Skip to content

Across the hottest desert

desert에 대한 이미지 검색결과

photo credit

“Send the winds of refreshing
God, send Your Spirit
Send the winds of refreshing
God, send Your glory down”

My favorite lines from Jaye Thomas’ worship song For Your Glory.

The words I can’t relate to?  Singing to God:

“I’ll cross the hottest desert, I’ll travel near or far” “to be where you are.”

I prefer to think about God crossing the lines between heaven and earth to be with ME, then me suffering to be with HIM.

Anyway, as I was meditating on this lyric, it suddenly occurred to me that this is precisely what David did when he chose me, or rather, chose away from pursuing homosexuality as his identity.

I was not his original object of affection.

God was.

And reading the mixed orientation marriage blogs I started picking up again, I realize that if it didn’t start with God, I really don’t think we would still be here today as a well-grounded, loving married couple.

Now I think across the last several years of our marriage, and I remember the deserts.  We are still not completely out, though we are currently in an oasis of sorts.  If not for God’s support and even supernatural interventions, I would have left years ago when the “desert” got a little too hot and dry for me to stay.

Today, I’m thankful we do not live by our natural ‘orientation’ or feelings alone.  Aligning with our Maker helps my orientation be to give of ourselves and find LIFE on the other side.


“You Make Me Glow”

“I love you,” he said at the door right before putting his shoes on to take the kids to school.

Normally I say “I love you too!” with varying degrees of emotion, based on what else is going on in my busy brain, and how time-crunched I am before my next thing.

I’m a little sick today, and although I was planning on taking the kids myself, David took over so I can stay at home as long as possible before heading to work. He is making a simple but very practical sacrifice for me. I didn’t want to receive the offer because I wanted him to maximize his morning (since he has to pick up the kids at lunch time). I love him too, and sacrificing for HIM was the way I wanted to show it!

But at some point I realized the loving thing to do was LET HIM show love to me this way.

Something happens to a man when the woman he loves fully receives what he has to offer. No guilt, no apologies, just sheer gratefulness and more love that overflows back to him. He rises up in love, protection, and care of his beloved.  David’s sacrifice for me, however small it may appear to be, was a genuine demonstration of true manhood.

I’m so thankful I was able to enter into that this morning. Letting go of the feeling that it’s my job to manage his emotions and gauge how much I think he can handle at any given time.

The evidence was in my response to his farewell “I love you” at the door.

Big smile. Big hug. And out of nowhere I heard myself confessing new words to him, somewhat drenched with a mysterious emotion rooted in love.

“You make me glow.”  Tender embrace.

Fade to black.

It was a little like a scene out of a romance movie, but it wasn’t sappy. It wasn’t sappy because it was real. This moment didn’t come out of nowhere. It’s not just a quotable meme. It is the fruit of two decades of learning to love each other through so many stages of life.

Of course, nothing faded to black. I helped our daughter get her boots on and said goodbye. I have breakfast dishes to clear and plenty of work to do right here.

But first I’m taking a moment to pause and give thanks.

Thank You, God. I receive what You did for us today as Your good gift from above. I acknowledge this is Your grace more than our deeds and I humbly bask in all You are doing and pray for MORE, not only in our marriage but in the present and future marriages of our children, our loved ones, our nation, and even this age.


Hi all, Jenny here. It’s been a loooong time since I have posted anything here. I actually have a LOT to say but have been ridiculously busy in other projects for the time being, but I am believing for a time to come maybe in the next year or so when I can devote to writing substantially here.

Recently we have been ‘coming out’ more publicly to larger circles of people, including friends and strangers. We are wondering if Daddy may be leading us to go 100% public in the near future.

I remember writing a post back in 2011 about feeling suddenly insecure after sharing our story with friends. But in recent interactions with new friends who are just learning our story, I realize I have not a shred of insecurity about our story now.

We love each other more than ever before, and I don’t really care what others may think of us based on anything they see on the outside. We are as free to be short or distant with each other in public as we are to be affectionate. Neither public display makes us more or less legitimate, regardless of what others may think.

