Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs, and it is not snobbish; it is never rude or self-seeking; it is not prone to anger, nor does it brood over injuries. Love doesn’t rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices in the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
For the sake of full disclosure I must share that I am a gay man who early on married a straight woman. Issues I should have dealt with remained repressed and suppressed until they forced their way forward long after my wife and I had fallen in love and given our hearts to each other. I am not unique in this circumstance. Many other good queer persons find themselves in similar situations.
What is unique is that my wife and I decided to remain together. We are a part of what is termed mixed orientation marriages. These are marriages in which one spouse is straight and the other is gay, bisexual, or transgender, intersex, or asexual. Couples like us make up a small portion of the queer experience.
When people ask why my wife and I are still together I can only answer because we love each other. Once I had a good friend declare, “I get love. I just don’t get your marriage!” For any other relationship love is the self-evident reason for the couple to be together. For mixed-oriented-marriages, it somehow is not.
I know that couples remain in relationship for a myriad of reasons. I cannot fathom why anyone would want to share life where love is not a component. This does not mean that love has resolved all of our marital issues. Love has not made me straight, but it allows my wife to affirm me as her gay husband. Love has not made my wife gay or bisexual, but it allows me to celebrate her beauty and warmth as a straight woman. Most of all, love allows us to be ever thankful for our presence in each other’s lives.
Love has taught us to see each other as precious. Love has taught us to be respectful of each other, to be courteous and considerate. Love has taught us tender patience and the fragile practice of deep forgiveness.
My wife never intended to marry a gay man. And I never intended to hurt anyone as deeply as I have hurt her. While we both freely admit we struggle toward the scriptures’ vision of love, in the end we find we cannot “quit” each other. So we celebrate the love that binds us together in all its nonconforming beauty.
The search for love is always a gamble. As queer people it is often withheld from us. So much greater the joy when it is found.