Psalm 139:11-12

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (PSALM 139:11-12)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Worth Fighting For

A story continued from "Tell Me the Truth"

I had to leave the room.

As the truth came pouring from his lips that night I knew I needed time. I sat in the rocking chair in the dark living room. I didn't know what to do. My husband had just told me he had an affair and had struggled intensely with pornography for years. Suddenly I doubted everything I ever knew.

Our toddler was sleeping soundly in the next room, oblivious to the chaos whirling outside his door. What debris would be left behind in the aftermath? Would our child's whole world change that night?

I suddenly found myself holding all the cards. I had the power to destroy my husband, but it would destroy our family, too. He had given it to me simply by being honest. We all had a lot to lose.

It's hard to go back there — to that awful, beautiful night. It was wrenching. I was so angry. So confused. I needed time to process — to make sense of the senseless.

And I loved him. Still loved him.

In my heart I knew, if he was really done with the hiding and was willing to work hard and get help, we were worth fighting for.

And this man I loved, he was lost and confused, just like me. And he needed someone to believe in him, to fight for him, and to show him he was worth it. And he is.

Healing produced a new found trust for both of us. I can trust in his commitment to be honest and accountable to me and to others in his life. And he knows that I will not take advantage of the power his honesty affords me. That I remain committed to our marriage and working through whatever comes up.

For my husband and I, the flicker of light in the darkness of that evening turned into the fullness of living in the light. It's not always easy. But it's better then the alternative.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tell Me the Truth

We had just gotten ready for bed. Settled under the covers, I reached over and turned the light on my bedside table off. I remember our conversation like it was yesterday.

He started. My friend told me his wife doesn't want to know when he looks lustfully at another woman. It's too upsetting for her.

I replied. Really? I'm just the opposite. I'd rather know. It's what I don't know that scares me the most.

And that's how it started. The conversation that began my husband's full and complete disclosure.

I was right. I did feel scared as he revealed a sexual history I had not been aware of. But in the midst of the pain and confusion I was feeling, I also felt…peace?

Yes, it was peace. I could deal with what was being laid out in front of me. Our room was still dark, but a flicker of light was shining out of that darkness.

It was truth. And I had waited a long time to hear it.

The beauty of his words of truth was that it was the start of something essential for our relationship. We were talking, honestly talking, for the first time in our entire marriage. This mixture of honesty and vulnerability was the hope I needed — our marriage needed — to have a future together.

I believe a marriage relationship cannot be strong without honesty and communication. When both husband and wife are willing to ask and answer the hard questions.

To tell me the truth, to risk losing it all, he had to trust me — and God. Because I had the power to destroy him and everything he held dear.

To be continued

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Why I Wasn't Enough, Part 2

Part 2, continued from this post

I knew some of his "sorted" past when I started dating him. At that point he had mastered the art of hiding. No one knew his secret struggles. He let no one know of his pain.

Sexual pleasure was like a drug. It consumed his mind, it dictated his choices. It was all about when and where the next opportunity would arise. He knew it was wrong, but it became like a noose around his neck — squeezing ever tighter, not letting him go. How would he ever be free?

To him, sexual addiction was like trying to fill a bucket with water, not knowing there was a hole in the bottom. No matter how hard he tried, he could not keep the bucket filled. And it became increasingly more difficult to fill it up. He had to find new and different sources, but nothing ever satisfied.

It was easy for me to think that his infidelity had something to do with me — who I was, whether or not I fulfilled him. The truth was, nothing fulfilled him, not even the sexual pleasure he was searching for.

I stopped accepting blame when I began to understand sexual addiction (reading Schaumburg's book, "False Intimacy" gave me great insight). It also helped when I tried to see the innocent boy inside the hurting man.

I began to realize how rooted the infestation was and found, to my surprise, compassion and a desire to help him.

Sexual addiction doesn't happen overnight. It wouldn't have mattered who he had married. The temptation to stray was more about filling the bucket, then about me.

I would never be enough until he broke free from the chains of addiction and started a path towards healing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why I Wasn't Enough, Part 1

"It was so hard to believe that my husband's addiction to (sex or) porn had nothing to do with me." — Anonymous

So if your spouse's porn, adultery, or sexual addiction isn't about you, then why? Why wasn't I enough? Why did my husband look elsewhere?

