That’s right…going to counseling. That is what changed everything!
There has been too much dissonance in my life and I decided that it was time to get some help. I began to meet with a Christian counselor and thought that I should work on my “struggles” with same-sex attraction again. Obviously, what I had learned in my first round of counseling didn’t completely “take” so I figured I needed a refresher course on overcoming homosexuality. And I knew that I needed help in working through all of this with my wife. Little did I know that my counselor saw things a bit differently than what I had learned before.
I began to explain to my counselor that I suffered from “Same-Sex Attraction” (a horrible psychological disorder) and that it was affecting my marriage. I told the counselor that my wife felt that I never seemed to give her what she really wanted from me, namely, passion. My wife wants a husband that loves her deeply, is attracted to her, and is passionate about her.
I will never forget my counselor’s response. She said, “What if you can’t give that to your wife?” “Can’t??? What do you mean, ‘can’t’?” It hit me like a ton of bricks. My CHRISTIAN counselor…the one who refers to BIBLICAL passages in our CHRISTIAN counseling sessions…was the one who began to critique the very assumptions that I had made about homosexuality. I figured I could “get over” this issue. I figured I could learn to respond appropriately to my wife. I thought I just needed to tweak my thinking a bit and learn to be a better husband. But “CAN’T”???
The counselor went on: “What if you can’t respond the way your wife wants you to because your brain is wired differently. If you are gay, you surely can’t respond to your wife like a straight husband would.” Those were fighting words to me. “But I’m not gay! I’m just a Christian man who suffers from same-sex attraction!” My counselor chuckled. “So for all these years you have believed the Christian rhetoric? Interesting!”
My brain began to reel. Christian rhetoric? My Christian counselor is calling everything that I had been taught about the right way to understand homosexuality “rhetoric”??? I literally didn’t know how to process that.
And so began three months of hard work. I would come in to each session with my ammunition (provided by Exodus International and the Christian Church) and try to blast away what my counselor was telling me. We argued theology. We argued psychology. And time and time again, my counselor pointed out things in my life that pointed directly to the fact that I WAS GAY. Literally, it got to the point where I had nothing else to say. My counselor was able to respond to every excuse and argument I could come up with. There was no other answer. I had to accept it.
I am a pastor.
I am a husband.
I am a father.
And I am gay.