Kylie has been married for two years to a wonderful man named Jordan who experiences same-sex-attraction. She likes to be outside, especially when working with plants. She plays the violin, loves to read and is the author of a blog. She belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For her whole life, she wanted to grow up to be a mom. She recently graduated from USU with a degree in plant science, and now she and Jordan are lucky to announce that they are going to be parents to a little boy come late December 2015.
Meeting and Dating My Prince Charming
On May 7th, 2012, at about 7:15am, I met my future husband. Our parents had set us up to carpool together to work at a plant nursery. I had finished my first year of college, which had changed me from a fearful, hesitant high school graduate to a less-fearful, hopeful college student. And meeting Jordan changed me even more.
For three months, I came to know Jordan as a fun-loving, adventurous, kind man who wasn’t afraid to sing loud in the car and who was brave enough to poke and prod until I dared to be myself with him. Needless to say, I instantly fell into a young, naïve love of Jordan. But through summer, it grew as I interacted with him and I came to learn much of the time he was wearing a mask. I wouldn’t have known it, except some days I saw it crack. Yes, he was a charismatic person who loved to laugh, but there was a depth to him I had not seen in anyone before. A depth that was only visible on a few, rare occasions when an expression of sadness, anger, or hesitance would flash across his eyes, then disappear. This is what drew my interest, more than his heavenly voice or his easygoing demeanor. I wanted to know who Jordan was.
All through the summer, especially when I got time alone to work in one of the back greenhouses and had time to think, I received prompting after prompting that I was exactly where I needed to be, and that being with Jordan was important. And though the prompting didn’t come all at once, I was told that Jordan and I would marry. It was so overwhelming at first that I pushed it aside, thinking I must be truly desperate to be having thoughts like that. But the promptings were gentle and persistent, and the more I prayed the more I came to believe we would be married someday. It was an exciting and frightening feeling because I felt so young, but I chose to believe.
I waited for him to ask me on a date for what seemed a long time to me. At home I talked about Jordan daily, which caused my mom unease and made my dad laugh. One day my dad pulled me aside and told me bluntly that if I didn’t do something to clearly show Jordan how I felt, I could end up waiting so desperately for Jordan and I wouldn’t be able to see the other people around me whom I might need to date. He urged me to tell him how I felt, so early in October I summoned up what courage I could find and asked Jordan on a date.
Our first date was lovely but was followed by an awkward period of neither of us knowing what our relationship looked like. I could see his mask cracking more frequently now, but I didn’t know why. After several weeks of this, he took me on a walk and told me his story. Jordan told me that he experienced same-sex-attraction and had struggled with pornography, though he was still temple worthy. It hit me that this was why he felt like he needed to wear a mask. I was one of a handful of people that Jordan had decided to tell about his story. With most people, he hoped that they wouldn’t see this piece of him because it wasn’t something that he had ever wanted or asked for. Those attractions were just there.
He told me of his hope to marry a woman in the temple someday and to have a family. As he spoke, I felt the calm peace of the Holy Ghost fill my mind and heart. I had already been told this would work out and Jordan’s willingness to be vulnerable helped me to trust him and believe it would work out. I told him the next day I would be willing to continue dating him if he wanted to keep dating me.
Six months of bliss followed as we dated and learned more about each other. I had never been in a real relationship before and the safety I felt with Jordan was amazing. And quite honestly, I don’t feel that my experience of dating a man who is not attracted to me was unique. Yes, there were some differences in our relationship because of his attractions. But we still held hands, kissed and cuddled and it was pleasant for both of us. The peace and direction I had felt while we worked together continued as I received more promptings confirming I was supposed to be with Jordan.
In April, Jordan proposed, and in July of 2013 we were sealed in the temple. It was a beautiful, perfect day! The peace and joy I felt in the temple was incredible, and though I wasn’t a fan of planning or setting up for the reception, everything worked out better than anyone had planned.
