At twenty-two years old I found myself standing at the end of an aisle watching the most beautiful woman walking toward me in a pure white dress that matched the purity in her heart. My biggest prayer was about to be answered: God was gifting me a wife.
Growing up, I became addicted to pornography and I always believed that one day when I got married that addiction would disappear. I prayed everyday for God to prepare me and my future bride. I even remember telling God that I didn’t care who it was as long as we would have a good sex life. Looking back I laugh because these two things (sex and addiction) would become the most difficult and heart-crushing areas of my marriage.
I was giddy with excitement about what was about to take place on our honeymoon; I mean, I had been anticipating this moment for pretty much my whole life. We were both virgins and had no idea what to expect other than it might hurt at first, and then we would have sex all the time. Whenever we wanted. (This is what culture had told me anyway.)
The pain my wife experienced in the beginning was the only thing that met our expectations. I remember being very calm and gentle, whispering in my new bride’s ear, “It will be better soon, this is only temporary.” I told her I would be patient and go as slow as she needed. What we didn’t know then is that this would be our story for the next four years of our marriage.
We couldn’t have sex!
One week turned into two weeks and then a month, and then a year… and before we knew it we were a few years into marriage with a burden bearing us down, stealing our joy.
Each and every time we attempted intercourse, my wife experienced physical pain. Instead of saying, “Do you want to have sex?” we started saying, “Do you want to try again tonight?”
This marriage was supposed to cure me and fulfill me. Instead, it became a daily reminder that I was broken and couldn’t have something for which I had been waiting so long.
My prayers to God turned to questions like, “Is this punishment for my addiction?” and “Why won’t You heal us?”
The lack of sex in our marriage left me vulnerable to find fulfillment elsewhere: pornography. I hid my sin of lust for a while, but it led me to stop pursuing my wife romantically, isolating my heart from hers. Our marriage was crumbling, and I knew my sin was a contributing factor. I had to tell her, yet fear hindered me so many times. I was scared of causing her more pain.
I remember the times the Lord convicted my heart so strongly I could not avoid it. I told my wife how I had sinned against her. Sometimes she would yell at me, sometimes she just cried. I felt horrible. However, telling my wife was the best thing I could have done. Instead of continuing to pull farther away from her, telling her set me free from the shame I carried because of the powerful grace and forgiveness she gave me.
God used my wife to help set me free from my addiction, even when we could not fulfill each other sexually. My wife and I prayed over this area of my life. We read books together on it, and we discussed my progress regularly. She kept me accountable and pointed me to Christ in the lowest times of my life.
And then, around year four of our marriage, God healed us and saved us from our sexual struggle. You can read my wife’s story to hear more about that.
I praise God everyday for the transformation in our sex life, but moreso I thank Him for allowing us to endure such a hardship because I confidently believe it was because we went through a sexless drought that I was able to confront and overcome my addiction to pornography.
The cure was not getting married; the cure was surrendering to God and believing that He could set me free. And the hardship we faced forced me to do just that.
If you are encountering a hardship in your marriage, whether it is with sex, finances, physical limitations, communication, addiction – anything – consider how God might be allowing you to endure it so that you lean on Him more than ever before.
Ask Him to reveal to you if there is any other part of your life in need of transformation. I believe He will be there for you and show you what you really need.
– Aaron Smith HusbandRevolution.com