David and Jonathan — that hallowed bond.
Two men unified in their very being. Their souls knit together. An unbreakable covenant with God between them.
Two men who fall upon one another, kissing each other’s necks. Two men who wept together and saved nations. Brothers-in-law and lovers-in-heart.
At Jonathan’s death were those words David uttered (2 Samuel 1:26b ESV):
. . . your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.
Welcome, brothers, to the story of finding my Jonathan — prideful, I suppose, to assume myself as David. But, oh, do I dance.
David & Jonathan, Part 1
I must be honest, even mentioning that fabled duo feels all too “on brand” for this hippy. We men know these two well, but their love has been the constant longing companion at the center of my heart for many years.
My pursuit has not been one of sex, though it wormed its way into my story and convinced me otherwise. No, it’s something deeper than that.
My longing has been for the genuine, reciprocated love of a man. A man to hold and be held by, a man to weep with, laugh with, live with. A covenant companion.
I once thought such a thing was outside God’s plan; praise God it wasn’t. These are new conclusions to me. Brand new. Only recently has my world been turned upside down in a wild torrent of healing love.
Welcome to the madness of figuring it all out. I do not know the ending of it all, but the foundation has been laid and I can now tell you my story with more clarity and conclusion than ever before.
So, let me set the stage for you. Let me tell you the story of my first “Jonathan.”
Oh, Calvin. We hated each other as children. Our mothers forced one of us to go to the other’s birthday party, and we were best friends ever since.
For years upon years we had sleepovers once, twice, or three times a week. As we grew and matured our childish conversations grew deeper. I knew I was the only person to whom he truly opened up his heart.
We shared a precious brotherhood between us. We were inseparable, and everyone knew it.
Our talks raged long into the night. We knew each other’s Facebook passwords, an unhealthy level of control that I certainly should not have had.
I knew everything about him; he knew everything about me.
We were David and Jonathan at its finest and in such a public, known way. There were no questions between us — arguments, certainly, but always girded in deep care and affection.
Midway through our teen years, I snooped on his Facebook and discovered certain things he had done, secret relationships he’d had with a few different girls.
I was distraught and so hurt that he would keep secrets from me.
That wasn’t what we did. We were accountability partners. He knew my brand of porn was different than his, but we were always honest with each other about it.
This began a lifelong battle of bitterness over not being told things; it’s my control issues. I tell people everything, and someone’s not trusting me back by sharing his truths, his heart is a deep sting to this day.
I began to police Calvin. I began to take control and force him to keep the same morals I kept — ironically, the same thing I was mad at his parents for inflicting upon him.
Then came the dream. I remember it vividly, though I will describe it less so.
I had a sex-dream starring Calvin, and everything changed. It was all I could think about.
I subtly pushed my best friend all the time, trying to “test the waters.” I started taking a long time to change at our sleepovers, aimed for us to get naked in the sauna. I made jokes that seemed innocent to everyone else around but were certainly not intentioned that way.
I knew what I was doing even if I didn’t know that I knew. The sex-dream probably happened because of the level of porn I was ingesting.
Porn had poisoned my mind to such a deep level, and truly, there was not one single dude my age at that time whom I didn’t fantasize over.
But once it was Calvin, it was Calvin.
Subtle shifts started occurring in our friendship. Jokes became more physical for both of us. So many little moments made me unsure if I should think more about them or not, but I surely did.
We were truly close in every meaning of the word, but soon our cuddling turned sour.
One night we were spooning, and he started doing . . . some things. Later that night, he thought I was asleep and tried moving my hand to his crotch. I could have stopped him there, but I chose not to.
After that night everything went downhill.
I now knew we were both thinking the same thing.
We stopped talking at our sleepovers. We gave plenty of massages that led to plenty of other things. We made lists of physical rules so that nothing bad would happen; we even had diagrams. But we just broke the rules anyway.
Keep in mind, Calvin and I were the ones everyone else looked up to. This was at sixteen to eighteen, and everyone only saw the good and positive potential for our lives.
We’d convinced ourselves of that same great potential, all the while showing up late to worship band practice because we’d been in the back of his car canoodling.
We shared a thriving YouTube channel, and we were planning to move to the city together and start our music careers. But we were also having sex, and we were miserable.
