Skip to content

Posts by jenny

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.

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.

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.

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

The Three Loves: Jenny’s Version Part 1

I have an awesome husband who lays down his life for me in different ways every day. As I read and pondered over his three loves strip my eyes were reawakened to our story from his heart and point of view. And it is true. For him, it really worked that way.

Yet as much as I loved the strip and the sentiment, I found myself in a little funk for awhile. I knew I had to post a response, but I just couldn’t get my finger on it. After several days, it hit me. This post brought up a lot of old pain for me, because for me, it didn’t work that way.

For me, friendship was the start. We were friends for over six years before we started dating. But year two of those six years I was head over heels for him. That died down in time, and we really remained good friends with no romantic expectation or even hope for the other. I totally moved on. By the time year six came and we finally had “the talk,” old feelings I didn’t know I still had erupted to the surface and didn’t really leave again (except maybe here and there during the hardest spots in marriage, but that’s another story). Along with those feelings came hurt I didn’t know I carried towards him.

My hurt was actually misplaced. David never owed me special attention during those years. But by the time we officially decided to start dating, my eros for him was overflowing all over the place and it was hard to contain. I was pretty much ready to get engaged right away.

He was not. Boy was he ever not.

He explained himself very well, and I understood up to a point, but I couldn’t see past my own needs and desires to really GET IT. Now with nearly a decade of marriage under our belts and some perspective at last, I can see clearly from his eyes and I shake my head at the two people in wildly different places God chose to bring together at that time.

The Blow

tap shoes

When we first got married, I assumed with childlike simplicity that in time, David’s love for me would trump his same-sex attractions and we’d be good.

Although it was a process, I still remember the moment when it hit me for real that this wasn’t going to go away any time soon.  He came back from a gathering where a now happily married woman who was somewhere on the queer spectrum gave an analogy that David totally related to of what it’s like to be married and gay.

“It’s like dancing with your shoes on the wrong feet.”  You can do it, you can get pretty good at it, but there’s just an awkwardness there.

What struck me is how much he seemed to own the analogy as he shared it with me.  While it caught me off guard (aren’t we just learning to dance, still stumbling our steps, but with at least our shoes on right???), it brought him comfort.

And then I got it.  His SSA isn’t going away any time soon, is it?

It took awhile to sink in, but now I see clearly that same-sex attraction sticking around does not reflect poorly on me.  Turning my husband straight is not my goal.  Accepting him, walking with him, challenging him as needed, whatever it takes to be his partner for life.

Realizing this set me free.  And a wife set free releases the husband in countless ways.  And we’re good.

photo by blmurch cc


As we build up this blog together, we have been periodically researching who else is telling their stories online.  We are refreshed to see more people telling their stories (links to come in good time).  I still haven’t found any spouses in my shoes telling their stories in depth.  What I did find was this, a site dedicated to straight spouses of LGBTQ spouses, primarily providing support for those who have been betrayed.

I have to say, I am deeply grieved to read so many stories of heartbreak.

And I am thankful that to this point, that is not my story to tell.

I was the first friend David ‘came out’ to in college.  Years later when we took some time to pray over whether to begin a relationship or not, I knew (in concept, if not in all the practical details) what I was getting into.  As things got more serious he begged me to count the cost of marrying him, which I have, and periodically, still do.

You aren’t perfect, Babe, but you’ve always been honest with me.  So thank you.


The Importance of Friendship in Marriage

three friends

In our early years, David and I put a lot of internal pressure on ourselves to keep the eros love alive in our marriage.   And rightly so.  Marriage is greatly helped weather the trials and challenges of life with some much needed sparks along the way.

But as we have really settled into life together, and thankfully, as the eros part has increased for him over the years, I feel greater freedom to enjoy our phileo friendship, which we have always had, long before we started dating.  I think this is something more taken for granted in marriages where both are straight.  In our situation, we have carried with us the burden to ‘prove’ our marriage isn’t a sham (which it never was, but the pressure is always there).

