For a long time, partly at our friend Eve Tushnet’s suggestion, I’ve wanted to try to write about how and why I’ve formed such deep and lasting friendships with married couples. This is, I gather, somewhat unusual for people like me who are both gay and celibate. Strange or not, though, it’s been one of the most significant parts of my efforts to embrace life and health in celibacy. So here’s my best effort (so I think) to try to tell that story.
I do want to say here what I probably should have said more clearly in the essay itself: this is not the story of Gay Christian Celibacy, capital-g, capital-c, capital-c, and if this doesn’t match what you feel or know, I certainly don’t think that indicates any failure or deficiency on your part.
This is just my story — or a slice of my story. But I’m offering it in the hope that it can inspire at least some of us to be more forthcoming about the pains and joys unique to our specific stories of going through life without spouses of our own.
Thanks so much for sharing your reflections! I have found over the years that I tend to gravitate more towards wanting to develop closer, meaningful friendships with married couples and their kids. I haven’t really taken the time to reflect more on why, but I think part of it is, I get two friends for the price of one! I find that married people tend to be a little more stable and content in life. If they are open to it, I can just join in with their family routines when I happen to be over and eventually I get promoted to being an Auntie. I absolutely love it! I love being in the midst of my friend’s messy-ish lives because as a single person there’s….just me. I find greater intimacy in the everyday regular family messy-ness with my friends than I do with deep conversations every once in a while with my single friends. Living my own single life, I can really choose to wall myself off and live a selfish life- uninterrupted, or I attach myself to a family or two and roll up my sleeves and be part of their village. There’s so much joy in it for me. They think it’s weird that I think that but they have no idea how much getting to be part of their families (no matter how loud, crazy, or messy they are) is the hugest blessing to my heart, mind and emotions. Recently, when I was feeling a little homesick, I texted the mom of one of the families I have lived with previously and said, “Everything is going crazy right now, I feel overwhelmed by a lot. All I want to do is lay on your couch and watch your kids be crazy, goofy, and loud.” For some people I realize that would not be lovely, but for someone like me that is one of my comfort go-to thoughts for when I want to be around “family”, they are my kingdom family. Now, I live in another part of the country, and I am so thankful that the Lord has surrounded me with new couples and families that also value inclusion and opening their home to non-blood relatives to be part of their families. So I’ve expanded my niece and nephew relationships due to friendships with new couples. Kingdom family can get pretty big, which helps ease, not erradicate, ease the loneliness factor.
I’m very impressed by this blog post. Thank you Wesley Hill. It makes some excellent points that I have been thinking about myself over the past few days, and has helped me process things more clearly.
Best of all. It has solidified the hope that I have. Thank you for sharing so potently your experiences.