By Lynn Marie Cherry, author of Keep Walking: 40 Days to Hope and Freedom after Betrayal
My husband was 7 years old when he and a buddy found a stack of magazines in the woods behind their neighborhood. Being curious boys, they took the magazines to their tree house and pornography crept into his world. He later found porn in his home and developed a compulsive habit of porn use.
He believed getting married would solve the porn problem, but it didn’t.
I remember thinking early in our marriage something wasn’t quite right, but I decided it probably wasn’t a big deal.
We bought our first house, gave birth to our first son and wired our home for this amazing new global information and communication thing called the Internet all in the same year. I remember walking by our home office thinking something wasn’t quite right in there, but I was immersed in my role as a new mom and pretended I didn’t care.
The week we brought our second son home from the hospital I noticed the light on in our home office after a late-night feeding. I was half asleep, barely conscious but still glad I wasn’t the only grown up awake in the middle of the night. I opened the door. The steaming enticement of lust rolled over me with the suffocating oppression of shame stacked on top and I saw pornography on the computer screen.
In spite of the fact that the thing that “wasn’t quite right” was right in front of my eyes, I did what I had always done. I closed the door, walked away and pretended it was okay, I was fine, but I wasn’t.
We both believed lies about pornography.
My husband loved me. He believed his use of porn didn’t affect anyone but him. He stuffed it in a box in the back of his brain and that box wasn’t anywhere near the marriage and family box.
I told myself all men look at porn. It’s natural. It’s normal. I was fine with it. Tweet
But the truth is, that box tumbled out of my husband’s world and crushed mine.
For four years I pretended. I did the best I could to believe the lie I told myself about being okay. But there were other lies at play.
I believed I was to blame for my husband’s porn problem. If I was just curvier or sexier or somehow more that just plain me, surely he wouldn’t have this issue.
My husband believed he was the only one in the world wrestling with a porn problem.
We isolated. We resigned ourselves to the lies.
I was sad and lonely for a long time and then something odd happened. Everything I had stuffed inside started spewing out. I became a very angry woman. I was constantly irritated with our boys. I would blow up over the most insignificant little things. I started swearing. And I didn’t like who I was becoming.
Thank God for anger! Because the truth is I could deal with being sad and lonely, but the anger alarmed me and woke me up out of a sleep-like state of denial. I knew I had to get help.
I called a counselor that specialized in sexual issues. I made an appointment. I invited my husband to come with me and he did.
We went to that first appointment scared out of our minds, wondering if our marriage would survive. It was the beginning of a long, arduous journey.
I remember one day reading a passage in the Bible that said love rejoices in the truth and it made me so mad. What could there possibly be to rejoice about in the truth of my life? Gradually, I discovered that love rejoices because it knows that owning the reality of our lives is the beginning of freedom. When we finally broke through the lies and embraced the ugly truth, hope was born in our hearts.
Through therapy, my husband found the tools he needed to break the bonds of sexual addiction. We installed accountability software on all our devices. He met with a small group of other men every week and I joined a trauma recovery group. For two years we worked and we walked. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other. And we made it to the other side.
We celebrated our 25th anniversary this summer completely overwhelmed with gratitude. We know the truth that if there is an “other side” for us. There is an “other side” for you too.
Lynn Marie Cherry is the author of Keep Walking: 40 Days to Hope and Freedom after Betrayal.
She is dedicated to inspiring hope and shining a light on the path to freedom. In whatever shoes you prefer—flip-flops, heels or rubber rain boots—you’ll learn how to take a step forward today. Lynn and her husband David have been married for 25 years. They have two boys. You’ll find her at lynnmariecherry.com.