“I can’t go on this way, I’ve got to do something to make things change… and I’ve got to protect my kids.” Diane’s face was determined, even as the tears streamed down her cheeks.
Diane had made an appointment with the counselor in desperation, not feeling sure just why. All she knew was that something was wrong in her family. Jack, her husband, was a well-educated man with a responsible job and a good income. They had seemed secure and happy for a number of years. But over the last several years he had become distant, spending time in his private study, more and more distant from her and their two young children.
Then he became less patient; more demanding; more short-tempered; more harsh in his discipline; sometimes downright vulgar in his language when he criticized her and the kids. He withdrew from their friends, would not go to church with the rest of the family. She barely seemed to recognize the man she had married. He flatly refused – of course – to go to the counselor with Diane.
Finally, one day their young son came home excited about something that happened at school. He went running into Jack’s downstairs office to show Daddy the paper with the gold star on it. But when he burst through the door, he caught a glimpse of the pornographic images on Jack’s computer screen. In shock, he backed away even as his Daddy began to rage at him for violating the privacy of his office.
But now the secret was out. As Diane consoled their son and Jack stormed out of the house, she determined that her family could not continue living the way they were living. In consultation with her counselor, she carefully crafted a letter to Jack: “I love you and I want our family to be together as a Christian family, but you need to understand this. If you will confess, repent and seek help to change, then I’ll work with you, but if you refuse to do those things, you will lose us.”
Diane gathered her courage that night when Jack came home from work. She read her letter to him and handed him another copy. Despite her hopes that Jack would soften, he raged and cursed at her before slamming out of the house in his fury.
Knowing how vital it was to stick to her word, at this point Diane called on several family members for help. When Jack returned from work several days later, he found the house half empty. Reading Diane’s note, he learned that she and the children were at her family’s home in another state and that half of the furniture was in storage. Diane fully expected him to keep the violent promises he had made and began to fear for the children’s safety.
But what happened next was both a surprise and a confirmation of all the prayers that Diane, her family and friends, and her counselor had been offering to a sovereign God! Jack phoned for an emergency appointment with the counselor and he appeared at CCA’s office in tears. Through his sobs, he described the process through which he himself had been abused and neglected and the way in which he had allowed himself to accept the counterfeit of pornography instead of the genuine intimacy which God intended and Diane had longed to provide.
At that point, Jack’s pride was truly broken. He admitted his addiction to their pastor and to several friends; he surrounded himself with a group of accountability partners; he traveled to another city in order to be part of a weekend seminar geared toward overcoming pornography addiction; He committed himself to continuing support for Diane and the kids; He made several visits to them at her family’s home, all with her willing participation; he continued to meet with his accountability group; he got back into regular participation in the life of the Church. He even offered to seek a different job which would not afford him the time and independence to follow his urges into pornography.
Diane and Jack are not completely healed. Major damage has been done, but they have begun the process of confessing, forgiving, understanding and healing. With time and help in understanding God’s provisions, they will move at their own pace toward the restoration they both now seek.