I applaud the authenticity and transparency of this couple.
Thank you, Tiffany and Kevin, for bravely sharing your story of victory over a prevalent struggle in the church today.
– Kay Burnett, National Women's Ministries Director
On February 25, 2012, I married my best friend, Kevin, in front of our closest family and friends in Orlando, Florida. Shortly after we married and moved to the Midwest, our lives began to change in a significant way. We found ourselves alone and unaware of the genuine strength marriage requires, especially when difficult moments occurred between us.
As we were still getting to know each other as newlyweds, we confronted a struggle I never thought would be associated with our story. On February 24, 2013, my husband and I decided to attend a marriage conference being held at our local church. We felt this would be the perfect way to start celebrating our one-year anniversary. To our surprise, we were challenged that night by the pastor to confess any secrets we may have kept from our spouse in order to have a healthy marriage.
In my mind, if anyone was going to confess something, I felt it would be me. In my eyes, the man I married was perfect and could do no wrong. However, for a short period of my own life I visited clubs and drank as I tried to find myself.
As I began to mouth my words of confession, my husband beat me to it and confessed he had been addicted to pornography for several years. Imagine the shock I felt at that moment, along with anger and betrayal. Who did I marry — and does he truly love me? All this time, I had been judging myself for my mistakes years prior to our marriage, but all along, my husband was living a double life as he engaged in an addiction that destroys a high percentage of marriages every day.
I left our home feeling heartbroken, with intentions of getting on a flight back to Orlando, where I knew I would feel comfortable and safe. I was going to walk away from our marriage. As I had no support group in the Midwest, I cried out to God in search of guidance. I chose not to inform family or friends close to me because, at the bottom of my heart, I never would want my husband to be judged for his weaknesses.
I felt led to call a particular couple I knew, who would not judge or shame us, to express my feelings of fear and confusion. Through this couple, the Lord spoke to me and encouraged me to attend the last day of the conference the next day — and also the exact day of our anniversary. I chose to listen to their wisdom despite the anger and hurt I felt towards my husband.
I am pretty sure I did not react in the best way, but the beauty of being human is that sometimes it’s OK to express my feelings in order to gain healing. God went before me the next day and allowed Kevin and me to receive prayer and be baptized together to signify purity and a new beginning for our marriage.
The reality is, life did not get better or easier overnight. I experienced depression, emotional eating, mood swings and low self-esteem in the following months because I felt I was the reason my husband chose to engage in those addictive behaviors. I had moments when I could laugh and engage with Kevin with no hesitation. Then, at other moments, I could not even look at him because I feared what thoughts would be filling his mind while watching TV or while out around women.
I took several months to regulate my negative thoughts and feelings through prayer and consistent therapy. As a couple, we chose to put in the work to forgive and move towards healing our marriage. We decided to not give up on the commitment to our marriage. We signed up for a website that would help keep Kevin accountable and would report to both of us his weekly internet usage.
As I surrendered to God and asked Him to help me truly forgive and love my husband — like I did before he confessed — I began to see Kevin through the eyes of Jesus. I saw him first as a child of God, who just like me, struggled with the fleshly desires of this world. Every morning, Kevin gets up and asks God to help him surrender his own strength and never turn back to his old ways. My husband was brave enough to confess to God and me about his addiction, and I am grateful for that, despite the truth of what he confessed. My trust in him over time was restored and our marriage was redeemed. First Corinthians 16:14 (NIV), says, “Do everything in love.”
When I learned about addiction, I learned I was not the only wife going through this, rather I was one of many walking in the same path. My husband, like many other men and women, has a story of how pornography was first introduced to him. As a young boy, he was exposed to it by friends. The unwanted exposure opened a door for many years of bondage in secrecy. We now make it a priority to share our story and inform young people and couples how to be aware of the signs and symptoms that lead to addiction. We are currently still in therapy to ensure we have a healthy marriage. If you or someone you know is going through an addiction to pornography, please do not fight this battle alone.
If you are a wife who has discovered your husband is addicted to pornography, my prayer is that you will not blame yourself and cause more pain to your heart. You are beautiful, and you are enough, just the way you are. I encourage you to seek help for yourself and your marriage.
Connect with us through social media or our website, if you have questions we can answer to help you on this journey.
Blessings — and be encouraged!
To read more from Never Stop Love, visit www.neverstoplove.com
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.