Words Cannot Describe

Words cannot describe how sweet it is for a husband to hear his wife say he is being the leader, man, father and husband she has always wanted. It is something profound and beyond comprehension. I watched it happen this week in my office. After his serial adultery rocked their world 18 months ago, their marriage lay in tatters. They were hanging on by barely a thread. She was so angry she couldn’t make it through a session without yelling profanities about him, at him. There were times she was unable to speak because the pain was so deep. He dug in and did his work. He allowed God to humble him, change him, give him empathy and contrition. While certainly not out of the woods yet, there marriage is mending and they have each grown tremendously. He isn’t the same man. She isn’t the same woman. It’s not even close to being the same marriage. And this week, amidst family crises, chaotic schedules, difficult professional lives and numerous transitions she was able to tell him that she was thankful for his leadership, that he was the kind of man she has longed for.

He wept. So did she.

Me too.

Those words pierce the heart and soul of a man. For a man who has lived with self hate and self condemnation for a long time, and with the shame of destroying his wife’s heart and their marriage……..words cannot describe. The words instantly sink to the depth of his soul. Speaking from experience, It takes your breath away. It must be like water when you haven’t had a drink for days. Or food after weeks of fasting. It seems like you could live on the words alone; like they could sustain you. They are so moving that its confusing how to act – on one hand you want to rest, quietly and drink in every ounce of the moment. On the other hand you want to boldly walk outside and conquer the world. As if you were unstoppable.

If you’re a man reading this I urge you to live in such a way as to give your wife reason to say something like this to you. Give her every reason to find something to affirm in you. If you’re a wife reading this I urge you to try and find something, one little thing even, to affirm. Granted, I understand that your husband has hurt you and it may be too early or too fresh to find something to affirm. That’s okay. When the time comes, if you can muster the courage, give him the gift of your affirmation. You may be glad you did.

 

Celebrate Good Times

Too often men who struggle with sexual integrity issues are so ashamed they are unable to celebrate the good times. It’s vitally important to remember that some days are gifts; they’re good days, untainted by lust and licentiousness. Sure, it’s easy to get down in the dumps and feel depressed and hopeless after acting out again. But whether or not there is progress is up to you. And that progress will be highlighted and accentuated by celebrating good days and victories.

In the midst of an addiction, we often end up measuring life by the days since we last acted out. Whether it’s a couple days or a couple months, we attribute our sense of well-being and worth to the amount of time that has elapsed since we “did it again”. This, unfortunately, keeps us locked into believing lies about ourselves. The lies go like this:

– “You’re a hypocrite; you call yourself a Christian? You just looked at porn ___ days ago”

– “It’s only a matter of time before you do it again – don’t get your hopes up”

– ” You’re a pervert. You would be completely rejected if anyone knew what you were really doing”

– “You’re unworthy of love and forgiveness”

– “The world would be better off without you”

You see, the truth is, some days you are striving to be a man of integrity. Some days you do have character. Some days you can hold your head high regarding your husband-ship or your parenting. Some days you can be proud of your ministry. And those days have to be celebrated. Maybe not by the people closest to you. In fact, probably not by your wife or anyone else you’ve hurt by your actions. But internally, between you and God, I urge you to take a few moments and acknowledge that the day is a good day. To thank Him for the gift of integrity that day. You might find your spirits lifted and the veil of hopelessness start to lift if you begin to measure your life by the days that you do live with integrity, rather than the days that you don’t.