After having been married previously to a cisgender male for twelve years, and then to my wife for eight years before she came out, I have gained plenty of knowledge about marriage. Throughout my entire childhood, my mother always preached about how much work went into a marriage, which to my siblings and I always sounded scary. She would tell us all that every day when she woke up she had to make the decision to continue to love my father. For the record, my father is a hardworking, smart, loving person. Saying that she had to make the decision to love him every day, made him sound like a piece of trash, which he is not, and that made me feel like she thought he was less than. Obviously he has his faults, as we all do because none of us are perfect, but he is not an unlovable person.
My first husband was an alcoholic, so I cannot honestly say that together we worked on anything. I worked on learning how to deal with his disease and everything that came along with it. He worked on hiding his drinking problem from the outside world. Ultimately, I had to take my children out of that very toxic environment because he was unwilling to work on his addiction. We were going through a divorce when I reconnected with my wife.
My wife and I were high school sweethearts and totally inseparable. It was not long that we were back together before I was reminded what a relationship really looks like. A healthy relationship is a recipe that includes love, honesty, compromise, respect, and communication. In my opinion, if you have those components, your “work” should be easy.
> "AFTER MY WIFE HAD COME OUT TO ME, ALMOST OVERNIGHT OUR WORLD BECAME ALL ABOUT TRANSITION AND BEING TRANSGENDER."
So it was time to buckle up because life was about to get very interesting. After my wife had come out to me, almost overnight our world became all about transition and being transgender. It was as if my wife and I were cramming for a test. I wanted to know everything about being transgender while she was trying to figure out what transition would look like for her.
My wife found a good gender therapist and jumped right in. We slowly changed her wardrobe. She decided she wanted to try hormone replacement therapy, so she found an endocrinologist. I painted her nails, taught her how to do her hair, and she taught me all about makeup. It was like being stuck on a runaway train. There were so many unanswered questions that we could not even begin to ponder. Not a day went by when we didn’t discuss something related to transition. She was the topic of every conversation. The person I used to sleep next to every night looked different in the morning, and it was a lot to deal with all at once.
> "DEALING WITH MY WIFE’S SECOND PUBERTY AT THE SAME TIME OUR YOUNGEST WAS ALSO GOING THROUGH PUBERTY WAS DIFFICULT TO SAY THE LEAST."
I have to admit that at some point I wanted to rip my hair out of my head. Dealing with my wife’s second puberty at the same time our youngest was also going through puberty was difficult to say the least. All those hormones flying around the house was intense. I felt invisible, and I have a sneaking suspicion that our two oldest children did as well. I would come home from work to find my wife and my youngest online shopping or watching makeup tutorials. I felt like at that moment in time that they had more in common than my wife and I did. A few times I just wanted to get in my car, drive away, and see how long it would take till someone realized that I was missing. I was living in some kind of parallel universe, and I felt like she was being so selfish and self-absorbed.
However, as I began to understand more about her struggle, that feeling diminished and I was no longer invisible. I was finally able to explain what she was going through not only to myself, but the family, and our kids in a way we could all understand. I framed it for them in this way; imagine that you were born hearing impaired. You lived not being able to hear anything for forty something years. Then, someone invented a new hearing device that would give you the ability to hear. You did your research, saved up all the money required to obtain this new technology, went to the doctor, and then had it installed. For the first time in your life you could hear. You wanted to hear everything you possibly could, so you ran around pushing every button, tearing up paper, played in the sink water, and sat outside to hear the birds chirping through the wind. You would be obsessed with listening to every sound. After that, all you would want to do was talk about how wonderful and amazing every sound was. Could you accuse that person of being selfish and self-absorbed? I hope not. After spending a lifetime in silence, how could you blame anyone for enjoying the noise?