On June 19, 2004 (as a tribute to my martyred missionary uncle who was killed that day in 1995), Rob and I got married in front of only about a hundred people. We didn’t have a wedding party and thought we were sort of each other’s maid of honor and best man. It brought us each such joy to be able to see one another in our wedding attire and be able to finally get married. I was 20 and he was 21. We would have married much sooner, but didn’t really do too well in the financial department. We didn’t have that great of a wedding or reception or too many photos that we can adore looking at. The only good part about our wedding was the ceremony and being married. It happened, so that was all that mattered to us. No cold feet, just warm hearts.
Our wedding night was at a hotel nearby. I can tell you that having sex for the first time as a married couple is stress-free, guilt-free, and amazing (though we were worn out from our wedding). We even mentioned that night that we could have sex all night long if we could and it wouldn’t matter and if someone walked in they’d be embarrassed while we wouldn’t as much since we were actually married now. It was pretty exciting, but there wasn’t anything new for us to learn that night. We didn’t have that great of a honeymoon either (it was pretty boring other than a few things we got to do), but enjoyed being together as a “Mr. & Mrs.” though I doubt people realized we were married since we were so young and looked so young (I could have passed for 15 probably).
When I was engaged, a woman once told me, “Go have fun! You shouldn’t marry yet, you’re too young. Try some other guys out to know for sure if you love your fiancé’ or not!” The reality to that would have been devastating if I listened to them. Although I was blessed to have married the only man I had sex with, that doesn’t mean it will happen that way for others at all. God had promised me Rob would be my spouse and it certainly wasn’t just my head telling me or thinking it would happen. It helps that we worked at our relationship and helped one another as a couple to stay committed. Many times we would cry out to God for help even though we were being idiots in our choices with one another. God still somehow had His hand on us, but that relationship could have been easily broken. According to Snopes, 14% of high school based relationships result in marriage and after divorce there is only a rate of 10.4% that stay married.
For the first year and a half of marriage, Rob and I lived in my parents’ basement (also not recommended, go get your own place)! During that time Rob was going to a technical institute for thirteen months and worked full time. I missed him so dearly and the absence of him was horrible, considering I had been with him on a constant basis for so many years. He’d leave for school at about 6:45AM and come home to eat as fast as he could, only to head out to work and come back home at about 10:30PM. When he came home, he wanted to play video games or sleep, so I still felt like I missed him greatly. He didn’t have school or work on Fridays but I worked until about 4PM as a waitress at that time. While I’d be working he was playing multiplayer online video games. We both were a part of a clan for one of our games which was pretty fun and we ran our own server for another game. The problem was our time was a little too consumed in it.
I came home one day from work and turned on my computer. I noticed while typing in my address bar that there was a suspiciously named website I didn’t recognize, so I clicked to see what it was. There it sat open, a woman wearing something very see-through. As I type this the image of this woman is vivid in my mind even today.
I called Rob out on it. “Why is this on my computer?”
“I don’t know. It’s not mine.”
“Well it can’t be mine, yet there it is on my computer. I wonder why it was on mine though. You aren’t looking at porn are you?”
“I told you it isn’t mine.”
“Well it didn’t just appear. You must be lying to me.”
Let’s back-track just a little now.
Rob became a Christian at the age of 15 when he attended a Christian concert and heard a member of a band speaking about Jesus. The message penetrated his soul and he realize he needed Jesus for real, rather than just being a church attendant who believed in Jesus. He wanted to apply it to his life. He started to go with his friend from church to a youth group. While attending, the youth group eventually went to a musical weekend convention called Purple Door Festival. There were tables set up by various organizations. He saw brochures for an organization (no longer around) called Porn Free Youth. He saw brochures that talked about masturbation and pornography being wrong. He had no idea that they were wrong! He read through them and just took anything he could of theirs. He even bought some shirts too. He was ready to make some changes in his life.
Though Rob had rarely looked at pornography, and when he did it was soft-core pictures (lingerie catalogs mainly), he tried to stop masturbating, but it was very difficult for him to do since he went to it for relief from feeling lonely, betrayed, angered, sad, and to be relaxed. The list went on, but the root had been placed and he didn’t know how to connect what caused him to do it other than “just being a guy.” It became a habit for him to do before going to sleep while sometimes remembering the images he’d seen from films and pictures.