I love the inner comfort and security we get to enjoy as we begin growing older together.

Coming out to my old friends


Dear friends who are still running the race with Jesus, from my college years, mostly from my college Christian fellowship and my church at the time.

I believe that God is giving me the nudge to “come out” a little more out of the closet, to shout from the rooftops on my own what the Enemy often threatened to do himself. I must do the thing that I fear the most, for myself and for the Church, and to be a voice for brothers and sisters in the Church who remain very invisible even now.

I am a gay man, blessed to be married in one-flesh to the mother of my children.

Yes, I write all of that in the present tense. It should be obvious that I’ve made some hard choices, and I’m thankful that I’ve made them.

I choose those words carefully, and I fully realize how politically charged all of those words are. I used to just say that I struggle with attractions to men, but because of my marital status it often isn’t clear to people that I’m not “ex-gay,” and I’m not “bi-sexual.” I am still attracted exclusively to men, but the singular incredible exception is that I became sexually attracted to one woman, with whom I am today, one-flesh.

A miracle, to be sure, but I’m convinced that there are more men and women like myself out there in the Church, caught in the middle of the usual hurtful words and actions, and now threatened to be abandoned by a Church that appears to be moving on, ready to dismiss the choices I’ve made as irrelevant and behind the times. Those of us who had never “come out of the closet,” especially those of us who had the miracle and blessing of marriage are invisible, as they would not realize that we are “one of them” unless we were to say something.

I have to clarify that I am still in the closet; I share my story with a limited audience, despite opening this blog with a pen-name. Going completely public is not something I am prepared to do yet, as this decision would affect my children, and our parents.

I’ve become more and more comfortable with sharing my story with brothers and sisters who are spiritually close. But I’ve always feared telling YOU, my friends from my awkward lurch into adulthood in my late teens and early twenties.

I feared especially for my secret to be known among my brothers, from whom I’ve hungered for a greater emotional closeness for my own sake. I feared that I would now be rejected once my uncomfortable secret would become known, or at least every past hug be reinterpreted.

I have brothers now that know everything there is to know about me, but never hesitate to grab me in a long hug before parting, so I know now not to fear rejection.

A tiny handful knew back in college. My (future) wife, my pastor, a leader of our fellowship and my hall-mate. From these I began my small steps towards healing and wholeness. I thank you for your words of grace, your affirmation, acceptance and guidance, and I know you have celebrated every victory from afar.

My story in comic form, and some stories from my wife’s perspective, are shared here. You will see that we’re writing with pen-names, “David” and “Jenny.” If you want to just see my story to start with, click here. I hope this helps you understand what sexual orientation is (not a choice), what the struggle looks like (a daily choice), and how I got married to my wife (a daily gift). Start from the older posts.

I know that some outside of the church would say that I’m in denial. I know that some inside of the Church would say that I’m living an unnecessary charade. It hurts when brothers and sisters think my choice denies who I am and was inherently a mistake. It hurts just as much when brothers and sisters think that who I am makes me less valuable to the Kingdom. At one point, I was considered unfit to join full-time with one large ministry.

I slip away from debates with both sides every time there is a vote for a bill regarding marriage and civil rights. I don’t think I have to mention all the heated conversations where my friends didn’t realize that while talking about “them,” they didn’t know they were talking about “me.”

I am reaching out to you because I am very troubled at the increasingly pro-gay (affirming, not just accepting) stance of many in the American church. I knew it was going to happen, but I guess I thought of this as a “they” thing, but saw that it had already arrived right on my doorstep. What troubled me most is that though I hide from the angry words of the Church because I feared judgment about my sin, now I find myself hiding from the Church because the some have decided that I should have just embraced how God made me, and that I shouldn’t dare suggest otherwise to struggling young brother or sister.

I would like to ask you to consider how your words and actions would cause a brother or sister in hiding to stumble, whatever their beliefs about what God thinks about how they are made, or what choices they have made in the past or are about to make. Now consider how your words and actions may affect those who made a difficult choice from their convictions about what they believe to be sin, and what they believe to be God’s good timeless design for all of us.

