The following is a testimony from Anna, a friend of our ministry who wants to share the story of her husband’s sex addiction and how God has brought them through their trials. Read her husband’s story here.
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Some of you reading this may be wondering – can my story have a happy ending? I wondered that too. At one time, my husband was unwilling to get help for his sexual addiction. I have also felt the loss of church and family support, and have even spent several years as a single mom while he was in prison for his actions. Yet, through all of this, God miraculously has given me and my husband a happy ending that was better than I ever imagined.
Neighbor boys abused my husband at a young age over several years. As a result, he struggled with masturbation and same sex issues most of his life. His main areas of struggle were magazines and the Internet. He knew he wasn’t homosexual, but his only experience had been forced or self-satisfaction.
We were married in the early 90’s. I knew of his struggles but was willing to work on them with him. We had our first child in just three years, and soon after, I discovered my husband with pornography. My husband was unwilling to change or get help. At that point, I enlisted his family and had a meeting to confront and demand that he get help, or I was going to take the baby and leave.
I started one-on-one counseling with a Christian therapist and joined a women’s only support group for spouses of sex addicts. He did one-on-one counseling with a Christian therapist and joined a for-men-only support group. We had regular family meetings to establish boundaries at family events, reported regularly on counseling and our recovery and have an additional layer of accountability.
By the time we had our second child (six years into the marriage), we were both co-leading support groups and well on our way to recovery and healing. We both had a strong sense of God leading us to serve in this needed ministry to men and women struggling with sexual purity. Things were going wonderfully for two or three years – we both had good jobs, a big house, and we were living the “American Dream” – but then our world changed drastically. In August of that year, there was a police investigation into an incident many years prior. By December my husband was in prison. Sure, we could have hired an expensive lawyer and avoided prison, but God had clearly shown us that His Grace is not just being forgiven for sins, but having to go through the consequences. We entered this season having faith that all things do work together for good, and the assurance that God had ordered our steps before we were even born (Romans 8:28 & Job 14:15-17).
He was released four years later but was not able to live with the family for nine months. Even in prison, he continued his recovery and healing and had the opportunity to share his faith and healing with other inmates and guards.
While he was away I went through the grieving process, came to a conscious decision to stay married, and to keep working on my own issues as a codependent. I faced loneliness. However, in the midst of these challenging times, God provided a new church and new church family which came alongside me and the kids to replace the loneliness with God’s acceptance and love. I was able to lead women’s bible studies and show God’s love to families of those with incarcerated husbands/fathers. I was also able to learn humility, as I had to ask for help and acceptance. I came to understand first hand what James meant when he said, “Consider it all joy when you face trials” (James 1).
Both my husband and I know that God still wants to use us in this ministry: My husband is leading an FMO group; I am leading a women’s group; we still check in with each other often (are we sticking to sobriety lines? are we meeting with accountability partners? how are our boundaries? are we being vulnerable to each other/God? are we being honest with each other/God? are we spending time in God’s word?).
I could go on and on how God’s hand has been with us each step of the way; I know that it is God’s providence that mine is a story with a happy ending. I want to share my story, my experience, and my hope with hurting women, to encourage and lift them up—to say, “Yes! Yours can be a happy ending too!”