Honoring A 23 Year Commitment

Recently a friend asked me about the rings I wear on my right hand. He shared that he and other gay men he knows, who had once been married to women but divorced when they came to terms with being gay, started wearing their wedding bands on their right ring finger to honor their ex-wives and the decades of life/love/investment they had in their marriage. I thought that was powerful and appropriate for him and some other gay men I know who have had similar stories.

Interestingly, while very different, that is similar in a few notable ways to the rings I wear. I used to wear them on my left hand to signify my commitment to celibacy but moved them to my right hand once I found congruence between my faith and being gay. For over two decades I wore these bands (starting with the silver one with the Trinity symbol on it) on my left hand to signify my commitment to being “set apart” and celibate for the Lord. I only dated two women during that time but never had sex with them or any other person during that season of life. I took this commitment of love, and service, very seriously. I invested in my faith, church relationships, prayer, and spiritual intimacy with the Creator.

I honestly believed, and do believe that the spiritual intimacy I developed during that time is something I will want to honor forever. Those years are not “lost” in that they made me who I am. To be honest, there are times I grieve “what could have been” but it is short-lived in realizing that those years are not a waste but a gift. They instilled a deep honor and respect for sexual and relational intimacy. I see both as treasures to steward and embrace, not something to be taken for granted.

I don’t judge others for pursuing sex as often as they do. I am not them or God, and I am too busy trying to live my life. However, if I am going to have relational and sexual intimacy with someone, I have to have at least the hope, they will be a long term and loving partner. Someone who loves me as much as I love them and vice versa. This is why, 23 months after coming out, I have only had this type of intimacy with one man that I dated last year. And, because he knew my respect for what was happening, I enjoyed our time together and didn’t have regrets.

When preparing to come back out as gay, I believe the Lord released me from this unique 23-year covenant to celibacy and is leading me toward my future partner. Reminding me of the lessons learned, the knowledge and gifts He has given, and the beauty of healthy stewardship of love and life.

Both of my rings symbolize the triune nature of God (The Father, Son, Spirit). Both of them were bought when I was incredibly lonely and desperately needing to know I was loved. God met me at my point of need every step of the way. He was, and is, faithful.