Recently I heard of parents announcing to the church about their daughter who had just come out of the closet. I was glad to see that the parents communicated their unconditional love for their daughter, but I was disheartened to find out that she was only 13, and they were ready to accept a particular destiny as “who she is.” I heard of a pastor who allegedly privately decided on an affirming stance. These events have prompted me to take this step to open up to you.

We now have men and women in our church who are working out this very issue in their lives, and are in varying degrees in and out of the closet. We are grappling with how to embrace and address those who have not quite made up their mind that homosexuality is a sin, yet have jumped into our community and embraced the love of Jesus. I have shared my story with the whole church at the time, but many have joined us since then. As of now a rather large community now knows of my story, and now this community includes you.

Please ask me first before sharing about me by name with anyone else.

Please DO share this hope. Above all, please love.

I miss you lots, and I hope to see you again soon.



I used to be proud of our testimony

Now I just love the One who has stayed with us all these years and will never forsake us. Our “testimony” almost doesn’t matter as much as the fingerprints of the One who writes our story.

It’s all simple now. Nothing dramatic:

I love my husband. I feel like it’s taken ten years of marriage and a l-o-t of hard times to get here, but I just love him. It’s finally no longer tied to anything he does or doesn’t do. I love him for who he is and not who I always wanted him to be. I celebrate that, and I think he does too.

My husband loves me. No holds barred. He loves me in ways I had always hoped he would but wasn’t sure if he ever COULD. I’m not talking about sexual functioning (which has never been an issue), but the ways he holds me in his heart. The ways he treats me, looks at me, even beholds me in my God-given beauty. Even when I’m not feeling or acting particularly beautiful. Boy, do I celebrate this.

But our conversion story? Our ‘powerful testimony?’ It no longer defines me. It no longer defines us. I’m not ashamed of our story by any means, but I don’t stand on it as proof that I’m anything ‘special’ (i.e. ‘better than regular people’) any more.

It just is. And what matters is today, and how we treat the people in our lives today. How we go about our work today. And every night I want to be able to look back at the day and thank our Daddy for another day worth celebrating.

Symptoms Switcheroo

A few years into our marriage, we were at a crossroads.

Things were bad.

One of the ways I chose to respond was to fast and pray.

I knew very well the various physical feelings that come with fasting for varying lengths of time.  The crankiness, the  tiredness, the low energy, especially on the first day.

What was different about this fast was I experienced very few of these symptoms.  I felt normal and quite functional with my day.

And then David came home.  He had NOT fasted that day, but he had experienced all the symptoms I had expected to experience in my fast but did not.  He didn’t know what was happening to him.

I was awestruck.  God answered my prayer with this mysterious way of showing me He had made us one, regardless of how we felt at any given season of life, and we could trust Him to complete the good work He had already begun in us.

What you see is … what we have?


Dealing with Extramarital Attractions (Part 4)- Vegetable man update

So remember when I decided to stop being so junior high and start engaging instead of running away?  So I started saying hello to the vegetable guy in a friendly but still rather terse manner.  That was really it.  Nothing else changed.  I was proud of myself for taking a step towards normality and not junior high avoidance.

But after two weeks of this, a most unexpected thing happened.  I went to buy my weekly vegetables, and instead of leaving me alone to toss the vegetables I wanted into the baskets available for customers, he stood nearby me the whole time, and when I chose to buy something, he would reach out his hands, wait for me to give them to him, then place them in a basket himself.

Uh, WHAT?????

I’m usually totally focused on the vegetable purchasing task at hand.  What we already have at home, what we need, what I feel and don’t feel like cooking, etc.  So I didn’t notice that something was different until I found myself handing him my first batch of veggies, probably a bag of sweet potatoes.  Our hands grazed each other.  Thankfully there was no tingle, no “sparks.”

Then I was on alert.  I was too surprised to be able to  gracefully adjust to tossing my veggies into my OWN basket, thank-you-very-much, so I continued to hand them to him as long as he continued to stand there, but was super intentional to hand them in such a way that he touched the vegetables only, and not my hands!

