My husband confessed to me that he had a pornography problem about a year into our marriage, after a temple recommend interview with our bishop.
Pornography was something he’d turned to as a pre-teen when his parents got divorced, and he’d figured that once he got married he’d be able to easily stop looking at it. Not so.
I was newly pregnant with our first baby and the thought of leaving him or getting divorced terrified me more than the prospect of dealing with my husband’s addiction.
Now, looking back, I had no idea how difficult of a challenge this would become, but I’m so glad I didn’t call it quits and that we stuck together.
We spent the next decade battling the addiction together, with periods of marginal success broken by heartbreaking defeats. We had more children. Life went on. And life was good, except for this one thing.
I felt more and more helpless with each setback as I watched my husband struggle. Eventually, I came to realize that no amount of planning, supporting, brainstorming, or even nagging on my part did anything to help. Really all I could do was be there and assure him that he was still of great worth both to me and to our Heavenly Father. I always believed that my husband was a choice spirit and that he could beat this with the Lord’s help, but neither of us could figure out how to obtain that change of heart spoken of in the scriptures that we both so deeply desired.
I realized, at length, that since I had no control over my husband and that I couldn’t change for him, that I had to focus on myself. I started going to the church’s Addiction Recovery Program and went through the twelve steps for myself. During this process, which was painful and long, I was able to let go of the resentment I felt toward my husband, his parents (whom I blamed for not catching the addiction when it started), and Heavenly Father (for sending me strong spiritual confirmation that I should marry this man who would hurt me so deeply).
Once I was able to forgive, the healing process started in my heart. The walls I’d built up to protect myself came down and, while it was incredibly painful to let myself feel emotion again, along with the pain came an outpouring of love.
I came to understand the Atonement in a way I never had before, as I experienced, for myself, what it felt like to allow the Savior to carry my burden and be a balm for my sorrows.
I have been okay for several years now. I have been happy for several years now. My husband is still fighting and I am still standing by his side, almost two decades later. For our situation, that is where I feel I need to be.
We have both experienced a renewed sense of hope since finding the Men of Moroni program. I can see that it’s giving my husband a set of tools that he hasn’t had access to before which are making a huge difference in his fight against Satan. Satan wants to take my husband down because of his great potential, but I refuse to let the devil win. He will not have me, he will not have my husband, and he will not have my children.
If there is anything good that has come of our struggles, it is that my husband is extra-sensitive to the temptations our two teenage boys are now facing. These boys have access to a staggeringly greater number of evils than my husband had growing up in the 80’s and, because of what my husband has been through, he knows how to recognize when our boys are struggling. He knows how to talk to them in a way they will understand and that will help. If going through this pain has taught us something that will save our kids and their future spouses from experiencing the same pain, I would take it all on again.
There is hope. There is healing. The Savior is real and he truly does know how to succor His people. It will take time, but He can ease your pain. He can and He will.