Marriage: The Final Frontier
From almost the moment I had met Jordan, I had felt the promptings of the Holy Ghost encourage me and guide me to a marriage relationship with Jordan. It was these promptings and the peace that I had felt in the temple that I held onto dearly as our married life began, because we weren’t lucky enough to get to enjoy the “honeymoon phase” of marriage where everything is blissful and lovely. Almost from the moment we left our wedding reception, we jumped right into the intense, hard, work of a marriage. Possibly because of how hard things were right off, my relationship with Christ began to change. As a single person and as I dated Jordan, I had felt strongly that Christ was my friend. I knew that He understood me perfectly and that I could always pray to Him for help. I still felt that He was my friend, but I began to feel more fully that at the same time He was also my Savior. I prayed constantly for guidance and direction
One of the struggles that Jordan and I had was learning to understand each other’s love languages as a married couple. I had never considered myself a very touchy person. But after our wedding day, it seemed as if every little thing I did bothered Jordan. He didn’t want to cuddle with me, and I was lucky if I got a peck on the lips at bedtime. Confused and hurt, I would ask Jordan why, and his answer was his need for physical touch, that love language, was more than full and he didn’t feel the need to touch as much as he had when we were dating. This confused me even more, because we almost never touched now. I felt it must be me, so I pulled away physically from him. I mean, I didn’t want to smother him, right? Fear of doing something wrong and pushing him away even more began to grow, and I felt a distance between Jordan and I grow with that fear.
Sex was not a part of our early married life. I bring this up not to be crass or vulgar, but to emphasize the importance of this sacred part of a marriage relationship. Neither of us had had sex before our marriage, but I had prayed and studied, and in doing so learned it is more than okay in a marriage between a man and a woman. It is right, good, and sacred. We did not have it, and our marriage was lacking. In fact, it got to a point where we went to our bishop for advice and learned that we needed to seek a counselor who could help us. I felt humiliated at first, but we needed help and it was the most appropriate way to get help.
So, three months after our wedding, we went to a marriage and family therapist to get help with sex. Awkward, right? I was embarrassed and afraid. Speaking about my emotions had never been a strong point of mine. But as we continued to go see the therapist, I was amazed at the peace I gained from each meeting. I felt our therapist was a safe person and he truly wanted to help us. In fact, one day he was explaining how I might have been feeling in our situation. He paused after a moment, looked me in the eyes and said, “No. This is how she is feeling.” Then, he told Jordan almost word for word what I had been unable to say. I don’t remember the specific topic of that meeting anymore, but from that point on, I was able to trust our therapist and gained more healing from the sessions we had with him. I do not believe that our therapist could have been so accurate in regards to what I was feeling and so helpful in our situation without the Holy Ghost’s guidance.
We went to that therapist for about five months. During that time, I learned that my habit of not expressing my emotions, especially anger, was actually damaging our marriage. Emotional intimacy is as critical as sexual intimacy, and by not letting myself be angry, I was hurting our marriage and myself. Understanding this idea was only the first step I had to take in understanding my emotions. Sex became a part of our marriage, and though we still had so much work in both emotional and sexual intimacy, we felt as though we had enough tools to stop seeing the therapist.
Because talking about my emotions was hard for me, Jordan and I had to be creative when it came to finding ways for me to talk. I’m not sure when it was discovered, but we learned that going on walks seemed to unlock my ability to talk about hard things. Sometimes I would ask if we could go on a walk if I needed to talk. More often, though, Jordan would recognize that I was starting to bottle emotions again and suggest that we walk for a bit. Our apartment was located about a mile from the Logan Temple, so many of our walks would lead us to the temple grounds. Evening walks when the snow was falling were by far my favorite. I loved the snow, and the chill meant that Jordan and I would walk close together to keep warm. Not only did I find it very romantic, but we were also able to connect emotionally in a situation where we both felt safe to talk. I remember those walks with fondness now.
Being married to a worthy priesthood holder also brought me much peace. One time, we were driving home late at night and I was bottling my emotions to the point that I felt like I was drowning. As we neared home, I remember feeling the Holy Ghost say in my mind, “Do you trust me?” I did trust God, despite how hard things had been. So I answered, “Yes.” I then had the impression, “Then watch me work!” As we arrived home, Jordan noticed that something was wrong and asked me if I was okay. I fell apart and started to cry, and it wasn’t a very pretty cry. In between sobs, I told him what I was feeling. He offered to give me a Priesthood blessing and though I don’t remember the specifics of what he said during the blessing I do remember the peace that was in our home for days afterward. Knowing that I could ask Jordan for a priesthood blessing, which I did many times, was a source of comfort for me. I did not keep a very good journal of this time, but I do have records of each blessing that he gave me. They still guide me and comfort me now.
