Throughout those nearly first two years of marriage, I had intense dreams. Most of them involved Rob being physical with other girls; some were girls I knew who would have never even been interested in him (nor did he find interest in them). I started to bring my dreams up to him and described things he was doing with them. They freaked him out because they described the pornography he was viewing, though he just didn’t want to confess it to me. When I was pregnant for a few months I had a dream that showed me things on his computer to check out. He always told me he wasn’t looking at such things. I woke up in the middle of the night from one of the dreams and did exactly the things that were shown to me. I wrote down a list that let me know about his activity (not what is viewed at all in the history or cookies, since he was deleting that). When he woke up, I let him know he was caught. Instead of lying and hiding it from me he admitted what he was doing.
I was upset when he confessed it to me but he said he’d work on it. I was calm and understanding but also pregnant. I was used to being thin and in shape and instead of gaining the correct amount of weight that is normal during a pregnancy, I gained double. I asked him what I could do to help, but he didn’t seem to have any ideas. He tried to use a program from a site that would help out, but because he was such a computer geek, he knew how to get through anything and everything. He had me convinced that he hadn’t viewed anything because I couldn’t find the proof. He was that good at hiding it. He wasn’t the type of guy who ever went to porn shops (that was too scary and embarrassing for him and people would see him) and he thought it would be disgusting to go to a strip club or anything directing to that pathway. He liked being alone by himself in the comfort of his home with a computer.
“The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” -1 Corinthians 7:4-5
One day when I came home from work, Rob had a bunch of computer items smashed to bits. He really hated what he was doing. He was doing this mainly for show. His heart wasn’t completely ready to stop. He told me he was done just so I would get off his back in asking him if he looked or not while I was at work (he usually worked at night and I worked during the day).
When I was about eight months pregnant, I became a stay-at-home-almost-mom. By the time our son Leto (pronounced Lay-toe) was born in February of 2007, I was a stay-at-home mom for good. This helped Rob stop looking at pornography since he would only receive the opportunity when I was not at home, which was rare.
I started learning about human trafficking in September of 2007 and how horrific the various types of modern-day slavery were, affecting 27 million lives a year. I had no idea how vast it was, especially the sexual exploitation and forced prostitution. I told Rob much about what I was learning in detail throughout the months. I poured myself into reading human trafficking books, one in which he too read. My passion became his passion (made him furious and me burdened). It helped him really hate a lot of the sexual things that went on in pornography, since quite often girls around the world including in the US are threatened, forced, beaten (or just conditioned so well that they become obedient pets to pimps/sex traffickers). These girls and women are filmed and forced into a lot of pornography (from soft-core to hard-core to the extreme types where girls are sometimes brutally murdered on camera – since they are easily disposed of and easily replaced). This information really horrified Rob since he had viewed pornography for so long and didn’t know that these women he had watched were most likely sex slaves abused over and over again to satisfy the viewers.
There is an ex-porn star who is a born-again Christian named Shelley Lubben who has an amazing testimony. I would watch videos of her speeches regularly. She continually called pornography “modern-day slavery” and explained how the women (well known porn-stars even) who are put into sexual exploitation and porn are usually trafficked, abused many times since early on in their lives with no other understanding of their value outside of sex. In signing a contract they were expected to do whatever was asked of them even if they refused, in fact refusing and being raped on camera made it more pleasing to their viewers. She has talked about how disgusting a porn-set is with many cuts because of blood and feces needing to be cleaned up making a pile of dirty towels in the corner of the room. Whenever the crew would get turned on they would all try to have orgies with the girls who were porn-stars. She never enjoyed the sex at all and was just told what to do and expected to do it. She was a slave, though a well-paid one dealing with an overflow of abuse. She received HPV which God miraculously healed her from through prayers. In telling Rob about this woman later on and other testimonies on her website, it opened up his mind about how disgusting pornography was that he couldn’t even watch porn videos any longer and went back to soft-core images alone (which also includes many trafficked women).
