There is perhaps no bigger social issue within Christianity—or within secular culture—than the evolving ideas around same-sex attraction. Within the church, many remain rooted to their traditional convictions that Scripture does not condone same-sex marriage or sexual behavior. However, there is an increasing recognition of the validity of same-sex attraction. For some, their conviction means remaining celibate. For others, their conviction means pursuing a heterosexual romance and marriage. An Impossible Marriage by Laurie and Matt Krieg is a mixed-orientation marriage and their story is about overcoming the unique challenges presented with that. But more than that, the book is a guide for all marriage in overcoming that trials that life brings.
The Conversation | Laurie Krieg
This excerpt has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity. You can listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above or subscribing at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Josh Olds: Laurie, can you give our listeners an overview of what your book is about?
Laurie Krieg: Yeah, An Impossible Marriage looks through the lens of my and my husband’s version of an impossible marriage—because I think all marriages are impossible without Jesus—but our version looks through that lens, to the marriage between Christ and the church. And it is story driven. I have yet to find someone categorizes this book. Like it’s part memoir, part self-help, part marriage book, part singleness book.
But our version of an impossible marriage is a few things. We are in what is called a mixed orientation marriage. Now, when I was getting married, I didn’t know our type of marriage had a type. It’s just my version of sexual brokenness and my husband’s. A mixed-orientation marriage means one of the spouses’ default, sexual attraction is not toward the gender of their spouse. And that would be me in our relationship. While I struggle with attraction toward women, here I am in a heterosexual marriage to a dude.
But looking through the lens of our marriage, you hear us wrestle through the questions. What is marriage? And specifically, why is it male and female marriage? And then secondarily, what is sex? And what’s the purpose of it? So those are some questions that we really wrestled through while looking through the lens of our version of An Impossible Marriage.
Josh Olds: I think that your book speaks to a different look at marriage, then a lot of times we think of it in Christian culture. Because, and I guess this is this is kind of a maybe a weird statement, but because of the way in which a lot of conservative evangelical Christianity looks at homosexuality, homosexual behavior, we kind of have this thing where we, we’ve sexualized marriage. Maybe you’re listening to that and you’re like, ‘Well, duh, of course we have, that’s the appropriate boundary for sex.’ But there is also the sense that, that the sexual act is not the only aspect of the marriage relationship.
It can be an important part of developing the relationship, but as a married man, let me tell you, there are vast quantities of time in my marriage when I’m not having sex…So I think when we when we talk about, obviously, it sounds funny, because it is. But there are many other things, many other relational things that form the core of my relationship with my wife. And those things were developed before we were married—the friendship, the conversations, the shared vision for life, all of those things are more important than the sexual aspect of the relationship.
The belief that marriage is the only Christian expression of sexuality pushes sex to almost a sacred point within the marriage. But marriage is so much more. Marriage is a lot more than that. Based on that, how did you make your relationship with Matt work? Like, what did you feel was the core of the relationship since, obviously, the sexual aspect was a challenge for the two of you?
Laurie Krieg: Yeah, yeah, man, I love your processing just by the way. And seeing our hypocrisy where we’re like, we won’t talk about sex and yet sex is 100% ultimate to many of us. Your heart desires and your sexual desires—but it just tells us what we actually worship so often is what the world is often worshipping, which is sex.
So how did we make our marriage work? Sex was just completely off the table year seven hit, and a repressed childhood memory of assault surfaced for me…So I was really struggling. I was really struggling with staying in our marriage…I made a pro/con list of “do I stay in my marriage” and wrestling through I really I got to a point was like, “Okay, fine, God.” By the end, I was like, “Oh, boy, wow, I want you God, therefore, I want what you have for me. And what you have for me is this marriage, I don’t know how you’re gonna make it work. I don’t know if we’re ever going to be sexually intimate again. But I want you so I want what you have for me.”
And so I said, Not my will. But yours. But then I had to go through actually living my life and figuring this marriage thing out, which is where your question comes in…Matt and I found a way that helped us to really find each other’s heart again, not with the goal of sex, but with a goal of really being one, so that when the world looks at us they see God’s desire to be one with us, which is the purpose of marriage. We had to see that there are other areas in our life where we are holistically one, where we feel that union, that when people see us they can see God’s desire to be one with them.
For us, it was on walks, side by side talking about deep things, maybe holding hands. There’s a physical connector that adds into that holistic piece, talking spiritually, intellectually; laughing together, having a social time, or even doing our podcast together. Then we felt unified…there’s a lot more avenues to oneness, besides all roads lead to sex.
The Book | An Impossible Marriage
“People say our marriage is impossible.” Laurie and Matt Krieg are in a mixed-orientation marriage: a marriage in which at least one partner’s primary attraction isn’t toward the gender of their spouse. In the Kriegs’ case, Laurie is primarily attracted to women―and so is Matt. Some find the idea of mixed-orientation marriage bewildering or even offensive. But as the Kriegs have learned, nothing is impossible with God―and that’s as true of their marriage as anyone else’s. In An Impossible Marriage, the Kriegs tell their story: how they met and got married, the challenges and breakthroughs of their journey, and what they’ve learned about marriage along the way. Christianity teaches us that marriage is a picture of Jesus’ love for the church―and that’s just as true in a mixed-orientation marriage as in a straight one. With vulnerability and wisdom, this book lays out an engaging picture of marriage in all its pain and beauty. It’s a picture that points us, over and over again, to the love and grace of Jesus―as marriage was always meant to do.
The Author | Laurie Krieg
Laurie Krieg is a speaker, author, and Hole in My Heart Podcast host whose mission is to equip Jesus-followers with a gospel-centered approach to sexuality. Laurie speaks and trains extensively about the gospel, sexuality, and marriage–often alongside licensed therapist and her husband, Matt Krieg.