29 September 2011

I need this

Last night I stayed up past midnight reading this blog.  Momma J broke my heart as she described her experiences, as they were happening, over the last two years since she discovered her husband's many indescretions.  Repeatedly I wept as she wrote in anguish.  I've been thinking about her all night and all day today.  I've also been thinking of a friend I know who went through a similar experience.  We were not close enough for me to know her thoughts and the details of her situation in the way that Momma J anonymously shared. 

Have you seen Pride & Prejudice?  The scene where Elizabeth is trying to explain to her father that she was completely wrong about Mr. Darcy? How she completely misjudged him? This is exactly how I feel about my friend.  And not just her, but many other people.

It hit me today that I need this trial.  I know my husband has his agency, and I wish dearly he had made different choices in the past.  But this experience is teaching me something that I wasn't learning before. 

I hate it when pornography comes up in church or in family discussions.  It is uncomfortable, of course, but I hate the way people, even members of my family, talk about men who view pornography.  It is so judgemental and condemning.  What I'm learning is that things so often aren't what they seem.  Men who are tempted by pornography aren't what they seem.  One of my favorite lines in a hymn is from Lord, I Would Follow Thee.  It says "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can't see." 

We think we are qualified to make judgements with the information we have.  We even justify our judgements by pretending that pointing out the faults of others teaches us valuable lessons.  We suppose that we are taking a stand for righteousness when we sit around and discuss the wrong choices people around us are making. 

This experience is helping me to see how little I see.  It is helping me to understand how I don't understand.  The more I learn the more I realize how little I know.  It is so absolutely humbling.  And that is what I need.

27 September 2011

Forgiveness after Relapse

Pete's week of travel did not end well.  His last night away he stayed in a hotel with no safe, and during the middle of the night he relented to temptation.  The next morning, hours before he was to return home, he texted me his confession. 

Of course I was angry and hurt.  I cried briefly and then busied myself with the day's tasks.  At first I was anxious for him to get home so he could see how angry and hurt I was.  But the hours went by and not long before he was to arrive I read an article my brother had emailed me.  The article had nothing to do with what was on my mind, but I felt the spirit and my heart was softened.  As soon as I saw Pete, looking hurt and broken himself, I knew I wanted to forgive him. 

Usually after a confession we go through an awkward time of my withdrawal.  We avoid each other while I wallow in my frustrations, and him in his.  I feel like the angrier I am and the more hurt I appear, the more he will realize how his actions effect me.  I act this way until the spirit starts to work on me, and I feel like I've made my point.  This time I knew right away that I didn't need to pout for days for him to understand how he his actions effect me.  I offered immediate forgiveness and he offered genuine apologies and infinite gratitude.

Forgiveness has helped me personally to avoid feelings of bitterness and resentment.  I feel close to Pete rather than angry at him.  I've let go of thoughts of retaliation and ideas that I need to prove something to him or teach him a lesson. 

The best way I can explain it is the way Pete said it.  My immediate forgiveness has given us a "head-start".  Instead of a time period of coldness and animosity in our home, that fosters further difficulties and temptations for Pete, our home is warm and encouraging.  Together we are focusing on moving forward, letting go of the past and maintaining our hope for the future. 

I was surprised at how quickly forgiveness came to me.  It never has before, it may not always, and it probably doesn't come that quickly for everyone.  But I can testify that the principle of forgiveness applies to me in my situation.  It is a commandment with a wonderful blessing, it has healed my heart and will save my marriage.

22 September 2011


I mentioned earlier that Pete decided to tell his dad about his addiction, and doing so has been so helpful.  His dad shared with us the acronym H.A.L.T.  It stands for "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired."  These are the psychological/emotional "places" where temptation most often occurs.  Looking back I can see how it is true, not just for my husband but for me as well. 

Pete is out of town this week at a training.  All day he sits in meetings and then in the evenings he has been busy catching up with work/emails.  One day the training was particularly boring and after being away from me and the family he was feeling both tired and lonely.  His thoughts started to wander and by the time he returned to his hotel room he was struggling.  Usually as soon as he checks into his hotel room he puts the tv remote in the safe and punches in some random code with his eyes closed.  This time the maid had noticed the remote was missing and left a new one.  After fighting for a few minutes, he finally called his dad, and they worked out a plan.  He took his computer down to the hotel lobby and did his work there.  When he called me that night I suggested he return the remote and he told me he had called the front desk and asked them to turn off the purchase movie channels.  By then the temptation had mostly subsided and he was in a good place again.  Rising above this episode of weakness has been so good for both us, but especially him and I'm so proud of him for it. 

Travel is so hard.  It's hard for me because the trust isn't there completely and sometimes I get sick with worry.  It is hard for him because it is a perfect storm for temptation to occur.  But knowing the triggers and having/making a plan is helping so much.

06 September 2011

Seeking support

Pete struggled for two or three years with just me and the Bishop aware of his problem, and it was getting worse.  After a frustrating couple of weeks with repeated episodes, we hadn't been speaking much to each other for a few days.  When we finally sat down to talk about it I told him that I felt it was time for him to talk to his dad, who is also a bishop.  He said he had been having that same thought.  It was a testament to me that even when we aren't behaving the way we should (Pete was giving in to temptation and I was angry) the Lord blesses us with promptings from the Holy Ghost to help us, because he loves us. 

My husband did discuss it with his dad.  It was painful and terrifying but his father was completely understanding and compassionate.  Since that time he has made tremendous progress.  I also have felt as if I'm not bearing this burden alone.  Before, I felt tremendous pressure to be constantly supportive to Pete.  Now I know that when I am feeling weak, he can turn to his dad for additional encouragement and support.  His dad has given him blessings and calls him to check-in on a regular basis.  He asks him direct questions and makes him accountable, all the while being loving and kind. 

I am so grateful for my father-in-law's help.  I hope that every couple can find other friends or family members to help them along the way.  I am also grateful that Pete and I were able to listen to the promptings we felt and act on them even though we were both afraid to do so.