I remember the first time I found out about porn. I caught him.
A newlywed with all her bloom and youth and tight skin pulled over energy and twitterpation... I turned into a different creature. To say I was devastated would be a gross minimization.
Oh, how I FELT that discovery, how I lived it over and over again in my mind -the worst rerun in the history of TV Land.
I felt sure I would never go through it again. I didn't know that porn was something that was less like a "whoopsie daisy" and more like the worst kind of blood-deep poison.
But it did happen again.
"And again and again and again!" to quote my favorite Uncle Willy (The Philadelphia Story).
I tried reasoning, shaming, bargaining, saving, preventing, more shaming... I OVER"loved" him. Nothing worked.
I poured my entire self into the poison.
My life and obsession, my sole hobby... it was Danny. More than anything, I wanted my marriage covenants to remain intact. I wanted my family together forever.
I loved Danny. I loved our marriage.
I understood his weakness, and gosh darn it ALL if I wasn't THE MOST PATIENT wife in the history of the universe.
Do you know how long you can last trying to compete with porn? Oh, I think the answer is different for everyone. But for me, personally, it lasted about 6 1/2 years. At that point, I began doing recovery work. I read the books, I found support. I gained education.
I knew I was getting better because the devastation I felt all those years ago was beginning to dissipate.
He would come to me with disclosures (or I would fine evidence), and I shrugged.
Then I would look at myself in the mirror and work on the only thing I had control over: ME.
I continued living with an addict.
I choose my marriage. I choose my marriage to an addict. But the only way I could survive it was numbness.
It felt like I was sitting on a couch, watching Groundhog Day over and over again... yelling at the screen, pulling my hair, but in the end... I was utterly powerless over Danny's actions.
The numbness made it go down easier.
There were certains in my house who weren't numb. In fact, they were the OPPOSITE of numb. They're impressionable, sensitive, and internalizing everything.
I watched tears stream down my daughter's face after an outburst from Dad.
"Because I did something bad," she sobbed.
I started realizing that for all the patience I had, for all the CHOOSING MY MARRIAGE I had done... the return, the truth... was ugly. Facing seemed to feel a lot like heartbreak -something I had shielded myself against.
But the Lord has a way of providing us with what we need, even if we don't want it.
He provided me with truth: hard evidence that no matter how you sliced it:
Danny was not choosing our marriage.
Danny was not choosing me.
There was no real recovery.
I knew -though it killed me -that I couldn't stay. I wouldn't stay. Staying in a marriage where I was cleaving unto God and my husband (and fear, while we're at it) was pointless.
I married for ETERNITY. Not time. A time marriage made no real sense to me. I was hell-bent on eternity.
But I could not force it on any other person.
And so the time came when that person had to go away because my marriage -though it began in the Temple -was something I'd feared since I was a child.
It was pointless.
To maintain my peace as a woman of God and a mother of three beautiful children (yea, THE MOST beautiful children), I had to sever ties. I had to leave my marriage.
God was my guide.
It turns out that I can't live numb... primarily because "living" and "numb" can't actually coexist.
I'm not powerless anymore. I'm not watching scenes go down at shrugging anymore.
I just can't!
I just can't! SO MUCH.
Thinking of The Numb Place makes me feel so sad. Reminders of The Numb Place make me feel sorrow.
I want to LIVE. I want joy and pain and sorrow and happiness.
I want feelings to come into my body and I want to EMOTE them out: write them, scream them, sing them, talk them!
I want a marriage where my husband CHOOSES ME and LOVES ME and SEES ME AS AN EQUAL and REMAINS WITH ME INTO THE ETERNITIES.
I seal that desire with the death of my marriage.
I seal that desire with baptism by fire.
I seal that desire with love... my failing love of God and His unfailing love for me.
The future is alive, and in His hands.