a scary admission

One night while my husband was IM’g a mentor-friend of his and I was on a different level of the house, reading, he came up and wanted to talk. It was still a time of new habits and newly-opened lines of communication, and so I made myself put the book down and focus on him.

He was sitting in a chair across from me, looking uncomfortable. I braced myself for whatever he wanted to say (still somewhere in my head thinking it was about me), and he admitted to me that he had been sexually assaulted in college. By another man who had taken his willingness to be a friend to a level that my husband didn’t want and never asked for.

I started to cry.

But I wasn’t crying for me…I was crying for him. The injustice of the situation was incredibly apparent to me, and I could say with compassion, “I am SO sorry, sweetheart. YOU DID NOT DESERVE THAT. It was WRONG.” He was so scared to tell me, but had unpacked it with his mentor and felt brave enough to share it with me.

I got up from my seat and knelt on the floor in front of him, between his knees. I grabbed his arms and looked him in the eyes and told him, without so much as a moment’s worth of hesitation or quiver in my voice, “This changes NOTHING for me. I love you. You are my husband, and I am so sorry you had to deal with this in silence for all of these years.”

Because in fact, he did. I remember so very clearly driving down a road together before we were married and talking about homosexuality. I stated that I found it “very threatening” to consider two men having sex, and explained that because God had made me a woman and given me anatomy that fit like it did with a man’s anatomy, I felt threatened when another man’s activities usurped my position in a relationship–the only truly unique thing I could do for a man (other than bear his children).

The fact of the matter is that I was incredibly insecure in my femininity and womanhood, and whether or not a man tried to “usurp” my rightful position in a sexual relationship had *nothing* to do with me. But I didn’t realize that at the time.

Nor did I realize that my husband had already been assaulted and that with that statement, I had made myself unapproachable and an unsafe place for him to share his heart and life.

That realization made me cry. Hard. If there’s anything I should have been, it was a safe place. I should have created (or at least fostered) an environment where it didn’t matter what happened in the past, I would be a safe and nonjudgmental person to share with. And so when I realized what I had done and how that had to have hurt the man I loved, I had to apologize.

But my husband’s greatest fear was that his admission would change my love or commitment for him. It didn’t — not one iota. And I told him how thankful I was that he told me; that if he hadn’t, our common Enemy would have tormented him further with, “But you haven’t told your wife…! She wouldn’t love you if you told her….” And that as that old Liar goes, it would have been just that — a lie. But when things are exposed to the Light of God, the Liar doesn’t have a means to use them and torment us any longer. And that’s what that beloved husband of mine did.

This admission, paired with a discussion a week or two earlier about a molestation he experienced in elementary school, helped me to understand his struggle with SSA and the doubts he had been facing his entire life. How could someone undergo that sort of trauma and *not* question their gender-assignment? How could someone deal with that sort of crisis, not find help anywhere, and *not* have questions that haunted him? Let’s face it — there are many arenas of support for women who have been sexually assaulted, but for men? It just doesn’t exist. Men don’t want to admit that they were weaker than another man. And the male-rape statistics? Those come from prisons, don’t ya know? That doesn’t happen in real life. And so my husband, along with countless other men, was reduced to a statistic.

People use all sorts of things to medicate their pain — alcohol, drugs, porn, sexual promiscuity, etc. So my husband’s choice of medication was pornography…fed by his previously-existing condition and then feeding upon itself and becoming more and more voracious. When the goal is to numb the pain, people will go to great lengths and use all sorts of coping mechanisms. It’s generally not pretty and the aftermath is certainly not fun.

But this real life, folks. Sin happens. Sin sucks. And sin hurts. There are no “do-overs” in a live performance, only “wish I had/hadn’t…” The question I have is “Can I remove myself from the equation and allow others the grace to correct their mistakes with my support?”

I hope so. That’s my goal.

His and his,

~Cori.

This entry was posted on 231144H Jun 2008 and is filed under Path to Healing, Pornography, Sexual Assault, SSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  • http://christiannymphos.wordpress.com/ Cumingirl

    Wow, it’s awesome that you and your husband are working through these issues together, and it’s very obvious that you are striving to be the wife that God has called you to be.

  • cori

    Thanks for the encouragement, Cumingirl.

    I am so glad that God is taking us on the path to healing. It’s hard, but it is worth it. The best thing is what He’s doing to knit our hearts closer together and seeing how far we’ve come in such a short time. I know it will get even better than it is now, but we’re enjoying the “now” so much more than what we had “before.”

    ~Cori

  • DeliberatelyDeon

    Cori,
    This sums up my own husband’s life and fears. And my responses to my own fears. I once told him, early in our marriage, after watching Oprah one day, that I would imagine the worst thing would be to find out after years of marriage that your spouse was gay. Even though I know that he’s NOT gay, I know now the pain that statement must have caused him, and the fear it must have engendered in him as well.
    We are only a few months into our healing path, and it pains me every time to see the fear and uncertainty in my husband’s eyes when he gains the courage to admit a feeling or thought, or past failure, to me. I love him beyond words and I hope one day soon his mind will fully embrace what his heart knows…that no admission or confession from him will ever change that. We know that God put us together. And this “valley” has actually grown us closer together. I know that’s God’s healing hand. I’m so thankful for the grace of the God of the universe!

  • cori

    DD –

    Isn’t it amazing how closely we line up as human beings? It reminds me that there really is nothing new under the sun.

    You & I were human, and our husbands knew what they were hiding at the time. I regret my words as you regret yours, but now is the time that God will take those regrets and use them for His glory as He turns around our husbands’ lives.

    Praying for you today, my friend!