During the summer of last year though, Jordan pulled away from me a lot. Most evenings, he told me that he was just tired and needed some space. But we talked less. He was angry and reclusive. I would try to give him space and not be needy, but he just became grouchier. And I grew quieter. I had learned how dangerous bottling emotions could be, but I had not yet learned to recognize when I was doing it. The angrier that Jordan became, the more I tried to make things perfect at home so that he would be happy and the more I felt like a failure. But I tried desperately to not let him see, because I didn’t want to smother him and push him farther away. He became angry and I became numb.
For most of the time that I had known Jordan’s story, I had prayed that God would heal Jordan and take away his attractions. I believed that it could be done because God is a God of miracles. This was a constant part of my prayers clear through the first year of our marriage, but towards the end of last summer, I realized that I was asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking for Jordan’s attractions to be taken away, I began to pray that he and I would be able to learn what we needed to from them.
Last August, Jordan began to look for help. I remember he came home from work one day in early September and told me about a website called North Star, who support people who experience same-sex-attraction who want to keep living the gospel standards. He joined an email support group immediately and I could see an instant change in everything he did. He wanted to talk with me and share what he was learning. He encouraged me to join the support groups available for spouses of individuals who experience same-sex-attraction. I was hesitant to join, but Jordan was so excited he jumped headfirst into every avenue available to him. We even met with a group of people from North Star at a temple day.
The real change happened after Jordan attended Journey into Manhood (JiM) at the end of last September. Even with how strained I felt our relationship had become, it was heart wrenching for me when Jordan left for five days. I couldn’t contact him for most of the weekend and I felt very alone. But when he came home, it was like I was finally getting back the man that I had dated and fallen in love with. We talked more, and though we still had things to work through, he wasn’t nearly as grouchy and he was willing to open up to me and be more vulnerable. He shared with me just how much he had struggled with pornography in the past year and that during the summer it had been especially hard. He told me about his earliest memories of when he noticed his attractions to men and when pornography became a problem. And for the first time, he was completely vulnerable as he shared everything with me. It was hard for me to listen to, but I was grateful for his honesty.
I learned that his reason for pulling away from me and for his anger was because he was afraid. He had been afraid for most of his life that he wouldn’t be able to marry a woman. After our marriage, that fear shifted to where he was afraid that he would fail in our marriage. Physical touch brought fear when he didn’t react how he felt a “normal” man would act. His attractions didn’t go away, either. One day, after we found North Star, Jordan came home from work very frustrated. Eventually, he told me that he had seen someone attractive on the way home and it had him frustrated and confused. He asked me if I was ever attracted to men that I saw throughout my day. I think it surprised him when I laughed and said, “Yes, I’m not dead.” Gradually, the shame and fear that he had developed about his attractions diminished. He is still attracted to men, but it doesn’t consume him like it used to.
My original prayer for Jordan that his attractions would be taken away was not answered how I had wanted. But the prayer that he and I would learn what we would need to from these trials has been answered, and I believe there is still more for us to learn. This experience showed me that sometimes Heavenly Father says no when I ask for something I think should be taken away. This doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love me or can’t hear me. Instead, He let a different miracle occur by letting Jordan and I grow and learn from our experiences.
Jordan and I had talked about our situation many times and wondered if other couples like us were out there. We knew of a handful of stories, but hearing of a few stories of hope amidst hundreds of nightmares wasn’t exactly encouraging. Through North Star, Jordan found support groups that met weekly for men who experience same-sex-attraction. I found support groups where I could meet regularly with women who were married to men with same-sex-attraction. Getting to know people who understood my situation and could empathize with me brought me so much peace. It was hard for me to open up about what I was really feeling at first, but just being around these women who were actively working towards healthy marriages encouraged me in a way that I hadn’t been before.
Through this support group, I learned about a healing weekend called “Daughters of Light”. I was terrified, but eager to learn. I had watched Jordan’s fear disappear after his experience at JiM, and I desperately wanted to be able to learn what he had learned. That weekend experience opened my eyes and taught me how to recognize when I was bottling emotions and how to express them in healthy ways.
And with that, all of the things I had been feeling, yet ignoring for years came boiling out. I had not realized how much I had numbed myself until I started to be angry and sad and afraid and confused and distrustful for seemingly silly reasons. Gratefully, it didn’t all come out at once. Generally those old emotions would come out when triggered by something current in my life. I cried a lot. I let myself get angry. Jordan and I even had our first fight, which ended up being a moment of celebration for both of us as I learned that I could put my foot down – rather than pull away to avoid the conflict – and yell and that we could work through it. Slowly, but steadily, the overflow of emotions calmed down to what was more of a normal flow of everyday life.
