There May Be Steps You Can Still Take
Marvin and Tina Essex first came to us for counseling in 2012. They have four children and live in a rural area of Michigan. He is employed at a local furniture store and she is a social worker for the State of Michigan. They have been married 17 years. The couple came to counseling because they had stopped being intimate with one another and started sleeping in separate bedrooms two years ago before that because Tina felt her husband was being unfaithful.
She had become distant and wanted out of her marriage. Marvin suggested counseling and mediation to assist them in trying to reconcile their marriage. He had never been unfaithful, Marvin insisted. He thought Tina was just looking for a way out of their marriage.
Tina, however, said Marvin used pornography as a means of stimulation, that she found his magazines and caught him on the computer on several pornography sites. This has added to her mistrust and anger towards him. She constantly revisits the lack of trust in their relationship and her husband admitted that he has lied and had been using pornography, but never has been with another woman.
There was an all too common backstory to the very real and very now problems facing this couple. What Tina didn’t know is that Marvin was introduced to pornography by his uncle when he was only six years old and he was taught that a real man always did these kind of things. He didn’t know how to stop and he cried out for help many times but nothing ever changed. He broke down during the session and cried and said to his wife “ Tina you thought I was always unfaithful, but in a sad twisted way I was.”
Tina responded by holding him during the session and she asked why he didn’t tell her about the problem.“I was so ashamed and didn’t know how to stop or ask for help. I know I have been wrong, but please Tina stay with me and let’s work through this.”
Since the truth about his introduction into pornography by his uncle came out, the couple has reconciled and Marvin has moved back into their bedroom. Tina is more sensitive to his past and wants to be a support to him and apologizes for her mistrust regarding another female in Marvin’s life.
Today, the Essexes have decided to continue their counseling and Marvin has not visited any pornography sites, or purchased magazines in over a year. Tina is working on letting her guard down and once again learning how to enjoy the benefits of her marriage. Marvin is also taking a personal interest in what Tina needs and being a good father to their three children. Marvin continues to be grateful for the counseling offered to he and his wife and realizes the treasures he has in his family and how he almost lost them all.
It is important to understand when considering divorce that you exhaust every option available. Many couples have lost their interest in their ability to be loving and compassionate towards one another. However, it is never too late to continue trying!
When you want out, consider the last-moment understanding that helped the Essexes:
- When all else fails try forgiveness. Tina needed to forgive Marvin so she could receive her own breakthrough and find her own inner peace.
- Tina also needed to understand Marvin’s past in order to move out of the past into a brighter, happier future.
- Marvin kept an awful secret from his wife that was destroying him every day of his life. The first step is admitting that there is a problem, recognizing that you need help, then take a personal inventory of what is really important in your life and is it worth preserving.
- Never be afraid to ask for help or to take the necessary steps to resolve your situation for the proactive outcomes you deserve in your life.