My husband and I were married for less than a year when I found out he had been struggling with a sexual addiction. The perfect marriage I had created in my head was shattered, and I didn’t see how we would make it through. My life was turned upside down, and I was consumed with fear of what others would think of us. I had been leading in our church and was terrified that I would be asked to step down from leadership if they found out. The first year of our marriage was full of loneliness, darkness and major anxiety. I didn’t think there was anyone I could trust.
I came to re:generation groups thinking I would find out the steps to fix my husband so we could move on and go back to being perfect. Yet bitterness and resentment had already taken root. I felt hurt, rejected, angry, betrayed – you name it, I probably felt it. I wanted God and others to tell me my anger and hurtful words toward my husband were justified because he hurt me even more. But God – being rich in mercy – showed me the ugliness of my pride and its deep roots within my heart.
God has humbled me (which hurts a lot) to reveal that I am a sinner and my “struggles” are in fact sin (because for a perfectionist, struggling is saying something might be hard but gosh darn it I’ve got this!). But I sin (that was harder to write than you know), which means I have judged my husband unfairly.
I am pretty sure Jesus talked about this somewhere in the Bible: “You hypocrite (that’s me), first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5, annotation added). No doubt my husband and I are to sharpen one another and point one another to Christ, but I was condemning my husband for his sins and not acknowledging any of my own.
I could have left my husband. I could have kept condemning him. I could have chosen to stay married but live separate lives, and I probably could have found justification in any of these options. But I would be a hypocrite. Christ is creating in me a new heart, and I am learning to love and forgive my husband, and show grace like Christ does with me. Thanks be to God for redeeming me and lifting the scales from my eyes. Compared to my husband’s, my sins are the same in the eyes of God. His just manifest themselves differently than mine.
God is still changing me by teaching me how to trust Him. I still struggle with anxiety, perfectionism and misplaced identity that He is recovering me from (as well as a lot of other things), but I am not a slave to sin. I have a new life in Christ and my hope is in Him. It is still terrifying at times to share what I’ve gone through, but if I do not share what God has done in my life then it was all for nothing.
The healthiest I have ever been spiritually is when I admit I cannot do this alone, and confess my sin to God and a trusted friend/mentor, because “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NASB, emphasis added). God promises to forgive and cleanse you – not condemn you. There is nothing more beautiful than this.