Our Story Part 3: Facing Off with the Monster

Our Story - Facing Off with the Monster

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If you’ve happened upon this post, it is the third part in a series that tells our story through sexual addiction, intimate betrayal, repentance, and healing. When I wrote these first posts, I was believing God that this wasn’t the end of our story.  I was hoping and praying that there were many more chapters to come – wonderful chapters.  But this chapter we were in was a terrible, painful, life-altering chapter. We were facing off with the monster of sexual addiction and as we did, we discovered some wonderful truths about the faithfulness and the power of God. So we decided to make our journey public for anyone who might be walking the same road.

This ministry was born in that terrible chapter. As God has redeemed and restored, we’ve continued to share, but I wanted to leave these early posts in their raw, unpolished form. This was before we had learned about how to properly format a blog post. Haha, so it’s maybe not as easy to read. But it IS honest, and I believe very relatable to those who find themselves facing off with the monster themselves.

If you missed the first two parts of the story, you can read about the early years of our marriage here, and the slow fade into these years when we faced off with sexual addiction here. And now, here is what I wrote back in January 2017:

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Our Story - Facing Off with the Monster
But forget all that - It is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

The Big Compromise

This chapter of our story started about 3 years ago when my love had his first affair. 

It was an awful year already.  Other events in our life left us both feeling betrayed and alone and completely vulnerable.  So when he found himself in a situation he knew was dangerous, rather than run or apply appropriate safeguards he chose to take advantage.  He wanted to escape from all the stress and do something that would just make him feel good. 

The irony of that thought process is that it was such a lie. It may have felt good for a few minutes, but then it felt terrible.  It didn’t relieve stress, it added it.  It didn’t provide an escape, it enslaved him in a terrible trap!  He found himself in a web of lies and deception and guilt that came with an appetite for more and more and more and could never be satisfied.

The affair didn’t last long, but the door had been opened.  He had finally made the big compromise, and he believed he had gotten away with it.  I had believed the lies.  He could do it again. 

He went into full on predator mode.  Every woman was a potential partner.  He would talk and flirt.  He would find information to reveal vulnerabilities and then exploit them.  He would pick up on every chink in their armor:  A lingering look or a smile or a compliment that told him it was working. He was gaining ground, she was interested.  He could take what he wanted from her. 

When his efforts came up empty he would turn to porn, or fantasies, or other “professional” women to satisfy his never ending appetite for more and more and more.  Then somehow, he would turn it off, switch gears and come home to us each day and pretend to be someone else.  He would live as if all of that wasn’t happening and we were a perfect, happy family just living life and following God.  The weight of the lies had to be unbearable.  I can’t even imagine the guilt!

Revelations, D-Days, and a Faithful God Who Sees

Two years after the first affair God finally stepped in.  He opened my eyes.   He showed me where to look.  He reveled to me which questions I should ask and where I should press. Over the course of the next few months I finally learned that my love had been unfaithful.  The web of lies does not easily unravel though and my love guarded the secrets with clenched fists. 

He would admit to just enough to make me believe that he was coming clean but hold on to all the rest.  However, he did finally admit to the one affair, and that revelation was enough to cause some very serious changes in his heart. This sin lives in the darkness. It feeds on it and grows there.  When you shed light on it, things change.  The more light, the better!

The sin of sexual addiction lives in the darkness. It feeds on it and grows there. When you shed light on it, things change. The more light, the better! Click To Tweet

We started reading some books and finding some resources to help us figure this out.  We added more steps, more safeguards, more rules. (What we would eventually realize is that all the rules in the world won’t change anything if the heart doesn’t change too.) 

Of course, I was devastated.  I had believed so many lies and it was all coming undone.  I insisted that we get some help because I had no idea what to do.  We started counseling,  he joined an online support group for sex addicts, and we enlisted the help of another couple (our best friends.)  We started meeting with them weekly for support and accountability.  We started reading every book we could find to help us figure out how to go forward.  We spent hours talking about the problem:  Why it had happened, what we could do to change it, what other problems were symptoms of the same underlying issues, and what we needed to do to bring restoration and healing to our relationship.  Eventually my love even agreed to confess the affair to his parents in order to enlist more support for me and more accountability for him.

At first, I felt like a zombie.  Dead on my feet.  Everything went numb and I was in survival only mode.  Some days even that was a stretch.  I thought far too often about the gun in our closet. 

I tried to hold myself together enough to make our children and the other people in our life believe that everything was okay, but I’m a pretty transparent person.  Everyone knew something was wrong, although no one guessed it was as bad as it really was.  Time passed and big things started to change.  My love started reading the Bible and praying with me every day.  Within a year we had read through the whole New Testament together.  He started reading the Bible on his own each day as well and in that same year read through the entire Bible for the first time in his life.  (It does not return void!)  He was treating me so much better.  He was treating the kids so much better.  He was treating people in general so much better. 

