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Issue 4 - ©2001 by Kari West - Garden
Welcome! You are among friends. You are safe. Understood.
Whatever you face right now, you won't always be
standing in the same pool of tears or thrusting your fist
in the air. There is a future, but it takes time to get there.
Along the way, some of us discover secrets we wish we had
never stumbled on. Like an ex-husband's involvement in pornography.
That's the subject of this newsletter.
Pornography's groundswell is tumbling marriages off
their foundations. Even our church family is not exempt. Take
a look at these statistics:
- One California pastor says he's shocked at the
number of church lay leaders he counsels who admit to watching
hotel room X-rated movies when traveling for church-related
- A staff member for Navigators, who leads a support
group for Christian men involved with porn, says: "These
men want help, but not because they think they're doing
wrong; they're just afraid their wives will find out."
- At one Promise Keepers event, 50 percent of the
attendees admitted to dabbling in porn during the previous
- Chicago's Minirth-Meier counseling center claims
sexual addiction is the number one reason Christians come
to them for counseling. The greater percentage of the men
who come are lay workers or pastoral staff members in evangelical
- Books are now available on how to write porn for
fun and profit. The Internet makes erotica easily accessible
to anyone in the privacy of their own home.
Here's what's new:
On November 1-2, Focus on the Family is airing "The
Hidden Enemy of Marriage" that Laurie Hall, Noelle and I recorded
in 1996. The topic is pornography. To request a copy, ask
for tape number CT009/17709. Call 1-800-A-FAMILY (1-800-232-6459).
In Canada, 1-800-661-9800.
For more information on pornography, visit www.ptm.org to view the following articles:
"Pornography--what's the big deal?" by Laurie Hall and "The
Price of Unkept Promises" by Kari West and Noelle Quinn. Search
for the May/June 1998 issue of The Plain Truth magazine.
In this 4th
issue of the DivorceWise
newsletter, the featured survival story from a
woman just like you comes from Jane
in South Dakota. Her ex-husband's sexual addiction toppled
their 25-year marriage.
reflection ... by Jane* in South Dakota (*a pen name)
Eleven days before my 25th
wedding anniversary, I heard these words that changed my life
forever: "I don't know if I love you anymore."
I had known my husband for over 30 years, lived with
him in seven states and one foreign country. We met at a church
camp as teenagers and married after I graduated from nursing
school and he graduated from military school. We had vowed
"...til death do we part." I loved him. How could this
be happening to me? I was surprised and shocked.
Within days, money was moved; bank accounts closed;
and credit cards changed. A secret post office box was opened
to receive his and our mail. Within three months divorce papers
were served to me. This was a battle plan created by a military
mind. Operation: Divorce Jane had begun.
In the early days of our marriage, the military assignments
were exciting. My husband stayed in the military for six years,
then took a job with a major corporation that moved us to
the Midwest. Although we left behind all the Christian friends
from Officers Christian Fellowship, we were now closer to
family. I was thrilled since we had a one-year-old son and
my husband traveled a lot. It was at this time that he first
informed me that he had cheated on me. We both had to be
treated for STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). I could
tell that he really did have remorse, so I learned to forgive.
We became active in a church where he served for
several years in a leadership position. During this time our
daughter was born, representing forgiveness. We moved several
times during those years. I began to sense something was wrong,
but my husband always denied it. Soon I made a discovery
that almost destroyed me. In my search for a mortgage
payment stub, I opened the wrong briefcase. To my horror,
I found pornography. Magazines. Letters. Pictures. Papers.
And the name of a woman my husband had worked with.
In the days that followed, I learned that he was
a Sex Addict. That he hadn't been working all those Saturdays
after all, but had been in topless bars, adult bookstores
and only God knows where else. He went to counseling for his
addiction; and I went for depression.
I was so ashamed. I told no one. Then my counselor
started a group for women who were spouses of sex addicts
where I met others experiencing the same thing. Focus on the
Family's brochure on sexual addiction states: "The spouses
of sex addicts are the loneliest people in the world."
Over the next few years, I thought my husband had
recovered. He attended Promise Keepers three years in a row.
I was learning to trust again--until he said those life-changing
Now as I faced divorce, not only was my life turned
upside down but also my children's. My son was in college
and my daughter had just turned 16. I tired to keep them out
of the middle, but sometimes I just blew it. I wish that I
could take back some of the things I said to them. But I was
overwhelmed. The house was sold out from under me.
I financed my lawyer on two credit cards. Company stock was
sold without my consent or knowledge. I moved from a four-bedroom
house to a two-bedroom apartment. My husband even obtained
a court order forcing me to see a Vocational Rehabilitation
That March, my daughter said she was moving out of
state to live with her dad. At the time, I was shocked. But
looking back, I realize this was a blessing. I worked a half-mile
from Littleton, Colorado's Columbine High School. On April
20, 1999, as I watched helicopters, ambulances, fire trucks
and police cars arrive after that fateful school bombing,
I knew I was one of the most fortunate mothers alive. My child
was safe with her dad. She had known one of the killers, his
girlfriend and some of the mortally wounded and injured.
Once we were a family of four. Now I was
the only one left. So I decided to move closer to my son.
In 25 years, this was move number 19 for me. I never expected
my son to leave town without informing me. My children's behavior
The answer came with a phone call. My ex-husband
called to tell me that he had remarried the day before. That
my children had known for months and he had asked them not
to tell me. I finally realized why. My ex-husband's new
bride was the woman he had worked with years before. She
was the woman named on that piece of paper I found in his
briefcase with the pornography. She was the woman he had
given money to from the sale of company stock. She also has
two sons he is going to adopt.
