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What ex-gay men can teach us about marriage
World Magazine ^ | 07/10/2013 | Sam A. Andreades

Posted on 07/10/2013 2:55:05 PM PDT by SeekAndFind

Sam Andreades ministered at a church in New York’s Greenwich Village  for many years and founded G.A.M.E. (Gender Affirming Ministry Endeavor), which serves those with same-sex attraction who want to follow Christ. Andreades has just finished his Doctor of Ministry work at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, and his dissertation, which grew out of his pastoral experience, is titled “Does She Matter? Emotional Intimacy in Marriage in Light of Gender Distinction.” 

Andreades interviewed Christian husbands with a gay background who are now happily married to women, asking why they prefer “intergendered” to “monogendered” marriage. He learned that gender distinction contributes depth and intimacy to marriages—and this sheds light on why God gave us the commands He did about heterosexual marriage. Here's an article he wrote for WORLD that brings out some of his key findings. —Marvin Olasky  

The stones the builders rejected

The wave of same-sex marriage now breaks across the country amidst retreating (and diminishing) cries to defend traditional marriage, but very little is heard in the splashing about what makes one better than the other. It is worth pausing for air to ask: Are there actually any benefits to traditional marriages over same-sex marriages? Is there some reason the Bible prescribes one and not the other? When Jesus defined the institution by joining the two Genesis quotations, “God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife …” (Mark 10:6-7), was He making a crucial point in making marriage an issue of gender?

There are people who can tell us the answer. There are those who can teach us the difference between “intergendered” unions (between two people of different genders) and “monogendered” unions (between those of the same gender). In fact, there are plenty of them in our churches. Sadly, they get ignored, insulted, or shunned, yet they are the ones before whom we should all be quiet and listen.

Who, you ask? Simply those who feel long-term same-sex attraction (SSA), and who may have even acted on those feelings in gay relationships in the past but who came to decide, in their Christian commitment, to marry the opposite gender instead. Ex-gay Christians who have been happily married for years are the best instructors on what the difference is. They have been there and can compare. It was to just these people that I turned to explore these questions of marriage in my doctoral qualitative research project[i] under Covenant Theological Seminary.

I decided to limit the scope of my study to husbands with SSA, talking in depth with them about how their Christian wives, as women, made a difference in their relationships. Based on the national conversation, you might expect that finding such men would be formidable. Actually, they were not hard to find at all. Just how many “mixed-orientation couples”[ii] reside in America is unknown,[iii] but author and ex-wife of a gay man, Amity Pierce Buxton, who founded the Straight Spouse Network serving thousands of spouses in similar situations, estimates the number to be 2 million.[iv] Not all of these are Christian or happy, of course, but there seem to be plenty that are. I know because they have been teaching me. What did I learn?

Love led to good sex

As sociologists, psychologists, policy-makers, and marriage counselors have realized the failing health of the institution of marriage in this country, they have focused a great deal of attention on what makes marriages work well. The answer, upon which these folks have converged, can be summed up as emotional intimacy. A variety of disciplines now understand achieving emotional closeness to be the prime determiner of a happy marriage. It is the thing that makes marriages last longer, grow stronger, and endure the more formidable shocks of life. It is the stuff of solid unions.

The first thing I learned in talking to the husbands in my study is that those espousing the power of emotional intimacy are right. As would be expected, SSA did indeed present an obstacle to closeness in these marriages. As one husband put it, “It is difficult because they [women] are different. And, in our case, where we had to work through that, initially without the sexual dynamic, it was really hard. Because there wasn’t even … you couldn’t kind of patch things up with sex.”

What I did not expect was the repeated confession that this seemingly insurmountable obstacle of SSA was overcome through emotional intimacy. Although I did not ask about it, most participants made some kind of statement, in passing, about how sexual intimacy with their wives grew from emotional intimacy with them. One said, “[Titillation from] the female body … always felt like it was kind of a reach to me … times I got … excited … was all emotional and psychological.” Another recalled how “the tenderness, the patience of … my wife toward me [awakened our] exploring one another. …” So the power of emotional intimacy to make marriages successful was confirmed in this unexpected way. This also comports with findings that some in mixed-orientation marriages experience a lessening of SSA over time.[v], [vi]



[i] In contrast to statistical research, this kind of research interviews a smaller number of people in great depth, hopefully granting a deep understanding of a particular experience.

