifices. But until they are, if they ever can or should be, I refuse to play the martyr and make myself a victim.

Yeah, it's hard. And there's SO much misunderstanding in our society about our situation, both from the religious community and the gay community. Life's hard at times. Our situation is very unique. But having a seemingly lifelong dilemma is not. Being unmarried for life is not. Marital trouble is not. Just try to remember this when it gets especially hard and you feel especially unfairly positioned in life.

I love my friends even when they seem unable to let go of the bitterness and pain and depression over being torn the way they are, because I know some degree of that turmoil. I hope for their lasting happiness and my own, and I'm confident it's attainable.


playasinmar said...

Okay, you're happy. Don't change anything.

isakson said...

O-Mo, this is probably my favorite post of yours. I really enjoy what you have to say. Love ya man. Hope things are well back at the homestead.

Remus said...

wow! this post has exactly what i want to say and how i feel. Sometimes i'm just torn between those three choices, and i don't know what to do. i realized that i haven't missed church EVER. I sometimes ask myself why i go back. Whether it's worth it to leave it all behind. the answers are still ahead of me, but i try to be the best person that i can be.

GeckoMan said...

Certainly there are in this world a significant number of heterosexually attracted people, who for various reasons choose a life of singleness. Some are happily occupied and others are miserable. Deciding what to do with our time is a pretty key factor in finding meaning and satisfaction with life, as this extends further into careers, church, volunteering, hobbies, etc., regardless of orientation.

I agree with you that we sometimes make a big whining deal about our lot in life, when there are lots more things to consider than just marriage, manlove or misery. Speaking as a married MoHo, I am still faced with attitudinal decisions that affect my happiness and behavioral decisions that consume my available time, just like single people; the fact that I've married certainly impacts the hows and whats, but the fundamental choices are just as evident.

Original Mohomie said...

Playa - interesting you brought that up. I've actually thought, at times, "If nothing changes, could I happily live this way the rest of my life?" It's been comforting to think that I really could. But I keep my mind, heart, and soul open to new possibilities and opportunities nevertheless.

Thanks, Isakson. I think you're a'ight too. Things are well at the homestead.

Remus - I hope you don't mind I posted both of your comments. I couldn't pick which to publish. You can tell me which one to delete if you like.

Remus and Geckoman, thanks for piping in. I've not seen your blogs before today. These moho bloggers just keep coming out of the woodwork.

-L- said...

Great post. Thanks for the insights.