This morning I was listening to New Life Church’s series on Miracles and the Supernatural. It basically rocks. I was going to listen to the most recent one when I realized I’d never heard part I, so I went back and did that. In the message Pastor Brady said that he was a pretty even tempered person, but there was something that made him so mad he had to take a walk to cool down (you’ll have to listen if you care to know what that is). I immediately realized that I had a few of those triggers myself. Oh, and they’ve been triggered lately, that’s how I know.
I’m going to try and choose my words carefully, but if I don’t, just realize this is a sensitive subject for me and then relish in practicing forgiveness. OK?
My first trigger is smugness from married women who do not believe their husbands could ever cheat. Now, I’m not saying that their husbands could/would ever cheat! I have a very faithful man for a father, and I certainly do not believe that all men cheat. But there is a certain smugness, from a minority of women, that implies it was somehow my fault that my husband did. In other words, they know how to keep their men (and clearly, I did not).
For a long time into our recovery, whenever we would have to leave the house, I would end up on the floor in a panic over how I looked. Papa Bear would reassure and comfort me, but my tantrum would always culminate with my screaming, “I do not want to look like a woman that a man would cheat on!” I’m pretty sure I’ve never admitted the depths of insecurity (that I struggled with during that time) before.
The truth is, Papa Bear developed a sex addiction when he was twelve years old. It never had anything to do with me. From my research I’ve gathered that roughly fifty to seventy-five percent of your husbands developed a similar addiction before they were twenty years old (which is why I post these things as openly as I do). Whether that addiction has confined itself to pornography or culminated in a affair, it has nothing to do with you. There are reasons, marital problems, that send husbands and wives searching for greener pastures (not that any of those reasons justify adultery), but that is not what sex addiction is about. If you are interested in learning more, here’s where we got our start.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, that brings me to my second and third triggers. My second trigger is the phrase “A marriage is based on trust,” (which, as far as I can tell, is not based on Scripture). And my third and most steam-inducing is the unforgiving and heretical, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”
I trust my husband with my life. But, under certain conditions, I would not trust him. I know that sounds contradictory, and I am going to try my best to explain myself. But first, I would like to ask you all a question.
Where do you take your stress? Is your quick fix really an addiction?
When the kids are acting up and the bills are a little too high, I should drop to my knees in prayer and worship. A Snickers bar will not fix my problems. Actually, it will add to my problems at the end of the day. But if you were to give me the knowledge that there was chocolate in the house, and then manufacture stress until I broke, it would not be long before I was climbing on the kitchen counter rummaging for my fix. I often take my stress to food. It’s a problem. And although Papa Bear is not throwing himself on the floor and begging me to quit, it would still be hard, even if he did.
I do trust my husband (I wouldn’t have stayed in a marriage where there was no reason to trust). But, more specifically, I trust the Spirit of Christ that dwells in my husband and makes him new every day. Papa Bear and I have the same enemy, and we both know just how cunning that enemy can be. If we do not guard our marriage from his attacks, if we do not position ourselves to fight back, he will eventually drive us to the counter tops…rummaging for whatever he has told us we need more than we need God. It doesn’t hurt Papa Bear that I believe this. He believes it too. And his acknowledgement of weakness (humanity’s weakness) is not the set up for a cop out, it’s the reason he lives on guard…free of pride and trust in self.