My husband struggles with same-sex attraction. Like me, Sam came into this world with an innate and insatiable desire for things that bring death. Like me, he came into our marriage bearing the weight of pain he didn’t ask for and the scars of choices he can’t change. And like me, he has chosen to trust Christ—not to make him heterosexual, but to make him holy.
When people aren’t stunned into silence by that revelation, they often ask us, “So . . . what’s that like?” And I can answer honestly that it’s difficult. It’s lonely. It’s painful and scary.
But ultimately, I can say with equal honestly and surpassing joy that “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). No, I wouldn’t wish my husband’s past on anyone, but I also wouldn’t trade our story for anything.
Seeing Marriage for What It Is
Marriage is an incarnate manifestation of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:22–33), a living and breathing argument for the gospel. Nothing less than his grace could empower us to forgive as much as marriage requires (Matt. 18:21–35). Nothing less than a perfectly faithful God could give us courage to trust something as faithless as another human (1 Tim. 2:13). And nothing less than his love could compel us to love as wholly as we must (1 John 4:19).
Satan lives to see this truth rejected, so he’s been spewing lies about the nature and purpose of matrimony since Genesis 3. His attacks are nothing new. Every Christian wedding has declared war on the armies of darkness. And every Christian marriage has been an act of faith. Each one lives or dies by the decision to wake up each morning and believe, for one more day, that God’s plan for men and women truly is best. Our marriage is not unique in that respect.
I wouldn’t wish my husband’s past on anyone, but I also wouldn’t trade our story for anything.
But to think, we might have missed it. Without his past sin and present struggle, Sam and I might have plodded through our entire life together and missed the miracle. But because of my husband’s struggle with same-sex attraction, we get to see our marriage for what every Christian marriage is: a wondrous, dangerous, glorious, and thunderous testimony to the greatness of God’s redemption and the goodness of his plan.
Knowing Scripture for What It’s Worth
When I was in second grade, I bet my eternity on Scripture. When I married Sam, I bet my life on it. The 8-year-old girl in the baptistry anted up as best she could, but the woman at the altar was all-in, and she knew it. If I was wrong, it wouldn’t cost me down the line after death. It would cost me today, tomorrow, and every day for the rest of my life. Suddenly, Scripture wasn’t something I could devote the odd half-hour to; I had to build my life on it, and I needed it beneath my feet every moment.
When I was in second grade, I bet my eternity on Scripture. When I married Sam, I bet my life on it.
Psalm 119, for example, makes real, visceral sense to me now. Previously, the 176 verses waxing eloquent on the beauties of the law had always seemed a bit much, to be honest. Now I know that 176 verses couldn’t possibly express a fraction of the Bible’s incalculable worth. When the scars of past sins start screaming (and yes, they do), Sam and I cling to Scripture and weep together before our Savior, “I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!” (Ps. 119:8).
And at the end of each day, both good and bad, we can echo the psalmist: “I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” (Ps. 119:16). Because of Sam’s testimony, we’re fully convinced that God’s Word is essential and that it’s sufficient. Until Christ calls us home, we’ll never stop needing it, and it’ll always be enough.
Building Community with Broken Saints
Telling our testimony is always interesting. Not so long ago, we sat in a new small group, listening intently as each fresh-faced couple told the story of how they met Jesus and each other. Then came our turn.
Responses always vary. Sometimes there’s fascination. Sometimes fear. Sometimes visible disgust. But sometimes—more and more, now that I’m learning to look—I catch a glimpse of people thinking, almost in terror, If this God, if this church, if this small group is safe for them . . . could it possibly be safe for me?
More and more, I catch a glimpse of people thinking, almost in terror, ‘If this God, if this church, if this small group is safe for them . . . could it possibly be safe for me?’
We’re all caught between a desperate desire for community and a mortal fear of vulnerability. But if someone is willing to be the first to throw down their mask, throw out their arms, and say, “This, this is how broken I am, and this Jesus loves me anyway,” it’s truly amazing how many people will follow. Over and over again, God has let Sam and me watch him use our story to set his people free from secret sin, private grief, unconfessed bitterness, unspoken fears, and so much more. And over and over again, I’ve watched real intimacy and community blossom from those first hesitant seeds of vulnerability. I’m stunned God would entrust something so powerful and so precious to me.
These days, the faces aren’t always so fresh in our small group. There’s real pain, real tears, real laughter, and, praise God, real community. Together we’re cultivating a desperate love for God’s Word and a glorious surrender to his plan.
People sometimes tell me I’m brave to share my story. I’m not. I’m blessed.