After I got home I tried to process what happened.  My heart sank.  Maybe my decision to engage and not FLEE was a foolish idea after all.  Was this a failed experiment?

Well, life is busy, so I didn’t put too much energy into thinking about this over the following week, and before I knew it it was time to purchase vegetables again.  I was walking home after picking up the boys from school.  I usually send them on ahead so I don’t have to listen to their whining that they wanna go home while I’m trying to make calculations and wise (and tasty) purchases.  The one different thing I did today was ask them to please stay with me (I made up some excuse as to why).  I figured their presence would help send the message that I’m not available.

But Someone already had my back.  It was bustling aBt the time I went this time, and he was too busy to stand there waiting for my next bag of vegetables.  So combined with the presence of all three kids, busy time selling for him, and my determination to get my own veggies in the basket today, there was NOTHING suspect about today’s interaction.

I was SO thankful.  Hopefully it’ll be like this next week too!


[edit] whew- Things have totally returned  to normal.  Just took a couple weeks of taking my kids along.  Professional behavior immediately returned.  I’m still friendly.  I do not avoid or act junior high.  But I do choose out of direct eye contact.

One small victory won!



Dealing with Extramarital Attractions (Part 3) – DANGER!

Now I haven’t been in this debilitating place of marital danger since we were first married, but I’d be a fool to say it could ‘never happen to us,’ so I choose to detail it here in case it’s helpful to you, and to help me process.

Here are my personal danger signs:
  • when I actually feel that the guy I’m attracted to is attracted to me too
  • making regular, random connections with this person that would be fun elements of a developing crush if you are both single, but really scary when you are married, like discovering that you like the same obscure song or quote several times
  • he gives me personal attention that exceeds what David is giving me
  • he listens to me about an area of my life that I have intentionally chosen not to bother David with due to the burden
  • very emotionally responsive to people in general

My Story

I remember several months into our dating relationship, we were still long distance and I had only visited him and his friends in their city a couple of times.  This was still early enough where David wasn’t comfortable giving me verbal affirmations or anything that sounded remotely romantic.  I thought he was just trying to protect my heart and not give me too much in case we didn’t get married, but in hindsight I can say it was a combination of that and him simply not being emotionally ready or experienced in this area.

Well, that was hard enough on me, because I longed to hear simple things from him like “I miss you,” “I can’t wait to see you again,” or maybe even slightly more flowery things like “My life is incomplete without you.”  (We did start saying these things as we progressed towards engagement, but at the time this story takes place, we weren’t there yet…)

It’s understandable that I did carry pain from our lack of verbal affection, because I needed affirmation from him that he wasn’t just dating me because I was a good friend he could consider marrying, but because he had feelings for me.  Plus, I  grew up feeding on American media, remember?

So I was saying goodbye to a large group of friends (probably before a final date with David at a café or something) before catching my flight back home.  And “Joshua,” a very cordial fellow, said something to me like “Jenny, it was wonderful to have you visit us and we can’t wait till you come again.”

In hindsight, I now see clearly that it was NOT a romantic gesture.  He was BEING POLITE.  Now I know he wasn’t even speaking with particular emotion.  But the words he used evoked strong emotion in me because I was so starved for it, even if it was just good manners giving the illusion of affectionate feelings towards me.  And I thought he liked me too, but he wasn’t saying anything since I was already dating David.

Joshua used the words that described the heart I wanted David to have towards me.  I did ask David for more affectionate words, but he didn’t consider it yet appropriate.  He really didn’t want to mess around and was determined to keep us ‘pure’ in both dating and, if we could make it there, marriage.

And so came my downfall.  My hunger for words of affirmation exceeded my patience to wait for them from David.  And I was too dense and too desperate to realize that God had an endless supply of amazing affirmations to speak into my heart and build me up as I so desperately needed. I wanted to hear them from a man.  And if “my” man couldn’t give me what I needed, this other man would have to do.

And so I began taking in Joshua’s cordiality (even in reply emails that were simply a happy face!) to fill my pit of emotional need.  It didn’t fill my pit, but I kept eating anyway, like when starving people will eventually eat dirt to fill their empty stomachs.  I didn’t like that I was attracted to Joshua, I wished I wasn’t, but I struggled and struggled over the next couple of years with feelings stronger than I am proud to admit.

