One year exactly from our first date, I said “I do” to the man who I knew as a boy when we were growing up to the man he was. We were in love and full of hope for our future. I thought I knew what it was to be a wife at 22 and he was such an easy man to love. In a word, I thought he was perfect.
Fast forward 4 years later, and I felt my world was falling apart all around me. My husband, Matt, and I were struggling (I think it was money issues) and I knew something else was not right and after a lot of persistence, he finally confessed that he had been looking at images of lingerie models online. I knew he had struggled in the past with this, but had told me he was no longer looking at images online. I was shocked, angry, and hurt. I wanted to leave and thought that God would allow it because Matthew 5:27-28 says that he had committed adultery.
I have never felt so betrayed. He had been keeping this a secret from me for I don’t know how long. He said he did not tell me because he didn’t think it was wrong because it was not pornography. (I have since learned that a lot of men think this way). I have always been open, honest, and faithful to this man. I had questions going through my head. Why was this happening? Why am I not good enough? Was it my weight? I will always be the first to admit my flaws, but my husband has ALWAYS said he loves my body. So why look at images? I had honored our vows, so why did God allow this? This was not fair. He could have stopped this, but He did not.
I felt trapped. I felt trapped because I had nowhere to go. Literally. Six months after we were married, we had moved to another state, away from family and it did not seem right to stay with friends. It was those friends that helped us out. I truly believe that we were in Florida so that I could not go to my parents house and I could not kick Matt out.
I made Matt call his closest friend who lived nearby. I made him call because he was going to confess. I wanted people to know he was not as great of person that I thought he was. After that conversation, his wife, who is a great friend of mine asked if we could go out for coffee. Long story short, she knew what I was going through and made me think about leaving my husband. She knew what it was like to choose to trust again, or not. So, I had a choice. To leave my marriage, or trust again.
I am choosing to trust my husband. When I wake up everyday, I make that choice. He is doing his part to help me with that. We have made some changes. Within a couple of days after his confession, he showed me how to check the history log on his computer to see what sites he had been on. He does not play certain video games due to how the female characters are dressed and of course, will not go to lingerie stores with me. What is important is that he does this WITHOUT complaint. This will always be a struggle for him (as it is for most men) and I am hoping to one day trust without fear that he is keeping secrets from me. Another thing that helped is our minister at the church we were attending at the time gave my husband a book called
I also have to choose not to hold this over him. I forgave him and can not let this ruin our future. I can not do this alone. I have the Holy Spirit who convicts me when resentment creeps in my heart. It is not fair to my husband, our marriage, and more importantly, dishonors God. Sin is sin. It is all equal in God’s sight and I if I do not forgive, then I am sinning and as His Word says, He will not forgive me. (Matt. 6:14-15)
Another benefit I get because I forgave my husband Matt is that I am happier. Call me selfish, but it is worth it.
We will be celebrating 10 years this June and I have no regrets. I love my husband more than I thought possible. I know he is not perfect and neither am I. This was a wake-up call. We learned that this can affect anyone, but with God’s help, you can move on and have a great marriage.
– Jennifer Schwickerath