I have a dear friend named Kimberly who exemplified loving as Jesus loves in her
marriage. As I listened to the message she popped up continually and I was once again
encouraged and challenged to love as my savior does. I asked her if I could share her
story and she agreed. Kimberly is not her real name.
Her marriage had been suffering for years. Both she and her husband had drifted apart
and were neglecting one another and finding other ways to meet their needs. This didn’t
become apparent until she discovered pornography on their family computer. She was
devastated and realized that something was wrong.
Against his wishes she told him that they were either going to get rid of internet or she
was going to put internet security on their computers. She asked him to seek professional
help and recognized that she too needed to work through some of her own struggles.
Finding pornography was especially damaging to her self-esteem and to her sense of self-
worth, but even before she stumbled upon the pictures she already suffered from poor
self-image and foundational beliefs. She felt unlovable and undesirable. Even after a few
years of therapy she feared that she was not enough for her husband. She compared
herself to models on television, magazines, and even to women around her in the
workplace, church, and at the grocery store.
We were out of contact for a year or so, but recently I ran into her at the store and felt
comfortable sharing some relational struggles that I was facing with another friend. She, I
knew would understand. She floored me with her response.
She shared with me that one morning she woke up, perhaps after a frightening dream, she
wasn’t sure, but felt this intense need to check the history on their computer. She got out
of bed and determined to get ready for the day and to fight the urge. She knew this was a
temptation to take control of a situation that she felt completely out of control of, and she
also felt like she was in a losing battle. “You better do it before he gets home” a voice
hissed. “You need to know what’s going on…you need to protect yourself.”
Before turning on the computer she stopped herself and thought about the consequences
of her actions. What if she got onto the computer? What if she looked in the internet
history? What if she found pornography? How would she confront him? Would he deny
it? Would she want to leave him?
The questions and doubts bombarded her and she sat down and cried, “Lord, what am I
supposed to do,” she asked. She remembered the verse, “There is no temptation, but what
is common to man, but God is faithful, he will make a way out for you.”
“I need a way out Lord. I’m so afraid that my fear and my lack of control will overpower
me and that I will find myself obsessing over the computer. I trust you, and I trust that
you alone will give me strength today.”
She heard a still small voice, “does it matter what he has done? Will you choose to love
him whether he has or hasn’t done anything? Will seeing the evidence help you to love
him more or will it cause more hurt and division?”
As she sat staring at the computer through tears she made a decision, a resolve, “I do love
him whether he chooses to turn to pornography or not. I will not allow his choices to
affect what I choose. I hope he chooses me, BUT I will not base my love on his choice. I
choose to love him because I chose him. And, the only reason I am able to love him is
because Christ loved me first and has shown me by example how to love…not because of
anything that I did to earn it, but because of who he is.”
As she shared her heart I could hear how my friend had truly received Christ’s
unconditional love for her and because of it she was able to be a conduit for Christ’s love
to flow through to her husband.
She shared with me that once she resolved to love him it was much easier to love him.
She wasn’t waiting for the “shoe to drop” or for the moment he would fail her. She
smiled and her eyes filled with tears, “for once I just enjoyed him because I loved
him…and it was completely independent upon him and fully dependent upon my
decision to love him.”
Then, just as she had responded to the Lord’s love for her she has seen her husband
become more responsive to her. She has witnessed firsthand what happens when we love
like Jesus loves.