I recently met Lydia Meredith at a local book club dinner. She is the author of The gay Preacher’s Wife: How My Gay Husband Deconstructed My Life and Reconstructed My Faith . The ladies in the book club did not know what to make of the book and sought to get the perspective of a heterosexual man, so they invited me.
I’m glad they did. As I began to read the book for the book club discussion, I quickly learned the author had grown up in my hometown and her 92 year-old mother was best friends with my 89 year-old mother. One of her nine sisters and the sister’s husband were college classmates of mine.
Suddenly, the provocative subject matter of this book became personal. The Gay Preacher’s Wife was not just some misfortunate woman who ended up in a bad relationship, she was someone who grew up in Middle Georgia with the same religious values I had. She undoubtedly had heard the same sermons I had heard. For instance, “God did not make Adam and Steve, he made Adam and Eve.”
How had this happened?
“Dennis (his real name) was the best sexual partner in the world. In my world!He knew my body. He knew exactly what to do.I had an orgasm every single time…I looked forward to making love to my husband, and we did so quite frequently,” Meredith writes early in her narrative.
In year 17 of her marriage, the gay preacher’s wife was shocked to discover her middle son was not only gay but was diagnosed HIV positive.He had been introduced into gay sex by a 45 year old white man who preyed on unsuspecting children.
She promised her son he would not die like other people with AIDS. She described this death as being unloved and separated from God by preachers who preached the gay lifetime style was prohibited by the Jewish God whom they had inherited by virtue of a belief in the Messiah.
At the same time the gay preacher’s wife took the blinders off and came to grips with the fact her husband, a noted charismatic preacher was gay and bisexual. He had had many relationships outside of the marriage with men and women.
Remarkably, Dennis did not contact HIV or AIDS. In the parlance of the gay lifestyle, Dennis can be described as a top man or the man on the top during intimacy. It is thought that the top man does not contact the virus at the same rate of frequency as the bottom man.
She went to work to see that her son Micah (his real name) got the best medical treatment possible. Today Micah is HIV undetectable.
Then she went to work to save her marriage.
“Why did you stay with him?”
It did not take long before the gay preacher’s wife was asked this question.
“Because I loved my husband and my husband loved me. I also wanted my children to grow up in a two parent home and to see the love that two people had for each other,” Meredith said.
She and the gay preacher went to counseling and worked on the marriage, his sexual addiction and his infidelity. For 13 years, she was able to hold onto the marriage, then at age 52, the gay preacher declared his undying love for a man 25 years his junior.
The gay preacher’s wife was broken and so was her 30 year old marriage.
But the story does not end there. She enrolled into Morehouse School of Religion to study the Biblical prohibition to same sex relationships so she could understand what had happen to her fairy tale marriage.Along the way, she learned how to help other mothers of gay children, same sex children and wives who are living with a gay and bisexual man.
Although, Rev. Lydia Meredith’s story deals with the sexual addiction of her spouse, her story of faith and perseverance in the face of difficult marital challenges can be helpful for any challenging spousal situations.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist. He is a Contributor at The Hill, SCLC National Magazine, Southern Changes Magazine and Black College Nines. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org