A True Story: Internet Pornography and Marriage
Our story is about God's redeeming love and his amazing grace. We can testify that what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good and by sharing our story we hope that it will be of encouragement to you, as marriages are under attack these days. We have seen God's grace work in us and have made a commitment to keep fighting for our marriage. It is the one area that Satan tries to constantly attack.
(wife) I grew up on a farm. After graduating from High School, I did a Secretarial Diploma and worked as a Legal Secretary for some years. In 1992, I moved to Cape Town and started attending a church. It was there that God's Word was faithfully preached and where I responded to the Gospel and became a Christian.
(husband) I grew up in Cape Town and at the age of 17, my last year of High School, surrendered my life to Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. After school, I studied Chemical Engineering. But my interest in Chemistry dissolved as my passion for God grew. I left university and completed a 3-year diploma in Biblical Studies and Theology at Cornerstone Institute (formally Cape Evangelical Bible Institute). Then I worked as Youth Pastor for 2 years before I was conscripted to do my national service in the SA Navy. During my time as Youth Pastor I had started studying Psychology and completed my degree while I was doing my National Service. This is also when I met my wife.
(wife) It was in church where I was introduced to my husband by a mutual friend. We started dating and were married a year and a half late.
So our journey began, as many marriages do, with much excitement and passion, but never fully prepared for what would lie ahead. We started facing the challenges that arise when 2 forgiven sinners, from very different backgrounds, upbringings and with baggage and brokenness, come together.
I struggled to fall pregnant, but by God's grace I was able to give birth to 2 wonderful boys in 2000 and 2001 respectively. According to statistics it is during this season of life that marriages can take a lot of strain. And ours did!!!
We started hitting some potholes, like busyness, exhaustion, financial difficulties, career related issues, depression, intimacy issues and parenting difficulties. But the biggest pothole was the one of pornography. I was totally devastated!!!!!!!
At that stage, Internet pornography was still a very silent sin and not much literature and help was available. However, we did seek counselling and tried whatever we could to work through this sin that had entered our marriage. But it was a journey of little support. The years continued with some really lonely, heartbreaking seasons, of ill health, accidents, business and financial losses, family deaths, family conflicts, parenting issues, depression and of course the pornography. But we also experienced God's care, goodness, mercy and grace. There were times of joy, closeness, wonderful holidays, good family times, friendships and much spiritual growth. But unfortunately, the deeper issues remained. And as often happens, pornography led to greater destruction.
Our marriage experienced an all-time low when we faced the, so-called, bigger sin of adultery. Although divorce could have been an option and some people advised this. I trusted that God had a better plan and He worked in Arnfried and gave me grace to stay married. Now we faced a new kind of normal and the road to recovery and rebuilding our marriage began.
(husband) The hardest thing was that the church was not really equipped to help couples and men (or women) to fight this battle correctly. Very specific help, counsel and support is needed and unless you have walked this road yourself, you will not really know how to provide it.
No one understands this journey unless they have been on it. It's 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. You think it's going well in your marriage, but there is so much distance between you and your spouse because of pain and mistrust. And unless you know how to address it, you may be destined to a life of quite desperation.
Through trial and error, discipline and accountability, prayer, Bible study, books, counselling and long conversations into the early hours of the morning, we slowly rebuilt what was lost.
Although it has been tough, these years have also provided the most growth as we have learnt so much about ourselves, each other, our children, our friends, family and our church. But most of all we have learnt that God is our source, comfort and strength. And with God's help have gained healing and restoration in our marriage and personal lives. So we give God all the glory for what he has done for us.
We believe God has equipped us through our difficult journey to reach out to others who are struggling with sexual issues, especially where pornography and/or adultery has invaded the marriage.
We know that there are couples in the church, who are living in pain where pornography or other sexual issues have brought the marriage to a traumatic crisis. Where there is very little security, love and romance. Where husbands are too ashamed to tell someone of their struggle and wives feel completely alone, thinking that there is no-one else going through what they are going through.
We have been there. This is our story.
It is our experience that couples, struggling with these issues, are usually not correctly supported. As a result, they suffer unnecessarily because those supporting them don't always know and understand. Therefore, they are very rarely able to rebuild their marriage and physical intimacy. And usually the marriage ends in divorce.
The road to freedom from pornography or other sexual issues, like unwanted same-sex attraction, is not one you can take on your own. Courses and support groups do help a lot, but there are deep belief systems that need to be corrected. You need God's truth to set you free.
There is also past pain that needs to be dealt with before you can find healing and gain complete freedom.
Now our desire is to counsel couples, with God's help, to find healing and fulfilling marriages, as God intended marriage to be. And to help men or women who are struggling with pornography or other sexual issues to gain freedom, so that God will be glorified in marriages and people's live.