guess I haven't forgotten and I don't want you to either” I
whispered through streaming tears just the other night.
My husband and I have been in this process of healing and sobriety for several years and we have found tremendous healing and restoration in Christ. My husband has been completely delivered from his former 16-year addiction to pornography and our marriage has been completely renewed through the transforming power of Jesus.
doesn't mean that old hurts don't occasionally rear their ugly head
and stir up trouble between us. And as we sat at our kitchen table
late the other night, I was reminded of how easily I can become
unraveled. My husband HAS NOT relapsed or done anything that would
break his sobriety. But we got into an argument about something that
he had made a part of his covenant but didn't do. (Note: In the
beginning of our healing process, my husband wrote out a covenant
between himself and God, and between himself and me. These included
steps he was taking to help both abstain from sexual sin but also to
protect himself from future occurrences.)
One of the things he had written in his covenant with me was that he would not have unaccountable time and would always let me know if/where he was going somewhere alone. This was just one boundary that he believed would help him to avoid temptation and help build back up my trust. But on a few occasions over the last year, he has forgotten to let me know when he was going somewhere. Now, you may think that this is me being controlling. It's not. My husband wrote his own covenant and makes his own choices. It was his idea to be considerate of me and let me know where he's going (although I do think it's a good thing for all couples to incorporate into their marriage.). But there have been a couple times where he hasn't told me where he was going. And if I mentioned the fact that he didn't let me know, he got offended. Defensive. Like I was accusing him of doing something inappropriate when really all he'd done is go to the store for office supplies or something.
this particular night, it just really struck a chord with me and I
was very upset. It didn't matter where he went or why. Or even the
fact that he didn't tell me. It bothered me that he didn't even
consider telling me. That it “slipped his mind”. It felt like if
he wasn't practicing his covenant when things are good and he's not
being tempted, what will happen when things are bad and he is greatly
tempted. One of the reasons he wrote his covenant was to put up
boundaries and practices that will help him remain sober even if he
is riddled with temptation. But here's the thing. My husband is free.
He really is. And so there are many days where he never even thinks
about his former addiction or the pain it caused. He often forgets.
And that is both good and bad. It's good because he has embraced
God's grace. He fully understands forgiveness in Christ and he is
walking if total freedom from his past. It's bad because he is not
impervious to temptation and relapse and he has to be ever diligent
in his pursuit of purity. There's a delicate balance between living
in freedom from the past without actually forgetting it. And I guess
I felt like he was forgetting.
then I realized that, because I am often writing blogs here and for
other pornography recovering websites, and because I am often texting
or emailing encouragement and advice to other women who are
devastated by their husband's choices, that I don't ever get to
forget. I don't have the privilege of going through a day and not
having pornography and pain cross my mind even once. I don't know
what that's like.
I was jealous.
I was hurt.
I am scared because I have seen so many men fall into relapse lately.
for whatever reason, I was flooded with emotion and fear. And so
after the argument settled down and we began communicating clearly
and calmly with each other, I just broke down in tears.
guess I haven't forgotten and I don't want you to either.”
think there's a lot to be said about remembering the pain our sin
causes others and allowing that to be a deterrent from repeat
offenses. Some would say that cheapens grace. That Jesus has forgiven
our sins and they are as far as the east is from the west. That He
has forgotten them and so should we. And I agree to the fact that we
should not live in inward shame because of our past. I believe we
should fully embrace grace and God's amazing forgiveness over our
most painful offenses. But I also believe that it's good to remember
how our sin hurt the ones we love and we use that (among other
things) to remind us that we never want to do that again. I never
want to hurt my kids again by screaming at them the way I did a year
ago. And so I remember their little faces and I remember how special
and fragile they are. And if I catch myself yelling, I stop and
apologize. Because I love my children, I don't forget. In the same
way, because my husband loves me, he can't forget. Oh he is free from
the tormenting grip of addiction and shame. Even free from the former
consequences of his sin. But he can't forget the pain it caused.
Instead, he should use the memory of the pain as a weapon in his
battle against pornography. He has armed himself with Scripture, he
has filters and accountability, and he has the memory of the pain he
never wants to cause again. A mighty arsenal against even the
a long talk and some tears, my husband and I reconciled. He
understood where I was coming from and I understand his intentions
are still and will remain to be pure. That he has not forgotten and
he is being diligent in his pursuit of purity.
Tags: pain healing restoration pornography sexual sin sobriety boundaries reconciled purity diligence
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