thegoodesFor most families, December is a big month. For the Goode family, it is enormous.Barbara and I have eight grandchildren and half of them were born in December. Barbara’s birthday is in December as is my oldest daughter’s. My mother was born in December and though she has been on the other side of the veil for nearly fifteen years, she is very much remembered at this time of year.

The other day, I was talking to a friend at the gym where I swim. I was telling him about how busy I am this month with all of the birthdays. I told him how last Saturday we went to a birthday party for our triplet grandchildren and this Saturday (yesterday) was a joint birthday party for another grandson and my dear wife. He commented on how that truly was a lot of birthdays and I said, “Well, of course, it is also the month we celebrate Jesus’ birthday.”In a way, we’re celebrating that all month with all of the preparations for the big day, one highly anticipated by all of the wee ones in our family. I am really into Christmas. My mother, who had to chisel out her happiness from some pretty hard rock, always made sure that no matter what else might be going on, Christmas was a special time.

I really came to understand why she was always so excited by it as I raised my own family and now watching my children raise their little families. As a father of five and grandfather of eight, I marvel at my life and how one brief, but monumental, decision changed a great many things for me.

I am fortunate to have married well, and though not a perfect father, did a good job with my children too. I’m thrilled to be part of all of this and especially happy that I’m not just anyone in this family. I am the progenitor, with some help from my wife, of course.

Some people say that none of this should have happened. They take the counsel of the Church that says that people who experience same-sex attraction should not use marriage to resolve homosexual feelings and twist it to say that the Church says men like me shouldn’t marry women. Even worse, they look at marriages that don’t last and lay the blame on the same-sex attraction of one of the spouses, as if any marriage breaks up for such narrow and simple reasons.

I would like to share some advice for young people who are pondering whether marriage might work for them and like a lot of advice these days, I’m going to number them:

  1. If you marry, marry well and for the right reasons. The biggest right reason is love and the second biggest right reason is a desire to be a progenitor. I highly recommended it.
  2. Let love for the Lord be the main love in your life. My wife has often said that she feels secure with me, not because of my love for her, but because of my love for the Lord. As much as I would not consider being unfaithful to her, I would even less consider breaking the covenants I’ve made with the Lord.
  3. Strive to do the things that make for being a good spouse. I’m not talking about the outward appearances. I’m talking about things like integrity, loyalty, faith, and a willingness to stay together through all of the trials that will surely come.
  4. Strive just as hard to do the things that make for being a good parent. This is very much like being a good spouse, employing all of the same virtues.
  5. Recognize that same-sex attraction doesn’t have to be the biggest challenge. It won’t be the biggest challenge if you don’t make it the biggest challenge. Believe me, there are plenty of other things you’ll face and the fact that one of the spouses experiences same-sex attraction pales when compared with some of the other heartbreaks of parenthood and family life.
  6. Avoid a victim role. Don’t look at same-sex attraction as the worst thing a person can deal with. Don’t dwell on the hurts of the past. Forgive quickly and choose to be happy. When you think about the difficulties of life, look to the Savior whose mercy and justice will recompense you for all losses.
  7. Ignore negativity. I am bombarded constantly with the opinions of people who think my life is a sham and those missiles come from all directions. If you listen too much to naysayers, you’ll start thinking “nay” and it can lead to being dissatisfied and unhappy. One bishop told me once that I’d never be much of a man and that my wife and children would never really respect me. He was wrong.
  8. Resist the stereotype. A British dictionary defines stereotype as, “an idea, trait, convention, etc, that has grown stale through fixed usage (Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition). A lot of people who think of themselves as free thinkers will hold some pretty stale ideas about how you should live your life. It’s quite a dichotomy when you think about it. They think they’re enlightened because they’ve accepted a regimented definition of what any person who experiences same-sex attraction should accept as a label, follow as practices, and present to the world. Those same people will call you narrow-minded if you don’t think like they do. Have a good laugh at them.

If I were to ponder my feelings about the same-sex and then pick a letter from the growing alphabet soup of how people should label themselves, i.e., LGBTQ, I’d have to go with ‘G’. I only make this statement so you’ll know that when I say I experience same-sex attraction, it isn’t as a so-called “bisexual” or any of the other descriptions distilled down into the latest acronyms. I’m pretty much at one end of the continuum.

Thanks to being fortunate enough to marry the best woman on the planet, I’ve been resisting the stereotype for thirty-eight years and have no plans to give up. Of all the things I’ve become after fifty-eight years in this life, I think my favorite one has always been and still is, the progenitor.

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