Shane’s story: My journey as a gay waiter-till-marriageJuly 13th, 2014 by Shane
Reconciling my faith and sexuality was not an easy journey. I grew up in a very conservative denomination and I was deeply embedded in the evangelical world. For many years I believed that being gay and Christian were not compatible. However at the age of 32 I joined the Gay Christian Network (GCN), on online community much like this one, as part of my journey to reconciliation.
This resulted in one of the biggest influences on my journey: meeting other gay Christians. I met LGBT people who were deeply committed to Jesus and were doing the best they could to live a life guided by scripture and the Holy Spirit.
Some of these great Christians that I met also believed in waiting until marriage and that was a big encouragement to me. I was certain that if I ever came to a place where I believed God was OK with me dating a man that I would still hold to that belief.
Some of these great Christians that I met also believed in waiting until marriage and that was a big encouragement to me.
After a lot of prayer, wrestling with Scripture, and discussions with people in real life and online, I finally came to a place where I believed God would bless my relationship with a man. I was excited by the prospect of falling deeply in love and sharing my life with someone.
I wrote about this excitement for marriage in the Waiting Until Marriage forum on GCN and it caught the attention of one of the other forum members. Dave sent me a message sharing that he liked what I had written. This led into a conversation that very quickly moved off of the boards to Skype.
It became apparent very quickly that Dave and I had feelings for each other. The crazy thing was that I was living just outside of Toronto and Dave was living just outside of Washington DC. However, we made trips back and forth to see each other and our relationship continued to grow. Because I worked at a university and could take a summer semester off, I moved to DC for 4 months so we could experience normal life together. It was great to live only a 25-minute walk away from each other instead of a 10-hour drive.
On our 1 year anniversary we got engaged, 5 months later we had a very small civil ceremony in Toronto and 3 months after that we had our church wedding in Maryland on the beach of the Chesapeake Bay. It was a wonderful day!
Throughout our dating and engagement we continued to hold to our belief that sex should be reserved for marriage. We even waited until our church wedding because that was the more important wedding to us. We were both virgins when we got married and I must admit that at times I felt nervous. I didn’t know any other gay men who got married as virgins. It felt scary because we were headed into unknown territory. I know there are a lot of people out there who strongly advocate for sexual experience as part of the dating process. However, I understood the Bible to teach that sex is a powerful connector between two people and that the best context for sex was life-long commitment.
I am very glad that we waited because on our wedding night and every time since, sexual intimacy has had a deeper meaning for us.
I am very glad that we waited because on our wedding night and every time since, sexual intimacy has had a deeper meaning for us. It is a physical expression of our commitment to one another. In our wedding vows we said “I do” and every time we have sex was say “I do” all over again. I have truly experienced the beauty of the “one flesh” idea that the Bible talks about.
Putting our life together was challenging due to immigration issues. We even had to spend 6 months apart during out first year of marriage which was really hard. However Dave eventually moved to Canada and I am so thankful for our life together.
I do want to point out three things before I finish off. First, although Dave and I were virgins on our wedding night, I don’t think virginity is all that important. The church has overemphasized the concept of virginity and I don’t believe it is helpful in discussions of WTM. In my opinion, WTM is about recognizing the powerful connection that is formed in sex and not about saving one’s virginity. Just because someone is not a virgin does not disqualify them from living out a WTM belief.
Second, living out a WTM belief is not easy. Because Dave and I were long-distance, our in-person dates lasted a week at a time. We stayed together during these visits. We never slept in the same bed until we got married because that would have been too tempting for me, but we still faced our share of temptation. There were definitely moments when I had to cool down because I realized my desires were racing ahead. I share all this not to point out how amazing we are but to say to others that I know how you feel.
Third, my situation was unique in that 3 weeks after reconciling my faith and sexuality I met Dave and he ended up being the guy I married. I know this is highly unusual. During our dating period I worried about marrying my first boyfriend. Many would say I should date many people first before getting married. However, I thought it crazy to throw away a perfectly good relationship simply because he was my first boyfriend. (I had actually had 3 long-term relationships with women and they taught me a lot even though they were heterosexual relationships.)
It is my hope that my story can be an encouragement to others. When I was dating I didn’t know many gay couples who had gone before me. I hope my story can be a testimony to the goodness of God. Dave and I are definitely not perfect and we have made and will continue to make mistakes. We have lots of areas of growth as individuals and as a couple. However, I have seen the faithfulness of God to us in our relationship.