One of the most significant things I learned while I was addicted to porn, which is probably true with any addiction, is that it removed me from the position of spiritual leader of my household. Beyond that, it propelled my wife into the position.
This was a position that she did not want to take on. She definitely would have preferred that I lived up to the role and fulfilled the duties, responsibilities and obligations that God put before me as the head of the family.
My addiction also forced my wife and me to have a very destructive and awkward relationship with each other for some time. This came about as a result of her having to monitor my behavior. In effect, she became my mother. She had to check-up on me periodically to make sure that I wasn’t doing anything that I wasn’t suppose to be doing, and to make sure that I wasn’t indulging the sinful cravings of my addiction.
There were times that when she was carrying out the duties of this position that I became very angry at and very hostile towards her. I resented the questions; the doubt and the lack of trust. Over time I came to realize that this was something that I was forcing her to do. She didn’t want to do it, but she was willing to do it out of the love she had for me; and out of the desire that she had for me to be free from the addiction. She hated the fact that I was stuck in this pattern of behavior. She hated how it was affecting my relationship with God, and she hated what it was doing to my relationship with her. She felt as though the beauty and intimacy of our marital covenant was disintegrating right before her eyes. She wasn’t willing to accept what the final outcome might be, so she decided to fight for me.
In the book “Wild at Heart,” John Eldridge talks about the desires of a woman. A woman wants the man in her life to be willing to fight for her. This situation had been reversed in our case, due to my addiction. My wife was now thrust into a position in which she had to fight for me. Notice the indication of her having to fight for, not with, me!
Once I was able to be honest with myself, I realized that I deserved and needed every bit of the monitoring and checking-up on me that she was doing. The Holy Spirit convicted me of my need to rid myself of this behavior, and I decided that I had to do whatever was necessary to be victorious. As a result, my wife and I decided to try and turn this destructive issue into a productive issue. We agreed that she would become one of my key accountability partners. It worked well for us due to the fact that my wife is also my best friend. She was able to handle the responsibilities of this role, without it permanently affecting her opinion of or the love she felt for me. In this regard I have been truly blessed. This is not an easy task, and may not work well in some relationships. In this role she periodically asked me how I was doing with my abstinence, and I promised to always answer truthfully. The critical element here was the ability and willingness for me to answer truthfully. It was hard, but I did always answer her truthfully even when I new it would hurt. In addition, I agreed to confess to her whenever I was being tempted. Her role when I was being tempted was not sexual. On the contrary, it was spiritual.
Hebrews 4:13 was the scripture referenced for this understanding because it clearly says; “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
There were, however, many times that she had her own struggles with her feelings about me. At times, she lost respect for me. At times she was very angry with me. At times she was very afraid that our marriage would never be restored to the sanctified nature for which God had meant for it to be.
Through my sinful behavior, I had unknowingly also opened her up to the destructive influence of Satan. She was becoming convinced that she would never be able to live up to the expectations of looks and behavior of which I seemed to think was the ideal woman. This put a halt on our sex life for some time. Initially, this was due to her anger and not wanting to be intimate with me. She wanted to punish me for the damage that I caused. However, even after she forgave me and her anger dissipated, my wife was plagued with feeling the presence of other women in the bedroom with us when we were intimate. This caused the exact opposite reaction of what I was trying to have happen, because it caused my wife to withdraw and pull back from me sexually. I was actually reaping the harvest of the sins I had committed. This also made me think that I may have delivered the final and fatal blow to our relationship.
It took a fair amount of time and honest communication with each other and God before she was able to give freely and completely of herself to me again. Through this process my sexual desires were also redirected to her and to her alone. We have talked about this often, and we are in agreement that what has taken place is a result of God’s direct intervention, in answer to our prayers. On our own, we would not have been able to overcome the pain, anger and damage that I had brought into our marriage.
We praise and thank God for renewing our relationship and for giving me the strength that I need everyday to be the spiritual leader that God wants me to be for my wife and family.