From the writer of this template:

I write this on behalf of my brothers in romantic relationships with women, as one who has gone before, in hopes of giving you a starting point for conversation with your significant other. My prayer is that God would be present with you in this conversation with her, that you would walk in Jesus’ love and grace, and that you and your significant other would both thrive.

If you are reading this, it’s because someone who values you has something important he wants to tell you. He might be afraid, might not know where to begin, or might not feel that he has the right words. He isn’t afraid because he thinks you are untrustworthy (or you wouldn’t be reading this), but because you matter a lot to him, and he wants to begin this conversation well.

There is no manual for this, no perfect words. He may have been carrying the weight of this conversation for years in fear of judgment. He has seen how people have reacted in similar situations, or he has been hurt by other people’s reactions after having shared this previously.

From this point on, this letter is written as if he is talking directly to you — his significant other, his loved one.

~ ~ ~

You are precious to me.

I love you. I trust you. I pray we both enter this conversation with open minds and hearts to love God and each other well. May we listen to each other and see each other well.

This is not easy for me to talk about.

There is something I need to tell you, but it is difficult to say. I’ve rehearsed this conversation over and over again, trying to choose my words carefully. Really, though, there is one main point, and everything else flows from it.

I am attracted to other men.

At this point, you might be shocked, scared, angry, or confused. Please allow me to affirm a few truths before I continue.

I love Jesus, I believe in a traditional/biblical sexual ethic, and I am pursuing holiness before the Lord in my sexuality. I love you and want to walk well with you. I want you to know this about me so you can see me, love me, and walk well with me, and so I am not holding back pieces of my life from you.

Let me tell you what this looks like for me.

I am not alone in my experience. Many other Christians have also found themselves curious about the same sex, in some cases even before the onset of puberty. Like many who have gone before me, I prayed that God would change my sexuality, make me straight, “heal me.”

I’ve experienced anger, tears, frustration, fear, and confusion, asking God, “What am I supposed to do with this? Why won’t You change me?”

While some people report “changes” in their sexual attractions, the vast majority of us who experience same-sex attraction (SSA) will continue to experience it for the rest of our lives, even after years of praying and attempting to develop attraction to the opposite sex.

You are reading this because I love you, and I want you to know that alongside my SSA, I value you and love you and want to walk well in my attraction toward you. Maybe we are processing this while we are dating or engaged. Maybe it is years into our marriage, and you are just now hearing this piece of my story.

You might feel hurt that I waited this long to tell you. You might wonder if my attraction to you is real, or if our relationship is a lie. It is okay to feel hurt and scared.

Please don’t turn away.

You will have questions going forward, and I want to answer them. I want a deeper relationship with you. You may be struggling with how this implicates you: your attractiveness, your femininity, your insecurities. I want to hear about those.

Just know that because of my SSA, I’m dealing with my own set of insecurities: my masculinity, my ability to lead in a relationship as God calls me, my capacity to be a sufficient husband or father.

Just as you will need time and understanding to navigate your feelings around this, I humbly ask for your grace and patience as I grow in my own sensitive areas.

Remember: this letter is meant to be a first conversation, the opening of a longer dialogue. Again, you are reading this because you matter and I love you.

If you feel anger, frustration, broken trust, and so on, please know that I am sorry for any pain this brings you. I hurt as well. And I know we are not alone in this experience.

Like many others who experience SSA, I may not had even “come out” to myself before I met you. I suppressed and ignored what I was thinking and feeling. The church has not been a safe place to talk about what I was thinking and feeling with my sexuality. I felt so very alone.

On some level, I may have thought marriage would “change me,” or “heal me.” For some of us, the church told us if we were just faithful to obey God’s will, He would take care of the rest. And yet our attractions remained the same.

These qualifiers are not meant as excuses, merely as the context for my story.

I am trying to process my sexuality before the Lord, and I have found some parallels with other Christians who are heterosexual in their attractions: I am attracted to you, and yet attraction to others is still a present reality in this life. The difference between me and a straight man is the direction of my attractions.

For heterosexual men, they must wrestle with their attraction to other women who are not their wives. Each man must pursue faithfulness and holiness to the Lord and his wife.

For those of us who are SSA, while we are attracted to our wives, we also wrestle with attraction to other men. We also must pursue faithfulness and holiness to the Lord and our wives. The calling is the same. The goal is not heterosexuality, as though we could trade one set of wrestling (being attracted to other men) for another (being attracted to women other than our wives).

No.

The goal is not heterosexuality, but holy sexuality.

I love you. I want you to know about my SSA because I want to walk in the light with you and thrive with you. This is an invitation to trust, an invitation to intimacy. If I hurt you by waiting to tell you, I am sorry for causing you pain, for potentially making you question your own worth and value.