The eros isn’t gone, but we have nothing to prove to people.  We are married, we are one, we are committed.  We love each other, in eros, in phileo, and in increasing agape.

photo by americanartmuseum


 It was a defining moment during our first year of marriage.  He sat on our black futon couch in our cozy living room, a size or two smaller due to more boxes of our stuff than space to unpack them all.  He was sipping at a glass of water as we talked about whatever newlyweds talk about.  There was definitely some tension in the air.  And then it happened.

I said it.  What the words were, I no longer remember.  But whatever I had been stewing about, had only expressed inside my heart and mind, but not with words direct enough for another to understand, came out unfiltered.  They were not covered with love to smooth over his lack, but unable to be any more than the state of my own heart- raw, ragged and hurt.

He usually has a long fuse with me, but in that moment that long fuse ran out.  Not the type to take out his anger (at me) back onto me, he took it out on himself and dumped his water over his head.

I was speechless.  Did my husband just dump a glass of water all over himself?  Why the hell did he do this?

Looking back, I guess I’m thankful he didn’t take it out on me directly.  He didn’t hit me, he didn’t yell at me.  He didn’t punch a hole in the wall as I’ve heard men are prone to do.  That would have really scared me.  But while I’m thankful he didn’t scare the living daylights out of me, his action on himself has remained a puzzle to me for years.  I conveniently forgot about it over time as our communication (and relationship in general) improved.  It certainly didn’t happen again.

But it’s funny how time changes how you see a thing.  When he first dumped that water on his head, I was afraid I’d married the most dysfunctional man on the planet.  We were committed to the marriage, but I was definitely afraid I had made a mistake.  I saw him as the one with the most issues, and my needs, especially emotional ones, always felt legitimate, and deserving of being filled.  By him.

And there was the crux of my problem.  I was so overcome by the cries of my heart for a specific picture of marital bliss, I couldn’t see past myself to actually hear what he was trying to say to me or peek into his heart, full of legitimate needs and desires of his own.  Now I know the things I thought I wanted were but a shadow of the real thing.  I know even today, my heart joins my husband’s in our cries for the real, which we have been tasting more and more, but to some extent, our daily reality,  and even many of the things we think we want will continue to be a shadow of the Real Love we are heading towards.

I now see David’s water pouring incident as a cry for help, a cry for an outpouring of love beyond himself, to the One who delights to love us with the real thing so we can stop destroying each other trying to get what our partner can never provide on their own.  Now I think he did the best thing he could have possibly done, a symbolic way of saying “I can’t give you what you want.  No person ever could.  Let’s look up together to the one who can.”  Of course, at the time, he wasn’t necessarily that optimistic.  His symbolic act was pointing to a love more like this:

And as we can attest by the years following this incident, when we are covered in this awesome love, and as we learn to walk the day to day in this love, marriage, family and life is absolutely amazing.  This is becoming more and more the new cry of my heart.  It is not yet our daily reality, but we have tasted enough to say THIS IS WHAT WE WANT.

Photos by Chad Fust and spablab

What if? Didn’t I? Who am I to judge? Is nothing impossible for God?

*I usually only post extremely well-processed things on here.  Even with this care, I know too well if the wrong-minded people get their hands on my words without my heart, there is SO much room for misinterpretation and we constantly write with the risk of having our words used against us.

**In stark contrast, this post is under-processed and I am using this blog as a place to attempt to process this externally a bit.  Why?  I’m not sure yet; I just somehow feel (at this time) that it will be helpful.

So here goes…


What if my husband were to find himself entangled in a same-sex relationship, both physical and emotional?  Could I forgive him?  Would we get over it?  Is it perhaps something that he needs to do to see firsthand that it’s not going to fulfill him after all?

We’ve known for years he needs to be in emotionally healthy, but close relationships with other men.    He needs it.  It’s a legitimate need.  We both want more of this.

