Keep Believing Part 2

I created my blog last year to be an inspiration for others who may be dealing with the hardship of infertility or pornography with someone they love.  I use the word “hardship” because either one of these circumstances is difficult to endure and relates to suffering.  My last post focused on how to keep believing through infertility and received a lot of wonderful comments, so thank you to those of you who read and responded.

I would like to write a post now for those who are either dealing with the addiction of pornography themselves, know someone who is, or would like to hear more on the subject because you may know someone one day dealing with it.  It’s not talked about very much and I think it should be discussed more openly.

About fifteen years ago, I remember researching on the web trying to find some hope that my husband could be set free from pornography addiction, but I couldn’t find one article or posting that gave me any hope.  It wasn’t talked about and in my local area, none of the churches offered counseling for it.  We couldn’t afford to pay for counseling out in town.  My husband and I struggled alone.  I’m glad to see that more churches are started to speak about it and confront it, as well as the men and women who speak out on WordPress and on the Internet.

Only a fool would believe that there isn’t a devil roaming around the Earth if they have ever looked at current or past events from around the world.  I mention this before I go on because I believe the devil likes to try to convince people pornography is harmless.  Unfortunately, far too many people in our world believe this and far too few are speaking out against it.

Someone might ask, “Why is pornography harmful if they aren’t paying for it and they are not in a relationship?”  I have to say this is where our human drive tries to rationalize something that we know is deeply wrong.  This person will pay dearly for their rationalization when they do meet someone who they would like to have a relationship with because they won’t be able to stop, even though they think they will once they meet the right one, and they will have misguided thoughts as to how to show that special someone love in the bedroom.

They will be focused more on what they get instead of give and will honestly not be satisfied because they will always be looking for that high that they felt the first time they viewed pornography.  Pornography will have stolen their chance at true romance and love/intimacy.  Not to mention, it may start out as free searches, but in time it won’t be enough to satisfy, so many times it will expand to meeting people in person and/or paying for it online.

My husband’s pornography addiction had started when he was a teenage boy at the age of thirteen.  He had the same mindset as the person I mentioned above.  He wasn’t paying for it and being in a romantic relationship was not in his scope yet, but when he did meet the person of his dreams, he wasn’t able to stop and he had unrealistic expectations that damaged our intimacy and marriage.

After ten years of dealing with pornography in our marriage, I told my husband I wanted a divorce because he told me that he had given up trying to change.  I knew I could not make him change and if he wasn’t willing to try anymore, I was throwing in the towel.  During our separation for nine months, a church nearby started a program called Celebrate Recovery which included a group for men or women struggling with pornography.  My husband started attending, unbeknown to me.  During our separation, he fought for our marriage and he finally stopped trying to change himself and let God into his life to help break his addiction.

During our years of marriage, I prayed and prayed and I believe it made a difference at that turning point of our marriage.  If you know someone who is addicted to pornography, pray for them, it may not seem like much, but you’re inviting God to work in your life and the person you love and He will respond to that.  God loves that person too and wants to set them free as well.

If you are addicted to pornography, don’t give up.  By allowing God to come into your life to help you get to the root of the issue, you will be able to break free.  I say root, because it really was like a terrible invasive weed that just kept coming back until my husband got to the root of it.  It was during one of the meetings that my husband finally asked for and allowed God to show him what was at the root of it.  It was very painful for him, but he finally found it and why he started watching pornography so much in the first place.  It’s too personal to share, but I believe there’s a root that takes place when people begin to view those images or videos.

I’m sharing my experience of almost two decades now and taken from thousands of discussions with my husband to understand his point of view.  There were some setbacks, but it was progress toward complete recovery.  The longer the images could stay out of his mind, the more it allowed him to heal.  Contrary to what mainstream public might believe, he is the first to tell anyone that pornography is damaging.  He not only saw how it affected his life, but also how it affected the lives of the other individuals that were in his group for varying reasons.  The affects from pornography are damaging.  There is science behind how it acts like a drug on the human brain, but I won’t get into that today.  Here is a website if you would like to find out more.

My husband lived in shame and tried to hide from God for a long time.  Thankfully he now knows that God doesn’t expect perfection or only want him to come in his presence when he’s perfect.  He knows God already loves and accepts him and wants what is best for him, which wasn’t able to happen while my husband allowed pornography to be in his life.  He and I can both can happily say that he has been free from his addiction completely for a few years now.  I’ve seen him become a changed man and how his confidence has sky rocketed.

We’ve finally been able to build up our relationship on a solid foundation with all the elements that a healthy marriage needs.  Though it is a work in progress, we are making progress instead of slipping back.  We have a daughter now too which I think has changed his perspective a lot.  I am so proud of him because I’ve seen how much pornography took a toll on him and it took a lot of courage and for him to be humble enough to get where he is today.  I hope this post has been helpful.  Whether you know someone right now who is dealing with it or in case you might know someone down the road.  I look forward to reading your comments.

