Couples Chronicles ó Interview 16
I Fell Head Over Heals in Love with Her
First published in June 1988
© January 7, 2018, Demian
Reverend Marguerite Scroggie, 38, and Kala Payne, 34, have been partnered for almost two years [in 1988]. They live in Eugene, Oregon, where Kala is a statistician for the postal service, and Marguerite is a part-time pastor for the Metropolitan Community Church.
When did you first meet?
Kala: We were friends for about five years before becoming partners. She lived in Portland, I in Eugene.
Marguerite: We went to womenís basketball games together, but we were both in relationships with other women at the time.
Kala: My former partner and I had very little in common, and we often did things separately. We were better friends than partners, but we were together for ten years, with a one-year break in the middle. The only time I was sexually intimate with anyone else was during that break.
Marguerite: Iíve had several primary relationships. My former relationship was for five years and it was very intense. It was very good for us both; however, we grew in separate directions.
Marguerite: I was attracted to Kalaís sense of humor, her ability to kick back and enjoy recreation time, and her bright spirit.
I was also attracted to her physical, as well as inner, beauty. There is a silence within her and it resonates deeply within me. I connected on that deep spiritual level. I fell head over heals in love with her.
Kala: I was first attracted to her sensitivity and how she cares for people and their feelings. When we started spending time together I was attracted to what I perceived as her ability to laugh easily, have a good time and relax.
I had a very intense physical attraction to her. I also liked her sense of humor.
Kala: My family consists of my mother and sister. They have always been accepting of my orientation and my relationships. They havenít always liked who Iíve been involved with, but theyíve always done their best to make them feel welcome.
I told my family about six years ago. It was no big shock to them. In fact, my mother said that if she had known that she had the choice, she probably would have been a lesbian also.
She married for financial security. That was pretty obvious to me; men were not high on her list of likes, and she always spent a lot of time with her women friends.
Marguerite: Kalaís family is very warm and friendly to me, going out of their way to make me feel comfortable.
None of my family is alive now. Before they died, they knew I was gay, but they never talked about it much. My fatherís attitude was, ďFine, you can do whatever you want. I just donít see why you have to carry a placard and march in parades.Ē
Marguerite: Of course. I lived in San Francisco for ten years. Every Gay Freedom Day I was right down there, involved as could be.
Iíve always been really out wherever I was. I canít hide it. Iím one of those types of women who canít pass. I just sort of look like a dyke.
Marguerite: Most of my time was spent getting my degree, trying out different majors. I couldnít figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I did photography and worked in a nursing home as a nursesí aid. I also did a lot of traveling. At one point, I went with one of my former lovers to find an island in Central America to establish a lesbian commune. Of course, that never happened.
Another time I went off to do a documentary on the best fishing holes in the United States.
For a while, I was convinced that the San Francisco earthquake was going to happen to the whole West Coast, which meant that the Pacific Ocean was going to flow up to the Rocky Mountains. I was going to be there to save all who would wash up on the shore.
I went through a hippie stage and used drugs profusely, so I had some pretty strange ideas and perceptions.
Now, my life is very busy; very involved in church activities and the fellowship in general. I recently went through Shanti training and will be getting a client.
Kala and I make time every day to spend on our relationship. Tomorrow weíre going to go fishing with a couple of friends, which I havenít done in 22 years.
Kala: We each have separate accounts, but itís a loose arrangement. I make considerably more than Marguerite, so she pays for what she can and I pay the rest.
Marguerite: Kala is generous. For instance, she covers the special care that our four dogs and three cats need.
We donít have a formal agreement and we should. I think itís wise for couples to have a partnership agreement. We havenít gotten around to doing it.
Before we had our Holy Union on Maui this March 22, we drew up our wills, powers of attorney and physician directives.
Kala: It was a public declaration of the love we share and of the importance of the relationship. Itís also a recognition that we believe God has a part in that. And an excuse to have a party.
Originally, I asked Marguerite to have the Union.
Marguerite: I said, ďYes,Ē of course, but I was a little leery of it. Both of us had Unions previously and those relationships didnít make it. So we talked a lot about what commitment means to us, and what we were going to commit to this time.
