Surviving a Spouse's Addiction
Ten months and two days ago I discovered that my husband struggles with a sexual addiction. We have been married 32 years and had what I thought was a good marriage. My husband is a kind, caring man who is respected in the community and loved by his children. We accepted the Lord three years into our marriage and have been faithful Christians.
I knew of his interest in Playboy before we were married, but never realized the addiction that lay beneath that interest. Several years after we accepted the Lord, my husband told me that he had given up pornography. We rejoiced together in that decision and praised God. At that time, I asked him if he had ever been unfaithful to me and he said no.
It was not until I was on the computer a few months ago and discovered that someone had visited a prostitute's site, that I knew he was involved in something beyond my ability to grasp. I confronted him, even though he was on the road at the time, and he came home immediately. He admitted, with obvious relief, that he was involved in internet pornography and going to strip clubs and massage parlors. The relief was there because he felt he was trapped in a deep, dark pit. The walls were closing in on him, and he didn't think he had anyone to go to for help. Now that his horrible sin was out in the open, he looked to me for guidance. If the Lord had not been present to carry us through, the enormity of the problem -- that had gone on our entire marriage -- would have been too much to bear.
My husband was willing to meet with the elders and ministers of our church to admit his problem and ask for assistance. In addition, two of the wives, who I knew very well and trusted, agreed to meet with me to provide support and to pray on a regular basis. Though my husband immediately gave up magazines, internet porn, strip clubs and massage parlors, he continued to struggle with overcoming his weakness to lie. As the months went by and more details were revealed, I learned that he was also seeing prostitutes on a regular basis and had squandered a lot of money on his addiction. He still hadn't disclosed how his problem affected us financially. There were times during this ordeal that I seriously considered suicide, and even now suffer with bouts of depression, anger, bitterness and rage.
Our healing has been a very long journey, but the Lord has guided us along the way. I believe, at this time, my husband has revealed everything and is being honest with me. I feel our recovery thus far has been due to several things: spending each morning reading the Word together (Psalms were especially meaningful at first), praying together each morning, talking daily to work through the emotions, and my husband confessing what he had done and answering my many questions. Professional counseling, reading books on sexual addiction, and the support of godly friends praying for us and helping us be accountable were also invaluable.
Despite these gains, I continue to struggle with my incredibly painful thoughts and feelings. I repeatedly give them to God, but sometimes I still dwell on the heartache, and find myself back at the bottom. My husband has been at my side helping me deal with the pain, and humbly accepting my anger over his betrayal. Fortunately, these episodes are becoming less frequent, and we are able to deal with them more quickly. I look forward to the day that this problem is but a faint memory.
We have come a very long way. Our good marriage has become a great marriage. We are closer than ever and love each other more than either of us dreamed possible. We recognize the power of God in our lives and praise Him daily for what He's done, which we could not have done on our own. I believe we still have much work to do in our road to full recovery, but I am confident that God will continue to work in us until we are fully healed.
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