What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. This guest post is by an anonymous reader.
What I want you to know is pornography is a huge problem in marriages. It can kill a marriage. And that's what happened to mine.
What I want you to know is that a majority of divorces are not wanted. In my case, this is not something that I wished upon myself...that I tried to find reasoning for to get out of an unhappy marriage.
I want you to know that pornography should be taken seriously. It IS adultery (even though some people technically disagree, you can't argue that with a woman who feels betrayed). Pornography addiction can and will have a toll on a marriage. And it won't go away if it's ignored. AND it's OK to talk about it. It's ok to ask your pastor, a trustworthy friend, a counselor, how to deal with it. It's ok to get help.
What I want you to know is you are not alone. You are not the only one suffering from a porn addiction, and you are not the only one whose spouse suffers.
"At a 2003 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, two thirds of the 350 divorce lawyers who attended said the Internet played a significant role in the divorces in the past year, with excessive interest in online porn contributing to more than half such cases. Pornography had an almost non-existent role in divorce just seven or eight years ago." (Divorcewizards.com)
What I want you to know is you are not alone. If you suffer, there is hope. There are Celebrate Recovery programs, among other recovery programs that can help you and keep you accountable. Please find one. I have been working with one for the past 2 1/2 years as a co-dependent of family members who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction, but CR is for everyone. All addictions, hurts, bad habits, and hang-ups. Including pornography. It's okay to say you have a problem. That's the first step, and no one will look at you badly. But YOU have to take that first step. YOU have to work on yourself. No one else can do it for you.
If you are a spouse, like me, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are others...others that feel hurt, ashamed, embarrassed because of their spouse's addiction. Others that are at the end of their rope. Other who feel like they have done absolutely everything that they can do to make their spouse understand how much it hurts...that it IS adultery...that your trust is completely gone, and that you wonder if you can ever get it back again. I want you to know that those feelings are OKAY. They are ok. I felt them. I feel them. I want you to know that there is hope, if your spouse wishes to admit the problem and seek help. Celebrate Recovery is a wonderful place to get hepl for both of you (I mention CR because I am involved in it, but I know there are small groups and church programs dedicated to this all over the world). Find a counselor to speak with. What I want you to know is IT"S NOT YOUR FAULT. There is nothing you did to make him or her become addicted to porn. Nothing. What I want you to know is YOU CAN'T FIX THEIR PROBLEM FOR THEM. You can put a password on the computer, take off the movie channels on the cable, take away their smartphone, but ultimately, it is their decision to get help. It is their decision to work on this issue. However, you can still get help for yourself, and you need to.
What I want you to know is don't be ashamed, whether it is you with the problem, or your spouse. You are not alone. But you have to reach out if you want help. God didn't put us on earth to solve our own problems, much less someone else's. Ask for help.
For those who are not in this situation, what I want you to know is, if someone you know is getting a divorce...don't judge them. Don't automatically think, well, they just didn't want to be married. They didn't understand that marriage is a lifelong commitment. They are just lazy. Blah blah blah. Don't say that. A majority of times, you have no clue what their reasoning is, and frankly, it's none of your business. What I want you to know is that divorce hurts. It cuts like a knife. To the soul. And we already have this hurt going on...we don't need your hurtful words, your accusations, and your gossip. We need your understanding. Your understanding that there may be more to it than meets the eye, and if you trust our judgment in most decisions we make in life, then there is probably a reason for this divorce. I'm not saying all reasoning is Biblical reasoning, but you've GOT to know that a lot of times, pornography is involved. And sometimes, spouses don't want others to label their addicted spouse because that's just it...it's a label, and with pornography and sexual addiction, people tend to not be able to see past that. So we keep it to ourselves...we'd rather have people think badly about our judgment and choices than them know the real reasoning behind the divorce. Maybe because we're embarrassed, or maybe because people tend to think that any type of addiction is a disease...they put labels on those who are addicted, and sadly, it's hard to get rid of those labels. Especially when it comes to porn and sexual addiction...when people want to pretend these issues aren't real anyway.
The last thing I want you to know is that addiction is not a disease. Those who are addicted...those "dependents"...they are still HUMAN BEINGS. The world tends to hold addiction up as a much larger sin than others. Addiction verses stealing? Addiction wins the trophy. But the truth is, a sin is a sin...and we're all screw-ups...we're all sinners...we're all humans. And God loves us all the same, and he died on the cross for the sin of addiction to be forgiven just like he did for the sins of lying and gossip. God loves the addict, just like he loves you. He doesn't love the addiction, but he loves the person. They have feelings...they are human. The addiction label tends to cover up that fact a lot of times. Don't judge. Don't distance yourself from an addict just because they are just that, an "addict.' Their sin is equal to your sin, and you weren't won to Christ by someone looking down on you in judgment. Think about it.
What I want you to know is pornography hurts. It rips the addict apart, the spouse, and sometimes, the marriage. But there is hope, if both people are committed to addressing the situation. And if they're not, and divorce happens, then God still loves them. Don't judge. Don't gossip. There just might be more to the story than you know, or is your business to know.