When Rob and I were dating and started to get into sexual things, it made it tougher on him to resist masturbating. Right after he graduated school in 2001 his family moved and he got a room that was in a back corner. You had to walk through an unused vacant bedroom to get to his bedroom. It was finally a place of privacy for him where he could get together with the girls of the inter-web and have some “fun”. He never viewed porn online before and didn’t even know how to start. Eventually he became a pro at finding what he desired all for free.
When my senior year of high school was almost complete, I missed my school bus one day or forgot who offered to drive me home (since there were only two seniors left who didn’t drive to school, and I was saving up money to afford my car insurance payments and often received rides from different people). A girl in my grade saw me standing in panic after all the buses left, and offered to give me a ride, though she lived in the town I didn’t live in. I used the payphone (sorry, I didn’t have a cell phone until I got married) and called Rob’s first and brand new cell phone. He wasn’t home. I convinced the girl to drive me to his house which was about ten minutes away. It was still closer than if she were to drive me home. When I got to his house he wasn’t there. His dad was outside waiting for him to come back. I helped myself inside and found a photo of something I needed to save, only to find out that when I clicked to save, it opened a private folder that was hidden most times. With my curious notions of “What is this you’re hiding from me?” in mind, I opened a video file. Not such a good thing to open. I was so angry to see a woman giving a man oral sex. I closed it after 2 seconds. I opened up three photos of women saved and was even more furious and closed the whole folder.
I walked outside and paced about. I told his dad, “Your son is a liar! He’s going to get smacked!” His dad said, “Oh, well I am sure there must be a good reason for that then.” I said, “Yeah, he’s a huge liar!”
I had a lot of built up anger in me over the years. It wasn’t good. Part of my anger was because I grew up in an environment where my father had pornography in the house. I saw my mother neglected sexually by my dad on a regular basis hearing, “Honey, please come to bed with me and be with me!” and he’d instead do whatever he was doing (usually just watching pointless T.V. shows). It hurt me and I had no relationship with my dad until I was about 18 or 19. I had hated him (I have since forgiven him to his face as well as publicly and I love my daddy and he is always encouraging me about sharing what I went through!) In essence, growing up I wanted my daddy but instead I was ignored like my mom and felt often times that I had no dad. He had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to deal with from being a Vietnam War veteran, which was not easy to be around at all.
When Rob pulled in the driveway I was huffing and puffing and pacing. He finally got out of the car. I walked up to him and smacked him across the face saying, “You’re a liar,” in front of both his parents (they watched, but said nothing), knocking his glasses towards the side of his cheek. He quickly composed himself and fixed his glasses as I whispered into his ear “I found what you had on your computer. How dare you wear your Porn Free Youth shirts while you look at pornography yourself!” Here’s the thing, I should not have smacked him at all. I did wrong by taking my childhood anger out on him when it should have been placed at the feet of my Savior.
Rob quickly deleted his files and said, “Okay. I’m sorry! I won’t do it again.” This seemed like a response and reaction he would have given to his mom. One time she had walked in his bedroom with me next to him on his bed talking and she screamed at him in front of me calling him, “useless” and calling me his “whore” (back when we didn’t do anything but kiss, but she never tried to get to know me, so she had no idea) and I realized at that time that maybe I made him feel that way too by my reaction of slapping him. I apologized. I thought he went to porn because I was not good enough sexually to him or not attractive enough. As most guys who have suffered through pornography addictions will tell you (and have told me) is that the problem starts long before and is unrelated to the people they are in love in a relationship with. (side note: Rob’s mom is a very different person now and would do so many things differently but this is still a part of the story. She’s not that person anymore either).
Because Rob and I were used to having sex all the time when we were married for the first month, it was really hard to adjust to rarely even seeing him, let alone rarely getting to have sex with him once he started school the following month. I used to come home from work and get changed out of my work clothes. I would sit on our bed in my underwear trying to lure him over to me to “play” but he’d be too busy doing something on his computer. It hurt when he’d say, “not now, maybe later.” I’d sit on the bed waiting for sometimes an hour and a half hoping he’d turn around to notice what I was wearing or not wearing. I’d end up getting dressed and going to the next room to watch a movie. I had no idea that just before I got home he had already masturbated to porn and got his sexual fulfillment.