Jordan learned that he could fill his needs for male bonding in healthy ways. This meant a lot of going to support groups, hanging out with other guys, and even getting healthy physical touch from other men. At first, it was really hard for me, especially the physical touch. I kept thinking, “Why do you need to go get that from other people – from men? Why am I not enough?” But as I let him go and get the help he needed, he would come home so much happier. He acted more masculine and wanted to cuddle with me more. Which was very nice. As I watched him change, I realized that he had been denying himself any physical touch from anyone to the point that he had been starved of it for years. Now he was trying to make up for the lost time. And it was ok. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that straight men touch each other all the time, and it’s not weird. In the singles wards that I had attended, men put their arms around each other’s shoulders. At high school football games, the football team was constantly smacking each other’s backsides. At wrestling matches, the team would use each other as pillows whenever they had down time. And all of these situations of masculine physical touch were normal and okay. I learned that it was okay for Jordan to finally experience that too.
In the months following our discovery of North Star, Jordan was gone frequently to many different support groups and hangouts with friends. Because I was able to see the changes in him, I was willing to let him go. The time that I had to myself while he was gone helped me to find my own healing. Sometimes this was as simple as watching what I wanted to on Netflix. Occasionally, it meant that I would write down my feelings, a process that has become a helpful tool as I have continued to learn about my emotions and myself.
Our Journey is Just Beginning
Jordan and I just celebrated our second wedding anniversary. It has been almost one year since we found North Star and the support that it offered to us. It feels so odd to me to have had two distinctly different years of marriage. Our first was dominated by silence and fear, and was very painful for me. To deny this would be lying. Has Jordan hurt my feelings? Yes. But I believe that most of the pain that I experienced was not his fault, but my own. Because of my own habits and tendencies, mainly bottling my emotions, I began to break. Instead of exploding from the pressure, I imploded and became numb. Our second year of marriage has been one of immense growth for me. In finding North Star, I have found resources and friends who have helped me to break those habits and be more genuine and authentic. Jordan and I have shared our story, and he no longer feels the need to hide that part of himself behind a mask anymore. I am more alive now than I have ever been in my life.
My decision to marry Jordan was highly influenced by the impressions that I received from the Holy Ghost as he and I dated. More than once, people who I believe had my best interest at heart said things that were discouraging and made me question whether or not I should continue to date him. Every single time that I prayed to ask God what I should do, I was overcome with an immense love for Jordan and the undeniable feeling that he and I were meant to be together. I trusted those feelings then and I trust them now. God has guided me to this point, and I know that He is with me every step of the way.
Jordan’s SSA has impacted our relationship, but mostly for the better. He is more emotionally in-tune than many men I have known, and has been patient with me as I have learned more about my own emotions. Cooking, decorating our home, and shopping are not chores that I have to undertake alone. As he has explored what it means for him to be masculine, he has also encouraged me to embrace femininity more fully. Because of what he has experienced, he is understanding of others who share their personal struggles with him. He has taught me to give people the benefit of the doubt rather than casting out unfair judgments. Though I begged for Jordan to be “healed” for a time, I now wouldn’t ask for his attractions to be removed. Doing so would take away too many pieces of him.
Many times throughout the more trying times of our relationship, I have thought of a poem that has brought me peace in the past. It helped me to remember to ask what I need to learn from my experiences rather than asking for them to be removed.
“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.”
Jordan and I are very young and have so much more of our lives to explore. Growth, work and healing still need to be accomplished. I believe that my hard times as well as my good times can benefit me as long as I turn to the Savior. When we were married, the temple sealer, who is a good friend of mine, gave us some amazing advice. He said, “Your eternal life starts now. You don’t have to wait until you are immortal to enjoy that happiness.” Modern romance portrays that the hardest part of love is finding “the one”, and then marriage is a happily ever after. I’m more inclined to believe our temple sealer. Our eternal life together has not been a bed of roses. Hard times don’t have to be bad times if we are willing to turn things over the God. As we have turned to the Savior, we have found peace and joy in our relationship and our lives. I love Jordan now more than I ever thought possible. He is my safe place, my friend and my companion. Our journey together is only just beginning.
Sallie Rae Ferguson
13 Aug, 2015
I related to so much of your story, thank you for sharing. So happy you found hope in North star and most importantly in your Savior.