For this blog post I will share a story about a friend of mine:
“For years I was married to a ghost. I knew that going in. This was a man who never fessed up to anything. He kept secrets and had a mind that he rarely let anyone really see. On the outside he was perfectly outgoing and fun loving. Everyone wanted to be around him – a real people person. I loved that about him. His confidence in social settings stood in stark contrast to my “faking it ’til I make it” shakiness. The first time I knew he had an issue with pornography was within the first month of dating. I was on his computer and being the nosy, control freak that I can be I hit the history button and there was a massive list of those sites. I confronted him. He assured me it was a thing of his past, part of his bachelor days and that now that we were together he wouldn’t be doing that anymore. I was no saint either so I just chalked it up to one of those “in the past things” we could move on from. Fast forward a few years into the relationship. Things were progressing in our couplehood. We bought a house, moved in together. Our sex life changed. His desire for me grew cold, and he didn’t care if I walked around naked or fully clothed. I felt ugly and rejected and not at all like my other friends who were complaining that their husbands/boyfriends wouldn’t leave them alone. I would laugh and say, “Gosh, me too.” But inside I was dying as I lied. I asked him what was wrong with us and if he was up to his old habits looking at porn or if there was something else going on. He assured me that there was nothing going on, worse than that he called me crazy. And then one day I came home from work, and he wasn’t home (he’d had to leave in a hurry to take care of a work emergency). I had a strange feeling and started to go check the computer and notice that everything was unplugged. I was confused by this and plugged everything in and up on the screen was an image of a naked woman. My heart sank. I didn’t watch to see what came next. I went into a rage. I threw all of his clothes outside and called him. We were done in my mind. Finished. He had led me to believe that our sex issues and my suspicions were all my fault and here it was that it was his obsession with other women in a virtual reality that was really killing us. My broken heart didn’t allow for sorrow at that time, it only allowed for anger and rage. I’ve forgotten what took place in the months that followed, but we ended up getting passed that, and we got married. Like I said, I knew what I was getting into. I thought, “We are married now. Surely we will have a better sex life and things will change between us!” Not exactly. During our marriage we had seasons where our intimacy was better but mostly the bad was more prevalent. Then a few years into our marriage we started going to a Christian church, and I thought, “For sure now we will be blessed in this area. We will have a passion like never before and things will be right!” Wrong. I began to get more and more bitter while he began to go deeper and deeper into his own mind. We both started serving at our church and going to a marriage group, attending couples counseling. You name it, we were doing it. All the outside stuff looked great. People would look at us and want a marriage like ours – called us “so cute” and “so adorable”. Yet, we were dying inside. Both of us. Fast forward another six years, and things are now so off. I am thinking I am just the most terrible, undesirable wife there ever was. I become more and more demeaning and disrespectful. And then one morning I’d had enough. I prayed for wisdom and for gentleness, I prayed specifically the verse, Matthew 10:16 that says, ” …Therefore be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” I knew my husband would be home all day while I was at work so I hid a recording device and left it recording. He’d dropped me off at work and as per our usual routine we prayed before I got out of the car. I prayed to God that we would both honor Him in all our ways at work and at home. That prayer was an appeal to my husband, I know that now. God was calling him to purity and wholeness and all he had to do was be honest – if not with me, with someone else. We attend a church that makes it safe to come out with our junk so we were in the safest place where he could confess and confront his addiction. I came home from work and asked if he would go and pick up some groceries for dinner while I stayed behind to work on a computer project. As soon as I heard the car back out of the driveway I grabbed the recorder and began the process of fast forwarding and rewinding to discover what I already knew to be true. He was back into pornography again. But this time as a Christian man, a Christian man that people looked up to and respected. The ghost was no longer a ghost. I saw him for what he was. A porn addict. At first he tried to blame me. My complaints, my ways. I wasn’t having it. This thing in him existed long before I ever came along. This was him, but he was playing on my insecurities, “Maybe it is me. If I wasn’t so nagging. If I wasn’t so old. If my butt was in better shape.” I kicked him out of our bedroom and threatened divorce and meant it. I researched Brazilian Butt Lifts and resolved to put it on his credit card too! The next few days I was walking around with a weight lifted because now I knew the truth, but my heart was completely broken. That old message from long ago raised its banner high once again with these old ugly words, “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH. YOU NEVER WILL BE”. My dad had done the same thing to my mom and our family, addicted to porn and dating other women. So here I was thinking if I don’t leave my husband I am just like my mom. I pushed back with the word of God, desperate to have Him use my pain for building instead of destroying. After a few days of my own soul searching I started to ask him questions. Not the ones I’d asked the times before but ones that were, I know now, from God. The real questions and this time I got real answers. Ones that broke my heart for him. I saw him for what he was, not a ghost, not a villain but a precious and broken man. Compassion welled up in me and gratitude for this mess we found ourselves in. We are in one of those “for worse” seasons in the “better of for worse” commitment we signed up for. God has us and the “F Words” are definitely at the forefront with the choice being will we move forward in fear or in faith? I pray it’s faith because I have had enough of fear. This is the road by which we discover the couple God designed us to be. I have to remember that with God the end is never the end, it is a beginning. So please pray for us and for all Christian marriages because we are not perfect. We just need to be honest and that’s going to take faith. Pray for that.”
Thank you for reading this blog post today. Next blog post is part two of “The F Words”.
With all my heart,