I was, for all intents and purposes, a jealous boyfriend. I hogged his attentions and affections like no other. I wouldn’t let anyone come closer to him than me.
But the harder I clung to my best friend, the more he pulled away. I was desperate, vindictive, controlling, and self-righteous. He started doing so many things without me like joining different friend groups I wasn’t part of.
We were drifting apart, and my heart knew it. We never had our heart-to-hearts anymore. It was sex or sleep.
It should also be noted that despite our sexual relationship, Calvin was very straight. I wasn’t allowed to do certain things with him, like put my head on his shoulder because it was “too gay.”
We shared sex and so much physical contact but with very little love, I now realize.
Eventually I learned he was planning to move north to join a band. That was the last blow. When I finally realized my future plans with him were truly dead. We shared a joint graduation party where I was jealous he had more friends there than me.
We ended the party with two concerts: one with just the two of us performing a medley of songs we had written individually or together, and another with Calvin and his new band. I sat in the front row watching my best friend replace my future with different faces.
While walking out I heard his father say to mine, “Well, looks like that’s the end of Chris and Calvin.”
His dad then noticed me there, and I saw that he’d regretted saying it in front of me. Calvin’s parents never seemed to liked me, but what can I say? I was sleeping with their firstborn.
That night Calvin and I had our last sleepover, and for the first time in years we just talked. We just lay there and talked. We cuddled in the morning for a long time, and I distinctly remember not getting a boner — which was a new feeling.
That night and subsequent morning felt like everything I’d wanted our friendship to be. Without discussing it with each other, we had both reverted to how we used to be, and that was precious to me.
Sex had stolen the brotherhood for which I’d always longed, but even just an echo of a memory of it returned that night.
Two Years Later
I flew up to my home state during a vacation, and I climbed a mountain with Calvin.
We talked all about the destruction our relationship had caused one another. He told me of how he had shut down with me, including spiritually, and how he’d latched onto girls who didn’t challenge him.
I told him how I’d latched onto new friends, new brothers, my first girlfriend (more on that later), and how much harder it was to get over my sexual frustrations because of our physical relationship.
Calvin was married now — they’d eloped — and as of this writing I’ll also be eloping in a month. COVID-19 cancelled my original wedding, but goodness I will marry this woman if it is the last thing I do!
I couldn’t make it to Calvin’s ceremony, but he asked me to be one of his groomsmen, and he’s one of mine. We might not be all that close anymore, but we changed each other too much to pretend it all meant nothing.
Truly, that boy is my brother, and wanting him to be more than that is what poisoned it all. He paved the way for the immense healing that would later come through other friends — along with my fiancée.
Looking back, it’s clear: of all the things I missed most, it wasn’t sex. It was the long mornings of brotherly affection.
You see, I now realize that my whole life I’ve been longing not for sex with another man but for that true brotherly love I described at the start.
My story is one of God’s ripping brotherly affection from the tangled clutches of sexual desire and purifying them both.
I have my true Jonathan now, and I also have my betrothed, the woman of my dreams I had once given up on. The oceans of this woman’s love and the honey kisses of my brother make my heart soar.
I always sought both of these things, but I never got them when I wanted them. I’ve been obsessed my whole life with gaining these two particular people, and that obsession kept those very things from me.
Jealousy rots blessing. God only trusted me with these gifts when He had finished clearing out every dusty corner of my mind where there was not trust in Him. So much needed to be ripped from me before I could hold these two precious things.
What all this has taught me is that God does not give you wrong desires. God does not give you wrong desires.
There is a reason, purpose, plan, and fulfillment for every desire in your heart. You are one who loves deeply and fully, in a way that many others will never understand, and chances are, like me, you clung to that desire, yet unfulfilled, until you choked the life out of it.
Release your grip, my brother. Allow God to begin healing you. It may come through the ripping away of those you think you can’t live without, but His blessings are waiting just beyond that canyon of trust.
I assure you, He is that trustworthy. I jumped into that canyon and found everything I’ve ever desired with blessings heaped upon that.
Will you take the jump?
I look forward to walking through this life with you, my brothers. I can’t wait to hear your own stories and thoughts. Ask me your questions, and I will share with you my truth.
Have you experienced a best friend relationship turning sexual? Did the friendship survive, despite the sex? What are some of the desires of your heart?