We had been married almost 5 years, when one night my husband sat me down after our children were in bed and told me he was addicted to pornography. There are no words to express the utter shock and disbelief I felt. I did not know this man. I felt more pain than I had ever before felt. I thought we had a good marriage. Not my husband. Not in my home. Complete heartbreak. I felt so betrayed. So traumatized. During the sleepless nights my mind went on a wild race and picked apart each memory. Was our whole marriage a lie? As I went back through our marriage I realized there were red flags but they were always attributed to other things, either by him or by me. My mind was able to make sense of quite a few things after his disclosure. In the past I often felt at fault for things when in reality it wasn’t my fault at all. I felt as if a bomb had gone off in my world. Nothing was as it should be; how I thought it was.
Here’s a short excerpt from my journal the day my husband disclosed to me:
“The hurt is hard to hide. The world around me seems so unimportant, where only yesterday I was at its beck and call. The car I drive doesn’t matter. I could care less. The food I eat or don’t eat doesn’t matter. The clothes I wear don’t matter (except I have the desire to be fully clothed at all times – the bigger the better). Life has lost its sweetness, its goodness, and the purity I cherished so dearly.
How does one really recover from such an awful realization? HE, only One. It’s going to take a long time, which hurts even more. My world has just been turned upside down, and there’s nothing I can do to fix it, other than try to be a support. That’s the hard part. Letting the hurt penetrate my heart and know that it won’t be leaving anytime soon. Until then, I trust in my Redeemer and Savior, and know that He can eventually make it whole again. I have faith that my husband and I can conquer this together with His help. Would I have chosen this? Not in a million years. But it is seldom we get to choose our trials and heartaches. A few things are always certain though. God lives, He loves us unconditionally, and we can always turn to Him. He brings true, real, and everlasting peace. That I testify to.”
I found out this addiction started when he was about 6 years old, and he has been struggling with it on and off since then. I started to understand how Satan can affect the minds of children while they are young and inept to deal with those kinds of emotions. There were many things I didn’t know. Like all addictions, his was growing worse over time, only he didn’t recognize it. He would spiral down into depression and contemplated several times taking his life. He often wished he never existed. He was being primed to reach out to other women; and considered it. God provided him a moment of clarity: as he realized where he was, he knew he was at a cross-roads. I am ever grateful he decided to tell me and get help.
For the first while I would print off select journal entries for him to read if he chose to. There were things so hard to tell him to his face, that I chose to share that way. He had not anticipated I would take his addiction as personally or that it would be so traumatic for me. He told me several times how grateful he was for my journal entries even though they were hard to read because they helped open his eyes.
In desperate moments when the hurt ruled my thoughts, I felt like it would be easier to scrap my marriage and start over; but when clarity again surfaced, I realized those feelings were frantic lies. You have to heal regardless of if you stay married or not. And truly I cared deeply for my husband. I told my husband I was in our relationship 110% if he constantly worked to change his addiction and reroute his brain.
Today we have been in recovery for a year and a half. I cannot express the difference I feel from those first horrific feelings. I feel hope. I feel strength. I have found healing. And so has my husband. We are building a stronger relationship. A stronger foundation. We strive to be open with each other about everything, and have a much greater capacity to do so. We have learned to stand in hard places together and fight the filth of the world. Are we completely healed? Not yet, but we have come leaps and bounds. Looking back I cannot believe how far we’ve come. At the beginning I couldn’t see how in the world it was possible to ever be where we are today, and yet we are. We are happy. We are in love, pure and sweet. The atonement is healing both of us and taking off the “shades of sin”, and renewing our souls. Christ’s power is real. It does work within us to heal us and make us new. How ever grateful I will be for that.