General Relationships

Marriage Rocks, Again

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MW editor’s note:  Before you read this post, go back and read “Marriage Rocks”.  

They say it’s the darkest just before dawn.  

Josh and Sarah both felt the darkest night of their young marriage. Josh’s stupid choices were like an avalanche at night. Total upheaval. Buried alive. He couldn’t fathom the depths of his soul that pushed him to masturbate to porn right after his honeymoon.

Sarah did what she always did when stressed. She overate. In the two weeks since she found Josh in the bathroom pleasing himself, she had put on nearly 10 pounds.

Josh was still sleeping on Micah’s bachelor sofa. Other than a few texts back and forth, Josh and Sarah hadn’t spoken or seen each other in almost two weeks. 

As much as their friends tried to encourage them to meet up and talk things out, Sarah refused. Josh couldn’t face her. 

That’s when an older couple they both knew from church got involved. Frank grabbed coffee with Josh. Mary with Sarah.  Their messages were straight to the point, The truth in love. Yes, what Josh did was stupid. It revealed a character flaw in him that needed addressing. Despite his Mr. Prince Charming aura, Josh had a selfish streak in him that was rooted in his uncontrolled adolescent forays. Despite his public commitment to purity, deep inside was a boy who didn’t understand the gift sex is when pursued in a covenant marriage.

Sarah’s high expectations of Josh weren’t wrong; she was, however, elevating him to a level of perfection only held by Jesus. 

“Josh is called to love you like Jesus, Sarah but Josh is not Jesus.”  He’s going to fall. And, that in NO WAY justifies his actions.”  Mary offered.

Sarah seemed to listen, although the pain was so deep, she just couldn’t figure out if seeing him so soon would be a good idea.  Mary assured her that as painful as it would be, hers and Josh’s covenant to each other before God as husband and wife is the anchor for a lifetime.

Frank leaned on Josh. “Man, you and Sarah have the greatest thing going for your marriage!”

“What’s that?” Josh asked.

“Christ Almighty!” Frank blurted.

Josh looked stunned!  “Why are you taking God’s name in vain?”

“I’m not, Josh,” Frank replied. “Christ Almighty is the best thing going for your marriage. Let me tell you a story. When Mary and I met, we were in college. Neither of us were saved. I was too pushy with her. Got her pregnant when we were juniors in college.  Talk about a war with her parents, and mine!”

“Is that why you got married?” Josh asked.

“Yep. Justice of the peace.  After the baby was born, Mary dropped out of college to take care of him, while I finished up. We were dirt-poor.  I was going to college full-time, working a part-time job, and trying to be a husband and dad. Talk about fights!  I’d get so angry I’d punch a wall, scare the kid and Mary. I’d have to leave the house to cool down.”  Frank continued.

“So, Jake, your son, is he the kid you had in college?  Outside of marriage?”  Josh was putting the story together.

Frank nodded.

“Things got worse. I started drinking with my college guys. The problem came when I was arrested for drunk driving. I’m glad Mary and Jake weren’t with me when it happened.

That night in jail a chaplain stopped by to talk to us guys who were facing the ills of hangovers. It was miserable.  I won’t go into all the details now, but let’s just say God found me in jail. 

Little did I know but that night I was locked up, Mary was packing up her and the baby to leave me. She had had enough of my tirades.”  

“But you’re still married? What happened? Josh asked.

“God happened, Josh,”  Frank replied.

“When I got out of jail the next morning I walked 5 miles back to the apartment only to find her and the boy gone. I broke down and bawled like a baby. I did this to her and our son. I did it and I had to find them to confess and repent; to ask for forgiveness.  Something the chaplain said to us guys that night before clicked with me. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders like I was a new man!

I hitched a ride 75 miles to her folk’s place. Sure enough, Mary and Jake were there. I got down on my knees in front of their farmhouse. Her dad was on the porch with a shotgun. No kidding!

What I didn’t realize was an older lady in our apartment complex had befriended Mary and helped with the baby. It’s why we never ran out of diapers. This sweet lady was a strong Jesus follower and showed Mary what true love and forgiveness were like. That lady led Mary to faith in Jesus.”

By this time, Josh was near to tears.  “Ok, now I know what you mean, Frank. I need to talk to Sarah now. I can’t wait!”

While Frank and Josh were talking, Mary told Sarah the same story. The Holy Spirit showed up in both conversations.  

Sarah’s phone rang while she was with Mary. “Shall I take it? It’s Josh?”

“He’s your husband,” Mary commented with a nod.

Things weren’t magically better between Josh and Sarah, but things were moving in the right direction.  Josh moved back in. He asked Frank to mentor him. He also met up with his basketball guys and confessed his need for iron sharpens iron accountability. Josh saw a new side of Sarah he hadn’t before.  He saw a tenderness in her where there used to be hard-hearted unforgiveness.

Sarah and Josh frequently double-dated with older Frank and Mary. Healing began. 

Within the year Sarah was expecting!  Porn’s grip on Josh was long gone. His deep-seated need to be seen, known, and loved was met first in his growing, authentic walk with Jesus and Sarah.

Sarah saw a new Josh. A servant-leader. 

What Satan tried to use to kill a new marriage, God turned into a story of glory.

Warrior On!

MW editor’s note:  If you find yourself having a secret relationship with porn, it’s time to bring out the big guns of the Holy Spirit and put an end to the volatile forays. This is never a solo effort. Mentoring Warriors is not a counseling service, but we can get the conversation started. Email us at

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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