The raw reality of a husband's deception.

by Annette Evans as told to Carol McGalliard

I stared in the mirror at the bruises covering my thighs, abdomen, and breasts, then crumpled onto my bed. Those dark bruises on my body were nothing compared to the darkness that blanketed my heart. How could I have allowed rage to grip me to the point of beating myself? I couldn’t believe the events that had led to this self-abuse.

“Lord, help me,” I sobbed. “I don’t know what to do.”

Verbal lashing

I washed my face, dressed, and somehow managed to get the children off to school. My husband, Roger, finally emerged from the den. Judging from the dark circles under his eyes, I presumed his night had been as sleepless as mine.

“Well, what shall we do, Sweetie?” he began.

“How should I know what to do?” I hissed through clenched teeth. “You’re the one who created this mess; you figure it out. And don’t call me Sweetie ever again. Save your meaningless prattle for your fantasy girls. Or were they all fantasy? Have you lied about that, too?

“How could you do this to me?” I shouted. “To us? To the kids? You’re sick! You’re . . . you’re perverted!” I slapped his face again and again. “You’re a liar, a hypocrite!” I spit in his face. “I feel so dirty, so ashamed!”

Roger hung his head, offering no defense to my verbal lashing or my repeated slaps.

“Everything you say is true,” he mumbled. “I’ve failed as a husband, as a man, as a father. I don’t know what to do.”

I swallowed hard to suppress another round of nausea.

True lies

Throughout the coming days, Roger confessed, bit by bit, the details of his addiction to pornography. He promised each day to give up his habit of fantasy masturbation and Internet porn, but each morning brought tearful confessions of failure. He revealed over 100 computer discs of pornographic material he had downloaded from the Internet. His file drawers were filled with folders of sexually explicit stories he had written. Most painful was his confession that he had never loved me.

I insisted Roger burn the papers and discs. As he stood in the backyard poking at the pages that curled as the flames engulfed them, I tossed my negligees onto the pile along with a box of letters. “While you’re at it, you can burn these too,” I said.

“You’re burning my love letters?” he choked.

“Love letters? They’re nothing but lies! You never cared for me. Your fantasy women were your comfort. You deserve an Academy Award for the performance you’ve given the last 15 years!”

Doubt and fear

My friends say I just need to forgive Roger and help him by going to joint counseling. But after eight months, it is still all I can do to refrain from spitting in his face. The pain is too great, the betrayal too immediate. Maybe after he has maintained a year of sexual sobriety, I will be able to consider forgiveness, but that is still almost eleven months away. How can I ever trust Roger’s words again after he confessed he never loved me?

In addition to the emotional pain, there’s the fear of disease and the humiliation of explaining to my physician why I needed a test for sexually transmitted diseases. My STD tests were negative, but HIV may not show up for years.

Troubling questions

Fear and doubt overwhelm me at times. Can God heal a pathological liar, a sex addict? How long will it take? When will Roger be able to work? What kind of work can a fallen youth pastor hope to find? Will I ever trust Roger enough to consider reconciliation? I want a husband, a father for my children. How long do I wait? What if I wait years and he never recovers?

Like the man who brought his demonized son to Christ, I plead, “Lord, if You can do anything, please help Roger.” My head knows God can, but I dare not hope. I fear I’ll only be disappointed again.