When This Woman Got Married, She Didn’t Know Her Husband Would Become Her Wife

For most people in long-term relationships, there comes a point when thoughts turn to having children. Laura Groenjes Mitchell can certainly relate to that, as she announced her pregnancy in 2015. However, during that period, her husband, Galen, admitted that he wanted to transition from a man to a woman.

Residents of Denver, Colorado, Galen and Laura first met at a Minnesota arts college back in 2005. Intrigued by the unusual band t-shirt he was wearing that afternoon, the latter tracked him down on social media. She then asked if he wanted to meet her later in the evening.

After accepting the invitation, Galen then spent the night walking through the campus gardens with Laura, kick-starting their relationship. “[The] conversation came really easily and we just kept talking the rest of the night,” she recalled to the Huffington Post in August 2018. “From the very beginning, our relationship has been built on great communication and trust.”

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With that in mind, Galen was very open about one subject in particular. He told Laura that he felt more like a woman than a man. Despite that admission, though, he offered his date some words of reassurance. “I also said that I would never do anything about it,” he said.

Following their graduation, Galen and Laura made the switch to Denver, with the former harboring dreams of becoming a professor in philosophy. However, the pair also had some other ambitions. They eventually got married in 2011 after nearly six years together.

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With their relationship as strong as ever, Galen and Laura’s lives took another positive turn in 2015. The couple was going to have a baby! Unknown to the expectant mom, though, that news further fueled her husband’s feelings about his own gender, which culminated in an eye-opening conversation on New Year’s Eve.

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Indeed, as 2015 was coming to an end, Galen came out as transgender to her wife, admitting that she wanted to transition. Those feelings had been ruminating in her mind for many years, going all the way back to her childhood. However, when she turned 17, she finally felt the need to tell someone.

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Galen confided in her mother about the issue, suggesting that she needed to go to counseling. A few weeks later, though, the teen decided to pull the plug on the subject. “Of course, my feelings didn’t actually go away [at that time],” Galen told the Huffington Post. “I was just trying to deny them.”

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With that in mind, Laura was none the wiser about her husband’s true feelings, despite their previous conversations about gender. “[Galen] would say things like, ‘If there was a magic button, I would press it to change the way my body [is],’” she recalled.

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“[Galen] didn’t say anything about being trans, or wanting to see a therapist, or wanting to make changes in ways that felt really practical. [So] I just sort of thought of it as, ‘Oh, you know, she wishes things were different, but she’s okay that they aren’t, and she found a little niche for herself in the world,’” Laura added.

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As for Galen’s announcement, Laura was initially taken aback by the news, before quickly coming around to it. “It’s not that she knew and was hiding it from me this whole time,” she said. “It’s something that she didn’t even want to acknowledge herself.”

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“And it got to the point that the feelings were so bad that [Galen] finally had to put a word to it and let me know,” Laura continued. “In retrospect, all of the puzzle pieces were there. I just didn’t put them together until she articulated it more clearly for me.”

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Despite accepting Galen’s position on the matter, though, Laura herself started to feel some worrying pangs of doubt. Indeed, with the baby on the way, the expectant mom was incredibly fearful for her family’s future. But she was also worried about her overall relationship with her husband.

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“I immediately started thinking about the most extreme case scenario,” Laura told the Huffington Post. “What would that mean for us? Could we have a second kid? Would our family and friends accept her if she completely transitioned? Would I be able to accept her? [And] would I still be attracted to her?”

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With that in mind, the couple’s relationship was really put to the test in the early part of 2016, as the pair were both dealing with different emotions. While her wife was in the final months of her pregnancy, [Galen] was facing fears about the future. Much like Laura, she was afraid that the transition would end their marriage.

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“After those first couple months, I have never again worried that we would split up because I’m trans,” Galen admitted. “It really became an ‘us versus the world’ thing very quickly. And Laura found that she was attracted to me as a woman in many ways more than she was when I presented as a man.”

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In April 2016, Laura gave birth to their first child. Six months later, Galen quit her job as a special education teacher to begin her transition. Yet despite all their previous fears, the pair are still together now, with their relationship as strong as ever.

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“I’ve known other couples where this timeline and negotiation of ‘Okay, here’s what I want, here’s where my comfort level is, here’s what you want, here’s what your comfort level is.’ [That] would not have worked because they were just so fully not on the same page,” Galen recalled. “And there wasn’t that basic foundation of trust and the wish for the other person to be happy.”

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Indeed, “happy” is definitely one word you could use to describe Galen and Laura at this present moment. However, the pair believe that they’ve also become better people since the former’s transition. “We’ve both become much more compassionate and caring,” she told the Huffington Post.

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“We’ve both really come into ourselves,” Galen added. “As much as my coming out was about me feeling more comfortable in my skin, I think it prompted Laura to evaluate aspects of her own gender presentation, such that we’re both much more comfortable and confident in who we are as individuals. And we more fully support each other in our endeavors.”

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