Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Husband Speaks Out

I have asked Kris before if he would share his perspective on "us" on my blog. He has never had the time to sit down and write. Unlike me, where I can sit and write 1,000 words in less than an hour, it takes Kris much longer. He thinks, and rethinks. Types, deletes, types again, etc...

The outcome is always amazing writing from him, but it isn't as easy for him to just sit down and bear his soul-as it is a very time consuming process. So what I want from him in that regard, to share part of our story from his point of view, is not as easy for him as it is for me. But as I wrote in my last post, I was really struggling with something that had happened on Thursday.

Kris and I sat in my van that night for quite a while, talking. About where we had been, how far God has brought us, the lies the enemy whispers into our minds, and how we move forward from something that I thought would be a "deal breaker" for me. And then I heard my husband say something that usually comes out of my mouth: "I want to write about this."

I was thrilled, because I knew how beneficial it would be for him to get all those thoughts and feelings out, instead of bottling it up, as he has a tendency to do at times. And not only did he allow me to look inside of his heart and mind by sharing what he had written with me, he gave me permission to share what he wrote here, with you.

Five hundred and twenty-six days ago, I was sitting in my van next to the woman I loved.  She was leaving me, and I was not sure if it was for good.  To be honest, a part of me wondered if I really knew the woman sitting next to me anymore.  A huge part of her life that had been hidden from me had recently been exposed.  There was a part of me that was angry.  I felt betrayed.  But the emotion that kept rising to the top was an overwhelming desperation.

I wanted her.  I wanted to forgive and move past the hurt and pain.  But the sad truth was my wife did not know if she wanted me anymore.  Or as she put it, if she wanted us.  She had married a man who had reluctantly confessed to a porn addiction prior to our engagement.  But before we got married, neither she or I had any idea that something which at the time had been about a ten year struggle would persist to be a twenty-two year struggle.  Marriage was supposed to “fix” me, but it did not.

So my wife married into a cycle.  A cycle of sin, deception, brokenness, forgiveness, and then more sin.  I never gave up in my struggle to be the man I knew God was calling me to be, but my failings were far too often.  And there seemed to be no sign of the shackles of pornography finally coming off for good.  

So about five years (and almost four kids) into our marriage, she was lured away from the pain I caused her into the arms of another man.  I found out about it what I think was a few months after it started, and I confronted it.  I forgave her, and I forgave him (or I at least tried to convince myself that I had).  I thought we had overcome a huge hurdle in our marriage and were only stronger because of it.  And after the shock of the initial affair, I did good with my own struggles... for a time.  But it was really not that long before I returned to my cycle of addiction.  And as my wife watched me turn back to the same old pattern of addiction, she too turned back. Seven years later I found out that what I hoped had ended between her and this other man, had only progressed.

Which brings us back to the van.  I had again extended forgiveness to my wife.  I loved this woman.  I wanted God to heal us and for us to move past all the hurt and confusion. But it was not seven years ago.  She had watched the pattern of sin and defeat in my life, and now she had experienced a pattern of sin and defeat in her own life.  And she was tired of it.  She was tired of us letting each other down.  She was tired of us letting ourselves down.  She was done.  She told me she just didn’t know what she wanted.  She needed space to figure things out.

So she was leaving.  And as I sat next to her on that night under the weight of a barrage of emotions, God spoke.  He posed one simple question: Is it worth it?  Pornography had been my go to when I was stressed, tired, upset, or sometimes just bored.  When I messed up, God forgave me; and we started moving forward again until the next time I would mess up.  I felt like that night God was saying to me, Kris, I will keep forgiving you as long as you keep asking for forgiveness.  But I want you to recognize there is a cost to your sin.

I realized that my sin could cost me my marriage.  I realized that my sin could cost my children their mother.  But as I sat there, I also remembered that over the last few years Jamie had begun to express doubts about her salvation.  And it suddenly all began to click.  The affair, the guilt, the loss of hope, these things were all given room to grow because of my repeated failures.  The enemy was using my sin as a weapon against my wife.  So was it worth it?  Was pornography worth my wife’s soul?

That night I declared to God, to myself, and to my wife that I would never view pornography again.  I finally saw the big picture, and it was clear to me that it was most certainly not worth it.  She left that night, but she came home less than a week later.  And over the next few months God worked a miracle in our marriage and in both of our lives.  I got to watch God court my wife and bring her back to Himself.  I now have the privilege of watching her regularly weep for joy, because she is so grateful for who God is and how much He loves her and has forgiven her.

So here I am approximately a year and five months later.  I have been stressed at work.  I have been tired.  I am not feeling well at all.  I want to sleep, but I just can’t.  So I turn on the tv.  I download an app on the tv.  I watch some videos which I should not.  I watch progressively worse videos.  And finally I give in to masturbation.

When it is over, I immediately feel the shame of what I have done.  It is followed very closely by fear.  Fear of what this means for me and what it means for Jamie.  There is extreme anger and frustration with myself.  How can I throw away what God has been doing in my life like this?  What kind of selfish, pathetic man am I?  I am afraid I have ruined the testimony of what God has done for both Jamie and I.  I am afraid of what this will mean for my marriage and my relationship with Jamie.

I walk over to my computer and see a chat from my wife.  She asks how things are going.  I make small talk.  She then tells me she loves me.  I don’t deserve that.  My anger and frustration with myself rises even higher.  And then I feel the pull back to the next part of satan’s trap.  I want to hide what I’ve done.  I want to refuse to acknowledge it.  I want to pretend like it never happened.

