Miki Biddles has been married to Kengo Biddles for five years. They have two children. As you?ll see below, she is a very level-headed person with some great insights not only on her marriage but on the value of seeing people as individuals rather than only as representatives of whatever demographic they might belong to.
BEN: When and how did you find out about your husband’s attraction to men? What did you think and feel upon learning this?
MIKI: It’s an interesting thing, you know… I’ve had a lot of friends who were gay from a fairly young age (freshman in high school) and I always wondered why. It was like the Lord was doing it on purpose, and when I started hanging out with my husband more, it became obvious why. We met in the MTC, where we were in the same district going to the same mission, but I didn’t like him at all then, so I didn’t pay enough attention to notice anything. I first suspected when we ended up in the same singles ward several years after our missions. He started coming to my house for FHE, and then decided he liked my roommates more than he liked his own, and he started hanging out at my house. It became more and more obvious as we hung out more and more. I started to fall in love with him, and it became more pressing to have it confirmed. I gently confronted him about it once and he denied it. Then, one night, after a girl he’d dated in our ward started telling everyone that he was stalking her, I offered to go to church holding hands with him to put off the rumors. I was kidding actually, knowing what it would mean to show up in a singles ward holding hands! He jumped right on it though, and when I pointed out that the ward would think we were engaged, we stayed up until about 4 in the morning discussing whether that was okay. A big part of that discussion was him finally confessing what I already knew. Before he’d admitted to it, I’d done a lot of praying and pondering, and I decided that I could accept it, because I knew that he’d be loyal to me, and be a wonderful husband and father, and that if we faced his challenges head on together, we’d be able to, if not overcome, then at least be happy fighting together. Being gay, in many cases (and especially in my husband’s case) comes with a lot of personality traits that are very consistent with what the scriptures describe as a choice priesthood holder, and I KNEW that my husband was a worthy and choice priesthood holder even when we were in the MTC and I didn’t like him. His light is that strong. I wanted those qualities in a husband more than I didn’t want to have to deal with SSA. Like I said, I think I was prepared long before I even met him to be tolerant and understanding of what it was to deal with SSA. So it wasn’t a surprise, and even now it’s really not a big deal in our marriage. We understand each other, and are committed to each other, and deeply in love with each other. It just doesn’t matter now.
Who, if anyone, did you talk to about your decision to marry a man with same-sex attraction? What was the best and worst advice you got?
I actually made the decision myself. I talked to my sister about it before my husband confirmed it, but I KNEW he was the right one, and that I’d be prepared for this very trial (if that’s what you want to call it) most of my family still doesn’t know, but after almost 5 years of marriage, and a good one at that, I doubt they’d have much problem with it. My sister didn’t offer any advice that I remember. She was just a listening ear for something I needed to talk out. I didn’t feel like it was anyone’s business but mine, his, and the Lord’s and we all knew what the right thing for our family was. The only advice I got was from the Spirit, which said DO IT!, so I did.
Looking back on those five good years of marriage and the courtship before, is there anything you wish you or Kengo had done differently? Lessons you’ve since learned that would have been helpful from the start?
As far as the last five years, I think my regrets aren’t at all related to homosexuality. They’re more just married people stuff. I wish we’d both been better with money. We’re pulling out of some heavy debt, but if we’d been more careful in the beginning, we wouldn’t have these issues. I wish we’d learned to communicate better earlier on. It would have saved a lot of heartache and fighting. Our intimate life is very good now, but for a while it was… stunted. When my husband is stressed out, he tends to have more issues with his gay side. And his ideas about sex were a little messed up because of his extremely conservative family. Somewhere he got the idea that sex isn’t for pleasure and somehow it’s a sin to use it as stress release. He thought somehow it would be using ME if he needed to let off some steam that way. We’ve since dealt with that problem, but it took a while. If he starts feeling overly gay now, he starts thinking of me, and calls me and lets me remind him that I’m always available, and very happy to participate in marital relations, whatever the motivation to initiate may be. I hope that’s what you were asking :)
That’s exactly what I was asking. You bring up an interesting point — the distinction you make between problems related to your husband’s homosexuality and other “just married people stuff.” Are there any areas where it’s hard to tell the difference? Any times where you find yourself asking, “Is this because my husband is gay, or do all couples have this problem?”
At this point, I know it’s just us. Yes, homosexuality is part of it, because it’s part of him, but our problems are because we’re the people we are with the problems we have. I think in the beginning I didn’t know whether to blame his ex-wife or his homosexuality for our dysfunction in the bedroom. I think it was some of both, but mostly the ex. He’s always made it abundantly clear that he’s attracted to me, and it makes him really REALLY happy that he’s attracted to me like that. It makes him feel normal. I’m very happy to report that our only dysfunction in bed is our 2 year old and 9 month old boys :). The same-sex attraction is my husband’s trial in life, and so it’s ours, but honestly, speaking from my heart, I really don’t think it’s been a major contributor to the biggest problems in our marriage, which, thankfully, aren’t huge problems. It’s more a topic of philosophical conversation than a problem now.
