The Woman I Couldn’t Compete With

Dear Future Son,
At some point some in your life you will have the opportunity to click on something that will feel very exciting and very wrong all at the same time. A friend might show you. It might come across a web search. Or you might even go seeking it out. And in that moment you are being exposed to something that your little brain is completely unprepared for. And if given the chance, it will do everything in its power to destroy you. Disconnect you. Debilitate you. And the desire for it will grow the more you click. I know you don’t understand how something so enticing can be so damaging. But it is. And it will. Do damage. The greatest news is God’s love is bigger. And can conquer anything. My hope is just that He won’t need to conquer this area for you. That you will be like David who wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”
                                                                                                                       Love, Love, Love

                                                                                                                       Your Future Mother

When I was married, there was another woman sharing my husband. I wasn’t certain but I sensed her presence.

When we fought,

when he was distant,

when he wasn’t interested in me.

 

And I asked a few times if perhaps there might be someone else. He insisted there was not so I was faced with a choice, believe him or prove him a liar. I chose to believe him. Because I was in love with him. Because, after all, this was the man to whom I had committed my life. And to be honest, I was unprepared to consider that I might have married someone who loved me, but not enough.

Not enough to give up his woman on the side. After it was over, I asked about her one last time. And he told me the truth. He had met her when he was young, introduced by a friend. He had tried hard to stay away and at times been successful. “When I met you”, he wrote, “I stopped seeing her completely because that is what I thought you would want me to do”. And he was right. But when the pressure of marriage was more than he could bear, he went back to her.

Their relationship had more history,

more roots,

more meaning.

And as a brand new wife, with desires, hopes and needs, I just couldn’t compete with her. Who can, really? She doesn’t nag him to take out the trash or question why he bought new tires. She doesn’t get moody or wistful or lonely. She never demands he put down his phone and talk . Or burst into tears because of a misunderstanding. She just lays there in her photograph. Ready to offer release.

And I could not compete. I wasn’t enough for him and I was too much all at the same time. And so she won. She got her man.

The crazy thing is I knew about porn when I got married. I had plenty of guy friends who talked openly about their struggles with purity. Victoria’s Secret catalogs and all that. But when it came to marriage, we just glossed over the topic and said our vows. I don’t remember even thinking about having the conversation.

Now, it’s not an easy conversation to have. The porn talk. It takes courage, vulnerability and utter transparency.  But so does marriage. I have had friends, who know my story, come to me after the porn talk to debrief. And my advice is gnarly. I know. I can’t actually imagine having this kind of talk either (and might not ever have the chance after posting this blog) but here is what I tell them.

If I could go back in time, this is the conversation I would like to have been brave enough to have.

When was the last time you looked at porn?

What was your longest binge? (Season of looking at it regularly)

How long have you been sober? (Not looked at porn)

How young were you when you started?

What kind of stuff are we talking about? How deep did it go?

Scary questions. I know. And they go both ways. But I think if you are going to marry someone in this day and age-it needs to be discussed. A history of porn wouldn’t automatically rule someone out, it would just need to be talked about. Honestly. Openly. Fearlessly.

I don’t have the answers to all of this. I have the scars it leaves behind. And if my story can prevent another precious girl from competing with someone they have no chance against, I’m willing to be uncomfortable and go first. I have had friends whose marriages have withstood addictions. And I would love to be able to tell you that so did mine. That through prayer and patience God did a miracle. But that isn’t my story. Oh that it were. And to be honest, I have a few people that I wish would tell you why it worked for them. And maybe they will someday.

But until then, here is what I would say.

If you have met someone wonderful, be brave enough to talk about your secrets. All of them. Before the ring is on the finger and the escape hatch has closed. It will be scary and messy and uncertain. But it is so worth it. Because our God is a God of miracles, grace, redemption and restoration. And it starts with talking about what is in darkness so that it can be healed in the light.

If you are a mama or a daddy, get armed with how to talk about this stuff with your kids. Because there is a war going on for kid’s hearts, innocence and purity. And the enemy is ruthless. Please don’t put your head in that sand on this one. It must be terrifying. And awkward. But I don’t think it can be hoped or wished away. This is not my area to speak into but  I do know that there are lot’s of AMAZING blogs and articles that talk about this. Find them. According to uKnowKids, “ it’s reported that at least 90 percent of kids between the ages of 8 and 16 have watched pornography online at least once. Not only have most tweens and teens seen porn, but boys ages 12 to 17 are actually the largest consumers of online pornography.”

And if you are in a marriage where you think you are competing with an unknown woman, I honestly don’t know what to tell you. I ignored it. And that did not work. I didn’t really know what was going on until after it was all over. We had bigger fish to fry. I just had my suspicions. So my guess would be talk to someone. Choose wisely. Someone trustworthy. Who isn’t afraid to be open and honest. Who will pray with you. Guide you. Speak Biblical wisdom to you. And if by chance you have isolated yourself and don’t have anyone like that in your life, go see a counselor. And don’t try to take him with you. I kept waiting for us to heal together. I really needed God to heal me first. And He did. Just not quite how I imagined. But that’s a story for another day.

Love, Love, Love,

The Girl Who Lives in My Head.


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