How to Begin a Conversation With Your Wife
I am married with children. My wife and I are both very active in church. Although we are close, we have never truly discussed my struggle with gender identity. She is aware that I have tried on women’s clothing, but does not know it is more than just that. Once we saw a Jerry Springer show on cross-dressing, and she thought those people were ridiculous. She has never been very open to the idea. On the other hand, she is not fond of the macho-man type, and has always appreciated my softer side. She likes that I am not the typical husband. How do I start a conversation about gender with her?
There is no single “right way” to approach your spouse. There are a few Biblical scriptures that talk about transgender and gender issues. Some of the teachings of Christ deal directly with the transgender issue. These are helpful in the long-term, however, perhaps not the best approach in an initial discussion.
One way that does not work well, is to “surprise” her with a presentation of your female alter-ego. Don’t sit her and the children down in the living room and then disappear for two hours, only to return as “Betty.” This is rarely received well.
Coming up with a list of justifications and reasons may not be the best approach either. Finger pointing and ultimatums do not work well.
Whatever objections you may encounter will be fueled by emotions. It is usually best to talk about your personal feelings first. Your wife’s first reaction will be more emotional than cerebral. If the two of you are close, a frank discussion of your feelings (frustrations) and struggles would be in order. You have dealt with this for a long while now, and she is more than likely just finding out. Your first talk should be a time of sharing your feelings.
However, rather than launching into your feelings, you could open up the topic by asking her if she has ever dealt with her gender issues. These could be frustrations with roles at home or on the job, or wanting experiences that are normally outside of her gender for our culture. Talk with her about her feelings about overtly “macho” men. Share in her ideas and feelings and build on them by relating how you feel.
Although you may have a lot to share, this “telling” is not about you, but rather about them. Start somewhere on common ground and build slowly on that. You will have to pray and feel your way through this. Give the process some time.