It all ended in my heart, finally, years later, when I finally saw other sides to Joshua that showed he was just a man after all, with his own issues and struggles, and he (nor any man) would never be able to fill my needs.  What probably helped more is David and I working through intimacy issues and grew closer from the heart.  However, what unquestionably helped most of all was connecting closely with Daddy to the point where my needs started getting met by Him at their most foundational level.

Wow, hindsight is 20/20.   This is so powerful for me to deconstruct.  I honestly didn’t know with this clarity that was what was going on back then until I began working on this series.  If only I had the understanding I have now back then, I could have saved myself a lot of grief.  But I guess that’s how you learn.

Dealing with Extramarital Attractions (Part 2)

My epiphany as I began analyzing exactly what traits I was attracted to and why:

I am admiring really good qualities about these people. They deserve admiration in these aspects. But to some degree I have been confusing this kind of admiration with ROMANTIC attraction.

At the beginning of our marriage, I was still very vulnerable emotionally, so encountering men with the qualities I tend to be attracted to may have been a little more dangerous, but at the point I’m at now, I feel free to say I don’t have to act like it’s the end of the world if I see something positive about another man, and there’s something about them that makes them attractive to me.

Now if I am in a vulnerable place in my relationship with David (which still happens here and there, trust me) I am more prone to take this basic, appropriate admiration and twist it into a desire for something more, more than a passing thought that perhaps these men would have an inclination to direct some of these good qualities towards ME.

This is the moment I think I am learning to recognize in a healthy way. And instead of freaking out as I used to, that OH NO I’M ATTRACTED TO SOMEONE ELSE I’M BREAKING MY WEDDING VOWS OH MY GOODNESS I CAN’T BELIEVE IT etc. etc. etc. I am realizing that if I can keep my head on straight, actually, I can recognize that moment as a signal that there has been a disconnect in my relationship with David, and probably also with God, and it’s time to seek restoration THERE, in these places of covenant, rather than focus on the distraction.

I know it’s not always that simple. David recently went through several months of serious depression. Me trying to ‘restore the relationship’ too hard would have only driven him away more. In that case, I found my peace with God and learned to walk well without the joy of living with one heart, mind and purpose with my husband. It was good. I am learning that how I’m doing has a lot more to do with me and my choices and my heart, than how he is doing.

I still need to fight the lie that if he is not doing well, then I must be doing something wrong, that somewhere under the layers of what is going on, it must be all my fault.

But I’ve begun tasting the fruit of not falling into that lie, where if I continue on steady and strong, it brings him back to me that much more beautifully.

A three-column discovery

This reading plan takes you through a quick overview of the Bible.

  • Genesis 1:1-25
  • Genesis 2:4-24
  • Genesis 3:1-13
  • Genesis 3:14-24
  • Genesis 6:1-9:17
  • Genesis 12:1-8, 15:1-6
  • Genesis 22:1-19
  • Exodus 12:1-28
  • Exodus 20:1-21
  • Leviticus 4:1-35
  • Isaiah 53
  • Luke 1:26-38, 2:1-20
  • Matthew 3; John 1:29-34
  • Matthew 4:1-11
  • John 3:1-21
  • John 4:1-26, 39-42
  • Luke 5:17-26
  • Mark 4:35-41
  • Mark 5:1-20
  • John 11:1-44
  • Matthew 26:26-30
  • John 18:1-19:16
  • Luke 23:32-56
  • Luke 24:1-35
  • Luke 24:36-53
  • John 3:1-21


Dealing with Extramarital Attractions (Part 1)

Let’s talk about being attracted to other men, shall we?

Recently there have been a couple guys that got my attention. In analyzing it, I am starting to notice a couple things which are very empowering.

First of all, I am happy report that at this point in my life I do not want to jeopardize my marriage. I do NOT want out. I am not looking for a romantic relationship outside of my husband.