One of the guys who asked me out right after I met Rob came back into my life. I had never had an interest in him nor was I attracted or thought of him as someone I would want to date, but he offered to be my friend in a time where I only had a few friends left (since most people my age didn’t want to hang out with a married girl they couldn’t relate to since they were more into “having fun” or were single). He was always a nice person to me, though I felt a little uncomfortable around him in the past sometimes, so I decided to start getting to know him again. The first thing out of Rob’s mouth was, “He knows you’re married right? He’s not interested in you anymore, right? A lot has happened in the past five years since he last saw you. What if he still has feelings for you?” Rob’s jealousy was sweet to me but in response to his concern, the guy talked to Rob a little answering, “I respect your marriage and would not do anything to hurt your wife and you.” With that said I was allowed to hang out with my new friend.
In hanging out with my new friend, I started to realize that maybe we were a little too flirtatious around each other, and that wasn’t good. I was never a flirty girl. It also wasn’t good that we were hanging around more often than I hung around my own husband. At home I’d be on the phone with him while Rob was doing what he did on the computer playing music and video games. My new friend met up with me a couple times to nearby locations. It was sometimes nice to just have someone around who was willing to talk to me and listen to me.
When we met up at a park one morning in January of 2006, after a few months of being friends, he took me by surprise when he grabbed my body and kissed me on the lips. I don’t even remember my reaction but I thought, “Slap him.” But don’t know if I did it for real or in my head. I was in shock. I was really mad. I told him, “I want to go home.” I was really bothered and he apologized to me saying I was “asking for it” by being a bit too flirtatious. I did lead him on, and that was very wrong of me to do at all. I knew this guy liked me and I liked the attention I was receiving.
I went home and when Rob got back from work he asked how it went with my new friend. I didn’t know what to tell him. I was in too much shock still. Later on while talking all night online to my new friend, he confessed his love to me and told me how much I hurt him in rejecting him in the past and how he thought about me often over the years because he cared about me. It was so much to soak in. Then he kept confusing me with the wording he’d use. I thought he was trying to manipulate me “to the dark side”.
Out of all the stupid things to do, I went and hung out with my new friend again, and this time while in a parking lot I actually did what he did to me after he gave me these “pity me” speeches because I was “a married woman” and he was “the one who never wins” and that “Everyone always loves Rob because he’s a winner”. I grabbed his face to mine and kissed him to shut him up. He started to touch me on my body and eventually after a few minutes I stopped him and realized what had just happened was my fault and that I was a horrible person. I was so mad at myself and then Rob called me saying, “Are you two almost done hanging out. I miss you.” I said, “Yeah I was on my way home now, actually.” He said, “Oh no, you don’t have to rush home.” But I said, “Yes. I really do! I love you!” of course this made my new friend very angry. How dare I lead him on only to proclaim my love for my husband in front of him!
If I thought guilt was heavy from sex before marriage, guilt carried from doing anything with someone you aren’t married to, when you are a married person – is intense. I showered when I got home and felt like the dirtiest thing in the world. I was a terrible wife. I made excuses that I was neglected and so it was okay, but no, it wasn’t. There is no excuse for anyone cheating on their spouse. I didn’t have sex with him, but I felt horrible for even hanging out with this guy and giving pieces of me that belonged to Rob to another man.
When Rob and I finally got our first apartment on March 17, 2006, it was so exciting. I felt like I could start my whole life from that spot on all fresh. It was time to get my “new friend” out of my life. That was really mean to think about but really what I knew had to be done. He had constantly badgered me about running away with him and becoming his wife instead. I told him, “No. I love Rob. He’s my husband.” This angered my new friend. He always told me he loved me. I loved him as a friend so I told him I was in love with him, but I shouldn’t have ever have done that because he got the wrong love in his mind. I thought I could help him with his problems, though being a tease to him regularly wasn’t the right way of helping and I was a mess myself, obviously. He also tried to talk to me about having sex with him, but I wasn’t going to do that no matter how much he begged, and let him know it. It got to the point where I got a rape threat from him in a text message. I showed it to Rob and he freaked out. He said, “I don’t want you hanging out with him ever again. He’s insane!”
