Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Club Nuance

I said that Josh Weed's post about his marriage to his wife was moving and sensitively written.

So is this post, written by a woman who was married to a gay man for 13 years.

If I take at face value what Josh himself has said about his own relationship, then I think there is no problem, no cognitive dissonance required, having these two understandings of love and marriage coexisting in the same universe.

It seems uncouth to me to point out that Ashley's experience is the majority experience in relation to mixed-orientation marriages. I don't like to emphasize that, because I understand how pointing that out may feel dis-spiriting to those who are in mixed-orientation marriages and are making them work. But it's a fact, and facts cannot in their nature be uncouth. We have to learn to adjust to them and incorporate them into our understanding of reality.

And unfortunately, there are far too many who have abused, are abusing, and will abuse stories like Josh Weed's... Who seem unwilling or unable to incorporate that fact about how this works for the majority into their understanding of reality, and who seem unwilling to hear stories like Ashley's. So, uncouth or not, it feels necessary to put it out there.

Josh did his due diligence, I think. He made some disclaimers in his own statement that might militate against people using his story to clobber over the head the vast majority of gay men and lesbians for whom attempting a similar path would end in tragedy and disaster (as it did for Ashley and Matt).

And yet, people are using Josh's story to that end just the same.

Some people (the majority maybe?) are tone-deaf to nuance.

I want to embrace both Ashley and Josh. From a perspective of true charity, to embrace them both is natural, not abnormal as this world would make it seem. In a universe based on charity, it is natural and human to say to both, "I love you. I hear you. Thank you. My life is richer for having heard you." I want to dwell in that universe.

I think it's worth pointing out that if my relationship with my husband were legally recognized and respected, as Josh's relationship with his wife is, we might all be closer to living in that kind of universe. If I could congratulate Josh on his happiness, without having to endure the taunts of people in our society who think I'm morally deficient and a threat to "the family" for loving a human being of the same sex, we would all be closer to living in that kind of universe. The Josh's, the Ashley's and the me's would all be closer.


JonJon said...

John. This post reminds me of this quote by Bernard Loomer:

"By size I mean the stature of [your] soul, the range and depth of [your] love, [your] capacity for relationships. I mean the volume of life you can take into your being and still maintain your integrity and individuality, the intensity and variety of outlook you can entertain in the unity of your being without feeling defensive or insecure. I mean the strength of your spirit to encourage others to become freer in the development of their diversity and uniqueness. I mean the power to sustain more complex and enriching tensions. I mean the magnanimity of concern to provide conditions that enable others to increase in stature."

J G-W said...

Love that.

LT Downing said...

John, you truly have a great soul.

mohoguy said...

John, thanks for bringing Ashley's new blog to our attention. I've been thinking about posting something similar but she said it much better than I could. You are great! Brad

J G-W said...

Yes, Ashley's post is great... Very challenging, very moving. It deserves to be read widely, which is why I felt I ought to highlight it here.

The thing is, I very much empathize with Josh Weed. I understand his need to create space for himself and his family, his desire to be able to be "out of the closet," and to be understood. I can understand how the assumptions people make about someone in his situation would be very confining, so I understand his desire to speak out.

I've seen some unkind comments from people on line suggesting that he's just doing this to get attention, his relationship can't possibly last, etc. I suspect he never expected what he'd written to get his much media coverage. (Or the very polemical media coverage it's gotten!) I don't know Josh personally, but I dare say he's as mortified as anyone else if this very personal statement is being used by some to denigrate same-sex couples.

If you really look at what he's said, it challenges a lot of the attitudes of folks on "the other side" of the national debate about gay relationships... It's not his fault people aren't really paying attention to the more complicated and challenging parts of what he's saying.

To all the gay guys who are freaking out about it, all I can say is, The Truth Will Out: the whole truth that encompasses not just the experience of folks like Josh, but everybody's experience. Everybody will get their day, eventually.

Anonymous said...

Ashley has the advantages of maturity, of being on the other side as she looks back, and of not needing to defend herself. So of course she seems wiser than Josh.

I feel for Josh. Hormones are driving him now. In ten years it will be much more of a struggle to maintain "intimacy" when during relations he has to think of men to keep himself aroused.

Sure, he can do it... now, and maybe for 10, 20 or more years. But such a cost for repression. I couldn't pay it; most of us can't and are left with depression, acting out, and wives who like Ashley feel empty so much of the time.