The following is from Lisa. She and her husband, Pete, have been married for five years, and they have a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.
Pete and I met the summer before our senior year of college at a Christian summer camp we were both volunteering at. He was a handsome, outgoing, fun-loving man then, and he still is today. My cabin and his cabin were always paired up to sit together at our cafeteria meals and at the camp’s events, so over the course of the summer, we got to know each other very well. At the end of camp, he asked if it would be all right if we continued talking and explored the possibility of dating, albeit long-distance. The next year was filled with ups and downs relationally – I was in the Midwest for school, and he was on the east coast; seeing each other was a real commitment, both financial and emotional. We both had some insecurities, but as time moved forward, our relationship continued to grow and develop.
After graduating, I moved to the east cost to be near him and to accept a job as a teacher. Shortly after, Pete proposed, and I said yes. All though our relationship we struggled some sexually. We crossed lines we didn’t mean to, but we hadn’t gone “all the way”. We had talked some about our relational past, but we never got into too much detail. We had both made some mistakes before, and we both regretted having gone so far with people that weren’t going to be our future spouses. Then one night, after things got a little too carried away before our wedding, we had a heated conversation, and Pete dropped what felt like a bombshell on me: he started struggling with pornography since his freshman year in college, and it remained a struggle in his life. He explained that when I pushed things physically when we were together or made sexual innuendo or wore some of the “sexier” outfits around him that I liked, that it made things even harder for him when he got home.
Learning the extent of his struggle made me incredibly upset and jealous; I also felt betrayed. Was I not worth waiting for? We ended up seeing a counselor together for the three months leading up to our marriage and working through trust issues, my insecurity and his addiction. Pete joined an accountability group and put filters on the computer. We didn’t want to bring his pornography into our future home together.
Over the past five years, I have been so grateful that Pete shared his struggle with me and that we took the necessary steps to try to protect our marriage and now our kids. So many women (and men) are probably walking into marriage clueless about their future spouse’s sexual struggles. Sometimes as Christians, we think that we’ll be able to magically leave our struggles with sexual sin at the door as soon as we cross over that marriage threshold, but without being open and setting the proper safeguards and protocols in place, there’s a slim chance that sins won’t impact your future life together.
For more about leading an open and accountable life, be sure to check out XXXchurch.com founder Craig Gross’ new book: “Open”, available here.