I got a phone call from my new friend telling me how I was such a liar and that I needed to tell Rob about what had gone on in those five months (of temporary hell). I told him I would tell him because I was tired of all the guilt I had been holding in. Telling my husband about what I had done behind his back was the most painful experience of my life; worse than giving birth. The pain of hurting your husband when you wish you could time travel back and never hang out with another man other than your husband, and not having the ability to go back, but only the hope of moving forward to fix things really took a lot of bravery. I remember praying to God for the first time in a long time before telling him what happened. I felt I had to do what was right. I had already been forgiven by Christ for what I had been doing. I am very thankful for the very little that went on between me and the other man physically, and can’t even imagine the pain that I would have felt if it had gone deeper. I know my husband wouldn’t have even given me a chance and would have walked out on me. He was so angry and yelled a lot at me (he’d never done that before). He was intense. I deserved to be told all the things he said to me. I felt like the worst person in the world because I was the worst person in the world. I was the biggest sinner and I hated myself very much. I remember crying and hyperventilating all night. He wouldn’t touch me or talk to me, and decided to sleep on the couch as part of my punishment. Rob knew this would anger me since my whole life endured the pain of watching my dad do this to my mom. I pulled out the other couch we had right up to the edge of the couch he was sleeping on and I slept on it beside him. He was happy I did that because he really wanted to be by my side (but didn’t tell me until another time).
I cried more in the morning. My eyes were very puffy. I played some of our old songs to lighten his mood. I had a hard time going to work that day. For all I know I was told to go back home because I don’t think I could hold it in. My husband didn’t say a word to me at all that morning and said he needed time to think. He told a few of the non-Christian guys he worked with about what I had done. I told my new friend I couldn’t see him again. I think I saw him a few times to rebuild a friendship (which is dangerous. I don’t recommend that ever. Cut ties immediately). He was furious that I told Rob about us. I said, “You told me to tell him.” He blamed me for everything. It was entirely my fault as if he were the victim instead of us both being at fault. He tried to guilt me into staying with him because he was in love with me and that he thought I felt the same way, but I didn’t at all. I felt he was infatuated with the idea of me but not in love with who I really was. I was not myself the entire time I was around him. I sent him emails here and there for a while, having to repeat myself. In one of his e-mails he said he crashed his car into a wall or something crazy and said it was my fault because he was thinking of me while doing it. I started deleting any email he sent me without reading them, blocked him everywhere I could, and got a new phone and number. He had blamed me for everything that had gone on in his life because nothing ever went right for him. I pray for him now and then because I don’t want to hate him and I am sure he hates me. I pray that he will be able to draw closer to Christ and be renewed as a person. I broke his heart, but my marriage is what mattered. I was willing to fight for my marriage. I also started to read the Bible regularly again. My amazing groom and I promised to never hang out alone with the opposite sex ever again, because even if we would try to remain true, things like this can happen without us planning it at all.
It felt so amazing to feel free. Rob was able to trust me and forgive me. I don’t understand how he could do it, but I valued it. Although it is a bad idea to want a baby when you are just mending broken wounds that have been difficult in a marriage, Rob and I planned to make a baby. I opened up the Bible and started to read through some scriptures. I began reading 1 Timothy that week. My eyes opened wide as I read, “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” -1 Timothy 2:14-15. I showed Rob the passage and felt a lot of weight come off of my shoulders. I felt forgiven and determined. I was really excited to find out that we conceived in only a couple months of trying. I got pregnant on the first of May through glorious conception. On the night, right after we created our first child through God’s grace and love for us, we laughed as if we knew that we really did make a baby in that moment. It certainly was joyful to find out only three weeks later that I was pregnant! I started to attend church regularly and cried most all the time because I felt like a tired reluctant child who was seriously messed up over the years away from Jesus. It didn’t help that my emotions were all over the place now that I carried a child in my womb at the age of 22.