So in this context, I am starting to discover that the “flee” approach I had been taking when it came to guys I was attracted to isn’t necessarily the healthiest approach. For one thing, “fleeing” becomes its own directive and objectifies the guy (think reverse of muslim women in burkas). For awhile, as God restored our marriage relationship in a very good way, I was actually shielded from the kinds of guys I am attracted to, so I didn’t have to deal with it. But we are now in another season, where we interact with greater frequency with men who have the potential to get my attention, at least briefly.

Thank God I am now old enough to be able to say with reasonable certainty that NO man except Jesus himself actually has it all together, and so any reasonable amount of time spent with him (though ideally not so much one on one) pretty much gets him off my romantic radar.

So as I look back to when we were first married, when I was so into this one guy, that although as a good Christian girl I would “never” divorce my husband, I totally imagined if David were to die early I just may go for this other one, whom I shall call “Luke.” HAHAHAHAHA! I laugh because I know Luke a lot better now, and I would never marry him or even want to date him. It’s funny now, but I tell you, it wasn’t funny then. I was really scared, because I felt like he was attracted to me too. And David was clueless about the whole thing.

And I think my “FLEE!” Response when I feel the first glimmer of attraction is because I fear the worst. I remember being taught out of the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife that when faced with temptation, thou shalt FLEE!

But dude, noticing the guy selling you vegetables at the outdoor market is really nice is not the same thing as being directly invited to go to bed by your boss’ wife.

I’m starting to wonder if the best way to deal with these passing attractions with people you are going to see regularly, like it or not, is not to FLEE! but to engage. Not to totally go all out and try to get to know them intensely, not to invite them out for coffee or a meal, but to NOT be afraid to engage them APPROPRIATELY for the context in which you interact. In my vegetable man example, to boldly say hello when you arrive to buy vegetables. Not to duck your head and hope his partner (who is “safer” for you) handles your transaction. Not to pretend you don’t see them when you pass by on your way to pick up your kids from school.

Sometimes I can’t believe how junior-high I still am.

Because all that awkward ducking and dodging actually feeds into make your actual interactions more awkward and weird, and may give away your feelings if they, too, once attended junior high.

Now if the other person is giving you very strong “I’m attracted to you” vibes, I’m not sure yet what to do besides run away the first time I notice and pray hard for a plan.

But in my case, when I simply noticed an attractive quality in someone else, that sometimes mirrors what David has, and sometimes showcases what he does not, and there is no reason for me to believe the other guy is checking me out, then for me and where I am at in my personal journey, it’s time to engage.

I will share more as I try it out. I have a sneaking suspicion that liberation awaits.

tea time

my husband just brought me some ginger tea i didn’t even ask for as i sit here, typing away.  i feel loved.

i’m not really a tea person, so this is the first un-asked for tea he’s brought me in years.  he was making some for himself and our slightly sick son.  He decided to include me in the mix.  did i mention i feel loved?

and i remember another day, as a senior in college, returning to my dorm room to find a note from him along with a jar of Korean tea.  We had passed by each other somewhere on campus and he noticed I was sick.  We were good friends, but quite busy with lives of our own, so the fact that he thought of me, bought me tea, and hand-delivered it to my dorm room meant a lot.  And the sorrow that accompanied it because I missed the chance to thank him personally (and maybe catch up on life a bit over a cup of tea) was palpable, even then, when I had zero conscious desire to spend my life with him.

to everything there is a season.

The Power of Holding Hands (The Three Loves: Jenny’s Version Part 2)

2013 1203 holding hands rh Life has been BUSY, and as David steps it up with his comics, I also wanted to give him space to develop his voice.  But this blog is always percolating in the back of my mind.  I am still muddling my way through to find the voice I want to represent myself here.