[ii] The term is coined in Mark A. Yarhouse and others, “Characteristics of Mixed Orientation Couples: An Empirical Study,” Edification: The Transdisciplinary Journal of Christian Psychology 4, no. 2 (2011): 41, 42.

[iii] Ibid., 41.

[iv] Amity Pierce Buxton, “Writing Our Own Script: How Bisexual Men and Their Heterosexual Wives Maintain Their Marriages after Disclosure,” Journal of Bisexuality 1, no. 2-3 (2001): 155.

[v] Mark A. Yarhouse, Christine H. Gow, and Edward B. Davis, “Intact Marriages in Which One Partner Experiences Same-Sex Attraction: A 5-Year Follow-up Study,” Family Journal 17, no. 4 (2009), 330, found a lowering in the mean reported level of SSA from prior to the marriage to later times as the marriage continued.

[vi] In their extensive literature review, former Wheaton College professor of psychology Stanton L. Jones, along with Mark A. Yarhouse, the clinical psychologist who formed the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity at Regent University, find that “nearly every study ever conducted on change of [sexual] orientation [by SSA people] found some evidence of change,” especially if the attempts were religiously motivated: Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse, Ex-Gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007), 78, 94. Several dozen studies on change in orientation were published in the 1950s-1970s, but serious research disappeared when DSM removed homosexuality as a disorder from its pages in 1973. In the last ten years, there has been a resurgence of such studies, with more rigorous standards and similar results.

[vii] Sabino Kornrich, of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences at Juan March Institute of Madrid, and Julie Brines and Katrina Leupp of the University of Washington, show that American couples with more gender distinct housework arrangements have more (and more vigorous) sex, in Sabino Kornrich, Julie Brines, and Katrina Leupp, “Egalitarianism, Housework, and Sexual Frequency in Marriage,” American Sociological Review 78, no. 1 (2013): 30, 42-43. To explain their results, they quote Pepper Schwartz to the effect that “introducing more distance or difference, rather than connection and similarity, helps to resurrect passion in long-term, stable relationships,” 30.

TOPICS: Current Events; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: exgays; gaymarriage; homosexuality; lessons; marriage
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1 posted on 07/10/2013 2:55:05 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
I'm going to read thismore carefully and attentively in a minute, but right now I must say I find the author's meaning is made ambiguous by his use of the word "gender" instead of "sex."

Gender is a matter of grammar, an in the present rhetorial setting it seems to mean a sense of "style" as masculine or feminine. I think this is irrelevant. A rather mannish woman could join a rather feminine man in the Holy Sacrament of Matrimony and have a perfectly valid and God-pleasing marriage.

She likes to bale hay? He like to make lace? No problem. Her hair is straight and short, he's got a headful of curls? No problem.

As long as they're a man and a woman, and what they do in bed includes the procreative marriage act. That's it.

"Gender" shades, slides and shape-shifts. "Sex" is a physiological fact. Marriage is defined by the two sexes, a permanent reality.

2 posted on 07/10/2013 3:30:38 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (On my honor.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
A variety of disciplines now understand achieving emotional closeness to be the prime determiner of a happy marriage.

NO kidding....

I sure hope they didn't use a research grant to figure that one out.

3 posted on 07/10/2013 3:37:01 PM PDT by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: metmom
Yeah. It's like "to really hear your spouse, you have to listen."


5 posted on 07/10/2013 3:41:33 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("You can observe a lot just by watchin'." - Yogi Berra)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I had the same initial reaction, as I really detest too-”meaningful” language; however, I have to say that when I read the entire article, I was very impressed with the author’s evenhanded treatment of the topic. I think his research brought out some really important, but very deeply buried, insights.

6 posted on 07/10/2013 3:46:55 PM PDT by jagusafr (the American Trinity (Liberty, In G0D We Trust, E Pluribus Unum))
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To: SeekAndFind

The sermon at my church last sunday involved the interview of an ex-gay christian. It was eye opening.

7 posted on 07/10/2013 3:49:26 PM PDT by Kevmo ("A person's a person, no matter how small" ~Horton Hears a Who)
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To: jagusafr
There may well be a true affective complementarity between males and females which can be generalized across cultures, but I'm not sure what it would be.