My lawyer told me to assume the worst. Later, when
I called to confront my ex-husband about my suspicions, he
hung up on me. I immediately called back. He told me "to leave
him alone, as he was trying to get on with his life. Why didn't
Today, I can't help wondering: Did my husband live
a double life all these years? Was this woman his mistress
during that time? Is he the biological father of these two
boys? The verdict is still out. But I have asked God to
please reveal the truth to me in His timing. I don't know
if I can handle not knowing the truth.
I have listened to tapes, read books, taken medication
for depression, prayed, walked, enjoyed good music, and talked
with friends. These past months have changed me. My faith
in God is being challenged.
Laurie Hall's book, An Affair of the Mind,
opened my eyes as to how this addiction hurts the whole family.
In This Very Hour by B.J. Funk is a great comfort.
She shares that divorce isn't a terminal illness, but one
of life's biggest heartaches. She asks, "How can anyone get
through divorce without Jesus?" I agree!
I didn't like many books on divorce, but found one
that changed my life. When He Leaves by Kari West and
Noelle Quinn touched my heart. They had credibility. They
knew exactly what I was going through; we shared the same
goals in life.
Daily, I need to deal with bitterness and forgiveness.
I found a story about the dandelion that reminds me of my
need and I placed silk dandelions in two rooms of my apartment
as a constant reminder. You know, you can remove dandelions
from your yard; but if you don't deal with the roots, they
always come back stronger than ever. It's the same with bitterness.
You know, I still can't believe that this happened
to me. I keep hoping that it's only a bad dream and that
I'll wake up and have a husband who loves me. I know that
I must have new hopes and new dreams, but right now, I
just hope to make it through the day. I pray for my children.
I hope they will find Godly spouses and will never know the
pain of being betrayed, deceived, or abandoned--and that they'll
never turn their backs on God. --Written by Jane in South
Help for today ... by Kari
Divorce is the most destabilizing process you will
ever go through, says a psychotherapist in New Mexico. Not
only does divorce shatter everything you were taught as a
young girl about life, men and women, and marriage but it
also wrecks havoc with how you see yourself. Rebuilding is
often slow and tedious.
But when you discover that your husband has been
comparing you to air-brushed erotic photos in a magazine,
a video porn queen or a flurry of women on an X-rated Internet
site, you begin to comprehend why he felt you never measured
How can you? Fantasy and reality are as different
as apples and oranges. There is no way you can compete with
"The Look"--that ideal woman who exists only in a man's imagination.
It helps to remember that this doesn't mean that
you were not enough. You are an average woman who fell
in love with an ordinary man who took a wrong turn. Now you
must examine and acknowledge the ugliest things about the
man you once loved. Jane dittos what many of us already know:
Pornography is not a victimless crime.
If your former husband indulged in sex play--real
or imagined--apart from emotional intimacy with you, he violated
your body and spirit--and himself. What you didn't know
then does hurt now.
Don't be afraid to wrestle with truth as it surfaces.
Realize that the ravages of pornography creep slowly. In increments,
a man allows them to invade his mind, seal off his conscience,
stroke his ego and massage his guilt. Experts say that
often imaginary sex is better than real sex because one's
partner, the performance of both participants and the surroundings
are controlled by the mind. "Reel" sex or cybersex is an instant
tension release without responsibility. It is shaped by wandering
thoughts spliced together in a steamy fantasy bank. But
too quickly one gets bored with airbrushed pictures and moves
toward perverse deviations and acting out with real images:
prostitutes and one-night stands. With anonymity and lack
of accountability, a man figures no one need know.
If you were married to a sex-addict, the enormity
of it all may seem overwhelming. Ruthless rejection is
inevitable. You feel so ashamed. Humiliation dogs your
steps as you drag yourself to the doctor for AIDS or STD tests.
In fear, you face the ultimate consequence of your husband's
irresponsible behavior. It takes raw courage to confront
your fears and face the pain that comes with truth.
A recent study shows that 3.5 million U.S. women
are at risk for STDs because they mistakenly think their partner
is monogamous (Source: USA TODAY, 10/7/99, p. D1). So ...
please DO NOT hesitate to be tested. And know that others
have gone before you.
I'll never forget what my own doctor told me that
terror-filled day I sat in his office with tears streaming
down my cheeks. "You're not the first woman to go through
this, Kari, and you won't be the last."
In closing, I encourage you to hold tightly to
the truth. You are a good woman. You were a good wife.
You did the best you could with the truth you knew at the
time. When a man dabbles in pornography, it is not about you--but
about him. Only by facing the truth can he be freed from this
Jane leaves us with these thoughts: "It's been
so hard giving those who hurt me over to God. They have
caused so much pain and suffering to me, my family and our
friends. But I must believe that God will deal with them.
Romans 2:16 says, 'God will judge the secrets of men...' and
Luke 12:2 says 'There's nothing covered that will not be revealed,
nor hidden that will not be known.' II Timothy 5;24 says 'The
sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment.
For others, their sins follow after.'
"I know that the battle is the Lord's. My hope
has to rest in Him. I know that He's in control and is
teaching me to depend on Him. It's a daily struggle, and I
know that God doesn't make mistakes. His children just make
the wrong choices. I know I must wait on Him for guidance.
But it's so hard to just be still and listen."
A promise you can trust
"'Do not be afraid; you
will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not
be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and
remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. For your
Maker is your husband--the Lord Almighty is his name--the
Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer....The Lord will call
you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in
spirit--a wife who married young, only to be rejected,'
says your God." ---Isaiah 54:4-8
Please stop by again soon
Please let me hear from you. I answer every letter and e-mail.
Also, be encouraged to share what helped you through your
divorce so others know they are not alone and that they too
will survive. E-mail by Clicking Here
or write Kari West, P. O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588.