Friday, December 9, 2011

The Wounded Wife

In a chapter of the the book The Silent War called "The Wounded Wife,"author Henry Rogers reprints "Emily's Story". I’m posting it here because I am not ready to share my own story of my porn addicted husband and this one does a pretty wonderful job of putting my feelings about the experience into perspective.

I write this out of love. Love for the porn addict, love for his wife, and most of all for the children. I pray this chapter is used for God's glory and honor, that it might somehow prevent families from being destroyed.

I remember listening to a panel of women James Dobson had on his radio program. They talked about being married for over 20 years and discovering their husbands were involved in pornography. It seemed so unfathomable to me that someone could be deceived for so long. I remember thinking how stupid those women were. Little did I realize I would be one of those women less than a month later.

It was like a birth process. Pain, agony, sweat, tears, hours of intense hurt, and finally truth. My husband is a porn addict. I heard it. I reacted. For two weeks I was numb. Numb to after 20+ years knowing something was wrong, but not knowing what. A relief to finally know the truth. A relief to now live in reality in light and truth rather than the unreality of darkness and deception. My husband would never tell me the secrets of his past before our marriage. I always thought if I loved him enough some day he would tell me. If I loved him enough. . . .

We always had a difficult marriage. My husband was always withdrawn and quiet. I thought I could help him. I was outgoing, attractive, and spontaneous. In our marriage I could never do anything good enough. I was constantly criticized and put down. I thought it was me so I started a self-improvement program, more counseling, more semi nars. I learned more was never enough. My world stopped, knowing something had died in me.

My husband always seemed to be "tuned out" in another world. He worked long hours and often fell into bed at 2 a.m. I missed him. I begged him to come home. I raised the kids as he pursued his career. I told myself I needed to help him. I poured my heart and soul into his endeavor supporting and encouraging. There were still problems. When he was home he would go into his office and read his books, newspapers, and reports, and again I would cry myself to sleep. I had others confront him. I gave this man every chance to tell me about his pornography addiction. Lies weave other lies. Secrets kill. Comparisons kill. I feel every time he looked at an image and masturbated he took away a part of me that God intended to be mine. I remember seeing him masturbate and he was in his own world, set on his own pleasure, stimulated and excited by images of women he didn't know. It was a feeling of betrayal and heart-wrenching emptiness that a woman feels when she learns that her husband is living a lie.

Pornography tears at the very thread of a woman and her femininity. My heart was ripped and uprooted thrown somewhere into a desert with no place to find refuge. It's as if I wasn't enough. Not sexy enough. Not beautiful enough. Not thin enough. Not exciting enough. Women get significance from their relationships with their husbands and when he turns to another for satisfaction it cuts her deeply at the core.

I started buying sexy nighties, acting sexier, and suddenly I realized I was bowing down to an idol. It hurt that he chose not to tell me ... to not allow me to come alongside him as his helper. To this day he refuses to see the pain that he caused. It amazes me as a wife how we are involved in every other area of a man's life his profit margin, his ability to manage, everything but when it comes to pornography, it's hidden in deception. A man's way seems right to a man. Porn addiction is very selfish. It takes and takes and doesn't give back. It's all for the user's pleasure.

Another lie is that porn does not hurt anyone. Such a web of deception. 'And they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness' (Eph. 4:19). There are consequences and the stakes get higher. It takes one lie to cover another. It saddens me how men can compartmentalize this sin. He has the little wife over here with precious children and this nasty sin over here for his private time, justifying it because he still loves his wife and children. You can't walk simultaneously in the darkness and the light.

I'm a wife. I'm a wife of a porn addict. I'm relieved to know what it is, though I always knew something was wrong. Tears. Pain. Disgust. Betrayal. To face the death of a husband would be better than this. A widow has the support of the church. A porn addict leaves shame and divorce. It would be easier if he were dead. We wouldn't have to face the public humiliation and shame.

Today is a new day. It's early morning and I must get breakfast for my children. I take each day as it comes now. Just for today. My husband still chooses his sin and refuses to take responsibility for it. I have to let him go and let the Lord deal with him. I can no longer be his excuse, his enabler. It's a new day and I'm moving on and my Deliverer is by my side. He is faithful. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He will never break His promise. To a woman who has been betrayed, this is my comfort. Hear my cry.

3 comments:

  1. Wow. I am so sorry to hear that...one of my best friends' ex-husband was also a porn addict, and definitely one of the biggest reasons for the end of their marriage (that and he did cheat on her too). I completely agree with you, it rips apart a woman and her femininity when your man chooses porn over you. Absolutely. I hope writing this was thereapeutic in a sense.

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  2. I caught him once. I had been begging him to have sex with me one night and he wouldn't do it. "not in the mood" he says. I went to bed. Woke up hours later and he still wasn't in bed, so i got up and went into the living room. Caught in the act. It was like a knife stabbing my heart when I realized what was going on. He wouldn't talk to me about it. I asked him why. I had been asking to pleasure him hours earlier and he refused, so why is he now doing this? "It's different" he said. He explained how much work it was to have sex, and how much easier it is to just masturbate. Our intimate life died at that moment. I am so sorry for any woman who goes through this.

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  3. Awe, Kathleen! (hugs) from one woman scorned to another!!

    What you describe -- those "Caught Ya!" moments -- well, it was a scenario that played out multiple times in the 6 years I was with the STBX. In the early years, I felt like "the guy" always on the pursuit of some action and I did everything I could to keep him interested. Bought sexy lingerie, went to sex-toy parties and bought stuff for us to try etc., etc. until I began to think there was something wrong with me and "Why can't I get my needs met?"

    When I would discover what he was doing instead of me, I was humiliated and incredibly hurt and offended and we would go through the whole song and dance of working on our intimacy level and him saying he wouldn't look at that smut anymore behind my back.

    He never stopped; he just got better at hiding it. And I honestly had no idea AT ALL that his habit was never just something occasional, but was instead a full blown addiction kept from me at all costs.

    I didn't find out about the true extent of his issues until I was pregnant. Then his web of lies and deceit and hiding games slowly began to unravel. I installed Open DNS on our router and all hell broke loose. He was looking at for hours a day, every day. He was looking at it while commuting on the train to and from work via his cell phone (so, in public!). And he was looking at it at work.

    It was a mess. I'll write about it some day; if I can ever muster up the strength. The story shared here is another woman's story that I read in a book.

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