Tag Archives: homosexual

When Marriage Became More Than Paper to Me – Part 1

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The fairy tales that ended with “and they lived happily ever after,” represented some sort of cruel, sick joke to me once I reached my late teenage years.  All around me, and I mean in the tabloids and media, I was seeing people getting divorced for reasons varying from “falling out of love,” financial gain/loss, just not in agreement, and finally infidelity, that I truly didn’t see the point of why two people would even want to commit themselves to each other.

I saw it as a way to further muffle the woman’s voice, who was supposed to be helpless, unassuming, and a domestic demi-goddess to be able to look good and handle the household without complaining.  And since there were always several kids in this kind of family, she was always ready to have sex because she wanted more and more kids. If she was called “self-sacrificing,” that meant she was a martyr that was everything to everyone, whenever and however they needed her.

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I saw it this way until I wanted a relationship.

In the deep abyss of my mind, I, at least, knew the concept of marriage meant a vow to be with the other person for rest of each other’s lives;  to have each other’s backs, and as much as I opposed marriage, I wanted someone to want to vow to be with me for the rest our lives.

As crazy and as wild as my life was, one thing stood true – as I kept chasing after unconditional love in all the wrong places and the wrong people, I really didn’t know how to give the kind of love I wanted, because I didn’t know how to receive it.

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I don’t mean this in other people, because yes, there were some wrong choices there, but there were also some great people out there who cared deeply for me. (That didn’t mean they were “the one”).

In fact, I remember qualifying candidates as “the one” because we got along great and they seemed nice, but until I realized me own pattern, within 3 months, we hit turmoil and usually quickly it was over.

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No, when I say I didn’t know how to receive it, I mean, in a Higher Power kind of way.  (Now before I lose you, let me explain!)

I knew there existed a Higher Power who ‘loved’ me, but in this world, I felt I had to fend for myself.  I had to make a way for myself, provide for myself (even when I was sleeping in my car and eating mayo/sprouts sandwiches), and I definitely had to figure out who can love and accept me with all my imperfections, and many a night I spent in the arms of a new lover trying to find it.  However, I was still quietly suffering from bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts. I was raped several times.  I compromised my own dignity in order to have a relationship, more than once. And although I wanted this ‘imaginary perfect person,’ my own measuring stick of qualifying candidates ranged from making excuses for them (saying things like, ‘who am I to judge?’) to they better love me, warts and all – but be easy for me to love.

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Somewhere in there, in my search, I bypassed all the people who were telling me what I should do and I decided to delve further into my knowledge of God – mind you though, that was by happenstance because really I had just prayed, “Ok, God, I have nothing to show for my life, so you can take it now!” (which, by the way means something totally and wonderfully different to God, I believe!) Without meaning to, after being graced with “cords of human kindness,” who wanted to help me without return of favor but out of sheer joy and even protected my dignity, who extended help without my having to perform or just be “on,” but because it was it was on their hearts, really, it was too much for me during this humbling time.  I even prayed that God stop it because I didn’t know how to handle “so much love,” I prayed.  These were people who first showed a love that was one of respect and integrity.  The romantic love had to be on hold during this time, because honestly, I was a mess and still didn’t understand or recognize a love that meant respect for another being in a selfless way. More than that, I didn’t know why anyone would want to do things for the sheer joy of helping someone else.  I was still doing things for others because 1.) It made me feel good in a way where I was a good person to help someone else, meaning that eventually, I would be thanked or recognized in some way – if even cosmically; 2.) I felt I had to and with everyone being a part of a charity, not only could I get a tax break, but be called a philanthropist and 3.) somewhere in me I felt I should do it.  But more times than not, I never intentionally went out of my way to help or love others. And once I became a Christian, Heaven help those that didn’t ‘agree’ with my understanding of God. Regardless, I had enough problems of my own, and didn’t want to involve myself with others – yet, I still wanted a relationship.

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So, in reflecting how marriage became more to me, I believe it came somewhat in this order:

1.) I had to understand the type of Love I wanted – even more than that, the Source, and who really set the standard of the type of Love I yearned for;

2.) I had to demonstrate that love in a way where I did not expect to have it reciprocal, but because I was willing to do so for the sheer joy of it;

3.) I had to learn about boundaries – mine and others, and learn how to respect those.

