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Broke Marriage Mountain
by Donna Conger
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It’s an epidemic, really. And it took a movie about gay cowboy love to bring it to light. Ten years ago, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a movie plot that would premiere nearly a decade later. And if I were to title the movie, I would say that it should be called, “Broke Marriage Mountain”.

My first marriage ended almost ten years ago, because, after fifteen years of marriage, my born again, Christian husband decided that he wanted to be a single gay man. News that you’re divorcing is difficult and embarrassing enough to tell your family and dearest friends. But to add that it’s because your gender is the reason is devastating. Now add to that the occasional moments when I feel led to tell someone I hardly know, and I feel as if I’m living in a soap opera.

I don’t talk about it very often. It’s far behind me now. I’ve started over. He’s started over that’s one hundred eighty degrees from ten years ago. However, when I do feel that I should share, I am amazed at the number of women who tell me that their husbands left them for the exact same reason.

Secretly homosexual husbands leaving wives—and vice versa—is not that rare. Nor does such a tragic event affect one group of people. Rich and poor, young and old, black or white and everything else in between, Christian, non Christian, Catholic, Jew, Mormon, ad infinitum—I’ve heard from them all. Men are leaving the wives of their youth and women are leaving the husbands of their youth for unrequited love, for the lust of a same sex attraction, and/or because they don’t feel that the right sex was assigned to them at birth.

The break up of a seemingly happy marriage and/or family is tragic enough for family and friends. It’s even scarier to realize that it happens even more in Christian homes. People who go to a Bible believing, teaching church should not have deacons, pastors, teachers, and members leaving someone of the opposite sex to pursue romance with someone else of the same sex. But they do. Aside from God’s intense hatred of such things (see Romans 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22) and the scary warning of dire consequences (Romans 1: 24,28-32), I have come to believe that a man who nurses a desire for another man, despite being married to a woman, is a cad in more ways than one.

I did not see the movie, “Brokeback Mountain”. But my daughter, wishing to try to understand why her once devoutly Christian father is now openly gay and living in carnal sin with another man he loves, saw the movie.

I shocked her when I said that I had considered seeing the movie. Why? First, no one, including critics, reviewers, gay rights activists, or my ex husband, would explain to me what they meant when they said that the movie was “beautiful, yet tragic”. Second, I wanted to have the backdrop of the movie’s story as a jumping board—with a Christian and personal perspective, so I could write an article about it. Lastly, I wanted to understand what had been going through my ex husband’s mind all the years we were married. Perhaps, I thought, his love of the movie would offer a clue.

An interesting aside caused me to take a special interest in analyzing his reaction. He is living with the son of the movie critic, Gene Shalit. You might or might not have heard that Gene Shalit (big black bushy hair and mustache) panned the movie, calling one of the characters “a predator”. Imagine having a homosexual son whose famous father attacks the first big screen portrayal of his flagrantly gay lifestyle. One thing led to another, and my ex appeared in a nation wide gay advocate magazine. When I questioned him about the movie, he was evasive, possibly because how easily can an ex talk to his ex about his boyfriend?

So I was happy to have someone to talk to about the movie so I could sort out what had been a big mystery to me. I listened in horror as my daughter recounted the sickening love scenes in full graphic detail. I finally demanded to know why the movie was so “beautiful”. She told me that the two cowboys were deeply attracted to one another, but marriage and family forbade them from exploring those feelings. They had a duty to their wives and their children. One of the men didn’t even want to admit that he was, in fact, gay. The tragedy, I suppose, was in not being able to “come out” and love the person each truly loved. Thus, each man died without ever being with his soul mate.

I prayerfully pondered these facts over the course of some months, and came to the conclusion that it would have been better for the men in the movie to leave their wives, and that my ex should have left me before inflicting hurt and betrayal upon me and our children.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am very pro marriage. I don’t think that divorce is always the right answer or the easy way out. It was one of the hardest things I ever did. I know that I was driven to it, but when some Christians find out that I’m divorced, once the reason for the divorce is made clear, suddenly there is sympathy, shock, and support in their expression and their voice. All of a sudden, I am vindicated.

When a spouse does indeed cheat on the other person in the marriage, however, you have God’s permission and legal grounds to walk away. In Matthew, Jesus tells Christians that there is but one reason for divorce: marital infidelity. Some closet homosexuals never act on their attraction to other men, but many do. My husband did while we were married. When he told me, that’s why I would have rather he ended our marriage at that time, rather than cheat on me. Because when he told me, not only did a knife go through my heart, but I also knew that I could never truly respect or trust him again. He broke the contract we made in front of God, family and friends, and a minister of God.

While the issue is complex, basically, I believe that infidelity breaks the intimacy of two that have become one by bringing a stranger into the bedroom. Without exploring all the details of how that affects the way a spouse feels, Jesus also said that if one lusted in their hearts after someone else, then they had committed adultery. Lust, sexual attraction, and any act of physical intimacy are all tied into the same thing, a natural outgrowth of what Romans 1:28 through 32 speaks of.

