I have my husband’s full support and permission in sharing the details of our story. He and I are completely different people now and are eager to share our story of redemption, because our desire is that God would use it to give others hope.
I had a lot of various feelings and thoughts as I watched Will get deeper in his addiction. When sex was good, I wondered if it was because of something he had seen. Was he fantasizing about other people during sex? Would he ever have an affair or leave me for someone who will participate in this sin with him? I’m a worrier by my human nature. My biggest emotion was worry, worry to the point of not sleeping well, feeling sick every time I found out again, and then worry that our unborn son’s development would be hurt because of my worry. Each night he worked late, I’d make myself ill wondering if he was coming home after work.
Sometimes I wanted to quit my job. I’d come home to find that he had finished work early that day and decided to shut himself in the bedroom. If I didn’t have to work, could he still find a way to feed this addiction? Other times, because he was depressed, if we were invited somewhere, he wouldn’t want to go. I knew that if I went without him, he’d have the opportunity to act on temptation. At times, I chose to stay home. Other times, I’d go but have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach the whole time.
The hardest part was that because there was so much secrecy and shame wrapped up in a sin like this, I didn’t have many people that I felt I could go to for counsel or prayer. Will’s hope was to be one of the worship leaders at church. We felt that even if we walked through this, if other pastors and leaders knew, he may be looked down upon and never be given that opportunity. Our home group pastors, counselors, my family, and a few close friends knew. It was lonely, especially for Will because none of his friends or family knew what was going on until I left. Even if we had shared with a lot of people, not many people in the church talk about going through something like this, and the world doesn’t usually have a problem with it, so we both felt like we were navigating in uncharted waters.
When we were engaged, God gave me a verse for Will. “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:6. Because I had been hurt by him before and during engagement, I wasn’t sure I trusted him completely. I knew this verse was a promise to me for his life. I said, “God, I’m not sure I can trust that he will always be committed to you and to me.” God responded, “OK, if you can’t trust him, can you trust me? Can you trust me IN him to complete the work that I started?” I held on to that for dear life. According to that verse, the responsibility was God’s.
Like I mentioned before, Will often fell deep into despair. He would mess up, cry to God for deliverance, mess up again, and hate himself, thinking he could never get free. Often he would withdraw from me, and that’s how I knew he had fallen again. He often threw himself pity parties, speaking aloud his false beliefs about himself. When he did this, I would remind myself of that verse, then I’d tell him all of the things that I knew were true about him. He was a man after God’s heart. He was an anointed worshipper, he had an amazing destiny, one that Satan tried to rob in an abortion room. God had a marvelous plan for him. Sometimes, I’d tell him why I loved him, which, besides what I already mentioned, were reasons like his love for children and family, his singing voice, his guitar playing, his looks – especially his eyes, the way he would run after God without compromise (when he wasn’t entertaining his addiction). He usually wouldn’t respond, or end up falling asleep. He is an all or nothing kind of guy. If he’s on fire for God, everything about him – his actions, his countenance – changes. When he’s depressed, he is quick to give up on everything and quickly falls into despair; he acts like the exact opposite of who he truly is.
On many of my lunch breaks at work, I spent a lot of time praying, sometimes using The Power of a Praying® Wife. I would pray such powerful prayers and leave that time so encouraged. Wouldn’t you know, on the most powerful prayer days, I’d come home to a husband who felt hopeless, because it happened again. That was always a huge blow to my hope.
Something that I learned through this process, and I share with every wife that God gives me the chance to encourage, is that because God made a husband and wife one flesh, as wives, our prayers have the greatest influence over our husbands. Did you get that? Out of all of the people God could move on to pray for your husband, you have the most authority and the most influence in the spiritual realm when you pray for him, because you are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. So when your prayers are full of faith and the opposite happens, take heart! They really are effective! (James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”) Another verse I want to leave you with is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk according to the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…”
In my next post, I’ll pick up where I left off in part 2.