Understanding for the trans’ spouse

Last week, to my post, “I Don’t Understand,” a friend authored an astute analogy. He suggested that the family member or close friend, who is dealing with a loved one’s transitioning sexes, might be akin to any person suffering significant trauma and, when in a traumatic situation, a person’s ability to deal with things easily can be profoundly affected.

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Since 2015, I have been corresponding with a man, whom I will call Jack. Jack is a traditional Christian, at the crossroads with his gender dysphoria, and longing to transition. Jack’s struggle has been manifold. He can only see transitioning as the remedy for his dysphoria, but his wife, whom I will call Barb, is completely against it, and they have all of the usual factors in their lives—children, work, church, family and friends—which complicate the situation.

Last week, Barb got directly involved in communicating with me. To summarize where she is, first, she is committed to a traditional reading of God’s Word and cannot fit into it that one might transition without it being a sin and, second, she finds in her husband longing to be a woman a direct attack on her own femininity.

As I pondered her long, question-filled, impassioned note, I realized that I could not only defend Jack’s need for relief from his gender dysphoria. I considered the trauma idea of my friend, and I added to it the attitude that I have had for my own loved ones, having determined that I would always be patient with them, recognizing that my news was tremendously hard on many of them. I knew that I had to display the same concern for Barb as I had for Jack.

I told Barb that I saw her to be in a situation which is, in its own way, as bad as her husband’s and, in a specific way, worse. The worse way? Jack could decide to transition and Barb could lose all that she has invested in their marriage, all that she is working hard to retain, and she wouldn’t be able to do a thing about it.

From what Jack has told me, Barb already has decided to divorce Jack should he transition, and yet Barb has no interest in being divorced. She longs to have her marriage—to keep the man, the male, whom she married—and everything they have built together. Yet, because she is convicted from God’s Word that transitioning is wrong, and because it personally troubles her so deeply, she would leave the marriage.

If this isn’t a case of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, nothing is.

Barb’s lousy position is where many spouses find themselves, whose mates reveal their gender dysphoria, whether or not that one goes on to transition.

We trans folks long for sympathy from our spouses. I am one of the too few who, in Julie, has a completely understanding mate. What of those, who cannot abide with their spouse’s transitioning, or their fear that it could happen at any time even if, as of yet, it has only come to the revealing of the gender identity issue? Should we trans folks not sympathize with them at the same level as we desire for ourselves?

This is not to speak of the parents of trans persons, or the children, the siblings, and name any family, friend, coworker, and so on. If our news is such that it does not match the worldview, or religious beliefs, or whatever the challenge might be for them, must they automatically drop those and accept everything about us, or shall we extend to them the same longing to be understood as we crave from them? And be patient with them? And show them compassion?

Yes, we should.

I loathe asking this question: who wins? Sadly, in so many areas of life, we humans do things in order to get our way with something, and, yes, we want to win. And we don’t care if that means making a loser of someone else.

Years ago, I was taught that, in marriage, one should never carry with his or her spouse the notion of winning something. Any loving spouse should never want to make a loser of her or his mate.

Spouses always should work on areas of disagreement so as to come to the most satisfying result for both, so that they win together as a couple. This is what love does. Love seeks what is best for the object of his or her affection.

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In the most difficult of situations—and what could be more difficult than what Jack and Barb are experiencing?—patience, compassion, and calm must be the order of the day. Since both parties want to retain the marriage, there should be no stop left unpulled, no angle left unpursued, no potential remedy short of transitioning left unattempted, no amount of studying not undertaken.

Both Barb and Jack want to preserve their marriage. Jack is hurting so badly that, right now, he only sees transitioning as his way to heal. Should he transition, and finds the relief he seeks and adjusts well in the many facets of his life, and Barb feels she has to divorce him, then Barb becomes the one in need of relief—from healing because of her lost marriage, to embarrassment she might experience, to any number of new struggles, including the concerns for her ex-husband which she would continue to carry.

Because of her husband’s challenging situation, Barb has suffered her own trauma. She also seeks relief, is in need of healing.

Barb deserves as much understanding, compassion, and patience, as does Jack.

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2 thoughts on “Understanding for the trans’ spouse

  1. Gina

    Wow, thank you for this! My spouse and I are in a similar situation as Jack and Barb. My GD has taken me to the point that I have determined I am trans regardless of whether I get to transition. To be honest I know it is only a matter of time before I start HRT. I am in so much agony with the constant battle in my mind and desire to live as a trans woman. I came out to my wife in 2015 after struggling all my life with GD. The only relief I have from the constant thoughts are when I am a sleep. I too am a Christian and I am trying everything, leaving no stone unturned to live as a male. I love my wife more than life itself and I know she loves me the same but she can’t understand the unrelenting thoughts that consume every good part of me…no one can unless they are trans. I am not suicidal but sometimes I feel I am going insane. I can relate to each and every article I’ve devoured on your site since I found it yesterday. I have tried everything to turn my thoughts to Christ: prayer, praise music and memorizing books of the bible to recite when the struggle is bad, but I just can’t mentally keep pace with the desire to live as a woman. The only time I have any relief other than sleep, is when I crossdress. These are the only times that I find rest from the battle and division between male and female in my mind. Finally my wife has given me the same ultimatum that Barb has given Jack. So I continue to battle and try any and everything so that I can at least say I tried it all in hopes that something other than transition will provide relief. I continue to pray James 1:2-4 in hopes that I may persevere until either God brings relief or changes my wife’s heart. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your testimony and putting into words what I’ve been trying to describe to my Christian counselor that being trans doesn’t change my standing in God’s kingdom, I am his child forever and nothing on this earth or in heaven can change that! Romans 8:38-39: 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Thank you, thank you.

    Blessings,
    Jason

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    1. Oh, Jason . . .

      I am with you, friend and brother in Christ!

      How did you find my blog? I would guess you were doing an internet search and one or more of my articles came up in the results.

      I experienced the same, quite sure I would never kill myself but fearing that I would go insane. There was a day, early in 2014, when I wrote about it, so sure that I was only days away.

      Have you read my post regarding the man who is using HRT to remain male? https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/using-hrt-to-remain-male/ Robert has now been on HRT for over 1 1/2 years and it has helped him to be able to abide with being a male. Yes, he’s growing breasts, and has to deal with that, but the overall benefits – keeping his mind fairly stable – have proven a tremendous blessing. I had a very brief period – six weeks – soon after I started HRT, which gave me such peace that I thought I could use it to remain male, and talked with my doctor about it, but after I crashed I could never regain that peace.

      You made an important point, that your wife cannot understand what you are experiencing. When I crashed in 2013, Julie came to say, “I wish I could spend one day in your brain, so I would know what you are experiencing.” She also would say how people who never experience the mismatch of brain and body are completely oblivious as to what we suffer. Sadly, in that state of being oblivious, so many have no compassion for us.

      I love the Scriptures you posted, two which are very common for me to quote. Indeed, Jason, you belong to the Lord. In another Scripture, which echos Romans 8:38-39, the Lord Jesus says, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day (John 6:40).” Note the word, EVERYONE, as in John 3:16.

      Whatever I might do for you, even if you simply need to share your burden with a fellow Christian, I hope you contact me. My email is porthopepizza@gmail.com.

      The Lord be with you!
      Gina

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