There once was a sweet, innocent boy. He loved to play with He-Man and the General Lee. Like most boys he explored the woods, made stick swords, and searched for crayfish in the stream.

But one day, when he was six, he saw something. It hung on the grungy wall of a back office and it made him curious. It was the first time he had ever seen pornography. (When was the first time your spouse saw pornography?)

Already curious and intrigued by the new picture in his head, he spent much of his elementary years "chasing" girls. Oh, how his mother would giggle and prod when he took an interest in a little girl his age. "Is this your girlfriend?" she would tease. (How old was your spouse when he/she had his/her first "girl/boyfriend"?)

Along with the inappropriate pictures he now had in his head, when he was between the ages of six and ten he experienced child with child sexual abuse. Confused and overwhelmed, he never told anyone. (Was your spouse ever sexually abused as a child?)

By age thirteen, he started dating a girl several years older then him. She had already been sexually active and seduced him, experiencing sexual intercourse for the first time. (When was the first time your spouse started having sex?)

The foundation for my husband's sexual addiction was being built, brick by brick, from the time he was six years-old. By the time he reached college, he was walled in and it felt like there was no escape.

To be continued

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When Pornography Invades - Part 3

He arrived home early that afternoon, tail between his legs, so to speak.

I could tell by the look on his face he was sorry, but at that point I wasn't sure if he was sorry for what he had done or whether he was just sorry he had been caught.

I didn't want to imagine my husband ogling other women, let alone looking at THOSE pictures.

The conversation about finding porn on my computer is a blur. I know I didn't lose it. I didn't completely jump off the deep end.

Why did I find it that day? He had been so "careful" up to that point. He knew all the secret ways of hiding it, getting rid of it, so no one would know.

Maybe, deep down, he wanted to get caught? Perhaps he was tired of the facade.

Towards the end of our discussion, my husband told me that the hours between our phone call and arriving home had been agonizing for him, too. He had no idea how I would react. In fact, he thought this could have been the end of us. He had a lot to lose.

I would like to take credit for my reaction that day. I know I had a reaction. I didn't just sweep it under the rug and pretend like it didn't happen.

I also know that I gave him a clear boundary, without threatening him. Looking at porn, especially when he was supposed to be caring for our child, was not acceptable.

He had betrayed my trust and I wasn't really sure what it would look like to rebuild it. But I could also tell that he was sorry, repentant sorry, and embarrassed.

If you read my story, you know that this was the first of many very difficult and painful disclosures.

When my husband revealed his affair to me it was about a year or so after I found the pornography.

And before his new confession came flooding out, he remembered —

How when he thought it was the end for us, we committed to working through it. And how that gave him hope when it came time to tell me the worst.

Click here to read part 1 of this story; here for part 2.

Monday, December 10, 2012

When Pornography Invades - Part 2

My heart thumped loudly as I dialed. A cocktail of panic and anger stirred as I listened impatiently to the ring-ringing.

The call began in usual fashion. We discussed the morning routine of our toddler as my mind, like an out of body experience, wandered away from my body. Like a robot I answered his inquiries, worried my emotions would betray me as I searched for the "right" words.

Is there something wrong? He saw through my act.

I found something. We should talk about it when you get home.

Tell me now. You are scaring me.

So I filled him in on what I found on my laptop that afternoon. I explained how confused and angry I felt. And we reluctantly agreed to wait until he got home from work to talk about it further.

I felt betrayed. I wondered how long this had been going on in my home without me knowing.

How did I not know?

So I waited for an excruciating couple of hours, agonizing over what this all meant and wondering —

Wasn't I enough?

To be continued

Click here to read part 1 of this story.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

When Pornography Invades - Part 1

I was searching for something and what I found was not at all what I was looking for.

It was a day like any other. I spent the morning caring for my eighteen month old and was enjoying the respite of nap time.

I was looking for a missing file on my laptop when it hit me like a slap in the face. An image now seared in my memory.

My body froze as the warm burn of anger and disbelief rose within me. It was the first time I found pornography. The first time I became aware of its ugly invasion into our home.

What should I do?

A barrage of questions formed quickly in my mind as my heart raced to make sense of it all. I searched frantically for more files as I grew more and more impatient.

After filling the virtual trash can with all the filth I could find, I made an impulsive phone call. I didn't know what to say, but I knew I had to say something.

To be continued...
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