Questions regarding Julie and our marriage, my self-hatred, and thoughts on Rachel Dolezal.
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Q: How is Julie, and how is your marriage affected by your condition?
A: I get asked about Julie a lot, and this pleases me. She has a job she loves in a company she respects. As I am the house spouse. (Cooking, shopping, and doing the laundry? I’m on it. Dusting and mopping floors? Not so much.) She can enjoy working and relax when she comes home. I am happy to say that the Lord has blessed me with the perfect woman for me, one who is able to love me through the worst of the worst.
The one who asked the second part of the question is concerned about the man who transitions to female and what comes of the marriage.
When Julie and I began the process of considering that I might transition, we made a list of the most important concerns. Number one was the Lord. Number two was our marriage. Number three was our kids and grandchildren. There were five more items, including practical things like jobs and finances.
Julie and I were concerned both for ourselves and for our witness as a married couple. We both are heterosexual, so how does that aspect play out? I told her she could scripturally divorce me, then begged her not to. (Thankfully, she had no interest in that.)
Ultimately, we came down to this: we are married. We intend to fulfill our vows to love and honor, for better or for worse, till death parts us. If I were to transition, we would work to demonstrate to the world that we are Christians, just as we have since we were united.
It is always important to me that people know that gender dysphoria and a person’s transitioning is not about sex. I fear that many people think it is. It seems there is a haze that hangs in the air about this, as if we are at least sex addicts, and at worst hedonistic fetishists and fornicators; as if having gender dysphoria automatically makes one unethical.
Sex has nothing to do with this. While I would love to have a wonderful romantic life with my wife, thankfully we have affection and respect and everything else that every couple should be so blessed to have. We tell each other, “I love you,” at least a couple of times a day.
I’m still crazy about her and she’s still crazy about me. Our marriage is even stronger for all we have gone through the past two-and-a-half years. We talk and talk and talk. We never argue and never yell at each other. When we disagree, we handle it with love and respect. Come what may, that is how we will continue to enjoy the Lord’s gift to us of this wonderful marriage.
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Q: It bothers me when you say that you experience self-hatred. How can you hate yourself?
A: It bothers me, too, that I hate myself. Often, I hate myself for hating myself because, as I like to say, the Lord has blessed no other person, in the history of the world, any more than He has blessed me.
But, the fact is, when I experience the worst of my brain and body and life not matching, I just cannot live with myself. When a person writes something angrily to me, when folks insist my entire problem is spiritual and I wonder if they aren’t correct, when I hurt someone because of how I am, when I cannot see how I am going to get through this mess, when I am convinced that I cannot, will not transition, and then I cannot hold onto that resolve, or when I am positive that I will transition and then I hit another in the long road of potholes, I hate myself. “Grow up! Get your act together! Trust Christ more! Stop being such an idiot!” and with way worse things than these have I cursed myself.
I know that when I speak of hating myself, folks are concerned I might do myself bodily harm. I am glad to report that I have not had suicide on my mind for nearly two years.
Not all self-hatred is wrong. The Lord tells us that the person who loves his life will lose it, while the person who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25). He means this: recognize that my thoughts and words and deeds are infected with evil, as is the world. Do not love this life if it means thinking I am hot stuff, nor this world if I think this is the sum of my life. Gain my life through repentance, through reliance on Him for my righteousness and goodness and love, for the eternal life which only He can give.
This is what I strive for: the proper balance of hating my sins. To keep the proper balance I need my whole life in balance, and right now I am in the balancing act of my life. When my two-person struggle is at its worst, my life is the most out of whack. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit always brings me back to my Lord Jesus, who loves me even when I excessively hate me.
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I have not been asked about Rachel Dolezal, but I want to speak about her. Ms. Dolezal is the woman who claims to be black, despite all indications she is of white parentage. I have been gobbling up everything I can read from and about her. First, I am concerned that she appears to have deceived and has gotten caught in some deception. On that score, I hope she speaks truthfully. Mostly, I have compassion for her. Her situation has many similarities to my own: who am I? She is a person in need of help, not jokes; understanding, not ridicule. I fear that many people—both African American and Caucasian—have horrible thoughts about, and words for, her. I hope all people will practice the Golden Rule, and think, “If I were in a tough situation, I would want people to treat me kindly.”