A fatal wound. Today's the day I died. My love died. My assumptions died. My trust died. My relationship died. My ability to think clearly died. My security died. My beauty died. My self-confidence died. My heart died. Today my world was shattered, and here I am standing still. The rest of the world is flying by, unaware of my brokenness. Still here I am. Dead. Oh, parts of me live. My doubts, my insecurity, my jealousy, my self-loathing tendencies, my disdain for my husband, my inadequacy, my hatred, my bitterness, my anger. These are very much alive. But still I am dead. Today will forever be burned into the conscience of my soul. Today I learned that I was not first. Not second. I was not even in the top ten. Today I learned that my husband has a sexual addiction that has plagued him for sixteen years. Today my marriage died. Actually there's been a battle for a long time but I didn't even know I was at war. Just two weeks ago I was devastated to find out that my prince, the one that was supposed to be pursuing me, was pursuing another woman. Although it didn't get to a physical level, he pursued her emotionally. And today I am forever changed. No longer am I the girl I was. No. Now I am the woman who wasn't good enough. Who wasn't sexy enough. Who wasn't satisfying enough. Who wasn't smart enough. Who wasn't pretty enough. Who wasn't worth pursuing. Today's the day I died.
This is a journal entry I wrote the day I found out that my husband had been addicted to pornography since the young age
of eleven. Actually, there are days that I still struggle. In the beginning, more often than not I felt this way. My friends
those days were depression and obsession. Depressed about the way things were. Obsessed about finding answers. Constantly questioning and doubting everything about “us” from the last 10 years. That's a lot of time to comb over. At times I was so tired of thinking about it all and wished I never would have found out. But it was still there. Lurking over my shoulder. Waiting to steal any joy that I might come across that day. Holding me hostage. And despite my crying and constant attempt to find reason, there were several nights that I simply gave up and passed out. No longer able to stand and fight.
(From Gavin) “We decided to get married after my freshman year of college and I thought that everything would be fine. I would stop looking at porn because I now had a wife. Well, that wasn't true. My porn habit went from being an “innocent” teenage boy’s activity to a full-blown addiction. I couldn’t stop. This caused great shame, guilt and paranoia when it came to being intimate- physically, emotionally, and spiritually--with Kristina. Rather than let her in and be found out, I would push her away, making her feel inadequate as a woman, a wife, and as a sexual partner… I blamed her, mostly. I thought she was too needy, too emotional, always angry. Why couldn’t I ever please her? When in reality all I had to do was open my eyes and see that I was destroying everything. I was blinded by my sin. Finally, after eight years… I was found out. I had a decision to make: lie and deny, like I had done for so long and had come so accustomed to doing, or tell the truth… I chose to tell the truth.
So where did that leave me? It's like my world stopped, but everything else kept going. I'm a mother of small children. I can't just sit and cry all day. I still have to take care of them. I still have to clean the house, get groceries, cook food, pay bills, go to church with a smile on my face, teach preschool, go to family gatherings, or whatever else I'm required to do, pretending to be normal, all the while I was dying inside. Devastated is really an understatement. There's not a word to describe what a woman feels when she experiences that kind of betrayal. But every woman who has been through it knows exactly what I'm talking about. It was awful. We didn't have anyone to talk to or help us for two months. I felt hopeless. I felt like he deserved divorce, but at the same time I couldn't. I couldn't bear the thought of hurting our children like that. I couldn't see how I would be able to make it on my own. I still loved him, but I didn't know how to be in the same room with him without thinking about the things he'd seen and desired... everything that I wasn't.
Then the healing began. It wasn't quick, but it was sure. I started a bible study called Captivating by John and Stasi Eldgredge. I'm not saying it's the only resource to help women find healing, but its an excellent one. I also began using the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian that a friend gave to me. Gavin began attending the First Steps support group with other men who had fought the battle for sexual sobriety and were victorious. (Eventually this group incorporated the wives as well so I could have support too). He also began reading several books including Wild at Heart by John Eldgredge, The Game Plan by Joe Dallas, and Every Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. We began going to counseling together which, I believe, was vital to our healing. Gavin ended all contact with the woman he had been interested in. We also placed an internet filter on the computer that blocks inappropriate content and websites, as well as set up “boundaries” for computer use in our family. We found scripture that reminded us to guard our hearts, our eyes, our mind, scriptures regarding fleeing sexual immorality, fighting the flesh, overcoming temptation, etc., and began hiding it in our heart. All these things helped put us on the road to healing and victory, but there is one thing that outweighs the rest. Prayer. Prayer played a huge role in our healing.
At first, I didn't have much faith. I knew I was supposed to pray for my husband, but I didn't want to. I was angry. I was bitter. But God began working in me through my prayers for Gavin. The Holy Spirit prompted me to send Gavin a copy of my prayer every morning by email or text. I had no idea how it would change our lives. As I prayed, God began to change my perspective of Gavin and his sin. I was able to look at him through the eyes of Christ. God reminded me that Gavin is His son. A redeemed heart that has been wounded, just as I have. A man who needs healing, just as I do. And as I prayed for him, God showed me that Gavin needed to know that he isn't identified by his sin. Sexual sin is not the final judgment on him. He needed to know that I believed he could be transformed by the renewing of his mind. That God would not want him to live defeated by his mistakes. As I kept sending the prayers to Gavin, he started to tell me how much it meant to him. That little by little he was feeling guilt and shame lifted from him, a burden that had tortured him for 10 years. Shame is something he still struggles with, he still feels that “punch-in-the-stomach” feeling whenever he talks about what he did. He still can't forgive himself. But I know that Gavin is a new man. Our marriage is completely new. God took something awful, disgusting, painful, and He used it to transform our marriage into something lovely.
Gavin and I are doing really well. He is sexually sober and I am confident that he will be victorious until he is face-to-face with Jesus. Each day he shows me how much he loves God, me, and the kids, by diligently battling impurity. It's not easy. Purity demands a lifetime of diligence. But Gavin is willing to put in the effort and I am standing by his side. We are honest with each other about how we're feeling, how we're struggling, and what we need. We pray for each other and fight together against the enemy. We strive to take every thought captive and leave no room for the enemy to get a foothold. I feel beautiful for the first time in our relationship, not because of any changes I've made to my appearance,but because I've found my validation in Christ and because Gavin tells me so. Everyday he takes time to let me know how much he loves me, how much he enjoys being with me, and how attracted he is to me. Not only through his words, but by his actions and affections. Our intimacy has grown into something I never knew was possible, and we are so blessed to have come through this trial with a greater love for our God and for each other than we've ever known.
One passage of Scripture that really affected me and has made the most impact on me was Galatians 6:7-9, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” For years Gavin sowed to his flesh. And he reaped corruption. After a difficult battle, he is now sowing to the Spirit. When I first read this I was encouraged and I understood that purity was going to be a long road and we could not lose heart in doing good. In time, God would give us the harvest. We have reaped restoration, healing, strength, and joy. And HE has proven Himself FAITHFUL. Praise God.
Walking in Freedom,
Gavin & Kristina