If this doesn't sound like LaRissa, it's because it isn't. LaRissa invited me (Shawn) to be a guest blogger today to pick up with Our Story and share with you about the intense battle that was going on inside my own life and in our marriage.
LaRissa and I have an incredible marriage. Our marriage is full of intense love and excitement and passion and joy and laughter. We are best friends, and absolutely adore each other. I really do think we will go down as one of the all-time great love stories.
But in every great love story, there comes a moment of conflict. In all the fairy tales and classic love stories, two lovers fall madly in love with each other, but something happens that puts their love at risk, that threatens to destroy their love and even their lives. Often, there is an evil king or prince, a wicked stepmother or stepfather, a wicked witch or wizard who is hellbent on destroying the two lovers.
In many of the stories, the enemy captures the prince, places him in prison, and has a horrible monster that keeps the prince from getting to the princess. Meanwhile, the enemy places the princess under a spell that causes her to fall into a deep darkness near death. The prince has to escape from the enemy, overcome him, and defeat the monster to rescue his one true love.
Well, our story has all of those elements: an enemy, an imprisoned prince, a monster, and princess in a deep darkness. However, there was a twist in our story. In our story, the enemy was unseen, the monster was inside of me, and I had become a prisoner in a cell of my own making.
I was first exposed to pornography when I was nine or ten years old by a family member who was a sexual predator. Far too young for a child to lose his innocence. Over the next several years, I was exposed to it many times in varying degrees. Satan, the evil prince had begun his work. As I became a teenager, I had more exposure and access to pornography like many teenage boys do. Satan used sexual desire to further the chains that were developing around my heart.
After LaRissa and I married and moved to seminary, the pressures of driving not just to succeed but to excel in grad school, working a full-time job, suddenly being the father of a large family, trying to provide for my family on a very limited income, and the intense strain that all this placed on our young marriage created the prime opportunity for the evil prince to attack. I developed an addiction to pornography. Satan built the prison in my heart, and the monster was born.
LaRissa mentioned the results in her last post: anger, irritability, an increasing distance between her and myself in our hearts and in our sex life, unrealistic expectations. The monster's talons were digging deeper, and it was consuming me, destroying our marriage, and plunging the princess into darkness. The enemy, the prison, and the monster almost won. Seven years ago, on a horribly painful night (In the fairy tale, there would be storms brewing, thunder and lightning flashing, and a horribly wicked laugh piercing the night) the monster came out. LaRissa discovered my addiction ... and on that night, the enemy almost won. The princess was plunged further into darkness, the prince almost gave up all hope, and the monster almost destroyed the magical land.
So, I'll let LaRissa pick back up from there, but I've still got more of the fairy tale I want to tell. Remember, this is one of the great loves of all time. This is the darkest moment in the story, but it is not the end. So I hope she lets me rob her blog again sometime!