Part of our love story is overcoming sexual addiction in our marriage. That is hard to type because for so long I wanted to hide that this issue even came up, even now as I type this I get a tinge of anger, but we believe this challenge happened for a reason and we hope to provide hope for others overcoming similar situations.
When I first discovered the addiction (two weeks before our wedding), I was broken and hurt. I wanted to ignore the issue in hopes that when we got married everything would change and be better. I felt alone in my pain, like no one else was experiencing the same type of unhappiness in their marriage. I thought this was supposed to be my happily ever after!
Then it happened (err continued to happen) and I felt like we hit rock bottom. I felt like we hadn’t actually progressed through everything and nothing was being fixed. I struggled for a while with bitterness and the lack of control. But I could’t hold on to the bitterness over being betrayed forever. I needed to heal and work through it.
It wasn’t about ignoring the addiction and brushing the pain under the rug. I needed time to work through the battle I was facing internally with being unworthy of love, not pretty enough, or not having big enough boobs in comparison to the images I discovered on the computer. I was so hurt and working through that was not an overnight solution.
But the thing is, while healing was part of my process, and doubt constantly has to be quieted, I can’t let it affect the restoration of trust. It would have been easy to give up. Easy to ignore the issue and let it happen but that is disrespectful to myself, my spouse, and the commitment we made to God.
If it wasn’t an overnight fix, how did I heal from the pain? I needed alone time to pray and find hope in the word written in the Bible. I worked my way through reading Romans 5 because that seemed to be exactly the words and pain I was feeling, but couldn’t verbalize. I also read the book Every Heart Restored. That book really laid out the anger I felt, the self doubt, and helped me try to understand why this type of sexual addiction could even happen. That book was HARD to read. I could never get through more than a few pages without crying over the truth. Honestly, I got about two chapters from the end before I stopped because it was too hard to relieve all the negative feelings I was working so hard to get rid of. (Side note: I started reading that book before Conner read the companion book, but both are great resources if you are facing the same type of journey to restoration).
I say all this because it is important to forgive in any relationship. It would have been easy to hold a grudge forever and always bring up the pain in fights but that serves neither of us well. I am not the same person I was 10 years ago so why should I expect my spouse to be too? Healing comes when you work through the pain and find ways to overcome that hurt.