For me, it was important to ritualize the commitment in a spiritual community, acknowledge the stretching it was going to take, and ask God to help us make and keep that commitment to each other.
Kala: We designed our own service. It was great.
Marguerite: So was the reception. We chartered a trimaran and went snorkeling, scuba diving and sailing. It was just wonderful.
Marguerite: From the beginning, one aspect of our relationship is that we talk through even the hard stuff. Weíd been seeing a communications counselor in a different context and we talked a little about it with her. We also asked some of our friends for their thoughts, but most of the work was done between us.
Kala: One of the hard points for me has to do with the church; the amount of time it sometimes takes, and having to take a back seat to the various crises, the almost constant interruption.
Marguerite: Another hard edge for us has been monogamy, sexual exclusivity; not because weíre into one night stands, but because weíre both very intensely sensitive and care about people. Sometimes that caring slips beyond the friendship level. We didnít want to promise each other something we couldnít keep, and we didnít want to hurt each other the way weíve hurt others or have been hurt ourselves.
Kala: We havenít hit that hard edge yet, but we are aware that happens to each of us at some time.
We have agreed to monogamy, but if we find ourselves drawn toward physical intimacy with another person, we talk about it together.
Marguerite: If an outside-of-the-relationship attraction occurs, often itís because something isnít working in our relationship, taking into account that no one person can meet all of our needs. If I am attracted to somebody else, I need to talk about it with Kala, to let her know, bring it out in the open, and also possibly discover what may be amiss in our relationship. Itís sort of like giving ourselves a safety valve.
One other area of potential difficulty is that both of us come from dysfunctional families that lack in loving, caring and support. In my family, there was incest and emotional abuse, which has left deep scars. It has also taught me coping skills that arenít healthy; that donít work well for me as an adult.
If I get hurt or afraid, I get defensive, which can become rage. That has been destructive to relationships in my life, and I donít want to continue that. Both of my parents were adult children of alcoholics and taught me how to be a good co-alcoholic. I also work on a lot of dependency issues.
We both work through our own problems so our relationship with each other will be more healthy.
Kala: My father was an alcoholic, but I understand why. My mother could get pretty whack-o. In my family there was a lot of emotional deprivation when I was a child. It was a cold family! Nobody touched each other. Nobody ever said, ďI love you.Ē
The way I coped with my mother was to go inside and be silent. Thatís the biggest issue Iíve had to face in my adult life, trying not to be so silent, taking everything into myself. The communications counselor we see has helped both of us learn a healthy way of communicating with each other.
Marguerite: No, but I have had abusive relationships in my past.
Kala: We have four really close friends who have been supportive from the beginning. Two of them are in a relationship with each other, the others used to be in relationships, but arenít now. Itís a mutual kind of thing, an informal, miniature support group. There are certain people we rely on to be absolutely honest with us, and they expect the same from us.
Marguerite: That is vital in our life, being in the public eye, especially as pastors are often told only nice things about themselves. People wonít be real with you, and it can make you crazy.
Supports for lesbian and gay relationships are real important. Iím really glad you guys are doing your newsletter and that Couples, Inc. is doing itís thing, because itís been so lacking in our community for so long, and itís so necessary.
Too many couples in our community get isolated, into fusion and unhealthy relationships. When they get exposed to a broader segment of the community, they often end up being blown apart, because the pressure is too much.
Marguerite: We are extraordinarily lucky because we have found each other. Neither of us are into pretend romance. Weíve both gone through all of that. We can be real with each other.
Iím so lucky to have somebody love me, somebody who I can love, and grow with. I see that as so rare in the world, and also in our own lesbian and gay community.
I celebrate my life because of Kala. Sheís healing, loving, nurturing and challenging. Just like a giant kiss, a gift from God that never stops.
Kala: We are very lucky that we found love to share. Sometimes our single friends are jealous, but it also gives them something to look forward to. You can find happiness and a love thatís good for you.
Relationships are a lot of hard work. Theyíre also as simple as making a decision to stick with it and being willing to talk.
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