One criticism of mixed-orientation marriages that I hear a lot is that a gay husband is fundamentally unable to love his wife — all of her, both emotionally and physically — the way a woman needs to be loved. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure exactly what that means, but I would venture to say that what matters is that you feel like your husband loves you the way you need to be loved. What does that mean for you? How does Kengo’s same-sex attraction affect his ability to make you feel completely loved?
If anything the qualities that are often associated with SSA give him a greater capacity to show and feel love. He’s more sensitive to my needs than many other men would be, and because of his challenges, he takes it upon himself to go out of his way to make sure I know he loves me and is attracted to me. Really, in this area, his SSA is only a positive. He’s a very loving and tender person, and that’s exactly what I need.
What are the most important qualities in a husband? How does your husband fulfill these qualifications? How does he fall short?
I think for me, the most important qualities in a husband are the ones found in Doctrine & Covenants 121:41-46 describing what makes a worthy priesthood holder. Long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness, pure knowledge, without hypocrisy or guile, reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, faithfulness, charity towards all men, virtuous, righteous. Also, he needs to understand his role as a husband and a father. I think my husband fulfills many of these naturally, and is striving to fulfill the others. He’s very gentle, loving, kind and strives to do everything by the Spirit. I think kindness and charity are things that come easier for men who deal with homosexuality. At least in my experience. They tend to be more tender, and less judgmental, which are extremely attractive qualities for me. Kengo and I have often talked about how common these traits are amongst his peers, but the general population has to work harder on them. It’s like these men are so good, that the only way Satan can get to them is to twist the general love they feel towards mankind into a wrong and unnatural attraction. My husband does struggle with patience, and is easily discouraged and thrown by adversity, but he gets stronger and more patient all the time. And he takes his responsibilities as a husband and father very seriously. He’s very hard on himself and thinks that he falls short on so many levels, though I don’t see it that way at all. If he has any real shortcomings, it’s that he’s too hard on himself, and a little short-tempered and a little pessimistic. I think I got a very very good man for all his shortcomings.
Thanks for telling us about your husband’s positive qualities. This question may or may not be a little harder to answer: What qualities do you have that make your marriage work?
In our specific case, I have a lot of tolerance and love. I have a very empathetic personality, so I think that’s a big plus when dealing with a spouse who’s homosexual. Also, I’m pretty patient, forgiving and non-judgmental. All things that contribute to any marriage, but to mine especially. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of faults that contribute too, but I think personality-wise, I was specifically prepared for this type of marriage.
You also mentioned earlier that you felt you’d been prepared for your marriage through the gay friends you’d had previously. I imagine your empathetic personality also came into play in those relationships. How, if at all, has your relationship with your husband changed the way you see gay people in general?
Interesting question. You know, the way I see “types” of people is different than others. I don’t see “types.” I find it impossible to generalize about any group of people because I know we’re all individuals and not part of any sort of hive mind. Everyone has different thoughts and feelings. My relationship with my husband hasn’t really given me any insight I didn’t have before. What I came to know about how different people deal with homosexuality actually came during my college years when my favorite roommate was gay, one of the people I hung out with the most was gay (he also was very fond of taking pictures of my gay roommate for her girlfriend) several people on my debate team were gay, and a girl I’d gone to high school with was in love with me. I was dealing with it on all sides, at all different levels. I’d had my eyes opened to just how different everyone is from one another before this, but during this period, I had my eyes opened to just how differently different people deal with the same trial or blessing or circumstance, or whatever you want to call things that happen to people. If you knew me well, you’d know that I really don’t generalize. So I can’t say how I see gay people in general, because I don’t see gay people in general. I see my husband, and I see a cousin, and I see many friends, and they all experience it differently, and they know others who experience it differently from them. The only person I see differently because of my marriage is my husband. I see him MUCH differently now than I did before we were married.
Do you see yourself differently? How has your marriage changed you?
How does marriage change anyone? Everyone is changed by marriage. You become a new person, as you develop and strive to become one with your spouse. I don’t think I see myself any differently because my husband is gay than I would if he weren’t. He’s him, and I’m me, and together with our two children, we’re a family, just like any other family. We work hard to keep things good between us, and to be the best parents we can be. I think parenthood has changed me much more than marriage has.
I’ve seen throughout your responses an emphasis on the individuality of you, your husband, and your marriage; I appreciate that perspective because I know every person and every marriage is different. As a closing thought, if there are any truths you feel can be generalized from your experience to others in similar situations, what would you consider the most important? What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned that might help other people in mixed-orientation marriages?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned by FAR is to be completely open and honest with your partner. If you’re upfront about the things you face, you give your spouse the chance to face them with you. The only times things have not been really good between us have been times when my husband has been keeping things from me. I’m a really bad liar and a really bad secret keeper, so I don’t keep anything from him, and he’s learned not to keep anything from me. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I’d found out NOW that my husband is gay. It wouldn’t be pretty, I can tell you that for sure. Honesty is definitely, unequivocally the key to a happy and healthy marriage, especially when one of you deals with homosexuality.
Thanks for giving us a peak into your marriage, Miki, and for sharing your thoughts.