I believe that God is telling us is that when a married person cheats, whether with their body, mind, or emotions, they have divorced their spouse. It’s how I felt, and how many women have also felt. Add to that God’s fiery condemnation about same sex intimacy, and you’ve got a double whammy that’s as destructive to a marriage and family as a tsunami and hurricane rolled into one.

I wrote my ex an email after thinking all of this over. He wrote me back the same evening. I was stunned at his response. He told me that I helped him to get in touch with his feelings, and that despite everything, he realized—with my help—that he was gay and that there was nothing anyone could do to change that. (I wanted to shout, “Excuse me? What about God?” But he doesn’t listen to things like that anymore.) Then he added that unlike the characters in the movie, he did have the courage to pull up stakes, move across country, and be with the man that he loves (they courted for seven years via letters, phone calls, and the Internet). Then he added, “I have never regretted it since.”

I read the message with mixed feelings. On one hand, I felt bad that he had convinced himself that he was all right in God’s sight, that all that mattered was his love and happiness, despite having been a Bible memory champion.

On the other hand, I wished he had left me. The illnesses he brought to our bedroom—literally—were an act of rude hostility, brought on by his selfish need for gratification.

My ex told me that he remained married to me because it was his duty. I was a shield; against rumors, against temptation. He didn’t want others to know that he had impure thoughts toward deacons and male friends in our church. Apparently, however, his true nature seeped through, because throughout our marriage, people wondered aloud if he was gay. He crocheted, did needlepoint, walked like a woman, and generally was effeminate. But hey—he was a Christian, a worship leader, attended a Christian college, was married, had children, and went to a ton of Bible studies. No way he could be gay!

There are millions of women who are dazed and confused by husbands who have ripped apart what they thought was a solid marriage. Some spouses saw it coming and didn’t want to believe it. Others fought like wild cats to hold on. I read letters in the “Dear Abby” column about women who have found gay pornography on the computer, and wondered what to think or what to do. I want to shout, “It’s obvious! Let go of him and move on!” I know it isn’t that easy. Believe me, I know. But I want to spare them the heartbreak of trying to hang on and getting hurt yet again.

There’s the issue of money, home, retirement, and often, the children. It took more than three years before our children knew why mommy and daddy got divorced. In the end, once he came out, they figured it out for themselves. They feel that he is a grown man who can do what he wants. They don’t like it when he “acts” gay, and they tolerate his boyfriend. But what hurts them the most is the completely self-absorbed way he lives, all of which centers around sex. This once godly appearing man who was shocked at lying and would punish his children for swearing is now a foul mouthed, booze swilling, drug taking sex addict who likes to boast of his exploits as if there was never a time when he knelt and poured out his heart to the God of the universe.

When I tell old friends of his new personality, they always ask how he could have changed so much. I tell them that he really hasn’t changed; for years, he only suppressed the person he is now as part of his duty to me and the kids. And after hearing what “Brokeback Mountain” was about, I understand why he loved the movie so much.

Although I feel that I can re-title the movie, Broke Marriage Mountain—insert your metaphors here—it may take a lifetime to forgive a spouse for such a thing. But I believe, based on Scripture, that this epidemic is here to stay until the world ends and Christ reigns. We should not have to accept such things, but by including a prediction in the Bible, I believe God is telling us to expect it and accept that these things happen. It is a sign of the times; the last days are here as non homosexuals are being forced into accepting the homosexual lifestyle and viewing them as “normal”. 2 Peter 3:2, co-captioned in my Bible as “Godlessness in the Last Days”, spells out the fleshly behavior we are exposed to even now. It boggles my mind that this was predicted thousands of years ago: “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Wow! It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Hate the SIN and love the SINNER. You don’t have to accept gay people; you just have to expect the world to up the ante on souls by the increasing degradation of the body.

If you are facing the same situation—or have faced it, but are in denial—please consider the following: yes, you can pray. You can believe. You can trust God. You can name and claim the healing of your spouse from homosexuality in the name of Jesus. But do all this remembering that God’s ways are mysterious, and in the end, you must trust Him, no matter how much it may cost you. Don’t make the mistake of believing that you can “turn him or her around”. Don’t wear yourself out trying to bring him back to man-woman love on your own. A rabbit’s not going to eat chocolate. A chicken’s not going to eat meat. A person inflamed with lust for members of his or her own sex isn’t going to suddenly turn around because you donned a French maid’s outfit in the boudoir. What repels you, draws a homosexual. What draws a homosexual repels you.

In our own power, we can’t make them come back, anymore than we can single handedly cure an addict or alcoholic. It hurts. Believe me, I know. The pain is almost more than one can bear. And in between all of that, you’ve got people advising you about what to do, children wanting explanations, and the terrible sense that you’re not man or woman enough.

Trust me, they are who they are. It isn’t your fault. It was probably there when you married him or her. You can’t change it any more than you can change a zebra’s stripes from black and white to purple and yellow. Sure, you could paint the zebra and give the appearance of change, but you’ve only fooled a few people for a short time. I once heard on a nature channel that a zebra’s stripes aren’t just in the fur—they have striped skin.

In other words, it’s what’s below the surface that counts.

{If you would like to contact me for questions, comments, or to hire me to write for your magazine, please write me at: treszure7@yahoo.com. Thank you!}

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