Can you give some practical advice about gay relationships?
Rick Brentlinger Answers -
Here's a list I found several years ago, which I've revised for use here. In successful relationships, the gay or lesbian partners often:
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- Share similar interests and outlook on life.
This includes spiritual interests (both Christian instead of a mixed religion marriage) and their approach to life should be similar enough to be compatible.
- Cultivate honest communication (not afraid to be who you are around him/her) and stay interested in each others life.
If you're going to spend your lives together, easy communication is essential. This is often not something we're born with but is instead, something we learn and cultivate on purpose. Cultivate the habit of talking things out with each other, including areas of disagreement.
- Embrace the art of conversation and gentle persuasion.
There are right ways and wrong ways to argue and disagree with each other. Remember that the Bible says, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger." Yelling, accusing, getting angry and storming off or closing down and refusing to communicate are non-productive.
Learning to discuss disagreements leads to personal growth and better understanding of where your partner is coming from. In arguing, it helps to restate your partner's position as you perceive it, using non- incendiary phrasing, and then ask, Am I understanding what you're saying?
Incendiary phrasing (fighting words) might be: You ALWAYS have to have the last word or, You NEVER seem willing to hear me out.
Non-incendiary phrasing might be: Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting through to you or, Sometimes I feel like you don't realize how important this is to me.
Incendiary phrasing (fighting words) tends to accuse and often uses words which leave no room for compromise.
Non-incendiary phrasing expresses your frustration instead of accusing and leaves the door open for further discussion without elevating the tension level.
- Maintain a healthy balance between doing things as a couple and maintaining individual interests.
Becoming partnered should not mean either person looses his/her individuality or the right to pursue his/her hobbies and personal interests. Becoming partnered does mean that a new life as a couple is beginning, which will consume some of what was previously your personal time.
- Provide support for each other in such a way that life is enhanced instead of feeling more stressful because you've become partners.
Being partnered should not suck the joy out of life. Interacting with your partner should be fun, encouraging, natural and nurturing, a blessing. In other words, enjoying each other should not be a chore.
- Spontaneous affection and planned affection are important parts of a sweet and loving relationship.
Affection need not always be sexual. Leaving each other notes, texting a note of encouragement or thanks, giving your beloved flowers, holding hands, giving a neck rub, cuddling, reading to each other, praying together, witnessing and passing out tracts as a team, are all important in nurturing a solid relationship.
- Emotional support of friends, family and spiritual community is a blessing if that support exists for you.
For heterosexual couples, getting married usually means becoming part of an extended family. That translates to recognition of the partnership, emotional, spiritual and sometimes financial encouragement and a sense of belonging to a close-knit group.
For homosexual couples, getting partnered may not provide any of that family support network. Having the support of your friends, colleagues and spiritual community can fill in the gaps when your family is not supportive.
- Accept their sexual orientation without experiencing discomfort.
If one or both partners feels uncomfortable with their same sexuality, that discomfort can keep the relationship from maturing into the joyful union it ought to be. Understanding what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality makes a huge difference in becoming comfortable with yourselves and your life as a partnered couple. The hundreds of pages of information on this website provides helpful insight.
- Never take each other for granted because God brought you together for a purpose.
Life has a way of challenging the strongest relationships. Make it your priority to carve out time together as a couple to love, laugh, pray, serve and enjoy life together. Great relationships are the product of intention, not serendipity. Great relationships require work and nurture and prayer and time and trust. That's another way of saying, commitment.
- Guard against gay and lesbian relationship pitfalls.
Many gay men struggle with intimacy issues. If they were sexually promiscuous prior to getting partnered, they may have learned to associate their sexuality with anonymous sex. That false association can sabotage a happily partnered sexual life. Recognizing this pitfall and paying special attention to meeting each others sexual needs can help to re-orient thinking so that a fulfilling sexual life is associated with loving your partner and only your partner.
Some gay men experience difficulty getting close to another man because the closeness sometimes becomes a competition. Some gay men struggle with power issues while others feel they must act "gay" even when acting "gay" (whatever that means) isn't their natural demeanor.
The objective is to live an honest, holistic, Godly life based on Biblical principles of faith, trust, integrity, commitment, loyalty, joy and sacrificial love.