General Relationships

Marriage Rocks!

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MW Editor’s note.  This is the first of a two-part story. A story about marriage that every guy who is married, engaged, or wants to be married should read.  There’s a warning, however. No man is exempt from this story. Do not for one second think that this could never happen to you. For the most well-intended men, who love Jesus, this could be your story. If you only read part 1, you will find yourself in a very dark place. So, make a note to read part 2 when it comes out!

Sarah and Josh were fresh off their honeymoon. Their story of meeting, dating, falling in love, getting engaged, and married was idyllic. Blissful. Josh, Mr. Prince-charming. Sarah, the sweetest princess in the land!  Such good memories of their courtship and wedding.  Surrounded by their friends and family at their wedding was more fun than they imagined!  They both felt so incredibly loved.

Like most honeymoons, it was too short. Sarah and Josh had tons of fun, including lots of sex!  

Life couldn’t get any better, or so Sarah thought. One night, back in their newlywed apartment, Sarah noticed Josh wasn’t in bed, and the bathroom light was on.  She glanced at her phone. It was 3:30 am.

“Love, are you OK?” she asked from bed.  No answer.  She got up and stumbled to the bathroom door. She heard a rumbling as if Josh was startled. Having forgotten to lock the door, she opened it. Josh was masturbating. His phone was on the floor, watching a porn video.

Speechless, she slammed the bathroom door, grabbed the blanket off their bed, and sat on the floor by her nightstand sobbing.  The honeymoon was over.  

“I can explain!”  Josh pleaded.  

“I don’t want to talk to you right now!” Sarah yelled back.

“You can sleep on the couch tonight,” she demanded. “I don’t want you near me!”

Here’s a young couple in their early 20’s, dearly loved by so many. The romantic tale that unfolded over the past 18 months, was it all a fake?  Was Josh putting on a front the entire time?  This can’t be his first look at porn. Was she so naive to think he was beyond such filth?

She felt betrayed, used, dirty, unwanted. 

Come to think of it, she recalled times the subject of porn came up while they were dating. Josh always sloughed it off; that he had struggled with it in high school, but that was a thing of the past and he had a handle on things now. Or so the story went.

Josh grabbed a throw blanket off the back of the sofa and curled up into a fetal position. He felt horrible. He got caught and there was no way denying it. 

“I’m screwed!” he concluded. “She won’t want sex with me for a long time! “ 

The 5:30 alarm came all too soon. Josh showered, snuck into the bedroom with lights off, and got dressed.

Sarah was curled up in a ball on her side of the bed. You could feel the tension in the room.

No kiss this morning.

They both had horrible days at their workplaces.

Josh tried texting her.  “I’m so sorry, love. Can you forgive me? Can we talk about it?”

Sarah didn’t respond to any of his texts, except to say “I’m not making supper tonight. You are on your own.”

That night, she had Bible Study with her girlfriends from church.  The girls welcomed her with open arms after their honeymoon, wanting to know how it went!  Sarah looked down at the floor and burst into tears.

Josh had a basketball game at the church gym. He kept missing his shots. 

“What’s up, Josh?!” they asked. “After all that sex you had on your honeymoon, you should be burning up that net!”

Josh sat on the bench, his head in his hands. 

The guys gathered around.  “Talk to us, man.”

How could he?  Porn was the secret addiction he kept not only from Sarah but from them, too. All their bro-talk about accountability and courageous vulnerability. Sure, Josh went along with it, but now, he was busted. He got caught. 

He’d known these guys for many years. Several of them were his groomsmen. His bachelor party was a hoot!  They stocked him up with the necessary items for the honeymoon bed and sat him down with some funny, albeit legit tips on how to treat his bride in bed!  He recalled how they read passages from the Song of Solomon about the husband and wife on their marriage bed!

“Dude’s. I got myself in some serious trouble with Sarah. I’m afraid I haven’t been honest with you guys either.”

“You got her pregnant already?!” one asked.

“Hardly,” Josh replied. “I wish although that would be a bit soon for us.”

With his head low to avoid eye contact, he said, under his breath, “She caught me masturbating while watching porn.”

They guys stood there in an awkward silence. No one wanted to speak up first.  It wasn’t ok that he looked at porn. It wasn’t ok that he kept it from them, either.  After all, they were supposed to be this band of brothers, who have each other’s backs. 

One of the guys, Mark, recalled when he came clean about his porn addiction while he was dating Jessica. As tough as it was to admit it back then, he was so glad he did, got help, and didn’t bring porn into his marriage.

Mark put his hand on Josh’s shoulder.  “Josh, love you man, but I hate to say this, but this is bad.” 

Jeremiah knelt, and put his hand on Josh’s knee, trying to get eye contact with him. “Josh, man. You know we are here for you. Always have been and always will be. Have you talked to Sarah since this happened?”

About then, Sarah texted Josh. “No need to come home tonight. I need space to think. Find a place to stay tonight and do not come by the house to get any clothes.” 

Josh showed the guys her text. 

“Game over boys!”

Josh crashed on Micah’s bachelor couch that night.  

“We’re about the same size,” Micah commented at his apartment. “Pick out some clothes for tomorrow.”

Middle of the night, Micah heard Josh in the bathroom. He was throwing up.

“I’m so sick of this. I am dry-heaving. I’m such a mess!”  Josh groaned out.

“Dude”, Micah said, “you gotta talk to the young adult pastor at church about this.”

Josh called in sick the next morning. He felt so depressed. Sarah would not respond to his texts.

One of Sarah’s bridesmaids spent the night at her apartment. Jessica listened for hours as Sarah bawled her heart out. Kleenex covered the floor.

Sarah called in sick the next morning too.

“I want out of this marriage. Josh lied to me. That is not the man I thought I was marrying. Sure, guys wrestle with lust. At least he told me he was a virgin when we got married, but now I don’t know if that is the case, either.”

“You aren’t thinking straight Sarah.  This is for better or worse.”  Jessica tried to reason with her. 

“Are you siding with Josh on this?” Sarah quipped back.

“Not at all!  Josh is totally in the doghouse right now. If my Mark did this to me, I’d be as livid as you are. I don’t care how much he says he loves Jesus. This would be excruciatingly painful for me too. I’m just saying, that perhaps both of you need to let your emotions settle down and not make rash decisions while you are so upset.”  Jessica attempted to comfort Sarah. 

Word was starting to get out. Bridesmaids and groomsmen now knew. When Sarah’s mom heard there was a fight and she kicked Josh out, she wanted to come over to see Sarah. Her dad wanted to beat the tar out of Josh. “A few weeks ago I gave my little girl to this man and this is what he does to her?!” he yelled as he threw a fist in the air.

Things weren’t looking sweet and rosy anymore.  This marriage was on the rocks, and it didn’t look like there was much hope for change anytime soon.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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