Whether I am giving this letter to you before we are married or after, please know that I want to be worthy of your trust. If I have broken that, please know that I want to rebuild it and love you well.

I gave you this letter because I desperately want you to know the real me, not some make-believe cardboard cutout. And you can’t know me fully without knowing this piece of my story. And that is what it is: a piece.

I am more than my sexuality. And our relationship is more than merely the direction of my sexual attraction. Please receive this and know that I love you and value you, and trust that God will guide us as we continue in this conversation.

~ ~ ~

From the writer of this template:

For many men, this isn’t an easy conversation to have. You received this letter because your significant other wants to walk well with you. Part of that involves your seeing him and loving him well, too. You might need some time and space. You might have more questions. If you are scared, know your significant other is likely just as nervous and scared as you are, particularly if he is new in his own processing.

Regardless whether you are the person with SSA or the recipient of this letter, you both probably need to hear something like this from one another:

“Thank you for trusting me with your story. I love you. I want to take the necessary time to process this well, and to know how we can best love and walk with one another in this conversation. I may need time alone to process or not know how to respond. Please don’t take that as avoidance or rejection. Let’s both commit to come back together again and talk about this in some set amount of time.”

As you navigate these conversations, know that God is good, and that you are not alone. You have other men and women praying for you who would be glad to encourage you on your journey.

You are not walking in darkness; you are not lost. God has you. Even the sparrow finds a home.

On behalf of my brother, and with the love and prayers of Your Other Brothers,

Ben Rutkowski

For men in relationships, dating or married, have you told your significant other about your sexuality? Why or why not? How did she respond? If you had it all to do over again, what would you do differently?

For women in relationships, what did it look like when your significant other told you about his sexuality? How did you feel? If you could have it done all over again, how would you like to have been told?

  • I love this, so beautifully written. I doubt I’ll ever need to use this template in my own life (being single for life and all) but I can see this being really helpful to a lot of guys out there.

    • Thanks Eugene. If nothing else, maybe it can help the single folk empathize with us more. We experience the same attractions and pressures you do, and have the added layer of navigating that with our significant other. We need safe and known community to thrive, and so do our spouses. I am very thankful for my single brothers and sisters who walk alongside us.

  • Ben, this is beautiful. I wish I had this template 30+ years ago when I told my girlfriend, who is now my wife. I bumbled my way through, she accepted me, and we have a great marriage, thank God. We haven’t talked about my SSA for years, but I will consider sharing this with her as a way of filling the gaps I’ve never said and seeing if there’s more that needs to be said. Thank you.

  • This is so good, Ben! One of my favorite posts in that it’s definitely one of our most unique posts. I hope it blesses a lot of married or potentially married-to-be guys (and gals!) out there.

  • I can understand, when you have been trapped in a straight marriage for years, and you have started to love that person of the other sex , though in a different way than you would love a person of the same sex, it is hard to end your marriage and I can understand you don’t want to do that.
    If you and your wife feel lucky with staying together, why not?
    But I feel guys who exclusively are attracted to men, better refrain from marrying a woman. In that respect I also find the term “same sex attraction” misleading.
    Maybe you can say a bisexual man has a same sex attraction. I am sure even some straight men can have a temporary same sex attraction. But for men who love exclusively men, it is MUCH more than just attraction. It is a whole identity. Someone who is exclusively gay, invites a lot of problems both for himself and the person of the opposite sex, believing straight marriage can change him.

  • This was amazing. I wrote a letter similar to this with my pastor about three years ago when I told my wife of about 20 years that I struggled with SSa. It was no doubt the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but by God’s grace she stayed with me and our marriage is better. Not that the hurt is gone, because it may always linger, but there is more openness and communication now about everything. Thanks for sharing.

  • I have a question about mixed-orientation marriages… Can they work out? What would be the reason for entering one? Is it ethical? Is it transformative, to some degree?

    I am terribly afraid of the idea of marriage. I know that’s okay right now, I don’t need to know everything. But I am also curious, and entertain the idea a lot.

    Love is such a strange thing to me. I’m not sure if I really understand it at all. Some forms less than others; for example, why would God design us with something so utterly dangerous and ugly and confusing? I mean sexuality in general. I cannot help but understand sexuality as something inherently bad. I don’t know if there’s any real good about it at all. It just seems to cause people harm and meaningless strife.

  • Ben Rutkowski

    Call me Ben, or call me Beamer. I am in my early thirties, married, pastoring in the Midwest, and Jesus is my reason for living. I'm either an ENFJ or ENFP. My Enneagram is 2 or 6 depending on the day. I am a chameleon – being who I need to be to care for others. Most of my favorite activities center on being with people in any outdoors setting, whether hiking a mountain trail or simply lying in a hammock and drinking a beer.

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