It seems to me that most often the addicted person ( who is seeking recovery) finds many resources to help him along his way. He will likely have the help of support groups, religious leaders, and sponsors to name just a few. But what happens to his wife who is called to bear the burden alongside her husband?
Eight months after we were married, my husband experienced a relapse. I had been so swept away in the bliss of marriage, that this took me by complete surprise. I remember crying for what seemed like days on end. I was very depressed and wondered if our marriage of only a few months was doomed to fail. Questions like “ Am I a good wife?” and “ What could I have done to prevent this?” consumed my mind. I was confused as I struggled with the answers, believing to some degree that my husband’s relapse was my fault. After a few days, I took on the role of his protector or policeman. I tried to implement a variety of new “rules” that we needed to keep in our home to prevent another relapse. Some were more realistic and reasonable than others. I wondered, “ What is a good boundary to set?” I had no answers and felt completely alone, fearful, and angry.
As time went on I realized I needed to change, I couldn’t keep policing my husband. He had to learn from his own experience. I tried each day to give him more freedom and be less controlling. At times, I would wrestle with myself, biting my tongue to prevent myself from asking interrogatory questions. I think it's important to point out that my motive was pure and I really loved my husband and wanted to help the best I could.
Now as I look back on our experiences, I still have a tendency to police. I have improved ten-fold however and am learning to trust my husband again. I know he is a good man, who needed to overcome his addiction to pornography. We all have addictions, so who am I to judge? Ultimately, this experience has taught me how strong I am as a person and that time is needed to heal, whatever the wound is. Mostly, I am thankful for the constant guidance and help Jesus Christ has given me. He has helped me understand our situation better and act out of empathy instead of fear and pain. Christ truly is my Redeemer and Savior. He saves me every day in countless different ways.
I hope that other wives can find solace as they read and perhaps identify with my experience. Remember, all things are possible for those who put their trust in God.