But the truth is, I know his type.  I know which kind of man is dangerous territory for my man, and I’d be lying if I said I had no qualms about him meeting such men, particularly one on one.  (Now there are a few men fitting his ‘type’ who are mature, trustworthy, and not in the least attracted to my husband physically, who I have no qualms about him meeting.  I’m talking about men of unknown character and relationship to us.)

And my instinct is to keep my husband away from such men.

And then I feel guilty.  Are my fears (and his) somehow sabotaging this key to growth?  Do I not trust him enough?

Even King Solomon in all his wisdom, gained some of it by trying things out.

10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
    I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my labor,
    and this was the reward for all my toil.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

According to these verses from Ecclesiastes 2, he learned by experience.

Personally, my strongest convictions have come from doing the wrong thing and learning ‘the hard way’ that it didn’t bring the life, love or fulfillment I was seeking.

So in my strange logic, I wonder at times if David simply needs to get out there and try out what he has always wanted, but has chosen away from.

Why the fact that this is adultery and betraying me and our family doesn’t seem to bother me in these moments of wonderings is strange to me.  The idea that this would ‘bother’ me is actually a ridiculous understatement.  It would devastate me and I would leave at least temporarily, and strongly consider becoming those parents whose communication mainly consists of working out child care arrangements for weekends and vacations.

But on the other hand, if he were to explore this, I can easily imagine that we would still be there for each other as we always have, processing what is going on together and more than likely getting out of the entanglement rather quickly.

Wouldn’t it be smooth sailing from there?

And yet, I can’t imagine that it would.  According to the Maker we love, our marriage bed is to be kept just for us.  David ‘going there’ would cause damage of a different flavor than the damage I caused with my experience before we married.



But isn’t our Redeemer just that, our Redeemer?  Doesn’t he take our mistakes and turn them into good, ‘for the good of those who love him?’

But then, is holding a seasoned believer of twenty years to the same standard of a naive teenage girl really our Redeemer’s way of working?  I don’t think so.

But then, we know we will not be perfect in this life.  So we will continue to need the reality of our Redeemer as desperately as in our youth.

All those influential men who have fallen in leadership, is it just an inevitable end?  Ted Haggard comes to mind.  I know he has found redemption after his fall.  His wife has forgiven him.  He probably walks with more humility now than ever before possible.  Maybe it wasn’t inevitable, but it wasn’t the end.

But though I know our same Redeemer would walk with us through that path with the same grace, I would never choose to walk that path on purpose.

But being driven by the fear of ever having to walk that path may inadvertently lead us right there.

So I’m back where I started.  How to encourage him to grow in healthy friendships with men while keeping it ‘safe.’

I need to cling, and it’s not to David.  I need to cling closely to the One who tells us whether a risky step is putting our feet in the river before he parts it into dry land, or if it’s stepping into dangerous waters not meant for our frames.

In clinging to him, my confusion is cleared up by his light.  In clinging to my Redeemer who is alive and well, I am free once again to operate in love and not in fear.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  -1 John 4:16b, 18

I want to live in love.  I want to live in God.  But most of all, I want God to live in me.  The little bits I have tasted this have been amazing.  And yes, such living does drive out fear.  I want more of this, and in this love, I will find the answer I’m looking for, or maybe see more clearly that there are better questions I could be asking.

Eruptions of the Heart: beautifully redeemed pms

I don’t really know how I compare with other women, but I do know my PMS is always noticed and felt by David.  When he first encountered it during our dating and engaged days, my hormone-inspired emotional energy wiped the life out of him.  When I was pregnant with our first child my entire first trimester was like severe PMS which he suffered through bravely, then was rewarded with an extremely even-keeled wife for both second and third trimesters.

I’ll be honest here.  Throughout our relationship, his journey into manhood has often taken the forefront to my journey into womanhood.  I have always been okay with that, as I had journeyed significantly in the years before our relationship, and of course interspersed throughout.  And who am I kidding?  Pregnancy and birth and motherhood as been in the limelight THREE times now, and David has more than done his share of stepping aside and letting me be in the limelight.

