Working Through It Together
I knew of my husband’s pornography addiction prior to our being married, but I never could have understood the impact it would have on every aspect of our life together.
When a pornography addiction is mixed with a computer gaming obsession and unemployment, it is the recipe for unhappiness. During the second year of our marriage, I hit my lowest point of depression. I spent the majority of my days sitting in a rocking chair in my newborn son’s room, rocking him and staring out the window as I cried. I decided it was time for this unhappiness to end. I made plans for a divorce. I was prepared to go forward with it, but I felt that I had to talk to the bishop first.
A few days later, my husband told me he had a church disciplinary council and I could come if I wanted, but that I didn’t have to. My heart sank. This wasn’t what eternal marriage was supposed to be like or what I dreamed of during all those Young Women lessons taught on eternal marriage. I decided I would tell the bishop that night of my decision to divorce.
When the bishop called me into his office, he looked me straight in the eyes and told me that Satan had all but destroyed my family, but it was possible to still hold it together. He said there was still hope for my family.
I went home determined not to let Satan win. I had fought him once before in the pre-mortal existence; now I would fight him with everything I had here on Earth. I read every general conference talk about forgiveness, the Atonement, family, hope, and overcoming challenges. I looked up every scripture on the topic of forgiveness. I did not know if I could ever forgive all the hurt and disappointment, but I prayed sincerely to be able to forgive my husband.
One morning, I knelt down and promised Heavenly Father that if He would hold me up, I would not contemplate divorce anymore. It has been eight years since that day. The addiction is still present, with its ups and downs, but we are still working together on our marriage.
My bishop told me several times that I was not alone and that pornography was a huge problem in the Church. But I did not know anyone whose husband was a pornography addict. When the bishop gave us information about the Church's Addiction Recovery Program, I noticed they had a group meeting just for women whose spouses were pornography addicts. Immediately I felt that this was where I needed to go. I told my husband he could come with me if he wanted, but that I was going anyway.
We ended up going together, he to the men’s meeting and I to the women’s. The ARP meetings allowed me to see that there were other women coping with the same problems as I was. I began to deal with the feelings I had locked away. I learned how to be happy, no matter what actions my husband was taking. His actions did not have to control my own emotions, actions, or feelings or self-worth. I learned to love, forgive, hold tightly to the Savior, and become independent of outside influences. My husband got the leap start he needed and continues to attend recovery meetings.
As a spouse, I can love and support my husband, but I cannot fix the addiction for him. That is a road he has to travel. But I will be there for him, cheering from the sidelines for as long as it takes. We strive to raise our children in a happy home, both working on being friends and loving each other. My husband is a great father for our children, and they adore him very much. He is my best friend.
I am grateful that ARP, loving priesthood leaders, and our Savior, most of all, has taught me how to love and forgive. Even though my husband still struggles with this addiction, because of the gospel of Jesus Christ I can smile every day.
* Name has been changed.