I have been rereading Pure Desire, a book that God has really laid on my heart. The information in this book can help anyone who reads this blog. I know that it is the Grace of God that Christien and I are still married.
Christien and I submitted ourselves, our marriage, our hurts, our anger, our everything to him. We continually talk about our past struggles, hangups, trauma, abandonment, and our dysfunctional families. We do this so we can understand why we do some of the things we do. This is a totally new habit for us. Instead of fighting or thinking that the other is purposely trying to hurt the other, we’re working through using the tools we’ve learned through Affair Recovery, Focus on the Family, and Celebrate Recovery. I wouldn’t wish an affair on anyone, all the hurt, guilt and shame that comes with it is the worst thing you can do to your spouse and yourself. But being on the other side some 18+ months later, we have never been closer.
My daily prayer is that God will give me one more day to enjoy my wife. I know I will never get back the 8 years with her that I lost in my addiction, but the one thing I can never change is the past, so I don’t worry about what I have lost but, rather, that I can just enjoy her for her, no unspoken expectations from either of us.
When I married Christien, I told myself, “She is the one that will set me free from all my issues. She has never been married, she is virgin, she is perfect.” I placed her so high that she had no choice but to fail as a wife. When she couldn’t meet my unspoken expectations (you know the sexual and porn addictions), I started acting out again with no regard to her feelings or the hurt, guilt and shame that she would have to deal with. I can honestly tell you, a person can never truly heal if they are in denial about themselves. Each one of us has a hurt, habit or hangup that makes us toxic or unsafe for our spouse. The model in our modern-day society is to blame the other person for not meeting our needs. How insane is that?
That we would put another person in charge of how we feel, then have the audacity to blame them when they get it wrong?! I had convinced myself that Christien was the root of all my problems, that if I just divorced my wife, that my life would be better. She would be happy once she got over the pain of this divorce, that I had just married the wrong person, it couldn’t be me, no, no it was all her! It wasn’t until I stopped running from God and truly confessed all my addictions and transgressions against God, did I truly start to heal. I know that Christien has her own personal baggage, but that did not give me the right to break my vow to her and to God. I made that vow to love her for better or for worse, forsake all others for her!!
When I asked Christien if she would be interested in reconciling our marriage, I sent her a text. She wrote out a book’s worth of rules and expectations, then promptly deleted it, and finally replied with a simple, “Yes.” Christien and I have worked hard at our marriage these last months, and both of honestly dealing with our own personal baggage made it so much easier to reconcile and move forward. The most important piece was our submission to Christ. Without Him I can honestly say that Christien and I wouldn’t be married. Her love of and vows to Christ is what kept her from just walking away. Let’s face it folks, by today’s standards, she should have just divorced me and moved on with her life. Even from a biblical point of view, she had every right to divorce me. She could have easily just walked away, but she submitted herself to Christ, she bore the transgression of my addictions and affair, she said, “I forgive you,” and I said the same to her.
Christ is the center piece of our marriage and for me there is no secret life anymore, I have all my eggs in our basket for the first time in my life.
I hope this post encourages you to seek out Christ, to enjoy your spouse for who he or she is, looking at your marriage for what it is, not seeking out what your marriage is not. My prayer is that each of us takes a long hard look into the mirror, and asks, “Am I bringing life or death into my marriage by my actions?”