I wrote this a long while ago, but thought it was relevant to a few things I've read by others recently, so I went ahead and busted it out of draft status:
I remember the ache in a deep place in my heart. I wanted to be married so badly. I felt alone and needed someone to love me unconditionally--not just as a friend.
I've always been one to make friends pretty easily. At least, the kind of friends who are well above "acquaintance" but not quite intimate enough to call on a moment's notice to demand a shoulder to cry on. They would have said yes, of course, but I'm not one to make myself so vulnerable... even if it means being miserable in my wallowing loneliness.
Amidst the misery and self-pity, I had little insight into the fact that I was gay. I mean, I knew it in some sense. But it didn't weigh in consciously as a factor in my everyday decisions. So I still dated as if I were straight. I found no girls to be particularly what I was looking for, but I had a lot of fun just the same. On the rare occasion that I could comprehend the fun simultaneously with the inadequacy of it all, I realized I was in deep trouble. Fun wasn't going to get me a soul mate. And the soul mates I wanted were unavailable to me (as men).
Finally I got some good advice from my brother. He's an ardent Mormon in the true sense--works for the church, loves it, gives everything he has to it. I explained to him that there was a girl I had a lot of fun with (and had for years), but that it just didn't seem to be romantic or sexual. It didn't seem to be enough. Now, I suspect that he might know about my gay feelings even though we've never discussed it. He suggested that I consider all my feelings for her and not demand that it be a perfect fit. We had a connection, he said, that he had seen first hand. If we were both committed to each other, to the gospel, and recognized that life wouldn't be perfect, we might be right for each other.
Ultimately, God knows what is best. I'm one who believes there is not just one person in the world right for me, but that I could be happy with many of them. So, I asked God if she was right for me and he gave an affirmative answer. This woman knew by this point that I was gay. She accepted me anyway. We had a long history that I had never had with any other woman. We had had a lot of fun over the years. I thought that we could make it work. But there was a still a reluctant part of me that wondered if there was someone better. Should I hold out or should I just settle? My pride got in the way and the issue was suddenly not about sexuality at all, it was about finding perfection rather than accepting the love that was right in front of me. She loved me. I knew that she did. And on reflection I knew that I loved her. But the fact that it was only a deliberative love, not an unreflective one, gave me a lot of concern.
It took me several years to finally mature to the point where I realized that love can be something you perfect over time, given the proper quality and a sufficient quantity of raw materials. My gay feelings would be an obstacle more obvious than those imperfect character qualities that everyone has to deal with in marriage. And yes, it's qualitatively different, but not unmanageably so. We've made it work. And we continue to make it work. And despite all the nay-sayers who refuse to give any validity to our testimonial because of our relatively young marriage (not quite 5 years), I'm 100% confident that we'll continue to make it work.
I've never been happier and my loneliness is gone. The work continues, certainly. It's not all automatic.
But it's real. It's not a sham marriage. Despite the charges that I'm deluding myself, that I'm in denial, that I'm just a few months from melt-down... it's absolutely wonderful.
So. To the person who recently asked for advice on how to tell his family to lay off a little with their advice, I'd say just listen and relax. They might actually have something of value to relate, even if they know nothing about your sexual situation. Don't assume you will or won't marry. Live and learn, and stay open to God and his miracles. In my mind, it can always go either way until you close the door with your own self-determination.