Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Up through the concrete

I felt my stomach drop when I heard my husband telling me that he had "messed up" last Friday.

We always talk over at least one of my breaks, and I didn't expect to hear those words coming from his mouth.  I am filled with anxiety when I hear these words, as I am sure he is having to tell me about it.

It used to frustrate me and make me angry to find out my husband was looking at pornography on the internet.

Before the affair.

And during.

But now, I find myself annoyed.  And not with my husband.  I'd like to blame the women posing.  I'd like to blame the industry itself.  I'd like to blame the internet, which let's be honest, has only stretched the reaches of the industry to staggering degrees.  I'd like to blame my husband.  But really, I'm annoyed at Satan. 

For daring to dig his claws into my husband's mind.

For having such a secure hold on this world through that industry.

For intruding in what God has given to me and my husband.

As I was walking around outside, somewhat speechless after his admission, I noticed the weeds.

Outside, along the wall of the building I work in, there is a place where the parking lot meets the building's foundation.  The concrete and the building goes down deeper than what the eye can see, and it suffocates the grass and weeds underneath.

But when the foundation or the asphalt cracks, and it is not repaired, the weeds shoot up through the concrete.

And as I sat down, while Kris and I were talking, I just found myself thinking about the weeds.

How, if you don't seal the cracks in the foundation, it is inevitable that weeds will spring up.  Kris and I were talking about it and he said, "What do you think needs to be sealed?"  I didn't have an answer.  I couldn't tell you what the crack is that allowed the weeds to come through.

I think there are a number of reasons all combining.  For over twenty years, my husband's desire to "look" always won out.  Maybe not every single time.  But over and over again, he would give in to the temptation.  Just one look.  Just one look won't hurt, right?  I think that his mind became so accustomed to just one look, then another, and another that the pull is still there.  He is still drawn to the images.  If the enemy can't get him to be angry about something, he'll lure him into looking at pornography.  If he can't entice him to look at other women, he'll fuel the rage that my husband sometimes keeps buried below the surface.  Maybe they are connected.  Maybe the enemy plays them against one another.

That doesn't mean that my husband is destined to give in to one or the other.  He can conquer, in God's strength.  He can overcome, because Christ overcame.  And he has and is overcoming.  My husband's "peek" didn't turn into hours of surfing the internet and ultimately breaking our marriage vows, mentally and physically.  He stopped.  That has been the key difference I have seen in my husband through our marriage restoration.

Not only did he stop, he told me near enough to right away.  I'm still working on helping him tell me immediately, so that he doesn't get distracted and forget.  The enemy can use that, and if he continues to hide it, even if it is due to forgetfulness, a distance will grow between us.  Between him and God.  And both of us want to do anything we can to keep that distance from ever separating us again.

All of this to say that it got me thinking about weeds and how we have to do everything in our power, and in God's power working through us, to seal the cracks.  If our foundation is cracked, we need to acknowledge it, and then take the necessary steps to seal it up.  God has given us the tools to do this:  His word, prayer, accountability, transparency with our spouses even at the risk of hurting them.  I think that the biggest lie the enemy tells us is that we just can't tell our spouse the truth, because it will hurt them.  Kris did this for years.  I did it for years.  We hide, because we believe the lie that it will only hurt them.

We do a huge disservice to God and our faith when we believe this lie.  Kris and I are learning that honesty and a willingness to tell each other the truth NO MATTER WHAT is the key difference in healing and restoration.  Does it hurt that he looked at pornography again?  Yes, but not in the same way that it once did.  Do I believe that he looks at it because I am not good enough?  Not anymore.  That is a lie and part of the perpetual cycle that used to hold me in sin.  But it does hurt my heart a little, because I desire to see my husband succeed.  I want him to be completely free of even the DESIRE to look.  And I believe with one hundred percent certainty that he will get there.  He takes one step closer to it each day.  Each moment of weakness that he confesses and moves forward from.  Each choice he makes to look away.  Those moments now noticeably outweigh the times he gives in to temptation.

I am so grateful that I can see, with eyes wide open, the bigger picture here.  The picture of marriage that God has designed for us, and the hope that I now have that my husband can and will be free of this once and for all.  I don't know how long it takes to retrain the brain.  I still struggle myself, dealing with memories and anxieties that stem from the affair.  It will take time to fully experience all that God has for us, and I am content to spur my husband on towards the truth, and enjoy the marriage that God has given us.  I am called to be a help-mate to my husband, and I finally understand that this means hoping for the best possible for him, and trusting God to continue to mold and shape him.  It means being honest with him about my feelings, when he confesses something like this, and then FORGIVING him.  And encouraging him to live in victory and not defeat.  Praying for him and loving him the way that God loves me.

So we move forward.  We no longer stay trapped in defeat or fear.  There is no place for fear in our marriage, and I refuse to live defeated.  Or to let him live in defeat.   We are made for so much more than all of this.  And we will press on, sealing the cracks, and doing what we can to maintain our foundation, preventing the weeds to spring up in our lives and marriage.

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