4.) I had to be open to the concept of forever be forgiving of others and take responsibility without feeling shame when I asked for forgiveness

5.) I studied again the dictionary definition of the word ‘love’ and what the biblical standard of ‘Love’ if, and than set out to see if I could see it demonstrated on a consistent basis between two people who professed their love for each other.

Let me just add, I DID see it! I saw so many husbands loving their wives, while still being ‘men,’ and fathers to their children. I saw their wives stand majestically beside them, respecting them and encouraging them.  I saw it over and over again. I saw how when they were apart from each other, that wasn’t their time to rip apart their spouse and complain of their spouse’s shortcomings. I saw the mutual respect they had for each other to strengthen each other.  I saw them show respect for the vows they made to each other and before God. I witnessed them growing together in their walks with God to impact and encourage others.  Their children were polite and loving.  Trust me, for a moment I thought I was in a bizarro world, but it was right there in Los Angeles – of all places, and then again in Franklin, Tennessee.  Only because I saw it over and again did I believe it was achievable. So I made up my mind that I was going to have that.

(to be continued) – Forcing My Dreams of Marriage to Match My Vision – Part 2

Hugs, Peace, and truly love,

Arikah, Founder, Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking (www.facebook.com/twoheartsmatchmaking)

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Can you relate to this apology video?

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To see the show previews, click here.

From Homosexual Dating to Marrying the Woman Who Became His Best Friend

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Rodney’s story continues to amaze me, but, that’s probably because of two things – the first being, he is an amazing man, loyal to his wife, friends and ‘strangers’ (which he doesn’t know!).  The second is his humility to put God as the number one reason for his story.

I met Rodney 14 years ago, when I first came to church and decided to take God seriously. He was living the single life, and I would often see him encouraging the other members of the congregation, making them laugh, giving them gifts. It was apparent how much he was loved. Really, I didn’t pay too much attention to him at the time because I was bringing in my own baggage of converting from the manipulating, dark sex world I was a part of for six years.  Coming in, I was nervous of finding the godly men I was attracted to, for fear of seducing them and leading them down a path that I knew would hold on my conscious. So I usually kept my insecure eyes down – though I was extremely vocal – about everything.

Rodney must have noticed this, because he was the first to ask me out on a date.  I knew the singles often did encouragement-type dates and I was so excited because with his tall frame and fun personality, I actually felt safe – and honored to be chosen.

We had a blast and somewhere in there, he told me that before coming to the Lord, he was actively living a gay lifestyle.  Since then, I’ve always been mesmerized by his story.  Partly because I found similarity with my own life that I was leaving. Though I come to find (after being a part of sexoholics anonymous), my addiction was being in a relationship.  I would do anything to be in a relationship and be loved.

How was he looking so happy?  I had so many questions but instead I just watched this confident, loving man continue to serve others in the congregation and community.  My shock came when I received his wedding announcement – to the woman who often gave me helpful advice.

I just HAD to know. What and how could he change? Did he still have those feelings towards men?   Well, I finally decided to sit down and ask.  His story, without knowing anything before now, served as an inspiration to me of faithfulness, self-control, and perseverance and always has me truly in awe of God.

Here’s his story.  (Answers stated are per questions asked.)

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How long did you actively live the homosexual lifestyle? I guess I always new I was different since the age of 9 and after wrestling with the idea (if homosexuality was ok with God,) i came out and started living the gay lifestyle at age 21.

