First Draft Update

We aren’t sending this one in.  It’s just not *right*.

But for your reading pleasure:

For a large part of my marriage, I took for granted that Mikeal and I held the same beliefs, had the same goals, and that our similar temperaments would make it pretty simple to have a great life together.  At the time of the filming of our Far Between video, that was no longer the case.  I was on my way back to a firm foundation with the church, but Mikeal was very much unsure of his future in the gospel.  At some point early on in our difficulties I became convinced that our marriage would certainly fail if we weren’t both fully committed to living the gospel and aiming for eternity, together.  

As we discussed in the video, we have a great friendship as a foundation, and that, we believed, was the sole reason we had a viable marriage.  Friendship IS a great foundation to marriage, and one that helped us weather the darkest of times, but it became evident that it wasn’t enough to get us through the long-term.  

Mikeal’s intent in marrying me was to have an eternal family.  For a while, he didn’t believe that he had any real hope of achieving that, so his purpose became to do what he could to get the kids and I to exhaltation.  He hoped for no more than a flowing white robe and some comfortable post in a pretty spot to live out eternity alone. This definitely was never acceptable to me.  In my black-and-white world, it was all or nothing, and his complacency was a constant source of pain for me.  I began to receive bits of revelation that showed me who he truly was underneath all of the angst and uncertainty.  This placated me enough to be willing to wait for him to come around. 

On a Sunday afternoon in the fall of 2012, Mikeal showed me a message he had written to a friend.  In it he wrote of a revelatory experience he had while watching General Conference.  The Spirit had spoken to him and confirmed that the doctrine of Eternal Marriage, as contained in the church, is true and that marriage between a man and a woman is the only way to receive the fulfillment of all priesthood blessings and gain exhaltation.  He didn’t show the message to me for several weeks, because he wasn’t entirely sure of his experience, and wasn’t ready to jump back into church activity with both feet.  He needed time to digest this new and uncomfortable truth. If it really was the truth, then everything he had convinced himself of in order to manage daily life had to be examined, an experience he wasn’t keen on pursuing.

 Of course I was elated, of course he was skittish, and this didn’t suddenly make everything easy and simple for him to live as a gay man in a hetero marriage, but it certainly put a large block in our foundation and set us on the same path. Which was a massive answer to my prayers. 

We just spent the larger part of 15 months remodeling a house.  Just like any remodel, the more we tore down, the more we realized how much bigger the damage to the house was, and how much longer and more expensive the overall project would be. It didn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination for us to liken the home remodel to our personal and relationship remodel. There were many times- months even- where I just wanted to turn my back on the whole thing and walk away.  I would be shoveling debris from a fallen ceiling, in tears, wondering if I could ever feel at home in this relationship/home- the damage was just too extensive. In these times, armed with the truth, Mikeal would hold out his hand to me and reassure me of the ability we had to make this journey, and remind me of what would be waiting for us at the end.  He became the cheerleader and chief motivator.  

Much like the remodel, our mortal journey is one of constant shift, change and refocus, and we will never truly finish the projects we are working on.  However, armed with truth and a clear vision of our end result, the upheavals and uncertainties take on a tone of learning and growth rather than despair and finality. 

The Jensens are happy, and oh so glad to be together.

An update? Why?

Kendall at Far Between asked us to write an update as a follow-up to the video we filmed a few years ago.  Normally I’m super thrilled to talk about myself, especially when I have such wonderful things to report.  But I’m stuck on this one.  The Far Between audience is a tough one- one that doesn’t necessarily like the rank-and-file, True Believing Mormon types, which is exactly where we have landed.  Mikeal is all about standing up, bearing testimony and leaving no one blameless (which in and of itself feels like a complete, bona fide, Moses-esque miracle) but I’m much more hesitant to anger the masses and draw contempt from a crowd that once shielded and comforted me when I was questioning.  

I like to be liked. 

I crave acceptance.

This morning as I was doing laundry, I realized how at peace I felt. And was astounded. You see, Mikeal is on a trip, the second week of a three week tour, and I am experiencing peace that I had given up on experiencing. For several years, I dealt with PTSD-like symptoms when he traveled because of the baggage that would come home with him. Not anymore. Instead of accepting his less than savory habits as a necessary accoutrement of being a homo in a hetero marriage, he is growing past them. He has accepted the atonement, and is using it to heal and become truly whole.  Not just whole-enough, or as-whole-as-I-can-expect-to-be, but ONE body, mind and spirit.  And you know what happens when the husband becomes WHOLE? The WIFE heals and the MARRIAGE heals and the whole man/woman/one-thing actually happens. 

It’s for real, folks.  The doctrine of marriage.  Totally, mind-bogglingly, real. Husbands and wives sharing the priesthood? Real.  So completely real.  In ways I cant enumerate. 

The struggle isn’t gone.  The gay isn’t gone.  We aren’t suddenly experiencing what a hetero marriage feels like, but we ARE experiencing what God intended for us when we knelt, nodded, and walked out of that sealing room.  And this is just the beginning. Doors opening. Minds enlightening. Calm overcoming. Truth. 

Which completely blows my mind. 

Which will make a lot of struggling believers pretty uncomfortable. 

But I can’t not shine a bright beacon of hope in the direction of truth. 

So say a prayer for us, and for those who need the tale of our experience to bring them into goodness. And also for those who may be upset by our words.  Especially those dear ones. 

We are all creatures of light. Let’s find it and shine it. 

xo