15 months after giving birth, we were blessed with a surprise of another pregnancy. In the process of my new pregnancy, we moved to a two bedroom duplex. As a youth leader I was gone two nights a week. Rob would watch Leto while I’d be at the church for a couple hours each of those nights. and during that time is when he was getting into porn more again, since it was an easy opportunity once Leto was asleep. I gave birth in December of 2008 to our son Micah (named after the prophet in the Bible) and eventually finished nursing him after a year of bringing him with me to youth group, he would be watched by Rob at home as well when I went out. Sometimes Rob would neglect his fatherly duties and lock himself in the bathroom with a laptop computer (before we moved we got rid of the many desktop computers we had, limiting it to one laptop). Because I didn’t trust Rob, I brought our laptop with me to youth group until we had moved. He convinced me that I wasn’t being very trusting of him and that it was time I keep it home with him. I didn’t listen for a while but eventually left it at home with him and gave him a chance to prove himself.
“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” -Romans 7:18b-20
Three and a half years after his computer-hardware-smashing-show, I was convinced that Rob was true to me alone. I had no reason to believe otherwise. He was a great husband and definitely wasn’t neglecting me sexually. I felt sexy and loved. I had no reason to suspect that he was lying to me.
In dealing with a happy potty trained toddler, there were sometimes several potty breaks after bedtime that Leto would wake up to let us know about. One night after he finished going, he was taking a while and was really quiet. I said, “What are you doing, Leto?” His response threw me for a loop, “Looking at dirty pictures.” My eyes grew wide and I looked at Rob and said, “Did you hear that? Have you been looking at porn?” and he said, “He hasn’t seen any dirty pictures and neither have I. I don’t know where he got that from, but not from me!” We believe it was God using our little one to try to tell us something about Rob’s sin. Although Rob never once viewed porn in the presence of our boys, they were certainly in the same home while he was viewing it, and that spirit was loose. (Please pray my boys don’t go down this road!)
Rob hated his sinfulness but didn’t know how to escape. It was so difficult. He didn’t know what to do. Through deep conviction and loads of prayer, Rob was heavily battling his pornography addiction and lust addiction head on. He was starting to listen to testimonies of men who had gone through the battle. It encouraged him. A Christian song by a band called For Today called “White Flag” spoke the biggest volumes to him. Part of their message in the song said, “I have lived this war too long. Come and take everything. I have lived this sin too long. Come and take everything. God, relieve it all, finally.” Later on it says, “You fight for me when I can’t fight for myself.” The rest of the message talks a lot about how His blood redeems us and gives freedom, “I am slave to my flesh. That man has God. I am a free man.” Rob listened to it over and over again. The hardest part was to say to God as the song says, “So now, I bow to show you, that you are everything to me.” Giving up an idol that held him in captivity for so long wasn’t easy, yet at the same time it was very easy. He prayed to God to take it from him. He had fought off pornography for a full week at that point already and decided he really was done. It made him miserable to think he’d ever return to pornography. He prayed and prayed and felt God clearly let him know, “Tell your wife. I’ll take care of you and take this burden from you completely. You need to tell your wife.”
For some reason our sons were so tired on that sad yet joyful day in our home. They kept asking to go to bed. It was unusual for them. I put them to bed before Rob even came home from work. After Rob and I had our dinner he followed me as I went into our bedroom for a second. He looked at me with a smile and sincerity. He said, “I haven’t been completely honest with you over the years.” I was nervous with what he was going to tell me. Why was he smiling? He confessed to me what he was doing and how awful his sin was. He said that for the first time in his life he was free and felt so wonderful. He said, “I know that I probably shouldn’t be smiling, but that is all I can do because God has really healed me.”
I cried as he revealed himself to me. I smiled as well. I wrote this at the end page of a book I read to help women dealing with lust addicted husbands: “Jesus, I was in shock more over the deception since I last caught Rob’s porn on the computer 3.5 years ago, only to hear he wasn’t done with it then. I praise you for hearing my prayer of sending your Spirit into him in a stronger way now than ever. He felt so angry about his love for lust that it bothered him to keep it a secret from me. He came to me so honestly and sincerely. He told me great details and answered all my questions. My problem is that although I am so grateful and thankful to you and for him, I’m so deeply wounded. I do forgive him and love him, but I feel like what he did meant I wasn’t ‘good enough’ despite his assurance that I’m more than ‘good enough’. I know he was looking at women and parts of their bodies drastically opposite from mine. I know he is man and is just led to the female form in general, but I keep feeling like I’m not enough to satisfy him when I should have been all he needed. I’m learning to accept that it is done now and love my flaws regardless.”
