from Interviews/TestimonialsStory of a Married Man
Alan Medinger, a leader in the Christian ex-gay movement, originally told this
story of his personal struggle in the Exodus Standard. We are reprinting it
Mr. Medinger describes a religious experience which freed him from the desire to
act out homosexually--a compulsion which once threatened his longtime marriage.
Some years would pass, however, before he no longer felt the psychological need
for a partner who was a father figure.
This case history is interesting to psychotherapists for its description of
family and developmental background, and its illustration of the way unmet
emotional needs set the stage for homosexuality. It also illustrates the profound
potential of religious commitment in impacting the change process.
Mr. Medinger describes a religious experience which freed him from the desire to act out homosexually--a compulsion which once threatened his longtime marriage. Some years would pass, however, before he no longer felt the psychological need for a partner who was a father figure.
This case history is interesting to psychotherapists for its description of family and developmental background, and its illustration of the way unmet emotional needs set the stage for homosexuality. It also illustrates the profound potential of religious commitment in impacting the change process.
By Alan Medinger
(Reprinted from The Exodus Standard, Vol. 13, No. 1, 1966)
During a recent quiet time, the Lord showed me what my life might have been like today. I envisioned myself living alone downtown--lonely and desperate, still going after that which could not satisfy, seeking from other men that which they did not have to give.
Willa, my wife, was living somewhere else, the anger and hurt in her life still hidden beneath the surface. I saw our younger daughter, Beth, daily expressing an anger towards a father who had never understood her needs and who had finally abandoned her. Our older daughter, Laura, carried a deep sadness for a father she loved very much. Our son, Steven, had not been born at all.
But that is not the way my life is. On the night of November 26, 1974, a new man was born. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that a boy was reborn and started to grow into a man.
In my background were most of the ingredients typically seen as contributing to homosexuality: an unplanned child, parents who were hoping for a girl, an older brother who met the father's ideal more than I, and a father with severe emotional problems which caused him to barely be able to cope with life himself, much less meet the needs of his son. Now I know that these factors did not cause my homosexuality. Rather, my responses to these factors influenced me in that direction.
I suppose I was about twelve years old when I started acting out my homosexual attractions. But, growing up in the 1940s and '50s, there was not a visible gay subculture, a homosexual lifestyle, to which I could aspire. I always assumed I would marry and do the best I could. My wife, Willa, and I had grown up as neighbors, dated through high school, and then in college became more serious.
She was a wonderful, popular girl and I believed we could have a good life together. We were married and things went well in the early years. But about the fifth year of marriage, after two daughters were born and the normal family and career pressures started to build, I again became homosexually active. I was involved for the next ten years.
During those years I believed that, except for this one great, dark area in my life, I had it all together. I was successful in business, was a pillar of the church, and had a wonderful family, including foster children we took in. Theologically, I had it pretty well figured out. All men and women commit sin, and this was my particular area of weakness.
This may be hard for many to understand, but I hated my homosexuality more than anyone could imagine. But even worse was the thought of giving it up. I don't know why. Was I really seeking love from another man? To be worth something to a man? To possess another's manhood? Sex with another man met some need...provided some relief or escape that I felt I had to have.
I figured that if I just kept it moderately under control, God's scorecard on me would tally up in my favor and I would be okay. But everything was not under control. The compulsion was increasing, and my going out became more frequent and reckless.
My marriage was coming apart at the seams. I finally was no longer able to function heterosexually. Willa figured out what the problem was, but decided not to confront me.
My wife, of course, was desperately unhappy during those years. She joined a prayer group of mature Christian women who were true prayer warriors. Although she did not tell them the specific nature of the problem, they started praying for our marriage.
Willa began sensing that she should let go of me. If the marriage were to fall apart, and me with it, she was to let it happen. She was able to let go of me, spiritually and emotionally.
Not long after this, a friend asked me to attend a prayer meeting. I resisted for a long time, but finally agreed to go. He told me, "What the Lord has for you is far better than anything you could imagine." When I heard that, a great peace came over me.
To a casual onlooker, nothing spectacular happened that November night. But inside of me, a great change occurred. As the large group of two or three hundred people were praying and praising God aloud, I quietly surrendered my life, including my homosexuality, to Jesus Christ.
I admitted my helplessness, that my life was a wreck, that I was willing to let Him do whatever He would with my life.
Beginning the following day, I started to recognize that a whole bundle of miracles had occurred. Gone were the homosexual fantasies which seemed to have seldom left my waking mind over the previous twenty-five years. I felt a love for Willa that I never knew was possible.
Perhaps most important of all, God was no longer a faraway scorekeeper. He was a Savior who had come down from His heaven and brought me salvation. Jesus loved me and I loved Him so very much. I knew for the first time what it was to love and be loved in return.
At the time, I felt that God had done a total healing, and it is true that the sexual pull towards other men was gone. But homosexuality is more than having sex with someone of the same gender. Closer to the root is a deep brokenness, almost a stillbirth in our manhood or womanhood. Somehow as a small boy, I had closed a door to my growth into manhood. God helped me open it again.
My conversion marked the resumption of my growth into manhood. God has worked wonderfully to remove my great sense of inadequacy around "straight" men. He has enabled me to become an initiator and a leader, roles which I dreaded at one time. In a beautifully gentle way, God has been shifting the roles my wife and I take, so that I can assume my proper headship in our family.
Because of the sudden nature of my healing from homosexuality, I am often asked, "How complete is your healing ... really?" In reply, I can say it has stood the test of time and has borne the fruit of a blessed marriage. I have not been homosexually tempted during the past ten years. By temptation, I mean seriously desiring or considering a sexual act with another of the same sex. I did carry beyond my initial healing some desire for an older, stronger man to "take care of me." That too is now gone, and I see men as brothers, not as father-protectors.
Naturally, I have avoided literature, movies and other situations which could arouse homosexual lust. When they are encountered, as they will be, or when someone I am counseling describes the circumstances of a sexual fall, it does sometimes give rise to some sexual feelings. However, those are minor and are diminishing with the passing of time.
I may still take a look at a good-looking man, but God has shown me in the past few years that this is based on envy and habits from the past. As I repent and thank God for the way He made me, this is becoming less frequent.
I'm so thankful that the picture of "what might have been" in my life today has not occurred. I am involved in ministry to homosexuals. Willa and I are working together in this ministry and look forward to celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Our two daughters are now in college and Stephen, our son who "would not have been," is eight years old and doing well. And his father loves him very much.