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Letter about the New Normal

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Anne T:
I have not been active on this thread in many months as I've been learning to live a new normal since my spouse came out to me last December.  My spouses ex girlfriend wants my perspective on my journey as she has been struggling to accept the transition. I wrote her the letter below  explaining my heart. I thought I should update you on my new normal with my spouse Susan R whom some of you may know from this site.

Beginning of letter:
I want to tell you a story of a love that knows no boundaries. 21 years ago I found love with a man who made my heart soar.  I knew in that very moment that connection would bring us together for a lifetime. The man I found love with was a strong soft and gentle, kind hearted, quick forgiving and easy to be with. The first few years were easy as we blended our families together while nurturing our love.  Then slowly over time something happened. The person I married started fading.  A strong willed-person took over who always had to be right. We had many happy milestones but there was always some underlying depression and anger. Which caused some egg shells to always be present causing some of our intimacy and closeness to take a back burner. This alpha male took over completely and I lost that quiet easy-going person I had found love with. And over the years we found ways to carry each other through rough patches as well as the good times.

Since 2009 there have been many periods of depression always carried by this underlying resentment I could not figure out. John always seem to come out of it slowly but then in 2017 I noticed that his depression was staying longer and longer. I thought maybe it was because he hadn't properly grieved his brothers death or his father's death. I figured in time maybe the depression would go away. Yet that was not to be as in December 2018 I noticed that John was barely moving through life there were days I couldn't get him off the couch. Getting him to shower was a battle. There were times I found him crying in the bathroom and I didn't know what to do. So I prayed and hoped that he would eventually talk with me. On the night of December 13, John finally said he wanted to talk with me. I knew it was going to be serious so I went to the bathroom and prayed and I distinctly heard God say give grace. As John's story unfolded, I decided that Grace is exactly what it was called for. It was with deep shame, embarrassment and fear that John told me about his gender issues. He told me of the abuse of his family with his cross dressing during his childhood. He cried as he told me about his fear of losing me but felt he needed to tell me what he had been going through. That his depression about his past and frustration over not being able to live the way he felt inside was causing him to sink deeper into depression. He had spent his whole life stuffing down who he really felt he was inside. As tears went down his face, my compassion took over and love was the only answer. John told me he had been transitioning for three months without my knowledge.  I could've gotten angry. I could've raised hell but this person that I married needed me so my heart responded with grace. The John I knew who never took any medicines would never have done this unless he felt it was a last resort to saving himself.  What really amazed me that night was that he gave up being who he felt inside to be with me! How unselfish was that! How much must he love me!?

Oh I cried and I cried for four days. I cried and didn't eat. And then I thought maybe I need to see who this new person is because I have to believe that the core person of John is inside. As my whole world broke into a thousand pieces...everything I believed about my marriage turned out to be not what I expected.  God gave me the strength, compassion and empathy to embrace this woman that John had been hiding. Was it easy?...not at all.  Yes, I've had my struggles and questions. But as I saw this new person emerge, those struggles and questions didn't seem to be as unsurmountable as I thought they would be. I decided to trust that God had a good reason for this and to just love. I had made a marriage vow 'for better or for worse' and I intended to keep it for nowhere in my vows does it say one can leave a person because they change gender. As this new person emerged, I started seeing the person I married very early on in our marriage again. That soft person, that easy going person, the one that was never quick to anger. And that intimacy, that closeness that we have once shared started to bloom again. I wrote Susan a poem to let her know what my heart felt. And this is what I wrote:

I know the moment I fell in love with you
You said my name in the world stopped in place.
You looked into my eyes and saw all of me.
I knew that moment that I would forever love you.

The years have all gone by.
We have walked side-by-side, Hand in Hand
Through every sunny day and stormy sea.
And the one thing that always remains is our love.

In every moment I have loved you
Through all the changes, through all the tears and heart aches.
For our love always remains the one true thing that carries us through life.

I can truly say that I see YOU, know YOU and love YOU.
Our love is the one true thing that will always remain as our compass.

When I wrote this, I accepted Susan in my heart knowing that there would be trials, that there would be losses and yet hoping for gains. And that has been proven true. This was no easy thing to let Susan bloom and to let John die. Yes, it is a death. It is  the loss of a husband, it is a loss of a father and for some a loss of a friend. It was quite a struggle during the transitioning to go back-and-forth between John and Susan. John gave me the gift of authority over this whole thing of when Susan was allowed to present. At first, I thought I could only allow Susan to live in our bedroom but then I thought that wasn't fair. For I wouldn't want to be cooped up being myself just in one room. Then I gave her permission to be herself within the confines of the whole house. Soon after, I began thinking that also was not fair.  I would not want to be confined to one place only. This person has every right to live a life feeling comfortable and safe as them self. And that's what I wanted for her. I wanted her to feel that she could live life. In giving her that permission and freedom she has bloomed, she has blossomed into this outgoing kind funny person for the core person of John is still there... it's just wrapped in a different package.  I like to say it's just a different flavor of soup.