Restoring a Marriage From Pornography

If you were to ask most people today what their view on pornography is, I wonder what the response might be.  I suppose it would be different among age and gender demographics.  Even though more and more money is going toward the pornography industry, is it because more people are finding it acceptable or just the percentage of people who have always poured money into it, are just pouring more money into it?

I still believe the majority of people are wise enough to see the destructive venom that pornography brings into the home.  I can tell you first hand how destructive pornography has been in my life and my husbands life.  It has been a battle that at times, many times, neither one of us thought could be conquered.  It began long before we became married and like most men believe, the desire for it doesn’t stop once you have found “the one.”  It’s a poison and the effects it has on the brain have been proven to be very similar to that of taking drugs.  The impact it has when someone views it for the first time leaves an imprint and a chasing for that same experience that they will never get, but won’t stop trying to achieve.

For both of us it was a cycle that never seemed like it would end.  For my husband, he would be tempted and end up searching for hours on the Internet, since he had already considered himself as a failure for viewing it in the first place.  Then he would disconnect from me and become emotionless.  Without that connection with me or God, he would go back to view it again, and like a drug, he just couldn’t seem to get enough until he would quit cold turkey all over again.  There never seemed to be end in sight, even though he loved me and he truly wanted to stop.

For me, I blamed myself and thought I wasn’t good enough for him.  I struggled with my looks.  I don’t feel comfortable saying more about that, but I took some extreme measures trying to make myself more attractive.  I doubted his love for me because if he loved me enough, I believed he could stop.  I would grow cold and distant from him when I’d find things on his computer or under the mattress to punish him.  In our distance, he would just go elsewhere which kept us in that never-ending cycle.

For anyone whose ever said pornography doesn’t hurt anyone, they are fools.  Their ignorance is beyond words.  I was in the movie theater with my husband one night a few years ago and there was a husband and his wife and their two kids sitting between them.  I glanced over to see what the husband was watching on his phone before the movie started and he was watching pornography, right there next to his kids.  I hope that father has found a way by now to unleash himself from those chains of bondage so he can step up and be the father and husband his family needs him to be.

If more people realized who was in these pornography films, they might see how foolish they’ve been to believe its harmless as well.  There was a documentary done and most adult actors they found, have been abused sexually as children.  Also, many of them are forced and this is not a choice for them.  Some just don’t know how else to make money because that is all they’ve known.  You don’t normally see a person from a supportive and loving family who has never been abused getting into the pornography business.

My husband and I will be celebrating our sixteenth anniversary this year.  It has not been an easy road.  We didn’t spend our tenth anniversary together because I had filed for divorce and separated from him.  You might be wondering what brought us back together.  Is there hope for marriages that are being destroyed by pornography?  It’s not just men being addicted to it nowadays either.  I’ll tell you what finally broke us out of that cycle.  I left.

When I left, I didn’t give my husband even a glimmer of hope that I was coming back because at that point, I honestly wasn’t.  I had enough and I thought if he hasn’t been able to be faithful to me for ten years, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life this way.  Being separated allowed my husband to realize what was more important to him.  It gave me a chance to focus on my relationship with God and learn to trust in him.  My husband finally decided to reach out for help and joined a church group called Celebrate Recovery.  They had a recovery group for drug, alcohol, and pornography addicts.  It was during those months that my husband made the choice to allow God to help him find the root of his addiction.  It did not come overnight or during a few months.  There were significant changes the first year, but it still took a few years to get to the root of it, which he did.

Does he still get tempted today?  Of course, we are not ignorant to that fact, but he has a fighting chance now to overcome that temptation because he has spent more time away from seeing those images than when he still had them fresh on his mind.  It takes time and he has to diligently ask God to take away those images or temptations when they cross his mind.  Our marriage is still healing.  We didn’t have a foundation of trust and the love we had, had been worn away over those first ten years so it’s been difficult.  Is it worth it?  Yes.  I love him and we have a lot of great memories together.  I can tell you that there is a significant difference when God is apart of our marriage and when we start to push away.  We can’t make it without God, there’s no doubt about that.  I know that as long as we keep God center, we can keep growing together.

I don’t know what your situation is while you have been reading this post.  I can only tell you what my experience has been and hope that it helps.  If you have any questions, feel free to let me know.  I know when my husband and I had been going through all of this, I faced it alone because I didn’t want anyone I knew to know about my husband’s struggle.  Luckily, there’s more information and groups to help these days.  If you or your significant other are dealing with this, just know that neither of you are alone and there is help.  There is always hope.

