I feel relief. Some of the burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I’ve been so afraid to go through this journey, but I believe God has allowed me to feel some freedom fairly quickly so I could understand what I’m heading towards.
The freedom comes from answers to the question that was haunting me so much about my role in what would have probably led to a divorce. The statement I heard so often that “in a divorce, it is never only one person’s fault”, in my mind, made me wonder if that meant I was somehow to blame for the choices the one I loved made.
I talked to a couple of people about it. Both are counselors and both of their answers were along the same line. I really needed to know if this statement was true in every situation. After a long pause with one person, I was told that statement should be evaluated case-by-case. In my scenario, the one I loved came into the marriage (I discovered later) with some issues already in place. Those issues only grew with time and he didn’t do anything to try to get better.
He had an addiction. I don’t know when the addiction actually started, but he told me several times that he had hated himself since he was 12-years-old. I don’t know for sure why he felt that way, but I know it was around that age that he saw a pretty sexually explicit, “R” rated movie. For someone with an addictive personality, that could have very well started him down this path.
The one thing both of the people said was that he knew that what he was doing was wrong, but he continued doing it over and over. He also knew that his addiction was escalating. I have told my sons that there is nothing innocent about looking at pornography in any form. To look at a woman as an object takes them from being a human being with people who love them and a future ahead of them to nothing but a thing for their pleasure.
Once that line is crossed and becomes the norm, there is usually an escalation because the “high” from just looking at pictures isn’t enough, so it moves to watching videos, which then becomes normal and it moves to real encounters and so on. I’m sure that’s not the only way it can work, but it’s the way it went for the one I loved.
He grew up in the church. Whether he lived the life of a Christian or not, he heard biblical truths all the time. I know he knew what was right and wrong. I know he told me when he was caught in his extra-curricular activities that he knew he had done wrong, he knew when he was doing it that he was wrong and, when it came to my feelings being hurt, he knew his actions were the cause. He saw me crumble and my self-image be destroyed, and yet, he continued without seeking help.
The couple of times I insisted he seek counsel, I know he ended up just saying what the person wanted to hear so he could move on. His cycle of something happening was usually one to one-and-a-half years between incidents, so I know he didn’t take the counsel to heart.
In the end, I was assured that there was nothing I could have done that would have made a difference in the choices he made. I know I was in no way perfect and I never would try to say otherwise, but where the activities that could have led to a divorce were concerned, this was not my fault.
That is such a huge load off my mind. The guilt was wearing me down but I didn’t even understand how I was guilty. Feeling guilty for something you carry no responsibility for can eat you alive because there is seemingly no escape from it. You can’t repent because you have no idea what you did wrong.
To have this bit of freedom is such a show of mercy for me. I see that by sending me down this path in my healing that God showed me fully the gift He is giving me. By taking me down this path, He wants to release me from the pain that has held me in place and even taken me under in so many ways in my life. I am less fearful of what lies ahead for me.
~ Joanna Lynn