Mixed Orientation Marriage: a case study for the now and the not yet

This topic seems to have enough complexity to be a source of some consternation from multiple viewpoints within the larger conversation about faith and sexuality. Indeed, each individual situation is so unique that it is difficult to make generalizations without it feeling like a disconnect for at least some who live in this reality. The basic concept of mixed orientation marriage is descriptive of one or both spouses experiencing some degree of same-sex attraction. In light of this, it is easy to recognize that anyone who identifies as bi-sexual who is married could be described as being in a mixed orientation marriage. Bi-sexual individuals may or may not appreciate that description – not so much because it is inaccurate but perhaps because it may seem to have a connection to an ex-gay paradigm. Ironically, I have also encountered individuals within the ex-gay paradigm who don’t like the term. While they may be willing to clarify that they still experience some degree of same-sex attraction, the mixed-orientation descriptor seems to insult them. Perhaps, they take it as a statement asserting that complete orientation change is rare.

It seems to me that the usefulness of the description mixed-orientation marriage is less for the individual who might use it for themselves and more to aid in clarification and understanding in the larger conversations. The description, I think, does something very important. It brings a level of honesty and authenticity into the conversation. As I see it, the description is intended to be value-neutral. It isn’t a judgment on someone’s marriage.

If anything, where there has been honest disclosure of the reality of same-sex attraction, I have seen people in mixed-orientation marriages be much more intentional about their pre-marital preparation and their investment in the relationship during