You've just found out your spouse may be struggling with homosexuality. Waves of crippling emotions including shock, fear, and panic are washing over you, and you're not certain where to turn or who to confide in. It's important at that time, to obtain the truth as swiftly as possible, and take the next steps toward healing.
After spending considerable time in prayer and perhaps with trusted friends and family, you need to present the evidence and express your feelings openly with your spouse. You may choose to do this with him alone or with your pastor or counselor.
The purpose of this intervention is to:
- Find out if indeed a homosexual struggle exists.
- Determine whether or not there's infidelity.
- Ask if he or she is willing to submit to an HIV test (you should get one as well) and other tests to determine if there are STDs.
- Assess whether or not your spouse is repentant or unrepentant.
- Plan the next steps, including finding counseling, accountability and discipleship.
Prior to asking these questions, educate yourself on the root causes of homosexuality. As Glenn Stanton, director of cultural trends at Focus on the Family, and a frequent debater on same-sex marriage says, "Do not take for granted that just because your spouse claims he or she is gay that it's true. Sexual identity crises can mask a lot of different sorts of things such as a midlife crisis, reemerging feelings from childhood sexual abuse, disappointment with God, stress and very real unmet emotional needs."
"The offending, and the offended, spouse need to have a clear understanding of the dynamic at work here … it's a lot more complicated then 'this is the card I got dealt with in life,'" says Stanton. "What's valid and true is the knowledge that this person was once sexually attracted to you. You can't throw off the scent of original passion. We know within the sexual union whether our partner is tracking or not! Therefore it's important to shake this tree and see what falls out. Make them explain their feelings to you."
Emotions at Work
It is important to note that this kind of conversation won't be easy. Disclosure can trigger feelings of great loss. It is, as Joe Dallas, author of When Homosexuality Hits Home, says, "the death of assumptions."
"We hold specific assumptions based on the sort of relationship we have with our spouse," says Dallas. "If we're married, we assume our spouses are, and will continue to be, faithful; that they will always be our partners; that we are safe in our marriages. And in most cases, since homosexuality is more the exception than the rule, we assume our loved one is heterosexual. Suddenly, we find out that we don't know our loved one as well as we thought. We realize he or she has had a secret problem – a secret life, perhaps – that we've known nothing about. We may have been lied to, directly or indirectly, shattering the assumption that our relationship was founded on honesty."
Dallas goes on to explain that the destruction of these assumptions is similar to any death or major loss. And that the offended party may experience a traditional grieving process including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
While this meeting will most likely be heart wrenching, it's vital that you come out with the start of a plan, goals and, at the very least, a second time to sit down and discuss the complexities involved in this disclosure.
Finding a Christian counselor to help you navigate these waters and walk through the grieving process are key, as is intentional prayer, accountability for both parties and communication. And give yourself permission to grieve!