Back from the Brink: A Real-Life Story of a Marriage in Recovery

I was too passive … and I gave in to his sordid wishes.

When I met my husband, Peter, through a mutual friend in North Carolina, I thought I'd found Mr. Wonderful and that my dreams of a perfect marriage had come true. He was cute, friendly, and a gentleman. But what I liked most was his spontaneity. Whenever we'd go on a date, I never knew what he had planned.

I couldn't believe how well we got along during our first two years of marriage. Even our sex life was great, or so I thought. Then one day Peter came home from work with a pornographic movie. "I just want to spice up our sex life a little," he said. "There's nothing wrong with trying something new." The kinky three-partner sex scenes we watched tormented me the rest of the night.

But that was just the beginning of what he wanted to try.

I grew up in a legalistic Christian home where my mom lived to please my dad. I learned at a young age that women should be submissive to their husbands, and I strictly applied this concept to my marriage. I felt trapped in a moral dilemma and didn't know what to do. Do I run from this repulsive situation and disobey what I had been taught about proper wifely behavior, or do I submit to my husband and humiliate myself?

After enduring a lot of Peter's "sweet talk," I gave in to his wishes.

I didn't complain. I felt as though I had to submit. Every time I tried to protest, I'd hear my mother's voice: Make sure your husband is happy. Do whatever he asks of you.

I didn't dare talk to anyone about our lifestyle. I couldn't confide in my family. And although Peter and I had both become Christians at a young age, we rarely attended church. With nowhere to turn, I felt desperately alone.

Everyone who knew us thought we had the perfect home life. And in reality, outside of my husband's perversions, we did get along well. He didn't drink, smoke, or use drugs. He treated me with the utmost kindness at home and in public. He just couldn't get enough of this sordid lifestyle.

Four years into our marriage, my husband lost his job because of an expired work visa. We had to move back to his home country of Canada.

Finally! I thought. A chance to abandon our acquaintances and stop this filthy lifestyle. For a brief period, hope rose within me.

We moved to a small Canadian town, immediately found jobs, and rented a nice apartment. At first we didn't meet anyone, and I actually thought we'd left all the garbage behind. But before long, it all started again.

Attempts to silence my conscience led me to a church in a nearby city.

While driving home from church one Sunday, I broke down in tears over the pressures of living a double lifestyle. With no end in sight from our sex rituals, and no hope of my husband changing, something snapped inside of me.

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Addiction; Intimacy; Marriage; Pornography; Sex
Today's Christian Woman, Summer, 2002
Posted September 30, 2008

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