I was shocked when my husband of 13 years surprised me on our anniversary by telling me that he was divorcing me. Things had not been going very well, but I had no idea how bad it had become for him. I remember feeling hopeless and wanting to do anything to change his mind and save our family.
That night I knelt down and poured my heart out to the Lord, asking Him to help me figure out what to do. After my prayer, I sat looking out my bedroom window and thought about when we first moved into our house two years earlier. One of the main reasons we chose to move to this particular place was because of the beautiful meadow behind it. But after we had been there for about a year, large construction vehicles came through and grazed the whole area, leaving nothing where something so beautiful once stood. The workers then dumped truckloads of dirt right behind our home until the mound was as long as a football field and as tall as our two-story house.
It was upon this mountain of dirt that I was gazing. After two years of sitting untouched behind our house, it was covered with unsightly weeds. As I pondered this eyesore, my mind turned to the scripture about how, if we have sufficient faith, we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). I knew the Lord could help me move this mountain that had found its way into my life. I fervently asked the Lord for His help.
The next day, I awoke to what sounded like a giant lawn mower behind my house. I got up and looked out the window, and to my surprise there was a small front-end loader taking tiny scoops of dirt from the huge mountain and discarding it into a dump truck. When the truck was full, the driver switched vehicles and drove off. He came back with an empty truck about ten minutes later, only to fill it up again.
I watched this process repeat on and off throughout the day before I realized what the driver was actually trying to do. He was going to move that huge mountain, and he was going to do it one little scoop at a time. After sitting untouched for over two years, I realized that it was no coincidence this was happening the night after I plead with the Lord to move my mountain. I understood that Heavenly Father was going to help me move my mountain, but it was going to be a long process—one tiny scoop at a time. I allowed myself to have hope for my family and marriage.
A week later I found out about my husband’s addiction to pornography and the inappropriate relationships he had formed with other women through social networking sites. He had been exposed to pornography by his older brother's friends when he was very young and had struggled with it for over 20 years. As devastating as this was to learn, it was also a tremendous relief to finally know the reason behind my husband’s inability to have a close relationship with me. My husband was surprised to find that I was supportive of his recovery from this addiction, and so he decided to stay with our family.
We began attending the Addiction Recovery Program pornography support groups. I found immediate relief in the spouses’ group. It gave me an outlet for the emotions and anxiety I was feeling at the time. Instead of focusing on my husband and his recovery, I was able to focus on my own healing and learning as I came to understand the problem of pornography more fully. I was able to forgive my husband and let go of the need to monitor or control him. I made changes in my own behavior as I recognized my own unhealthy actions and attitudes. Gradually we started to make progress together. We began to see our own personal mountain shrinking smaller and smaller. We have now been attending the Addiction Recovery Meetings for several years.
When I started out on this journey, my goal was to be a little less miserable than we had been before, but I have come to understand that the Lord doesn’t want us to be “a little less miserable”; He wants us to be happy and have joy. When I look out my window today, I see beautiful homes now occupying the land where the hideous mound once stood. One would never know that such an unsightly mountain once occupied that space for years. The same is true in my married life. We are finally experiencing marriage without the burden of addiction. It is not without challenges, but it is anything but miserable.
I love my husband not only for what he has overcome, but for what he has become in the process. I love the changes I see in myself as I’ve come closer to the Lord through this trial. Most importantly, I’ve gained a testimony of the Savior’s ability to move mountains. Our mountain of addiction has been replaced by the beauty of the healing power of the Atonement of our Savior, one tiny scoop at a time.
We have now been married over 15 years and my husband has almost three years of sobriety. We have committed to each other to continue attending ARP meetings for the rest of our lives, forever grateful to our Savior for healing our marriage and saving our family.* Name has been changed.