When Rob told me major details about what type of girls he was looking at, the little things that would grab his attention, how he checked out other women even though I am so gorgeous to him and surpass them all; where he viewed porn, how often, how long for – it broke my heart. On top of it all he had a huge smile on his face because he felt like a new man. I just sat and listened and nodded and gently held his hand while crying every so often. He said, “You’re quiet, I’m so sorry.” And I said, “No, I’m really glad. I’ve been praying for God to be more of a priority in your life, I just didn’t know what was keeping you from doing it. I’m happy, I just feel like I went from being so confident in myself and my looks to flying down to the ugliest most unattractive woman ever. God will help me. I’m just in shock and have heard stuff like this before with you ‘being done’ that I don’t know how long it will last for.”
I had my doubts and knew that if he lied to me for so long he could easily lie to me again. He knows that no matter what he was to do I’d always take him back because I loved him enough to forgive him every time no matter how torn up I’d feel (just as he has forgiven me for the wrongs done against him). I told him to not take advantage of that part of my love. He was very convinced though that he was done.
We decided to take actions. I asked him again this time, “What can I do to help you fight this.” He said, “Take the laptop with you whenever you leave the house if I am staying home, even if I beg or tell you to trust me. Don’t trust me with it alone ever again. I don’t deserve to have a computer around me without you being with me or someone who is convicted and loving enough to have God be their #1, such as an accountability partner.” He let me know about different things that would cause him to easily get access. We got rid of his smart phone for a non-Internet plain cell phone (and later were able to get a password protection app where he could only access Internet & apps on a smart phone with my password), we got rid of a gaming system that had too many easy flaws to get around in exchange for one that had high password protection. The only way he’d be able to access the Internet on it would be if he reset it, and I’d know if that happened because my password wouldn’t work anymore. We started to find out detailed descriptions of content in movies that would be coming out in theatres and movies already out and avoid them completely no matter how much we wanted to see them (and continue to do this). We threw out loads of films we owned that had women in underwear or nudity. We already lived without any T.V. channels, we found a website with detailed descriptions for game content, any magazines that came In that had cars or games I would have to go through first and rip out any immodesty from it – which eventually we cancelled those subscriptions. He told me all the things that would trigger him. The list went on and on of suggestions he brought up. I didn’t even know some of the things that made him so vulnerable. I was thinking, “What are you going to do if you see a woman on the side of the street wearing one of the things that triggers lust in you? What are you going to do if you see a billboard with an immodest woman on it?” I was so nervous because soft-core porn and even more innocent than that would be a problem for him. He had a major lust addiction that I didn’t even know he had. I just thought he had problems with porn in the past.
That first year in general was the hardest for me to deal with (I had paranoia everywhere we went together). Thankfully Rob was always honest with me about if something got his attention and he’d do what our pastor at the time would call “The Holy Hop” by looking the other way when something was in view that could get his attention. Rob told me to tell the kids in youth group about the dangers of pornography as well as to the women in church in hopes that they would steer to be more modest. I gave a lesson and a presentation speech to each to help them know what was going on around them in the world regarding lust and pornography. Rob was so open with many people saying to them, “I had a porn addiction, God healed me when I told my wife about it.” He made sure that everyone would be able to keep him accountable. This past Autumn he shared his testimony to our youth group and the leaders as well.
I remember writing to a website asking for advice on how to deal with my own issues of healing from my husband who said he was freed from pornography, but they all said how it takes most all men 5-7 years to get through completely, so to not expect him to be completely clean even if he says he was. Somehow my husband didn’t have issues of temptations within the first few months and continues to have no longing to go back to his old ways. I asked him if he was having difficulties and he said, “I promise you that I will tell you immediately if there is anything, because it just feels so much better to let you know. I can’t believe I kept that stuff all to myself for so long. It was harming me and you and the boys and straining my own relationship with Jesus.”
In the first few months of Rob’s confession to me, I had to deal with a lot of hurt and low-self image. I felt good about my looks and thought I was pleasing Rob sexually. He was pleasing me as well, so I kept thinking that there was still something about me that wasn’t good enough, but it (his addictions) really did have nothing to do with me. It had everything to do with his own issues he faced for years. We went to visit one of my best friends in Maine shortly after he had confessed to me. It was good timing because my friend’s husband had been clean from pornography for four years at that time and was passionate and open about it. He had a talk with Rob that helped and I got to pour my sadness out to my friend.