Yes, despite this acceptance there was still struggles. It was hard sharing a bathroom with another woman. But suddenly our bathroom looked like bed and beyond! It was hard sharing my clothes in the beginning until Susan got her own wardrobe.
It was especially hard when we had to tell our children. It was hard when we had to tell the grandchildren and it was hard telling our family members. And then it was even harder to tell our neighbors and our church. It caused us both a lot of stress. It caused fear and a lot of tears. But we pushed through so that Susan could live a fulfilled life. I grieved for my children who lost another dad. I grieved for my grandchildren who lost Papa John. And I grieved for myself who lost a husband. It was hard donating all of John's clothes to Goodwill. There are memories and gifts attached to those clothes. There was one sweater that I couldn't part with so I gave it to a friend's husband just because that sweater reminded me of that big bear of a man who protected me and loved me. I grieved again when we went to the courthouse where the judge legally changed John's name to Susan Kelly Raabe and her gender to female on all her ID's, passports and birth certificates. It was like a nail coming down on the coffin. From that moment on, it's been Susan...and Susan it will be from this day forward.

You may be wondering about the spirituality of it all knowing my strong faith in the Lord. I came upon Galatians 3:28. (NIV)
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

To my way of thinking when we go to heaven we do not go as a body but as spirit therefore when John/Susan goes to heaven it would be as a spirit. While we are perfectly formed in the womb we do not know if God meant body or spirit.

Another thought they came to me is that we believe that sin is sin. But there is no difference between sins meaning that no one sin is more sinful than another. If that is true...then how can a person who has lied, or stole still be included and welcomed in to the church. Yet a <not allowed> person is not welcomed into a church. Has anyone who enter a church in Sunday been sin free that week, that month or that year!? I could not find a passage in the Bible that says being transgender is a sin. You may want to read this viewpoint :

Jesus's second commandment says to love your neighbor as yourself. How is secluding some of Gods children from the church loving your neighbor? I have met many trans people who love the Lord. It's the church and people who say they are unworthy to be included, valued or loved.  I have seen people weep over the treatment that Christians dish out toward the LGBTQ community.  Everyone is worthy of Christ's love and that includes Susan. I can not solve an age old question of theology. What I can do is be open to the Holy Spirit and prayerful over the decision I have made to stay with my spouse.

In looking back over the past 10 month despite the losses and heartaches, John made a wise decision for himself. It took courage to come out, courage to change. I have fallen in love with this wonderful person all over again. Our laughter is real, our compassion and empathy for one another is stronger, our commitment to each other remains strong. Love shouldn't come and go when a mighty storm rises up. Rather we should crest the waves together holding fast to Christ and our love for each other.

With a prayerful heart I send this to you. I pray God heals and opens your heart with understanding and compassion for your friend.  May you have peace.




I don't know whether to address you as Anne or Frances. But I wanted to tell you how powerful I found your letter! The compassion you've shown to Susan is simply amazing. A lot of spouses can't do what you've done. They can't find enough love or compassion within themselves to let their spouses start living as their true identities. It's just too much for them, and they often leave the marriage. That's definitely not you! The love you have for Susan knows no bounds. You two are great role models for married people.

When I first came out Susan was one of the first people I connected with here at Susan's Place. She used to write me messages giving me encouragement and advice. During the course of those letters she'd always update me about her life too. You were always the main focus of her comments.

When I would compliment you on something you had said or done that made her feel especially loved, she said she would let you know what I said. She thought it was very important to make sure you were totally involved in all aspects of her life. It was very obvious to me that she loves you just as much as you love her. I think you two have a very special life together.

I hope your letter to that woman helps her deal with whatever she's going through. Maybe she can take some strength from what you've written.

Thank you for sharing your letter with us!!


Anne T:
Thank you Lexixi for your kind words.  I forgot I had my real name on it...oops 😉. My screen saver on our computer reads: Love knows no boundaries. It's a constant reminder to us to love each other despite life's challenges.

May you continue on your own journey with courage!

Hi, Frances,
I want to thank you for having the boldness in Christ to share this. My wife is really struggling with all of this. We, like you and Susan, are deeply committed Christians. We first met each other serving in ministry to at-risk-youth and love the Lord with all of hearts. Although my wife saw signs that something was wrong (as you did with Susan), I never revealed my problem to her until spring of 2018 after 9.5 years of marriage and having six children together. It has been difficult, but she is very resolute like you in that she made vows and she will keep them, for better or for worse.

I want you to know that Pastor Wingfield (the pastor from the article you shared) and I have both been praying for the spouses of transgender people to share their stories and experiences for the benefit of other spouses of transgender people in the Church. We just discussed it last Friday.

You sharing this is literally an answer to our prayers. Thank you so much!

Anne T:
  I'll be honest,  I almost took the "easy" way out of talking to my spouses ex about the transitioning by just having a cofffee chat. But I felt convicted to write it all out. I'm so very glad it spoke to you. I've had to leave my church after teaching a women's bible study there for 5 years. They said that they would be supportive of me but not my spouse. It was a great loss to me as my calling and gifts are still there. I believe in time God will open another door to ministry in his timing.

  Every significant other needs to supported just as much as the person transitioning.  My heart goes out to those struggling. I hope and pray that the two of you give each other grace, compassion and love all through your days and nights. May Christ richly bless your marriage.


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