Faith Through Trials

There have been several times when I have doubted God’s word throughout my life.  Doubt would creep in and I would start to wonder if the Bible was true and if God really existed, which often times made the situation or circumstance that I was facing seem even more devastating.  The “what ifs” took over and I would spiral down into a deep pit of depression.  I would stay there for awhile until I thought about the times in my life when I was strongest in my faith versus the times I was the farthest away from it.
In the times when I was closest to God, I felt the most love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, the fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.  Even more importantly, there was something more than what I got out of being in close relation to my creator.  I was more in tune with wanting to give God glory in praise and in worship.  There was such a sense of wholeness that all doubt disappeared.
I needed those reminders of how God had worked in my life to stay strong during the years my marriage struggled through my husband’s pornography addiction and through the years that followed during our struggle through infertility.  No matter what I had gone through, I came to realize that it was all right to doubt.  It made me stronger in my faith having wrestled through my disbelief to find that God has always been there for me, even in those times of doubting.
During our most recent struggle with infertility, I kept this Bible verse close by and read it more frequently than any other verse in the Bible.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  During those times when I kept asking why or doubted God’s love for me, this Bible verse would remind me that I may not ever understand why, but I should keep trusting in God and putting him first more than anything else, including my own baby.
This is an excerpt from my first blog that I had posted April 30, 2015.  It really wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like an eternity has gone by since that time.  I’ve condensed it for this blog’s purposes.
Believing For a Baby 

My husband and I have been trying for a baby for several years now.  It has been one of the most isolating and painful experiences of my life.  I tend to be introverted so I don’t like to share with my friends and family about our struggle with infertility, especially when I know they try to sympathize, but they don’t understand because they haven’t had this struggle before.  I’m so happy for them when I see them with their children or pregnant with their own baby, but inside I’m jealous and coveting what I don’t have.  I realized that even though I may not know anyone personally who is struggling with infertility, there may be someone online who can relate to what I’m going through.

After two years of trying, I found out I was pregnant.  It was the happiest six weeks of my life imagining all the things that newly pregnant women dream of.  Then  a few weeks later I started bleeding and went to the E.R.  The doctor did an ultrasound and told us that he would neither agree or deny if I was still pregnant because it was so early.  So for weeks I was on Google trying to find out if there was still a chance that I was pregnant.  I was miserable.  Eventually I had to accept that my baby had gone away.  Since that time it has been a roller coaster of highs and lows every month starting with hoping that I might be pregnant to being let down at the end of the month when I start my period again.

I had made an appointment with a fertility clinic last year, but later on cancelled because I was still hoping that I could get pregnant for free instead of paying extra costs for a fertility specialist.  I bought a book about trying to conceive and tried to do everything in the book including staying away from caffeine, counting my days, drinking enough water, and exercising at least three times a week.  I finally gave in this year after not seeing any results.  We went to see a fertility specialist yesterday.  There was another couple there and I couldn’t even look them in the eyes because I felt like I would see our pain reflected back at me through their eyes.  I realized that I’m probably not as alone as I have imagined myself to be.

Who knew it would take six years before we would be able to have our beautiful little baby girl.  I held onto that bible verse every week and every day if needed.  During those times when I struggled with doubt during infertility, I remembered the amazing change he had done in my husband’s heart, breaking him free from pornography.  While we struggled with pornography in our marriage, I remembered how God had helped me raise above my social anxiety and anxiety attacks.  While I struggled with anxiety attacks, I remembered how he had been there for me while I dealt with being bullied at school.  He has always been there for me and has helped me overcome so many obstacles.  I may have doubts again, but they won’t last long.
I would love to know what Bible verse you hold onto or have found to give you comfort during difficult times.  God bless.

Hope

Do you ever wish that you could somehow watch your life as it unfolds like watching a movie?  How marvelous would it be to reach into God’s video archives and just watch my life from the time I was born till now?  I could point to my husband and say “See, I didn’t throw away those papers you were looking for!”  Even more importantly, I believe I would be able to see who I am a little more clearly.  It would be amazing to be more of an objective viewer over my life so I could have a different perspective.  I could detach from my emotions long enough to see what God was doing in my life, behind the scenes, to know if the dreams I had were on their way to becoming true.

I suppose I’m glad that I’m not the director of my life.  If I had known if and when my struggles would be over, I may have thrown in the towel too soon thinking that what I wanted was too far away.  My husband and I were married for twelve years before he was completely free from the bondage of pornography and it took us six years and several miscarriages before we had our daughter.  I’m thankful that God is willing and able to carry me through all of the difficult scenes of my life.  I’m very sure that there has been multiple times that God has probably wanted to reach into the world’s stage and tell me to hang on to hope and he did.  Through my family, friends, messages from preachers, his word, and comfort during very difficult prayers.  He was doing a lot of behind the scenes moves sending me hope while orchestrating a way for my husband to finally reach out for help against his addiction.

His strength is revealed in our weakness. I don’t always know what God’s plans are, but  he can see the big picture.  His plans are for our good, not to harm us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)  God can make this promise because he is the divine director over our lives, if we would trust in him.  Let me give  you some hope today for whatever you may be going through.  Remember the times that he has been faithful to you and helped you through difficult situations in the past and believe that he is still working on your behalf.  I know that I can lean and trust in him for whatever situations I face in the future because he has delivered my husband from pornography and has blessed us with a beautiful little girl.