But this year is different.  I’m stepping up into a new level of womanhood slowly but surely and I am loving it.  I guess it is finally my time.  A dream I had around the new year where I wore this simple, comfortable, but also flashy and beautiful red dress kind of captures where I am being taken.

A significant part of this journey has been redeeming my PMS.  The ugly things I managed to keep hidden in my heart regarding issues in our relationship during dating/ engaged days were released with vengeance within the first few years of marriage.  They threatened my husband, and  sometimes scared the heck out of me.  And over the years, I slowly took in the lie either believed by David or at the very least implied by him unintentionally: the emotions of my PMS were an unwelcome interruption to our otherwise peaceful life.

Over the last couple of years, as I grew more secure in who I am, I started realizing this is a lie.  I stepped up and told him no, actually my PMS was a time when VALID but difficult to handle emotions I can repress easily the rest of the month can’t hide anymore, but milder forms of those same emotions are going on all month, and this means WE have issues to DEAL WITH, not _I_ have emotions that are so strong they do not count.  He slowly took this in, and it’s been good for our marriage.

But I wasn’t satisfied.  There was something deeper I couldn’t get my finger on and from time to time, I was troubled by it.  And then, just a couple of months ago, I REMEMBERED.  I remembered crying over a troubled friend and praying for her desperately one random afternoon in high school, then noticing my period started the next day.  I remembered being so overwhelmed with thankfulness one afternoon in college that I stopped by a prayer room on campus as I biked by and ended up weeping for sexually broken women everywhere, especially women just like me who were prone to look for love in all the wrong places.  And then my period started the next day.

Then I realized that the battles of our life had been SO overwhelming, the issues in our marriage and each of our characters SO unresolved (we have a great marriage, but far from a perfect one!), and my immature emotional response to try to live in denial or cover-up for my husband (who rarely seemed ready to deal with issues that were crippling me) was SO strong, that by the time PMS struck, all it could be was a volcano of hidden emotions erupted.

But as I’ve learned to view our issues rightly, as I’ve walked the walk again that my husband is not my enemy but we are fellow warriors on the SAME side of a greater battle, and as I’ve walked in greater freedom than I’ve ever known before of knowing who I am and WHOSE I am, my PMS is being beautifully redeemed into what I believe it was designed for.

It’s an opportunity for intense emotion to be released on behalf of others, the oppressed, the victims of injustice, my own children, my husband, even myself.  Christians call this intercession, literally, standing in the gap for someone who needs help in their journey towards our Maker.  It’s an opportunity to cry out truth over lives deceived by lies.  It’s a time to reclaim lives to be all they were meant to be.  It’s a battle cry of a strong warrior ready to lay her life down for those she loves most.

It’s beautiful, it’s powerful, it’s fiery intense, and it’s pretty dang awesome.

photo by Petur Gauti


At the End of the Day

David doesn’t know what I posted yesterday about the deceiving voices in my head when he isn’t doing well.

But as if he did, he made me a beautiful Mother’s Day card with a beautiful picture he drew of a scene reminiscent of the Japanese garden we liked to frequent during dating/ engaged days, only different, like  a new place we have never been together representing a fuller, richer life together.

Inside the card were five simple words of assurance to seal the cracks in my heart broken down from my insecurities and fears, just beginning (once again) to embrace my own lovability by both my husband and my eternal Lover of my Soul.

You are my safe  place.