I started to feel like my breasts were too small or weren’t satisfactory to Rob enough. I actually purchased breast enhancing pills, but they weren’t working and I realized by the time I was halfway through taking them that Rob was definitely never complaining about their size to begin with (Satan was just telling me lies). He let me know that the idea of fake photo-shopped women who were touched up and retouched were never good enough in comparison to me anyway. He said “Pornography is a sickness and I might have looked at some women who looked the opposite of you, but I could never actually like that. I know that sounds weird but it is true. All guys would rather have the real women with supposed ‘flaws’ that really aren’t flaws at all.” He reminded me that Proverbs 5:19 spoke volumes to him because the breasts of the wife of his youth certainly satisfied him always. It really helped me feel a little better, since this is how God made me and perhaps it was in a way to keep my husband humble and to keep me out of a lot of trouble from getting more attention from guys (this was also part of his reasoning why he didn’t want me to have larger breasts anyway).
While Rob was so excited and happy through being cleansed, I had to rebuild my own life and confidence in Christ. God was my refuge and encouraged me through His word as I would cry out for His strength. Although it was hard to rebuild our relationship and to know that my husband loved how I looked, I realized I really was beautiful. Rob really loved my body and appreciated me the more that he drew away from porn and fought his lusts. Our own marriage and intimacy became even more noticeably enjoyable for both of us and Rob started to realize how he held back with me for so long because he was subconsciously beating himself up for what he shared with other people before we were together and all the things he viewed in porn by holding back with his own wife. He started to study the root of his lusts and allowed God to cleanse him and make him a new man of God. He told me that he doesn’t even believe he was a real Christian before because he clung so much to these sins of his, but he felt so renewed and fresh and forgiven!
While every man and woman is completely different, what I’ve come to realize is that healing can be possible for all when we remove the idols from our lives. Rob and I found that the more often that Rob was starved of things that caused him to objectify women, the more he instead longed to fill his life with a passion for Christ and to study the word of God. While we had seen examples of friends continuing in their lusts and marriages ending in divorce because their pornography addiction had exploded to affairs and more, we noticed the trend was that if the people (since there were women we knew with pornography addictions too) were sincerely honest about ridding their lives of pornography, and doing things to remove it from their lives without being told by others that they had to do it; growth and change took place drastically. When we saw people showing a bit of laziness in trying to truly rid of the idols, but just did what the people around them wanted because they had friends and family members who were concerned, they suffered even more and continued in their sinfulness which hurt the people around them even more. You can’t force people to change, Jesus is the only way that they can sincerely overcome their battle. I have seen this happen through Rob and I know that with man, it is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matt. 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27). He allows for miracles of healing when we put our trust, faith, and work hard to seek Him. Instead of looking down on people who view pornography, we need to try to encourage them towards change and pray for them. God has to work on their lives and we need to pray that He’ll transform them.
Rob & I both made mistakes early on in our marriage, but instead of allowing those things to drown us into despair, we went to God for help. We worked as a team to forgive one another and to work along side the other with Christ’s help. It has been said that the first 6 years of marriage are the hardest and if you can get through those, it gets easier. All of this happened before our first six years of marriage. Could we come across more problems in the future? It is possible, but we’ve learned from our mistakes, have no longing to repeat our mistakes, and know that God will guide us through each hard situation we face. Giving up on our marriage was never even an option in our minds. It helps that Rob and I were both willing, and many times there is only one person in a relationship willing to work on their marriage problems, and that’s a terrible problem. We are blessed that we face our challenges together and that forgiveness helps make us grow more deeply in love.
We are both very different people than we were when we first met over 13 years ago, but we are thankful for the grace of Jesus on our lives. We really are blessed that we’ve been married for nearly 9 years now. Though we still haven’t been married too long, for our age group we have been married a long time and are blessed for God’s guidance through these years.
Both of the above photos were taken in early 2009 (1st one in March, 2nd one in January).
I think these two pictures are pretty significant of how we were feeling at that time. . You can literally see the pain on my face and the joy in his. I’m so glad that God got us through!!! Freedom is amazing!! He’s been sincerely porn-free & lust-free for 2 years & 7 months & counting.
This was taken last night after we came home from youth group (we both are leaders now) & put our sons to bed, as Rob & I ate nutella with crackers & were reading books (He’s been reading Jesus For President, I read The Unlikely Missionary).