A little over 6 years ago I was on my mission in Madrid. I was transferred to new area at the same time as another elder. I remember asking him if was really from Hawaii, since he was so tall and blonde. We ended up serving together in the same district for nearly seven and a half months and had a lot of good times together. He was actually nice to the sisters and a hard worker, without being too zealous and overbearing. I knew he was going home just a month before me and planning on being an English major when he got back to BYU. When I was transferred out of that area, we exchanged emails and addresses and promised to get back in touch some day, like I did with a lot of other missionaries. I got home in January and started trying to contact some of the people I'd been friends with back in the mission. I emailed this particular elder and found out that he had gone to the computer lab that very day in order to email me. We started emailing each other and talked on the phone a few times. He even visited an apartment I was hoping to move into in order to check it out for me. At the end of April I flew back to Provo to start school again. The afternoon I got back there was a knock on my door, and I opened it to find my friend from the mission, now looking very different with bleached, spiky hair and funky red jeans. We hung out that afternoon and made plans to walk to class together since we were in the same Spanish class. Later that week he took me out to lunch for my birthday, and even bought me flowers and a book. The next thing we knew we were hanging out all the time, holding hands, kissing, etc. Things got serious rather quickly and by the end of May we had both started bringing up the idea of marriage. It scared both of us, so we kept trying to put it off. But for some reason it kept coming up again and again.
Then in early June we went to a session at the temple together. On the way home we stopped by Taco Bell, got some food to eat in the car, and drove around trying to find a private place to park. I thought Master Fob was acting a little odd, but I wasn't sure why. Then he turned to me and told me that for most of his life he'd felt like he was attracted to other guys. To be honest, I wasn't sure what to think or how to react. Since he hadn't ever done anything with any of them and obviously enjoyed dating me, I trusted the fact that he wanted to get married. I still wanted to get married. And so when he asked me a few weeks later, I said yes. We got married and have been working on it for nearly five years now. I don't know if my marriage is any "harder" than anyone else's, because I've never been in any other marriage. We've had our ups and downs, but most of the time things are great and I feel like I really did marry my best friend.
About two years ago Master Fob decided to write a personal essay about his experiences and it was published in Dialogue last fall. Since then we've been semi-famous in certain circles because of our willingness to publicly acknowledge our mixed-orientation marriage. Tomorrow the Salt Lake Tribune will be running an article that is now online here. On Wednesday the reporter and photographer came and talked to us about things, and of course after they left I immediately started going over everything I had said worrying that I was going to sound like a complete idiot. Luckily there weren't very many direct quotes from me in the finished product. I did mention my parents' marriage difficulties simply because I wanted to point out that I was grateful not to have a naive view that being married was a piece of cake and that you never have to work on anything once you get married. I do still feel a little nervous about being so public about our situation. It gives people the chance to discuss our life and whether or not what we are doing is right (in their eyes). But, on the other hand, we haven't made any major decisions without studying them out first and really praying about them. And just because this works for us doesn't mean it will work for anyone else. I would never presume to tell another couple in the same situation to do the same thing. That's up to them and God.
I think my feelings about this can best be summed up by saying that the fact that Master Fob is attracted to men simultaneously means everything and means nothing for us. It means everything because it is a vital part of who he is and a major issue for him. It shapes our marriage and how we interact with our families, our church, and each other. On the other hand, it means nothing because we are committed to each other and have decided to be faithful and remain married. There are many other facets of our lives and our relationships besides this one issue. More than anything, I am grateful to be married to someone who has the courage to be himself, the optimism to always assume that the best will happen, and the trust in me that I am the person who can help him along his journey.