Several hours pass before I listen to the Spirit and finally acknowledge that I cannot hide.  I’ve lived that path and it leads to defeat.  It cements Satan’s foothold, and I can just hear him rejoicing as it looks like he is about to regain the ground that he had lost in my life.  So when I get home, I begin an email to confess what I’ve done to my wife.  Before I got through the second paragraph, she calls.  As is always the case with my wife, she instantly knows something is wrong when we are talking.  So I confessed on the phone before I finished my e-mail confession.  When we hang up, she is mad and rightly so.

I walk outside and leave a voicemail for my pastor.  I call a good friend who I am accountable to, and he prays for me.  I’m crying.  I’m still mad.  I’m still fearful.  I almost feel panicked.  How could this be happening again?  Jamie is home.  She has read my e-mail.  She is angry, and she is getting ready to walk inside the house.  I ask her if she wants to talk, the desperation I’m feeling coming through in my voice.  She looks at me and there is a fire in her eyes as she says: This is the one thing I cannot do.  I cannot stand here and watch you look defeated.  You cannot take away the choice I made to fight for us and our marriage!

Wow.  I’ve told my wife several times that I’m really proud of her as I have watched her open herself up to be used by God to minister to those who are struggling and hurting.  But I saw her passion and drive in a new way at that moment.  She was angry, but first and foremost she was refusing to let us go back to our old patterns.  There can be a fine line between a broken heart/contrite spirit and giving yourself over to defeat.  My tears were tears of remorse, but my wife’s words illuminated all of the lies that satan had been speaking to me ever since the moment of failure.  They ministered to me and helped me to see that the enemy was trying to keep my focus on my failure instead of God’s power.

She had sent me a chat before she got home telling me that God had brought a song to her, and I needed to listen to it.  Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin.  We listened to it together in the van.  The same van from seventeen months ago that had been filled with tension and uncomfortable silence.  Tonight we sat in it together being ministered to by the Lord.  A few potent ideas struck me from that song.

Though darkness fills the night; It cannot hide the light.  Whom shall I fear?  Satan was trying to fill the landscape of my sight.  He was trying to overwhelm me with the shame of my actions.  He was trying to convince me to hide in the night.  But God’s light shined forth.  Light will overcome darkness.  Every single time.  Darkness has no power when in the presence of the light.

You crush the enemy, underneath my feet.  You are my Sword and Shield.  Though troubles linger still, Whom shall I fear?  God’s power and victory are still available to me.  Even after my failure.  Satan wants to use me as an instrument of evil.  He wants to lure me back into addiction and use my sin to attack my wife and my children.  He wants to ruin my ministry and ability to encourage others to walk in Christ’s victory by holding me captive and filling me with fear.  But God wants to use me as an instrument of light.  He wants to pour His grace and mercy over my failures and reforge me into a weapon that He can slam into the enemy, crushing him under my feet.  What is more, He wants to be both my weapon and my shield in this battle against the enemy.  The sword that will slay the enemy and take back any ground that has been lost as well as the shield that will guard me against any attack that comes my way.  Even though I am left with the consequences of my actions, there is nothing to fear as I move forward from this moment in God’s strength.

My strength is in Your name, for you alone can save.  You will deliver me, yours is the victory.  Whom shall I fear?  If my hope was in myself, then I have no hope left.  I have failed time and time again.  And here I am failing yet again, even after God has literally performed a miracle in my life and my marriage.  Fortunately, my hope is not in me.  God alone is my strength and my salvation.  He will deliver me.  The victory belongs to him.  When all is said and done, the accuser can list out all of my failures, but God will look him in the face and rebuke him.  Is this man not a burning stick snatched from the fire (Zechariah 3:2)?  God has and will continue to be my deliverer.  Any accusations the enemy brings against me are well deserved on my part.  But God will rebuke him, because He has redeemed me.  He reaches down and draws me out of my own mess.

And nothing formed against me shall stand....  I’m holding onto Your promises.  You are faithful.  You are faithful.  You are faithful.  In spite of my newest failure, every single one of God’s promises remains true.  He is faithful, even when I am not.  Satan wants to use my sin to hold me back, to reclaim the foothold that he enjoyed for so long in my life.  God is looking at me and telling me that Satan’s tactics will fail.  He is reminding me that I don’t have to be stuck in a cycle of sin.  That He has provided a way out from any temptation that I come across.  He is reminding me that when He died on the cross, this too was paid for.  He is telling me that my testimony will be based on what He does in my life, and my own successes and failures will only serve to show the great depth of His love and power.

I started with the testimony of what God had done in my marriage.  I did this because I really wrestled with the fact that I broke the commitment that I made to God, Jamie, and myself tonight.  It is a huge failure.  But God used my wife to help me realize that my failure in no way nullifies God’s power to work in my life.  Five hundred and twenty-six days have passed since that night in the van.  With God’s strength, thousands of days will pass from tonight that will give me cause to rejoice in God’s power to do what I never could.  He is absolutely faithful.


  1. I love how God uses us even in our brokenness. In Hebrews 11 Abraham is listed as a hero of faith. He screwed up so many times and one of his mistakes is still affecting the world today but he is still considered a hero of faith. This gives me hope because, just as Kris had said, our mistakes do not erase the amazing wonders God has done in us. God has and is still working in and through the situation and deserves all the glory even when we try to do things on our own and fall into sin. I am glad that you were able to minister to your husband even when you were in a place of pain and betrayal.

    1. Thanks Faith! I really appreciate your comments, in general and this one meant a lot to me especially. It is amazing what God has done, what he did that night, and how he continues to heal us and bring us closer to him! I'm so glad that I have you in my life.