Nor am I sure that affective gender differences overwhelm individual temperaments. For instance: a particular emotionally spontaneous, expressive man may be more emotive than a particular reserved or stoical woman.

I am uncomfortable with calling that genderqueer or gender-variant or gender-anything. It's a matter of individual temperament and, often, culture.

8 posted on 07/10/2013 4:05:10 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (My short term memory isn't what it used to be. Also, my short term memory isn't what it used to be.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

While generalizations can be made about people, they cannot be put in a box.

If people were more willing to accept others as they are, without excusing sin in their lives, life would be so much easier.

There’s a difference between character qualities and personality and making bad life choices. character differences make the world go round. Bad choices and the (usually) associated consequences I have little time or sympathy for.

9 posted on 07/10/2013 4:23:42 PM PDT by metmom (For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore & do not submit again to a yoke of slavery)
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Rodamala
Give it more time.

I'm sure you'll get over it.

Not sure about the poor goat, though.

11 posted on 07/10/2013 5:26:01 PM PDT by x
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To: SeekAndFind


12 posted on 07/10/2013 5:30:28 PM PDT by Sergio (An object at rest cannot be stopped! - The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Agreed. We do such a disservice when we, e.g., label guys who like show tunes as “light in the loafers”. Heck, I sing along with Barry Manilow at the top of my lungs! Emotion and sensitivity don’t make one a homosexual.

13 posted on 07/10/2013 7:00:14 PM PDT by jagusafr (the American Trinity (Liberty, In G0D We Trust, E Pluribus Unum))
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To: x

that’s one of my most favorite jokes.

14 posted on 07/10/2013 7:38:31 PM PDT by Rodamala
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To: SeekAndFind

Thanks so much for posting this article. I’ll be passing it on to some people.

15 posted on 07/10/2013 9:10:57 PM PDT by married21
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Placemark for pingout. I just read a little bit (will read tomorrow) but I am so with you on the wrong use of the word “gender”.

16 posted on 07/10/2013 9:16:33 PM PDT by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: little jeremiah; Mrs. Don-o; metmom

I thought this was very interesting. I agree with everyone that using “gender” when “sex” was needed is an error. I got the impression that the experiences of the men quoted by the author, while quite sincere, are also very particular: the experiences of those individual men and the individual women they married.

While certain personality traits were described as distinctly “feminine,” would another observer have seen the same woman as simply a decent human being? Metmom is right on in saying that too much of human variety is ascribed to “gender” or excluded by “gender,” and too little space is given for simply humanity and virtuous character.

17 posted on 07/11/2013 3:15:27 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("The human project is all about babies! Culture is all about babies!" ~ Cdl. Dolan)
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To: jagusafr
Thanks for owning up to the Manilow part :o)---

.. but I'm with you. These days, paradoxically, the supposedly "don't-stereotype-me" gender activists are actyally erecting and enforcing huge new stereotype templates, so that everybody's got a rigid niche in the alphabet-soup LGBTQQI-BDSM-LSD-STD-AIDS luncy, and every bit of individuality you enjoy is labeled genderqueer.

Now I'm gonna go out and check out my new tool I got from eBay: a combination hatchet-hammer-crowbar-nail-puller. Much better for me than a cosmetics set!!!

18 posted on 07/11/2013 3:16:20 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (When I grow up, I'm gonna settle down, chew honeycomb & drive a tractor, grow things in the ground.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Is it a FUBAR?!? I’ve been coveting one of those! Have a great day, Mrs. Don-o.

19 posted on 07/11/2013 5:01:36 AM PDT by jagusafr (the American Trinity (Liberty, In G0D We Trust, E Pluribus Unum))
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To: jagusafr
It's an "antique" (by which they mean just o-o-o-l-d, nicked and rusty) combination tool, which, if made today, would be called a FuBar.

I'm shining it up! I love it, love it, love it! Now I don't have to pull nails out with my --- er --- nails.


Never WAS ladylike, durn it!

20 posted on 07/11/2013 5:32:12 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (When I grow up, I'm gonna settle down, chew honeycomb & drive a tractor, grow things in the ground.)
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