Seeking other sexual partners is not brave

fidelity Aug 03, 2019

Many men I know, including myself, experience same-sex attraction. Some of the greatest healing they have experienced is being able to talk to others about it - to stop hiding from it and from others. They and I have learned that it is good to acknowledge the experiences, problems and struggles that we face. It is good to take them head on and not hide them from others. It is good to want to give others courage in the face of difficult circumstances. It is quite another thing to say "I struggle with this, so I'm going to jump in and embrace it, and I'm going to leave my wife and children over it."

I'm not saying that experiencing same-gender attraction is not a struggle. It certainly is difficult. It certainly is hard. I'm not saying it's wrong to talk about how difficult it can be to navigate. Talking and asking for support is helpful and good. But it is wrong to use it to excuse breaking commitments and call that act a good thing.

Those who discuss their experience publicly in order to announce that they are now going to have romantic and sexual relationships with others of their same gender frequently claim they are acting out of love. They say they are justified in walking out on their wife (or husband) and children. They claim they are being brave. But breaking solemn commitments is not just and brave, and it is not love.

Let me say it again. Breaking promises and commitments of faithfulness to one's spouse and children in order to pursue other sexual partners - regardless of their gender - is not brave. It isn't praiseworthy. It is selfish.

Were a man to announce he left his wife for another woman, there would be no praise for his choice. There is no reason why these situations are any different. Essentially, these men and women leave their spouses and family in search of different sexual partners. That so many people in society, especially the media, seem ready to praise these actions is quite a serious, concerning matter.

I have personally witnessed the devastation and lifelong trauma that parents who leave their families plant in the hearts of their children and spouses. I have seen the brokenness that comes from mothers and fathers abandoning their posts. These wounds are especially deep when parents part because one of them wants to seek other sexual partners.

The society we live in has so greatly magnified the sex act and the accompanying affections that this form of love has become our god.

C.S. Lewis once said that love "begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god." And so this love has become a demon. By justifying the breaking of solemn vows, it is leaving pain, bitterness and destruction it its wake.

Sex is not the foundation of a good marriage. Sex and hormones alone will not make a marriage work. Good marriages are made of friendship and common goals, and for many centuries the decision to marry was not tied so deeply to romance and affection. Though our society no longer believes it, men and women who experience same-sex attraction can have happy, fulfilling marriages with the opposite sex.

Given the experiences of many men I know who left the homosexual lifestyle, I am concerned that men or women who leave their families in order to live out their sexual inclinations will find, as did my friends, that the lifestyle will not bring them the contentment or fulfillment they are seeking. In cases where spouses and children are involved, this would be especially tragic.

Some people say men and women who experience same-sex attraction and marry someone of the opposite gender were shamed into it. They claim this justifies ending the current marriage now that same-sex marriage is more acceptable. They assert there is no other way or other choice to be made. But there are other ways. There are other choices. The struggle does not justify the breaking of commitments, and while experiencing same-gender attractions is not a choice, breaking solemn vows is.

Claiming that these men and women are shamed into marrying someone of the opposite gender imposes a narrative that may not actually be true. For instance, I was attracted to my wife when I married her. It was only years later, as a result of repeated exposure to the common societal narrative, that I, for a time, convinced myself that I married her out of duty.

When I first discussed my experience with same-sex attraction publicly, my main purpose was to try change the narrative around same-sex attraction. But there was also some streak of attention-seeking that fueled my announcement. I was not disappointed in that wish. My post received 90 likes and loves on Facebook and 44 comments from family and friends praising me and giving me support. I loved that praise. I loved that support. But I soon realized that very few people reached out to my wife, though she was experiencing a lot of pain. I am still surprised that less than a handful of people said anything to her, asked how she was doing, or offered support.

I am quite concerned that in the current social climate, women, men, and children whose spouses leave do not receive the support and comfort they should. They have to endure deep pain and anguish while their former husband or wife gains attention and praise.

I grieve for the wives and children of any man who chooses to end his commitments to them. I grieve for the children and husbands whose mothers and wives leave them. I hope and pray that more people in our society will recognize and speak out about the need for strong fathers, strong mothers and strong commitments and will cease to praise such acts of selfishness.

I have faith that in a future day men and women who stick by their spouses as they work through difficult things - as so many of the men and women that I know and love do - will no longer receive the ridicule and distain that they currently do from some in society. In that day they will receive the respect that should be afforded anyone who does their best to live according to their commitments and promises and keeps trying.