I’ve concluded so far that while I tend to prefer to just dole out advice, or go super introspective in storytelling my favorite bits over the years, I’m gonna have to step up the vulnerability level to be impactful, but it’s still something I am wary of doing.  Especially because our blog doesn’t exactly have a readership yet, other than from some close friends who are not the intended audience!!!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.  Some time ago, David made this comic about the three loves (agape, philia, eros), and how he approached our relationship in reverse order as most American couples today (who begin with eros, and hopefully end up at agape).  My injured but slightly processed response starts here (I had mistakenly hoped we could be like ‘most American couples today’).  And now, months later, I have continued to process this and have finally made a conclusion about this whole thing.  And I have to admit, I am actually surprised by my conclusion.  HE WAS RIGHT.  He did agape me so much from the beginning, and in many ways I think that may have saved our marriage.

The most powerful example I can think of is that of holding hands.  To get there, I need to explain a little background, so please bear with me.

Feeling Gypped (not as much PDA as I had hoped for)

Being the more “American” one in our relationship, I was always very self-conscious of how David carried himself around me when we were in public, or in smaller group settings.  Having grown up feeding on American media to an extreme degree (and concluding for years that what I saw was the real thing and all Korean counterparts to what I was seeing was just so messed up), I always noticed what was missing– the playful eye contact, small moments of physical affection displaying our connection, or even straight up being cuddly in public.  And I always felt a little bit gypped.  We were affectionate with each other, but in private.  The Korean way is more to save all that stuff for yourselves, and not display it for the world to see.

My Childhood (almost zero physical affection)

My immigrant family was typical enough.  Love was shown through sacrifice and provision and gifts, not through physical affection or words.  And if I had grown up in Korea, I would have learned to view my family expression in proper context and seen plenty of love for what it was.  (Not to imply there was no objective dysfunction, but what a difference the lens you view things makes!)

But I didn’t grow up being hugged and snuggled.  I realized at some point that all of us rarely touched each other except maybe during long car rides and that kind of context.

Enter: Marriage

This baggage brought into a new marriage where my groom actually had responsibilities outside of fulfilling my every desire and a very high stress level as it was, was a setup for huge disappointment on my part.  I would clamor for his attention when he was trying to work on a project at night.  Sometimes I would succeed in distracting him, sometimes not.  But from his point of view, I was more annoying than lovely when it came to my unending pit of emotional need.

But This He Did

Those first several years of marriage, there was often a lot of tension in the air by the time we went to bed.  Tension we couldn’t resolve in a satisfactory manner because the root issues were deeper than a conflict resolution session could accomplish.  But no matter what happened, no matter how much I pressed his buttons that day/ night, this is what he did:

Every night, as we’d climb into bed and lay down next to each other, he would take my hand and hold it tight.  We’d usually fall asleep this way.  I don’t remember too much other than wondering what was making him do this.  The holding hands TIGHTLY part was due to his being annoyed/ angry at me, not a passionate expression of eros love.  But my physical affection-starved self soaked it up.  I was never one of those wives who sent hubby to sleep on the couch, no matter how mad I may have been.  I couldn’t handle being alone in the night after twenty-some odd years of deep, deep loneliness in general.

I also remember feeling like these sleep-time hand-holding sessions were having a therapeutic affect on me.  And in hindsight I can definitely say YES THEY DID.  It took a few years, but this nightly ritual played an important part in filling the wells of my heart.  So did having young children and making physically affection a high value in our home (though it’s getting harder and harder as they get older…).

But, man~ what if David responded to his anger at me differently?  A more typical response would have been to get out of the house to cool off or get a break from me, or not prioritize going to bed at the same time and try to get work done after I go to bed.  He didn’t meet my needs/ expectations in marriage so I acted out in rejection, to which he responds negatively by seeking an out.  Isn’t that the way of things?

But he didn’t do that.  I responded ‘normally,’ but he responded with agape.   His holding my hand tightly was his way of declaring commitment to the marriage and our vows, regardless of how he FELT at any given moment, which over time, played a part in making me more secure and less emotionally needy in general, which has really freed us to enjoy eros at a whole new level not present in those early years.

So in hindsight, I guess I’m glad to not be ‘most American couples’ after all.

photo by J. McPherskesen cc

Holding back

In your hands

Carry me.


Bedtime cuddles


When silence takes turns

realhungry-0016-silence-takes-turns-A realhungry-0016-silence-takes-turns-B

I am the author of all my failures.