To marry or not to marry
For men and women who experience same-sex attraction, the dream of getting married to someone of the opposite sex can seem unlikely to become a reality. Even if they find someone that they want to spend the rest of their lives with, it is a very difficult decision. Some get married before they're ready. Others end up marrying for the wrong reasons.
If you're reading this article to find the definitive answer for your situation, we can't offer that. Because we do not know you or your situation in full, we cannot tell you what is right for your life. In this article, we'll try to address specific issues related to being a person who experiences same-sex attraction. But there are many other matters to consider, and you will need to seek qualified counsel to process them. Our hope, however, is that the questions and issues we raise will help you to find some of the many smaller answers you need in order to choose the right bigger answer.
At the outset, let's be clear about two things:
1. Marriage is not a "quick fix" for same-sex attraction. If you currently experience attraction to the same sex, marrying someone will not make that attraction magically go away. The attraction may lessen or even seem to disappear during part of your dating or engagement, but the attractions will likely return to greater or lesser degree over the course of your life.
2. Getting married is one of the biggest decisions a person makes, and making the wrong one has long-term negative consequences for you and for others. Don't wreck someone else's life by making a poor or hasty choice. This is a decision that must be made with much care and consideration. It is not a decision to be made alone; instead, it is important to seek the wisdom of those you trust.
The key questions in this guide address the specific issues that you who experience same-sex attraction need to consider carefully as part of determining if getting married is the right choice. To get the most benefit from these questions, we recommend that you work through them with someone else rather than just thinking about them alone.
Degree of Personal Readiness
* in what ways are you moving toward personal wholeness and maturity?
* how strong and persistent is your same-sex attraction?
* has it been at least two years since you were last sexually involved with anyone? (if not, wait before getting married)
* how much connection do you have with gay life or culture?
* are you free of emotional dependency?
* do you have healthy relationships with others of the same sex, including some good friendships? (if none are currently in place, these are important to establish)
* what kind of accountability do you have?
* have you gone for counseling?
Your proposed partner and your same-sex attraction
* have you honestly talked about same-sex attraction?
* has your proposed partner been told everything that needs to be told?
* have you been realistic with your proposed partner about the reality of ongoing attraction?
* what is your motivation for marrying? (the following are inappropriate reasons for getting married: "Marriage will fix everything", "I need the other person in order to be happy", "I'm lonely...", "My family / my culture expects me to get married", "I just want to have kids", "I need to carry on the family name.")
* what is your proposed partner's motivation for marrying?
* what are your expectations of marriage? what are the expectations of your proposed partner?
* do you both see marriage as binding no matter what, or are you thinking that you'll "give it a try"?
* do you both understand that physical relations are part of marriage?
* do you have at least some sexual attraction to your proposed partner? (necessary)
* how old are you? how old is your proposed partner?
* how long have you known each other?
How do others feel about the proposed marriage?
* are your families in agreement? (if not, find out why not and discuss with pre-marital counselor)
* does your minister or priest know you and your journey with sexuality and still support your desire to get married?
Preparation for marriage:
* have you had pre-marital counseling with someone knowledgeable?
* are you agreed that you will go for continued counseling for trouble-shooting after you get married?
* are medical issues involved, such as HIV/AIDS or STD's? have you discussed these adequately? are you aware of how these will affect your life together?
* what false beliefs do either of you have? (example: if one is not sexually attracted, it is the partner's fault)
What do I need to tell?
You must be honest with the other person about your current same-sex attraction and opposite-sex attraction (if any), and about your past and current sexual involvements (same-sex and opposite-sex). While you do not have to go into full details, you need to say enough to give the other person a clear understanding of where you are coming from.
For example, if you have been sexually active with others of the same sex, your proposed partner needs to know: