Faith, Hope, It's Your Turn, Pain and suffering, Surviving Adultery and Divorce

When Your Husband Isn’t Who You Think He Is

I promise that I have heard it all. Nothing shocks me any more. But, here is a story told by a very brave survivor, one fighting for her faith and her future. Keep my sweet friend in your prayers as she walks courageously forward.

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I was the kid in school that everyone knew as the Christian. I had dreams of an ideal life: work with teenagers, marry a youth pastor, have a couple kids, lead lots of people to Christ, and implied in all of that, NEVER be a divorced woman. I didn’t want to be someone who gave God and Christians a bad reputation. I tried to always be happy and to make others feel happy because I wanted to show people Jesus in me. If I had any struggles or temptations, I tried to just pretend like they didn’t exist: maybe if I ignored them, then they’d go away. Along with that, I had a big distrust of my feelings, not that I am advocating letting your feelings be your guide. I just didn’t think my emotions had any good use; they were just a distracting annoyance.

I got married in my early twenties. My then husband, Marc (not his real name) was not a youth pastor, but he seemed to want to follow and serve Jesus. From the beginning, we had an odd relationship. First, we were polar opposites: in personalities and in backgrounds. He’s an extrovert, blunt, and sociable. I’m an introvert, opinionated but reserved, and I’m sociable when I’m comfortable (and until it wears me out). Marc came from a nominal Catholic family from Guatemala (not his real country). His parents divorced when they moved to the U.S. when he was about eight. Marc was a former drug smuggler who seemed to come to Jesus in jail when he was in his twenties. I came from a Christian home with parents who constantly fought (later divorcing when I was in my twenties). I became a Christian when I was eight, and I wanted to follow Jesus–especially from about middle school on.

Marc and I were “just friends” for quite a while, and our college pastor teased us because we were “just friends” who always hung out. When I first got to know Marc, I knew he had a crazy past that wasn’t too distant, but what I didn’t know is that he was still harboring secrets. I know it’s crazy to date a former drug smuggler, but my pastors and I all really thought he had a life change. I know God is very capable of drastic life change.

Marc and I were married for fourteen years when our divorce was finalized earlier this year. During the course of our entire marriage I saw in Marc what I now know as signs of sexual addiction. I later found out Marc was gay. During my marriage, I saw things I didn’t want to see, and no matter how many times I stumbled across the porn, my mind wouldn’t acknowledge that Marc had a serious problem. Like a true co-dependent, I wanted to protect him from getting in trouble. I assumed each thing was a one-time slip up, and I didn’t want him to be misperceived; I didn’t want to negatively affect his ministry. Marc was a sports-team chaplain, had studied to become a pastor (but stopped before finishing his degree), led small-group Bible studies, and for a few years together, we were leaders in college ministry. I took all of Marc’s addictive symptoms on as MY responsibility, when it was my husband who had a problem; he was the one who had secrets.

I began to live in a state of anxiety and depression. I ended up taking prescription anti-depressants to cope. In the spring of 2012, I took myself off of my anxiety medication. I lost about twenty pounds. And I slowly became aware of me–the me I tried hard to ignore. I was struggling with sexual temptation: men started noticing me after my weight loss, and my husband had stopped intimacy with me in 2003. I read in the Bible (1 Corinthians 7:5) that Satan used a lack of intimacy in a marriage as a source of temptation, and I was in a full-on battle that I truly thought I would lose. God provided a way out, just like He promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13. I even told Marc that it wasn’t right and that I was really struggling, but that changed nothing. So, life continued. My daughter, whom we adopted in 2010, was my reason to keep going.

Not long after my own battle with temptation, I came across the porn that led to my BIG confrontation of Marc. I was standing in our kitchen and happened to see Marc’s phone on the counter. There was a pornographic picture and a sext message. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought I would die of a heart attack. My hands were trembling. I felt sick, and I knew what I needed to do. I confronted him. I told him I didn’t want any excuses or stories this time. He started crying hard and admitted he had a problem. He also told me he was only attracted to men.  I told him I would be willing to work with him because I knew God could do anything, and I knew firsthand that no sexual temptation was too big for God to help us overcome. I really thought he would be willing to fight hard.

During the months that followed, as I waited, hoped, and prayed that he would do WHATEVER it took to fight this, I met a couple of Christian women whose husbands had been deeper into gay sex addiction than Marc. These husbands overcame. I read about sexual addiction and felt shocked and angry that my pre-marital counseling didn’t talk about this. I even read Desires in Conflict by Joe Dallas. I was willing to go down this road with Marc, and we even went to a Christian marriage counselor who recommended divorce after only four sessions. I was torn up inside. I was extremely concerned for our daughter, and I wanted to make absolutely sure I did everything I possibly could to save our marriage. I felt so guilty too–I made a promise, a vow, and the divorce was clearly going to be from me. Marc didn’t want to divorce, but he also wanted to keep all of this a secret. No one knew until I finally confided in a fellow believer at work. It was SO GOOD to finally tell someone.

About nine months after my initial confrontation it became clear that I wanted to save the marriage more than Marc. I came across some movies that were only about drugs and sex that were still being watched. I realized that Marc would never win this battle because he wouldn’t remove everything that fed his addiction. So, I finally asked him to leave and gave him two weeks.  I told him we needed to divorce because we were not both fighting for our marriage because we were going in opposite directions. That was the most gut-wrenching decision of my life because I was so scared for our daughter–that her life would be forever screwed up, and I felt at fault because I was asking for the divorce.

At the time of this writing, it’s been six months since the divorce was finalized. Since the BIG confrontation until now, I have felt despair and disillusionment. I have felt relief and hope. I have felt enraged and betrayed. I have felt shame and utter embarrassment. Also during this time God has frequently spoken into my life. You might have heard of the idea of God winks–I have had so many that I have lost count. I feel like during this time I have really gotten a clear sense of God’s voice. God has not only spoken to me about my immediate needs, but He immediately started with a promise for my future–I was not looking for God to do that, but He chose to give me a hope for my remaining life before I die: one day I’m going to have a happy marriage. I don’t know when or how that promise will be fulfilled, but He has confirmed it so many times that I lost count.

The promise for my future has taken on even more meaning lately, and I want to preface by noting that my focus word for 2015 is HOPE. Not only does my ex-husband have a sex addiction and he’s gay, but He has continued to run farther from God. He’s exposing my daughter to New Age because he has a boyfriend who’s into that. There also seems to be a good chance that they will get married soon. This more recent information has really forced me to decide, “Do I really TRUST Jesus? I say I do, but this stuff has my head and heart spinning and fearing for my daughter. I have to daily FIGHT to trust Jesus because when I’m not fighting for faith, fighting to claim God’s promises, it’s so easy to cave to depression and despair. The future feels so bleak, but that’s not what God promised me.

 

 

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28 thoughts on “When Your Husband Isn’t Who You Think He Is”

  1. I read this and I see STRENGTH!!! We are charged to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. And that is just what I see in my sister in Christ. Amid the pain and struggle, she is fighting for her faith and holding on to Gods promise to her.
    “The future feels so bleak, but that’s not what God promised me.”
    I find strength in that. More than you know! Thank you for sharing your story and your heart. You very much encouraged mine.

    I pray our God of ALL comfort, comforts your heart, gives you a peace that surpasses all understanding and infuses you with daily strength to continue to tell your story and inspire and encourage countless women. You are a victorious warrior! In Jesus name!!!

      1. I have been reading your blogs, I’m so encouraged with your testimony, God bless you 24/7 my sister and I will always pray for you! Good Job my sister. Love in Christ…..

  2. Wow…you have no idea how similar our lives seem. My ex husband is a police officer and well loved. He had well over 20 affairs during our 16 year marriage. I’m a single mom to 3 children and I promise, it has been hard raising them on my own and with Christian values, especially after what their dad did. It was very public in our small town. Anyways, I’m so glad I found your blog!

  3. I can relate to this. There is no one in my church I can really talk to when it comes to this kind of thing. I spoke for awhile with the mother of a gay son, and she did not want to talk any further. It is difficult in my current church situation to find anyone who hear this kind of thing. It is a tough reality for a believer to have these bizarre and twisted things going on with a family member, and I feel like it is taboo for me to say much.

    1. I’m so sorry. I encounter those whose spouses were gay frequently. It is very difficult, with a completely different set of issues to deal with. Praying for you!

  4. GOD gave you a worriers heart, so you stand up for GOD and what is right, you teach your daughter that her father is sick, and you show her how GOD wants us to live, and you inform her on how some people will try and say its OK. but it is not OK, because GOD says it is not, if my children were young right now, I would raise them the same way that I raised them back then and that is, that these people are sick and people will say its ok, that GOD is love and its ok, but these people are also sick and what GOD says is it is a sin, when two people can not make a child, then it is not meant to be, and I am not talking about some women and men just cant have one, I am talking about if this was ok, and everyone did this when they were confused, there would be know one on earth to worry about it, because gay people cant make babies and that is the reason GOD put us her was to multiplied, and that is the bottom line, but also it is very important to teach children to hate the sin, not the person, because the person is sick. I just went around with my oldest son, because he has changed some of his views because his wives brother is gay, so he finely said you would not love me if I was gay, and I finely said I would never stop loving you, but I would not agree with your choice, Then he laughed and said not that he is even thinking about that, and I said I would hope not, its wrong, there is not sugar coating it..

  5. As I began to read through this I thought to myself Oh My God! This is my life. You see I too married someone that I thought that I knew but he turned out to be someone else. The lies and betrayel is so devastating that some days I can’t even breathe. I am down to the final parts of my divorce and I still can’t believe that this is happening. I often feel as though God has forgotten me even though I continue to pray what seems like every minute of everyday. My children have had so many problems with anxiety and depression. And I find myself being depressed. Lately I haven’t been able to pray, the divorce is turning ugly and I feel like I don’t have anyone looking out for me. However this morning I managed to pray and ask God for help and strength and I prayed about my situation because I felt like my situation was so isolated. So reading this story and how the Lord has showed up for you has given me hope.
    Thank you for being a blessing to me. I know now that I am not alone

    1. You are not alone! There’s an army of us out here! And you can and when you can’t pray, we are praying for you. And the Holy Spirit is also interceding for you.

  6. Penny — sin is sin — adultery, homosexuality, thieves, drunkards, the greedy, slanderers, swindlers… I Corinthians 6:9… Watch the movie Audacity produced by Ray Comfort

  7. Last year I had to dig into the sex addiction thing. Although I knew porn was ‘bad’, I was woefully ignorant, having completely missed the ‘addiction’ part of the phrase.

    I have been shocked by the vast number of areas of one’s life this affects; as well as the lying and stealing that goes into supporting their habit.

    My heart goes out to this sweet mom. I know but a fragment of her pain. The good news is that God is faithful, and will give her the wisdom she needs. Give her a hug for me, ok?

    1. I’m right there with you! I was ignorant of the damage of porn until it was too late. She is strong and resilient! She has so enjoyed every word of encouragement!

  8. You fought for your marriage, you gave your all, you faced the impossible…You are courageous!
    I’m proud of you for sharing your story and for keeping your eyes on what God has for you!

  9. Sweet Sister, how my heart breaks for you and your daughter! I too went through this with husband #1, who divorced me in 2002, and husband #2, to whom I am still married. I was first married at 20 and divorced at 28. But I didn’t grieve (and rage) about my first marriage until I saw the same things (but worse) happen in my second marriage. God was there through it all. And He just kept telling me, I see, I see you daughter. It was heartbreaking, distressing, cleansing, dark and freeing all at once. Ultimately, my current husband and I sought out a man who was gifted in deliverance ministry. I will be praying for safety and healing and peace for you and your daughter. And I will be praying for your (ex)husband too. Love!

  10. Do Not Look ahead to what may happen tomorrow. The same Everlasting Father that cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or he will give you his unwavering strength that you may bear it . Be at peace , then , set aside all anxious thoughts and worries ~ Francis de Sales

    Put your hope in God (Ps 43:5)

  11. I think a lot about how sin, not only separates us from God, but separates us from one another. God can heal, set free and deliver if only we comply to Him. I pray “Marc” will turn away and return to the Lord he once knew and loved, but that ultimately is up to him. Having gone through a tumultuous marriage that ended in divorce from addiction, I understand. When I finally forgave myself and him, I was able to receive my healing. In some ways I view his healing was his death, for he was a believer. God bless, heal and comfort you in your new days ahead. He makes all things new.

  12. God bless you – and yes, God does keep His promise of a new life with a new husband – He made that promise to me in year 2000 and by 2003 I was remarried to a Christian man. Hebrews 11:1

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