I started to feel like things were really changing and as time passed I started to recover from the wounds of betrayal.  I started to feel like we could still have a wonderful, happy marriage.  We just needed more time and lots of help from God.  Things were looking up. We were going to make it.

The Tangled Web Unravels – Finally Facing Off with the Monster

The thing about lies is, though, they have a way of coming back to bite you.  We do not battle with flesh and blood my friends, but against evil powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).  Our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)! When we lie, we give the enemy a foothold, a tool used to weaken our resolve and pull us back into the darkness.  

This was certainly the case with my love.  The secrets he had kept from me were used to remind him that he was guilty, a wretched sinner who would never get it right. Why try?  Despite the real progress he had made in facing off with the monster of sexual addiction, it didn’t take very long for the lies to pull him back in.  They aroused the feelings again and before he knew it he was not only back at it, but was worse off than he had ever been – having more affairs and telling more lies to cover them up. 

Only this time, he was also trying to maintain all the new habits of being a loving spiritual leader at home.  He was attempting to help me recover from the betrayal I knew about while simultaneously betraying me over and over again.  It was unsustainable, obviously, but liars believe lies.  He thought he could do it, he thought he could get away with it.  But my love is a child of God and that means the Spirit of God resides within him and the Spirit of TRUTH does not abide with lies!

Once again, God showed me what I needed to find in order to know what was going on.  This one caught me totally off guard.  I really thought things had changed. 

I came undone. 

I immediately confronted him and he rushed home from work to try to hold on to the very thin thread that was left of our marriage.  While he was driving home I called his parents and pleaded for their help.  They dropped everything and rushed over. 

As I waited for everyone to get there, I fell on my face on the floor of our bedroom and cried out to God with everything in me.  I needed help that only He could give.

My love got here first and came to me broken.  He told me this was it, he was going to tell me everything.  He was certain that once he had, I would be done with him, our marriage would be over, but he finally realized the secrets had to end.  Then he proceeded to tell me so many things. 

So many terrible, heartbreaking things.

There had been SO MANY affairs!  The one I knew about had been the first, but there had been so many since then.  I was paralyzed.  How could this be true?  How could I have not known?  How could he do this to me?  Did I mean anything at all to him?  What in the world was I going to do now? 

Then his parents got here.  He confessed the same things to them that he had to me, but in much less detail.  We all sat in stunned silence trying to figure out what to do next.  My love was shocked to find that I was still there and he was willing to do anything I wanted to keep me there. 

We all agreed, the kids had to be told.  The rest of the family had to be told.  I couldn’t keep going through this alone.

Asking for Something New

That terrible day was about a month ago. (At the time that I wrote this.)  These past few weeks have brought both victories and defeats.  We have been truly facing off with the monster like never before.

Sometimes that fight looks like two soft hearts working together with God.  Other times there is great resistance either in my heart or in his. 

The biggest step has been to shed as much light as we can on the darkness while at the same time breaking down the pride that we believe is at the core of this problem.  My love has confessed his sin to our children, to both sides of our families, and to our entire church.   He confessed to his boss, (the CEO of the company where he works) and tried to quit his job because it is such a huge source of temptation for him. 

The CEO surprised us and insisted that before he quits he take two months to work from home and spend as much time as he can working on repairing and rebuilding our relationship.  He told my love that his family comes first and he needs to do whatever it takes to save it, but if they can still keep him, they want to.  (What a blessing from God!)    Next week we will be heading off to a week long “intensive.”  It is a program that includes extensive counseling with a man who has an entire ministry dedicated to helping couples recover from sexual addiction.  I am hopeful that it will offer a great deal of help.

But forget all that - It is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

Looking to the Future with Hope in God

Will all these steps of courage and humility make a difference?  I really don’t know. 

I understand that I have no real reason to think that this time will be any different.  I could (and let’s face it, likely will) find myself right back here again at some point in the future.  This isn’t just going to go away.  But I serve a God who makes things new. 

He is the God who created marriage and puts great value in it.  The God who has forgiven me when I have failed Him over and over again.  I have to keep trying and I have to keep putting my trust in Him to show me the next step.  Some day that step may be to end this marriage.  It’s not today.  Today I am going to keep fighting.

Now that you know our story I would love for you to join us on this journey.  I will spend the next few months revisiting specific aspects of this story and delving in more deeply.  I will share my struggles both in the past and as we go forward.  I believe that with God’s help I can be an encouragement to you and that you can be an encouragement to me.  Let’s write the next chapter together!

