Real Love Series: Gracie’s Story, Part 2
If you haven’t read the Introduction to this series, I highly recommend that you do, as well as last week’s Part 1. We are sharing Real Love stories. Stories that have hurt, pain but maturity and ultimately, joy. In a culture that is so fast paced, self-focused and all about the falling in love part of our story with no concept of afterwords, we here at the Busy Nothings are striving to sit back and share from our own experiences what we feel true, pure, sacrificial love is. When you choose it even though it hurts or is hard work. The beauty and true love that comes from this is better than any fairy tale. ~Heidi
Disclaimer: This entry contains mature themes. My goal in publishing this part of our story is not to shock or anger you, sweet reader. My husband and I spent a great deal of time discussing how vulnerable we were ready to be with such a sensitive topic, and we decided it was time to invite others into healing with us. If you or your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/partner would like to talk more in-depth with either my husband or myself about our story, please don’t hesitate to email me at HiThereGracie@gmail.com. Click it if you’re ready.
With so much love,
“Please don’t leave me.”
Just over three months into our marriage, he stands there, every line on his face contorted in overwhelming agony as he begs me not to walk out the door. My cardigan isn’t warm enough for me to walk outside: it’s the t-shirt material type, a pale grey that my mom bought me for my nineteenth birthday (over three years later there is a small hole in the right pocket). As I stand with my hand on the doorknob, I fully intend to leave him. I am prepared to find a place to not sleep that night. Anywhere but here. Anywhere but in this house that, fifteen minutes prior, was my home. Not my husband. Not my Jacob.
We were perfect. We were a Godly couple. We had our first awkward sex on our wedding night. We didn’t drink or smoke. We had been preparing for marriage for years and we were going to have a Christian marriage. There was never any room for that type of sin. We loved Jesus; we were supposed to be perfect.
But my husband is telling me he still looks at porn.
One site credits the Pornography industry with a little over 13 billion dollars of revenue in 2006. Another says less than 4 billion annually. There is apparent discrepancy over how big the Pornography industry what with the rise of Internet piracy/homemade porn. Either way, in my opinion, that’s just a lot of money. Money invested in what seemingly would give one an idea of what they like or don’t like, what kind of partner they want to be, what sex is supposed to be, a way to let off steam. Interestingly, there are mountains of arguable evidence that this is simply not the case (I’ve included links at the end of this post to pertinent studies). What we are learning about the nature of porn is that it actually jades men and women to their human counterparts. Over time it simply does nothing for our real sex lives but render us impotent and dissatisfied, unable to fully enjoy all that sex is meant to be. Not to mention the men and women who actually make the stuff. The sons and daughters, the moms and dads, the once children who learned to write and walk and play sports. The ones we objectify and demoralize when we click play… I digress. Forgive me. Let’s get back to the story.
So I get up, look at the coffee table and grab the first thing I see. I throw the June/July copy of Relevant Magazine at the door. Hard. If it had hit the window just one foot away it would have shattered. I change out of my robe and into shorts and that too-thin cardigan, and I get ready to end it all. My husband looks at porn. Oh God – my husband is addicted to porn.
In that moment I was destroyed. My ego – that errant pride that convinced me our new found sex life was enough to cover over the few conversations we’d had about how he’d ‘struggled’ in the past – was telling my that I did not deserve this. I was a Christian, a good woman, and I was better than this.
But my hand on that doorknob wasn’t turning. Something cemented me in place.
My Jacob. My best friend of six years. My greatest and only Love. My God’s Spirit in the room, mourning and lamenting and extending grace to his broken addiction and my selfish heart. Why can’t I just open that damned door?
“Gracie, Please don’t leave me.”
He wasn’t asking me not to go anywhere: he wasn’t even asking me not to end our marriage. He was asking me the most simple, child-like, questions. The ones that we subtly ask everyone we love.
“Will you love me?”
“Can I trust you with me?”
“Am I safe with you?”
In that moment, in that very instant, I had a choice to make. It’s moments like these that reveal who we really are and what we will become. My entire life, I had seen the mercy of God. I had known what it was to have grace extended to me by a loving family. But my heart was so hard toward my Jacob.
I had been offended at the deepest level, attacked in the most hidden recesses of my being. In that moment, I caught the tiniest glimpse of what Jesus felt as he looked at the very men and women He so deeply loved that He would give the very essence of life for them as they spit in His face. Their own pain, pride, hurts and hang-ups prevented them from receiving the very thing that would revive and redeem their lifeless souls.
In that moment, my hurting and broken husband was asking me for mercy, grace, for love. He was taking the first step in accepting comprehensive deliverance from the Lord and receiving mercy from Christ in me. Could I leave? Could I, having been absolutely forgiven for all the darkness threatening my existence, all the evil I had yet to commit: could I do anything but be redeemed alongside my Jacob?
I could never leave him. And so the healing began. I began to choose him, to lay my heart down and walk with him into freedom.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
“Please don’t leave me.”
No, my husband, I will never leave you.