Yes, he can get angry with me in the moment, and with good reason, but at the end of the day, I am his safe place.  He doesn’t have to worry if I love him, because I just do.  I may go through short spurts of not liking him very much when he is walking in his own deceptions, but at the end of the day, I love how he is made, how he is so uniquely wired, and I long to see him walking fully in who he is and doing all the things he was created to do.  I am his champion, his cheerleader, his biggest fan.  I am also the recipient of his beautiful expressions of love, often quite undeservedly so.  I don’t think I’d do very well being married to myself, but he handles me and all my eccentricities and rough edges with a delicate touch, a wisdom beyond words.  In dealing with the fragility of my feminine heart, his patience has been tried many a time, but he has risen up in manhood and has learned to love me through it.  Our marriage has been tested in this last year more severely than ever before (not SSA-related), and resolution still awaits our current life circumstances, but with very few exceptions, at the end of the day, we have found refuge in each other’s arms, doing our best to remember Whose hand we are in, the source of our ultimate safety.

I love you, babe.  I’ve got my own five words for you as we prepare to enter into a new season of life, the details of which are currently unknown to us: Let’s get this party started!



Breaking the Power of Lies Over Me

David has been having a hard day. Actually, he’s been having a hard year. And at the height of his frustration today, a careless error on my part pushed him over the edge.

I was legitimately busy, juggling dinner preparations with facilitating our sons’ homework. I was relieved to see our little girl calmly looking through a colorful book her brother had brought back from the school library. I hoped and hoped she wouldn’t rip it (she didn’t, thank goodness!), since we are responsible to take care of it, but trusted her genuine interest in each page. Next to the book was our labeler, which I had left on the table after using it to label yet another school item with our son’s name.

I checked in on her every few minutes, and as I am wont to do when stretched with multitasking, interpreted her calmness and interest in whatever she was doing (looking at the book and innocently pushing buttons on the labeler) as acceptable.

An hour or two later, after both dinner and homework were done for the day, David needed the labeler and was not impressed to find that not only had random letters been printed out, but lengths of ribbon were all tangled up deep inside the machine. A simple labeling task had turned into a fix-it project, and it was not welcome.

He held it together in front of the kids, but the tension in the air was palpable.

And it was my fault.

He had already spent days dealing with technical problems with mobile phones and computers on multiple levels, spending inordinate amounts of time that already felt ‘wasted’ to him when there were many more truly important things he needed to be working on. His own wife’s preventable mistake was like rubbing salt onto an open wound.

After awhile, he left the house discreetly. A wise move I understood. I hoped he was getting his anger out constructively somehow.

But then they came to me. The lies. The accusations. Deceptions. Familiar ‘friends’ that have been with me my whole life.

In my younger years they told me I wasn’t lovable, that I wasn’t worthy to be loved unconditionally, that I wasn’t fit for a lifetime of a loving marriage.

After marriage to David, they changed their voices a little, and it got uglier, even as we walked a healing journey together. Look at what you just did. See??? You are a bad wife. You’re lucky God brought you together, because if he didn’t, no one would have ever married you. If you were a better wife, David would be doing better in his career/ healing journey/ etc.

And here we are, almost a decade married. My fantasies that marriage to me would wipe out all same-sex attractions in my husband have come to an end. Not a disappointing end, mind you, just a much-sobered one.

And so at times like this, the uglies come at me again. When incident after incident, stress after stress piles up (and trust me, a tangled up labeler is the LEAST of the problems David is actually reacting against) and David needs to leave the house to cool off and let off some steam, my fears take on a new turn.

Will he go to a gay bar? Is he going to a gay bar or other local gay hangout I don’t know about right now? Is he checking out guys on the street without guarding himself as he usually does so faithfully? Is he going to come back and tell me it’s over? That he needs to go find himself and start over without us?

He’s already told me when he was doing much worse than this that he had no desire to leave me or our children. He loves us and is committed to us. He feels incomplete without us. I see him make choices every day that show he values us and loves us.

And yet my mind has been going there many times over the last several months. And I see now that it’s a lie I do NOT have to fall for.

Even building up today’s story to write out these fears of mine for the first time I felt a measure of oppression over me, as if someone was trying to stop me from writing it out.

Because writing it out, putting it out there, into the light, exposes it for the lie it really is. And its power over me is broken.

What lies are YOU believing? Are you ready to get them into the light?