 Do you believe a person is born this way or it is just a lifestyle? I believe I can only answer this question for me … I believe I was born with a different heart capable of loving another man more deeply than that of a woman i.e the pure relationship of Jonathan and David and I became tempted with the sin of homosexuality as any other person who chooses any sin that he or she is tempted with and given in to.
What was your turning point – what happened in your life to turn it over to Jesus?  I was enjoying my life before I became a disciple of Jesus.  I guess by some standards I was well rounded emotionally, physically, socially and otherwise.  I guess my turning point was when I was invited to go to church and at that time I was not looking, I thought I was spiritually good.  After several no’s, I finally said yes.  On that Sunday there was a woman who was sharing her life and she read a scripture Isaiah 55:8-9 “Your thoughts are not My thoughts nor are your ways like My ways declares the Lord.”  When I heard that I knew in my heart the way I was living wasn’t pleasing to God.  I didn’t immediately change or desire to change, but I think my heart became unbroken little by little and eventually, I let God change me from the inside out.
Did you believe you would get married even after giving your life to Christ? When I became a disciple I wasn’t focused on dating, marriage or anything having to do with relationships, I guess I was enjoying being surrounded with other believers and doing the work God had for us to do.  Over time I began to build strong friendships with women and 2 captivated me and I wanted to take one deeper.
Was race ever a factor in your choice? She was black, smart, beautiful and everything I felt I ever wanted in a woman and there was another – Latin, also beautiful, but not what I was attracted to, however our friendship was the deepest, strongest. secure, loving and everything godly.  When things didn’t work out with the the first woman, my friendship with the other grew even more but my eyes were still blinded to the thought of her being just a best friend and she was and is still my best friend.
How did you know your choice was the one? We spent so much time together as friends it became like a second skin, I guess other people noticed the potential dating relationship there but I was totally blind to it until God opened my eyes.  It was at a friends groom’s party…He got up to say how grateful he was to be marrying his best friend and how she was a best friend to him and how their relationship was like a best friend…Get the picture?  I was floored by his confession.  After that hanging out with my best friend seemed weird because I felt like she was my wife, we would go to the grocery store, out to eat, to church, practically everything we used to do as friends now seemed as if we were married.  It freaked me out!! Not in a bad way but in a way that was unfamiliar.  I knew I wanted to get married, have kids and all the blessings of family and now I felt it was here right in front of my eyes all the time.   We eventually started dating, got engaged and then married all within the year.  We’ve been married now for about 13 years and it’s been good and bad, but most of all it’s been awesome having someone to love and someone to love me unconditionally.
Do you still struggle with thoughts of homosexuality?  Yes I still struggle with the thoughts of homosexuality but isn’t that what we all do with whatever sin we are tempted by.  I believe you have to see sin is sin to God, He doesn’t say this one is worse off that the next or that one deserves more or less condemnation.  To God we all fall short and He gave His Son for all of us, not just the one who don’t practice homosexuality. Romans 3:21-31
How do you cope within your marriage with these struggles?  We both handle things thru openness, prayer and getting help.  We realized we can’t do marriage on our own, we need people who love us and are willing to tell up the truth about ourselves.  We also made a commitment to each other that we don’t believe in divorce, to make the decision to love each other and to keep God and His word in our marriage.  We had a rough year a few years back where I turned back to homosexuality and had sex with men.  It was the hardest thing I had to do but I told my wife and got open with friends and eventually my marriage got to a better place.
Now to answer your last few questions  in these few short sentences:
I believe we are not put here on this earth to discriminate in any form.  The world is not perfect and there are no perfect people in it, so how can anyone judge what is right or wrong for a particular person.  The only thing we should be concerned with is how we love God, how we love others and how we love ourselves.  I imagine it as  God seeing us as children, treating and loving us as such.  He wants the best for us, He hopes we will make the right decisions and He is gracious with us.  Isn’t this how we should be if we call ourselves God followers…want the best for others graciously, hope for others, that they will find the truth and be the extension of God’s grace since we are created in His image.  God doesn’t need me to defend His church or His word.  Who am I to think that I can stand in front of God?  The only thing I can do is Love His creations and follow the truth of His word 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and 1 Peter 4:8-11.  My nephew is gay and he lives with us.  I know he sees my life with my wife and how loving we are to each other, and to him and how gracious we are.  I believe when he has his turning point, he will look back on his experiences living with us and make the best decision for him and his relationship with God.
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See what I mean? I knew from this story, you would get a sense of why he is so admired.  I always wanted to ask these questions – without offense to anyone, and he allowed me.
Next upcoming blog, “I love God, He loves me, and I gotta have Sex with my Dates.!”  (Title pending.)
Happy Dating!
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S. Arikah Nash Baly-Jensen, Founder, Two Hearts Offline Matchmaking