Unwrapping the Onion: Part 6: Talk of Transition

by Permission to Live

This post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.

Even though we had hoped that it would be enough for my spouse to simply be more authentic to his feminine self, it seemed that the idea of transition was coming up more and more. My spouse talked about how frustrating it was to have this battle raging in his head every single day, his brain telling him again and again that he was really a woman. He told me how the idea of becoming an old man terrified him. It was bad enough being trapped in the body of a young man, but to be old and helpless and cared for by people who would treat him as a guy was dreadful to him. Sometimes he cried, all of the bottled up fear from the years gone by pouring out along with fears of the future and living life day after day fighting this never ending battle.

When the talk of transition initially came up, my heart sank. Were we losing the battle? Was I wrong to have let the conversation continue this long? Should I have told him to be quiet and put his head down and fight it alone? I told my spouse again and again that he didn’t need to change anything, that he had me in his life, and I loved him exactly the way he was. Except that as time went on I realized that I was contradicting myself in that very statement. Transgender WAS exactly the way he was, and if I really loved him regardless, transition wasn’t going to change that.

Talk of transition was a natural progression of the ongoing discussion we’d been having. Right alongside the growing contentment and happiness, my spouse would have periods of days or weeks where he slipped back into despair. It was usually triggered by some conversation where we discussed the future and how we were going to continue to handle this question of gender.

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Unwrapping the Onion: Part 1: A Secret Revealed

by Permission to Live

This post is part of a series of nine posts. Please click here to start with the series Introduction.

As many of you know, my spouse and I got married young after a short parent-supervised courtship. We began our marriage “the right way” according to everything we believed. We had obeyed our parents and stayed pure from emotional relationships or sexual activity, so when we got married neither of us had ever been intimate with any other person. We were wholeheartedly committed to our Christian beliefs at that time, feeling certain that birth control was wrong in almost any circumstance and that men should be the family leaders and women should be submissive. My husband was in seminary to be a Christian minister and I was a stay-at-home wife. We worked together to start a church for homeschool families with a strong emphasis on faith practices in the home and we used our experience growing up in conservative homeschool families to encourage them. We talked about how homeschooling had protected us from the world, and how well courtship worked to keep young people pure and got them into solid god-honouring marriage. We prayed together, read our bibles together, and sought to follow God’s will in everything.

But none of this changed the secret that we never really spoke of.

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Sex Confessions and the Single Fundy: Adventures in Recovery

by Calulu

(or be careful who you tell your secrets to..)

Bless me Father for I have sinned… told you I’d been raised Catholic. One of the big rituals from my days in Catholic school was the time of confession. At first I found it frightening, going into that big wooden closet-like structure, sitting down with only a metal grill separating you from a priest. You usually couldn’t make out exactly which Father was hearing your confession.

It was always awkward, trying to scare up a list of all the bad stuff you’d done that week. I was a shy bookish young girl and nervously squirmed in the confessional trying to come up with my wrong doings, only to sometimes whisper out stuff I didn’t even do just to have something to say. I’d blurt out that I’d thrown a rock at a bird or told a lie because I just froze, my brain going into some sort of crazy lock up. The priest would tell me something like it was important to recognize your wrong doings, that the Lord forgave us, give me a simple penitence such as saying the Rosary a number of times before dismissing me with the words to go and sin no more.

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Emotional Incest Part 4: The Pain

by Libby Anne

In Part 1 I discussed the definition of emotional incest, in Part 2 I discussed its relationship with Christian Patriarchy, and in Part 3 I pointed out just how easy it is to slip into the harmful emotionally incestuous dynamics (the “daddy’s girl” effect). I am now going to turn to the problems and pain emotional incest causes.

But first, I want to note that emotional incest can happen in any family (not just one involved in Christian Patriarchy) and that it can happen with sons as well as with daughters. In focusing as I have on daughters, and also on Christian Patriarchy, I have of necessity left a lot out.

Emotional incest causes a multitude of problems, but I’m only going to address the three I see as most significant: first, it creates a relationship triangle between the parents and the child; second, it makes the child responsible for the parent’s well-being; and third, getting out of this situation can have the same effects as a really, really nasty breakup.

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Emotional Incest: The Bottom Line

by Sierra

[Editors' note: At the time of writing, Libby Anne and Sierra were unaware of the controversy surrounding Hugo Schwyzer. The discussion of his critique of emotional incest is not an endorsement of Schwyzer by NLQ.]

My last two posts, and indeed all my thinking on the subject has led me to some conclusions about the ways that Christian Patriarchy and purity culture enable and even celebrate emotional incest. The following are the cliff notes:

Christian patriarchy turns marriage from a relationship to an institution, effectively reversing the historical trend from business partnerships and heir insurance to bonds between two free agents based on love. Evangelical culture says that marriage takes three: you, your spouse, and God. It also promotes self-denial and the sublimation of one’s own desires to those of Christ. Therefore, any two evangelical Christians should be able to marry each other and have a godly, fulfilling marriage, given enough work and prayer. Purity culture says that chemistry and personality don’t matter. What matters is following the Word of God. Husbands and wives should love each other because it’s commanded in God’s Word to do so; loving his wife is a husband’s “first ministry.” Similarly, a wife “ministers” to her husband by submission and love. The core of marriage in Christian patriarchy is the commitment to be loyal to God and to the marriage, not attachment to the person of the spouse. This is why evangelical courtships are more focused on purity than the prospective partners getting to know each other personally; what matters is getting to the altar without regrets. The love in marriage flows from commitment rather than the other way around, mirroring the logic of arranged marriage.(Note: Most evangelical Christians do acknowledge the importance of an emotional bond between the bride and groom that develops before the wedding day. Most evangelical Christians do want their children to marry people whom they find attractive, companionable and fun. If you are one of these Christians, you’re not the one I’m critiquing. (Congratulations! You’re normal!) What I do find problematic is the branch of evangelical-fundamentalist Christianity led by people like Bill Gothard, Matthew Chapman (who famously didn’t ask his wife to marry him), Doug Wilson, Jonathan Lindvall, et al. who expect young people to marry with hardly any knowledge of each other, rigid parental oversight and laundry lists of abstract virtues rather than personality traits in mind.)

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