Continue Reading – Our Story: The Next Ninety Days

*How about you? Have you had to face the monster of sexual addiction in your marriage? How have you seen God’s faithfulness through the struggles in your marriage? Tell us your story in the comments below.

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10 thoughts on “Our Story Part 3: Facing Off with the Monster”

  1. Hello, I’m reading your story with great interest. May I ask which ministry you worked with? Are you aware of affairrecovery.com? How old are your children, and does your spouse know you are blogging about your journey? I’m on a similar one.

    1. Thanks for your interest in our story! I hope we can be an encouragement to each other!
      I have not looked at the site you posted. I will today. Here is a link to the ministry we worked with. http://christianfamilyuniversity.com/
      Our children are all in the pre-teen through teen years.
      Yes my love knows that I’m blogging about all this and is helping me do it. He reads and approves every post before I post it and he is the brains behind setting it all up to look so nice and professional.
      I’m sorry you are dealing with the pain of all this too. It is terrible, but God is so faithful! He will carry you through!

      1. I am so confused.why do you care if he approves what you write.sounds very controlling.he wants it to look all “nice and professional “who cares what he wants .he is a liar and a cheat.sorry sister. He is sick and you need to flee. His sin is probably a product of his father’s sexual addictions. I had a pastor one time tell me that if I give my husband more sex that our marriage would be fine. Guess what?We are divorced.you are probably a beautiful women that is a stay at home mom and is very sexual to her husband.makes me wonder if it’s your husband’s dad that told me this. Praying for you sister.

        1. Kim, I’m sorry you’ve been hurt! Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there (including pastors) that don’t understand sexual addiction. Thank-goodness, God does understand it, and He is a Wonderful Councilor!
          I know you’re angry, and I understand. Some days I’m really angry too.
          I would like to clarify a few things: My husband reads my posts because I ask him to, because I want someone to make sure there aren’t a bunch of errors, and to just have another set of eyes on it before it gets published. He does this as a favor to me because I ask him to. I’m the one that wants what I put out there to look nice and professional. He just happens to have the brains to help me do that. Otherwise I would have to hire someone and that could get expensive. I happen to really appreciate the expertise he offers to this endeavor, and am thankful to have him by my side as I do it.
          As far as me needing to flee, you are right about one thing – he is sick. He has an addiction, and that is a very serious thing. But I am so thankful that God didn’t give up on me when I was miserably lost in sin. I have felt with great confidence God leading me to stay in this marriage for now. I have sought Him again and again, and I trust His leading 100%! Besides, my love is getting SO much better! Sick people CAN heal. And I am trusting that with the grace of God, my love will be healed. Thanks for caring about me!

  2. Lilian @ Lil' Hidden Treasures

    Esther, you are truly a woman of grace. My heart breaks for you as I read your story. Despites his sins, your husband loves you deeply. He loves you and your family enough to expose his sins and his addictions before man and God. This speaks volumes to his desires to end is sexual addiction and his love to you. I can really sense his struggle. I pray for God’s healing in every aspect of yours and his life. I am so thankful that both of you know our Heavenly Father and that He’s there to help you through.

    1. Thank-you so much Lilian for your encouragement and your wonderful perspective! You have no idea how much it means to me to hear what you saw as you read about my husband and his struggles! And I think you are spot on! May God bless you immensely for the encouragement you have been to both me and my husband this morning! Thank-you!

  3. Esther, I would like to commit prayerfully to be among your prayer warriors. Thank you for honestly sharing your story. It’s far from over, God has so much in store for you and your family. May His grace continue to encourage and strengthen you everyday.

  4. Pingback: Does God Really Love Me? – Language of desiree

  5. At least your husband knows that he has a problem and he’s willing to change but for it’s not the case, I been dealing with boyfriend now my husband for almost 10 years with his alcoholism and sexual addiction and he keeps on promise that he will change and I finally realized that I cannot changed anyone but God can only if they willing to open their doors of their hearts to let him in . I was ready to leave my Husband a few months ago but I had a prophetic from God to stayed and to take him to a specific church so that he could confessed his sin and I humble myself to do just that despite of my pain but for the past week, I have been praying in the Spirit for me not to be deceived and a recently I found a picture of a woman on my husband phone and was texted his friend on how hot she was and would pay to sleep with her n when I confronted him he said that was a picture his friend got from the internet and sent to him n laugh on my face and say that it was a joke and earlier this this he got drunk while my son was home and fell on his face and he thinks that he does need to get help because he believes all is well with him. I finally realized that God is always ready to help any marriages but I believed that both parties have to do the hard work under his guidance. Please pray for me to find the strength to move on from this toxic relationship. God bless.

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